Q&A: Story of the Year vocalist Dan Marsala

Published On:
Thursday, February 18, 2010
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It’s a wild time for music – and not just for the industry, but also for the bands themselves. Slowly but surely, musical elitists are running out of whacked-out genres to keep up with the latest indie fads, and while the hipster head-honcho Pitchfork searches out the newest band to place on a pedestal, Story of the Year will be doing what they have always done — rocking, radiating energy and making sing-along anthems for crowds to sing at the tops of their lungs.

After dropping their latest album, titled “The Constant,” the band will be bringing the rock to the Tempe campus’ SRC fields on Friday for the annual Devilpalooza rail jam and concert. Story of the Year vocalist Dan Marsala took some time to talk to The State Press about the band’s new album and their performance here at ASU.

State Press: Congratulations on the new album, how pumped are you guys about the release of “The Constant?”

Dan Marsala: Yeah, I’m really excited. Everything is going good so far. I’ve heard nothing but good things. … We just did a huge signing here in St. Louis for a few hours and we had a bunch of people come down and buy the CD. I’m just happy that it’s out; it’s been done for a few months and we’re just excited that it’s finally out and everyone can listen to it.

SP: That’s really cool. What would you say separates “The Constant” from your past work?

DM: It’s kind of a big culmination of everything we’ve done in the past. We took all of our strongest elements and wrote a bunch of songs that are very “Story of the Year.” We didn’t stray too far from our past formulas — we’ve got a few really heavy songs, a few softer songs and then a lot of middle of the road rock songs. We’ve always had that same formula; get really heavy sometimes and really soft sometimes and then other times, we just like to rock. It’s definitely a Story of the Year record.

SP: Your first single is “I’m Alive,” and it sounds like a really personal song. Is it a take on your personal life, a metaphor for the band or is there a different meaning behind the track?

DM: It’s just a personal song. It’s about feeling a little lost in whatever you’re doing or maybe just a little overwhelmed and questioning if you’re in the right place at the right time or if you’re doing the right stuff. Maybe you’re just leading a life that you’re not too sure of at the moment. Everyone has moments of doubt in everything they do and you feel like “everything I am doing is kind of pointless right now.” It’s just a personal song and what goes through your head.

SP: I saw that in some form or another, Story of the Year has been around since 1995, how did you form and what have you guys used as motivation to keep going for so long?

DM: Our guitar player Ryan, Josh, who’s our drummer, and I went to high school together and we started playing together in different forms and in different bands. It took us a while to figure out exactly what we wanted to do but in 2000 or early 2001, we finally got the lineup solid. Later, we found Phil and added the second guitar player. Friendship and playing music, just that love for music is what kept us going and that’s what keeps us going now. We’re still really good friends and we still love playing music together.

SP: So you’ll be playing a college show at ASU this Friday. Do you take a different approach to the performance when you know that there will be people there who are there for reasons other than to see you perform?

DM: College shows are usually pretty straightforward and pretty normal. We adjust to every show depending on what bands we’re playing with and it’s usually about the lineup and what kind of music we think the fans will want to hear. We have a wide range of different styles and we can adjust to a heavier set or play a softer set. Either way, we just go out and do our thing. We put a lot of energy into the show and play as hard as possible. This show coming up is going to be great. We’ve played many, many shows with Thrice and we’ve toured together a bunch of times so we’re happy that we get to hang out with them. We’re just going to go in, play a bunch of songs and have fun. That’s all we care about.

SP: Any final words for ASU?

DM: We’ve been at this for a long time and we love music. We’ve got a new record out called “The Constant,” that we think is one of our best, if not the best record we’ve made. It’s definitely our favorite and we’re really happy with it. We just want people to check out our music, come see us and have fun. Music is the important thing in our lives and it’s the most important thing in a lot of people’s live so definitely come out and support it.

Dan and the rest of the guys in Story of the Year will be doing a signing at 4:00 p.m. on the SRC fields during Devilpalooza, with their performance scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.

Reach the reporter at jdfourni@asu.edu