Yellowcard is a pop punk band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1997, and based in Los Angeles, California since 2000. Their music features the use of a violin, unusual for the genre. They are best-known for their songs "Ocean Avenue", "Only One", and "Lights And Sounds".
The band is on a self-described "hiatus."
Yellowcard was formed in 1997 in Jacksonville, Florida after meeting at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. The band released its first album, Midget Tossing, in 1997. The original members were vocalist Ben Dobson, guitarist/vocalist Todd Clary, bassist Warren Cooke, guitarist Ben Eric Harper, and drummer Longineu W. Parsons III ("LP"). While vocalist/violinist Sean Mackin was featured on some of the songs, he was not a full-fledged member yet, as he still objected to many of the band's messages.
Where We Stand, their second album, featured the same lineup as Midget Tossing, and Mackin was featured on more songs. Soon Ben Dobson lost interest in the band and left. He was replaced by Ryan Key (vocals and rhythm guitar), a Jacksonville local who was playing in a band called Craig's Brother. This changed the band's music style drastically, from hardcore punk to pop punk. It also changed most of their fan base, leaving them with a new beginning and a fresh start as a band.
In early 2000, the band recorded the Still Standing EP. Soon after Still Standing EP was released, Todd Clary left the band. Key then filled both Clary's and Dobson's duties, guitar and vocals respectively. After sending the new EP to friend Steve Lubarsky at Lobster Records, the band signed their first recording contract in June 2000 and by November had headed west to Camarillo, CA to begin working on another full length album.
The group released their third album, One for the Kids (Lobster Records), in 2001 and followed up with The Underdog EP (Fueled by Ramen Records) in 2002. Both of these were well-received by fans. However, soon after The Underdog EP was released, Warren Cooke left the band due to personal reasons. The band then asked an old friend, Peter Mosely from Inspection 12, to play bass for them. Before Warren Cooke left, the band filmed an unreleased music video for the song "Powder". The video was later put on the enhanced version of the band's next album, Ocean Avenue.
Pete Mosely under the stage lights (April 2006).
Shortly after releasing The Underdog EP, Yellowcard signed with Capitol Records , which was looking to sign pop punk groups at the time. Yellowcard began recording their major-label debut in late 2002, and the production of the record was finished in the spring of that year. During the recording of Ocean Avenue, Mosely left, citing personal problems. The band again began the search for a new bass player and found Alex Lewis, whose sister, Alieke Wijnveldt, contributed vocals to the Ocean Avenue track, "View From Heaven".
The band released the first single from the album, "Way Away". The song did well on MTV2 and rock radio, peaking at #25 on the modern rock charts. It was also featured on the soundtrack to Madden 2004, and SSX 3. The song created enough buzz to cause the band's mainstream explosion. In the middle of the band's first headlining tour, Peter Mosely returned from his semi-retirement to ask if he could rejoin the band. Because Mosely had been an integral part of the writing for Ocean Avenue and had also been friends with most of the band's members since high school, Lewis was asked to leave, and Mosely was reinstated as the bass player.
In late 2003, the band released what would become their breakthrough single, "Ocean Avenue". The song premiered on MTV's TRL program, and quickly shot up the charts to #1. Radio eventually picked up on the single, and the song made it to #37 on the Billboard Hot 100. Suddenly, Yellowcard was everywhere from the covers of Alternative Press, to headliners of the 2004 Warped Tour, to on stage at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, performing "Ocean Avenue". The band took home the MTV2 award as well. Yellowcard featured on an episode of MTV's Real World/Road Rules Challenge, performing "Way Away" while cast members trashed a mock hotel room in true rock star fashion. The album's first track, "Way Away" was appeared on the soundtracks of SSX 3 and Madden NFL 2004. The album's second track, "Breathing", also appeared in EA's Burnout 3: Takedown and FlatOut 2. Following "Ocean Avenue"'s success, the band released the single "Only One", a rock ballad which also did fairly well on TRL and radio. The Ocean Avenue album sold over one million copies in the US alone.
As Ocean Avenue's popularity began to decrease, the band spent some time contributing songs to various soundtracks. The first, "Gifts And Curses", appeared in the hit film Spider-Man 2. Another, a cover of Lagwagon's "Violins", was featured on Rock Against Bush, Vol. 2 compilation album. At the 2005 MTV Movie Awards, Yellowcard performed a cover of the song "Don't You (Forget About Me)" during a special tribute to the movie The Breakfast Club.
Lights and Sounds
Yellowcard performing in 2004.
After almost two years of touring, Yellowcard took a few months off at the beginning of 2005. Ryan Key and Peter Mosely moved to New York City to write the songs for their upcoming album. The rest of the band remained in Los Angeles. The band regrouped in LA in the spring and began pre-production for the follow up to Ocean Avenue in March. Recording and production was finished in September and advertising began for the album. The band had originally announced that the album was expected for August 2005, but production and other delays pushed the release date back several months.
