William Beckett (of The Academy Is...)
/ Cara Salimando
Thursday, May 10, 2012 6:30 PM EDT
(5:30 PM Doors)
Grog Shop, Cleveland Heights, OH
It all started at age 17 with a blue minivan and unopened university letters. I packed up my dad's 'burb buggy with 2 guitars, a barstool and a tub of t-shirts and CDs and set off for the east coast. I played any and every show that would have me. A slew of tiny holes in the wall, coffee shops, colleges whose acceptance letters I never opened, and got chased out of hardcore shows to the echoes of "fag!" with my acoustic still strapped to my back. I drove through blizzards and listened to way too much John Mayer and Bright Eyes. I fell in love. I came home and started a band called The Academy Is… I wrote a record about following my dreams and breaking out for good. We did, and I never slowed down. 7 years, 3 albums, over a half a million records sold on top of countless shows played for thousands and thousands of people around the world including a dozen tours in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, UK, Germany, Belgium, and Chile, my band went as far and as fast as any of us dreamt. We performed on Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien, and Carson Daly. Over time, lives and minds changed, and something was missing. I was in a band veiled in secrecy and politics. I broke it up and started over.
I spent the past year and a half writing constantly, churning out the best work of my career. "These are hit songs. It’s your turn. You are a superstar," I was told. Just after the New Year, I was inexplicably let go from the label. After that phone call I stood in silence for 60 seconds, shocked and angry. Then a wave of clarity washed over me. I was free. Free from over thinking and second-guessing. Free from the old formula of "where does this fit?" and "this is what works." I cleaned house. I took my all of my songs and my vision and hit the ground running. I surrounded myself with a whole new team. It’s time to walk the talk. No compromise, no bullshit, no ancient rulebook. It’s all about good, honest music, and lots of it. It’s all about fearlessness and new ideas. It’s all about playing shows for the best fans in the world and making new ones. It’s all about being true to who I am and what I stand for, especially when I don't seem to "fit in." I'm not interested in being anyone other than myself. The next chapter starts this April with my debut solo EP release "Walk the Talk," followed by much more music to come as 2012 unfolds. See you soon.