In the months following, many problems had arisen between the band mates, mainly involving Ben Harper. Ryan Key has made many comments since then stating, "The fame went to their heads." After two months of court appearances, Ben left the band. He was eventually replaced by Ryan Mendez from the band Staring Back. Up until the announcement of this, Harper's record label was about to record Staring Back's next album. After leaving Yellowcard, Ben Harper joined the band Amber Pacific, but he soon dropped out. Harper is now in the band Hey Mike! and runs Takeover Records in California.
Lights and Sounds was finally released on January 24, 2006.
A loose concept album, the theme centers around the band's negative feelings towards Los Angeles. Prior to the release of Lights and Sounds, Ryan Key said that this ambitious album would probably alienate a large portion of their fan base, and that he was 100 percent OK with that. 20 songs were recorded for the album, 14 of which are on the CD, plus a B-side available on import versions, CD singles, and at the iTunes Store, called "Three Flights Down". Lights and Sounds is also the only Yellowcard album to contain an instrumental track ("Three Flights Up").
The title track, "Lights and Sounds", was the first single, released a week before the album. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks. It is also featured on the video games Burnout Revenge and Guitar Hero: Modern Hits. In its first week of release the album sold just over 90,000 copies, but it only went on to receive gold status. High first week sales are most likely the result of high anticipation of the album, as it was the follow-up to the highly-successful Ocean Avenue; low total sales backup Ryan's statement about the album being very ambitious and different in sound from Ocean Avenue. On May 6, 2006, the second and final single and video of the album, "Rough Landing, Holly", was released. The single wasn't as well received as the first, and after its first week of release it quickly dropped on the charts.
In May 2006, Ryan Key had surgery on his vocal cords done after having problems with his singing. He had started having problems in December 2005. He was mute for a week and couldn't sing for more than a month. The band, after canceling some shows and receiving some time off from touring, joined the Virgin Mega Tour for Summer 2006.
On October 16, 2006, the band announced over their official website that they were back in the studio recording a new album. Guitarist Ryan Mendez posted on the official Yellowcard message board on October 21, 2006 that three songs had been completed and stated "I really think fans of both older and newer Yellowcard are going to be very happy." Pre-production began in October 2006 and tracking began on January 2007.
Between the months of January and March 2007, studio footage labeled "Yellowcard Sessions" regarding the band's progress on making the album was posted on the band's MySpace, with a new video added every Thursday. In total 10 videos have been posted, with additional footage released on the deluxe CD/DVD edition of Paper Walls. Additionally, in January 2007, some sample demo songs were released on the band's MySpace, though they were only rough recordings from preproduction and not the final recorded versions. The first demo was a 30 second preview of the iTunes bonus track, "Bombers", and the second was a clip of an unmixed version of "Light Up the Sky".
The first Yellowcard show since October 2006 took place on March 29, 2007, at the Troubadour in Hollywood, California. At the show lead singer Ryan Key announced to a sold out crowd that the new album would be titled Paper Walls. He said he would "probably get in trouble for ," but went on to announce the title anyway; Key also announced the album title during a concert at Southern Connecticut State University. During the Troubadour show, Yellowcard played two songs from their new album ("Fighting" and "The Takedown"). Yellowcard played an acoustic set the next night at the Troubadour and premiered two new songs, "Shadows and Regrets" and "Light Up the Sky".
In the teaser of an interview with Jason Tate of absolutepunk.net released on June 17 (one month before the release of the album), Key described the album as
...very much a record of hope and finding yourself again. It?s after you?ve come through all of that ? going to the height of it ? and picking yourself back up again. And by ?hitting rock bottom? I don?t mean in record sales or fame or any of that shit. I mean personally ? emotionally...Paper Walls is the story, the feeling, of what it?s like to be out of those holes, looking back, no regrets, but smarter and having grown through them.
The whole interview was released on July 17, the release date of the album.
Paper Walls was released in the U.S. on July 17 (July 16 on iTunes) in an additional CD/DVD format, as Lights and Sounds was the previous year. The DVD contains exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the band, an extensive photo gallery and two additional live bonus tracks. On July 9, Yellowcard released Paper Walls on their Myspace music player to give fans a taste of what was to come on the new album. Yellowcard announced on May 15 on their MySpace blog that the first single would be "Light Up the Sky". This song was released to iTunes and radio on June 5. Soon after its release, Paper Walls became the second most popular album on iTunes and the most popular album in the alternative section. In June 2007, Yellowcard was voted to do AOL Sessions Under Cover. It was released on July 20, and it featured two songs from Paper Walls. The album debuted at #13 on the U.S. Billboard 200 selling about 40,000 copies in its first week.
Yellowcard has been promoting their new album nonstop since its release and has started touring for Paper Walls. They supported Blue October in their United States 2007 fall tour and also supported Linkin Park in Japan in November/December 2007. While touring for Paper Walls, Peter Mosely announced in a MySpace blog message that he would be leaving Yellowcard to pursue other endeavors. The band has not yet made any long-term decisions, but Josh Portman from the band Near Miss is acting as stand-in bass player at present.
The band canceled several European shows in January due to drummer Longineu Parsons taking a couple months off. He spent the time with his grandmother in Jacksonville, FL who raised him and whose health was failing. On January 7 Yellowcard went to the Middle East to do a USO tour. They went to Kuwait, but as originally planned, couldn't get into Iraq because of the president arriving and canceling all flights there. Yellowcard was originally scheduled to headline a spring tour with All Time Low, but All Time Low dropped out to take part in the Alternative Press spring tour. They were then replaced by MxPx, who canceled a few weeks later. Yellowcard then went on an acoustic tour with The Spill Canvas, Secondhand Serenade, PlayRadioPlay!, and Treaty of Paris. Yellowcard released a live album, exclusive to iTunes, on January 22, 2008. It is titled Live from Las Vegas at the Palms and was recorded during their Blue October Tour in October 2007 in Las Vegas .
Yellowcard announced an interview in April 2008 that they would be going on an "indefinite hiatus." Their European tour set for 2008 was canceled, so the band decided to embark on an acoustic tour in the spring of 2008 before taking a break.
Another reason for the band's hiatus was individual member situations. LP took some time off in the winter to spend time with family; he is now part of a side project band based in Jacksonville, FL. Sean is due to get married this year, and he wanted to take some time off to spend with his family. Ryan Key stated that the members needed some time to figure out their personal lives. The band does not know how long the hiatus will be, but they have assured their fans that they are not breaking up, just taking some time off. Also, as of May 2008, Yellowcard has left Capitol Records and is now unsigned.
The original Yellowcard lineup from 1997 featuring Ben Harper, Warren Cooke, Todd Clary, Longineu Parsons and Ben Dobson announced they would be performing tracks from Where We Stand in Jacksonville, Florida.
Yellowcard announced on their MySpace page that they would be performing their first show in months at Utah State University on September 30, 2008. It was an acoustic set much like that of their recent tour performed by Ryan Key, Ryan Mendez, and Sean Mackin, featuring songs from their entire discography. The band later announced on their MySpace page that they would be having another acoustic performance at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana on November 13.
In early January 2009, it was rumored that Longineu Parsons had joined the band Lostprophets to fill in a gap left when their drummer left to join Nine Inch Nails. However, Lostprophets bassist Stuart Richardson and Parsons himself have stated that these reports are untrue.
On June 9, 2009, the Nintendo DS video game "Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits" was released in stores with the band's song, "Lights and Sounds", as a playable track.
On June 16, 2009, Capitol released an EP titled "Deep Cuts", which consists of four previously-released tracks.
On December 22, 2009, Guitar Hero: Van Halen will release in stores for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and Wii with the band's song, "The Takedown", as a playable track.
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In January 2009, Ryan Key announced that he has started Big If, a side project band with Sean O'Donnell, of pop rock band Reeve Oliver. The band released eight demos on their Myspace, entitled "Triple Please", "When", "Bug Light", "Bunny and Me", "Always Almost", "Hang You Up", "Red Carpets", and "You Went Gold". Big If also posted short videos of on their Myspace, giving fans an inside look of a musical artist's recording sessions. The band hopes to release their debut album in late 2009. Despite Big If, Yellowcard insists that it has not broken up, and that in the future, the band may reunite.
On August 24, 2009, Ryan Key stated on Twitter, that he was in the studio recording guitar tracks for Big If. He also revealed that Ryan Mendez from Yellowcard is producing and providing the lead guitar on the Big If song demos.
On September 14, 2009, Ryan and Sean made a MySpace blog post that revealed that the duty of lead guitar has been bestowed upon their friend Joshua Portman, previously of Near Miss (band).
Ryan Key - lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1999?)
Sean Mackin - violin, vocals (1999?)
Ryan Mendez - lead guitar, vocals (2005?)
Peter Mosely - bass, vocals (2002?2003, 2004?)
Longineu W. Parsons III - drums, percussion (1997?)
Ben Harper - lead guitar (1997?2005)
Alex Lewis - bass, vocals (2003?2004)
Warren Cooke - bass (1997?2002)
Ben Dobson - lead vocals (1997?1999)
Todd Clary - rhythm guitar, vocals (1997?2000)