I apperceive this is a big ask because it sounds like a throwaway gag from The Office, but I beg of you, loyal Stereogum reader: Put some account on the name of “Lackawanna County’s ska-punk arena in 2005.” The Menzingers, Captain, We’re Sinking, and Tigers Jaw all emerged from hardscrabble Scranton and laid the background for the aing decade of accepted jailbait with adolescent burghal Keystone Staters like the Wonder Years, Algernon Cadwallader, Title Fight, and Balance & Composure: pop-punk, , emo, “soft grunge,” and apparent ol’ alt-rock absorption into a subculture that thrived with about aught boilerplate attention. But afore all of that took place, all three had associates with checky pasts in bands with phenomenally ska-punk names like Kos Mos and Bob And The Sagets. The closing featured 75% of the Menzingers, and as Tigers Jaw singer/guitarist Ben Walsh regales, “They were so acceptable too, as far as ska goes.”
Walsh, Brianna Collins, and Adam McIlwee formed the ancient apotheosis of Tigers Jaw through alternating accompany in the scene, while they were all aerial academy acceptance acquirements how to cantankerous the accidentally abundant and assorted mural of northeast Pennsylvania. The adolescent army could be begin in the accepted church-basement and abode shows, while the academy kids and 21 townies gravitated against the art galleries, dive bars, and backrooms featuring bands on the bounded Prison Jazz label. Admitting the Yankees’ Triple-A associate ability advance you to accept that Scranton and Wilkes-Barre are one and the same, “Dub City” is 30 account abroad in Luzerne County and was added of a affectionate of town; this is breadth you’ll acquisition Title Fight’s homebase of Kingston. And of course, there were the kids who lived on the internet, accurately bulletin boards and beginning jailbait incubators like PureVolume and MySpace. Tigers Jaw’s 2008 self-titled green bow was the attenuate almanac appropriately admired by all of these niches and subfactions, and thus, a absolute certificate of a acute movement that went abundantly undocumented in its time — an abrupt bandage archetypal that arose from complete obscurity to authorization a civic 10th ceremony bout and choice reissue.
Though diehard admirers will absolutely blade up for the flexi 7″ with an alternating mix of “Chemicals,” the accompanying zine is the greatest affirmation of Tigers Jaw’s reputation. There are essays from the band’s benefactors, such as Run For Awning owner/A&R Jeff Casazza and Will Yip, the superproducer abaft Tigers Jaw’s 2014 bartering advance Charmer and spin, the countdown absolution on Black Cement, the Atlantic Records banner he founded in 2017. Musical contributors accommodate indie-folk angel Phoebe Bridgers, Nick Hamm of Citizen, and Camp Cope’s Georgia Maq, who namedropped the bandage in their 2016 song “Stove Lighter” (“we alone anytime fabricated out and accept to Tigers Jaw”). Despite actuality in their mid-20s, Tigers Jaw are accurately ancient statesmen at this point — “that’s still such a aberrant thing, because I don’t feel old,” Collins says. In fact, Collins was 15 years old aback she was arrive by McIlwee and Walsh to accompany Tigers Jaw as a keyboardist — and her parents wouldn’t let her go on the alley with the bandage on their name-making 2008 bout with Title Fight.
Tigers Jaw isn’t a advocate anthology by any means. Sure, it’s acutely added addictive and able than the endless albums that articulate article like it, but in 2018, it sounds like the exact affair it is: a brace of aerial academy kids axis out a bisected hour of fiery adapted jailbait about their accompany and feelings; truth-in-advertising song titles accommodate “I Was Never Your Boyfriend,” “Between Your Bandage And The Added Band,” and “Meals On Wheels.” Collins created the aboriginal art as a awning book in art chic during her inferior year. Walsh daydreamed the tracklist and sequencing of Tigers Jaw while alive at Burger King.
The bandage rarely accomplished in those days, but aback they did, Tigers Jaw would end up at Buona’s Pizza, breadth Collins airtight an ad-lib awning attempt for the 2012 Run For Awning reissue. (“Buona’s Pizza” is additionally a song from their 2010 anthology Two Worlds). They played few shows alfresco of the Scranton area, and Tigers Jaw were a canaille accouterments alike for the bounded gigs — “If Adam and I could comedy the appearance and Brianna was around, it would be us,” according to Walsh. “And we would ask all of our accompany from added bands, ‘you wanna comedy drums?’” The articulate success is alike added arresting because that Tigers Jaw were either aloof in or erfingers of adhering to the “get in the van” M.O. canonized by Our Bandage Could Be Your Life. Or maybe by 2008, they accomplished that accomplished action couldn’t attempt with accepting your band’s Mediafire articulation swapped by the appropriate bulletin boards. “We were this bewilderment breadth kids admired us and pop-punk kids admired us,” Walsh reflects on their aboriginal days, and as a adapted indie bedrock bandage alleged afterwards a Microphones lyric, they were unsurprisingly baffled by offers to accompany aggro-leaning festivals like This Is Hardcore and Complete And Fury. “Something about the bite and artlessness of the almanac aloof resonates with lots of altered types of people, I guess.”
Walsh admits those qualities were harder to advance as Tigers Jaw acquired into a added beautiful and adult bandage in the new decade. Alike if they never were tightest-functioning unit, Tigers Jaw became harder to advance as anybody began to alum from aerial academy — Collins and aboriginal guitarist Pat Brier went to Temple University in Philadelphia, bassist Dennis Mishko abounding the University Of Scranton, while McIlwee and Walsh additionally backward in the breadth at Marywood University. Geographically and artistically, Tigers Jaw were growing afar from ceremony added and it led to one of the best abnormal bandage breakups in contempo anamnesis — McIlwee, Mishko, and Brier absitively they were activity to abdicate the band, but they ashore about to complete the recording of Charmer. “We had a agglomeration of flat time and touring appointed about the time we were accomplishing Charmer,” Walsh recalls. “There was all this actuality on the table and some of the added guys were saying, ‘I don’t apperceive if I appetite to accomplish to all of that.’” The adjustment alike had their old accompany in the Menzingers bamboozled — they bid RIP to Tigers Jaw in a 2013 Facebook post. “I anticipate bodies were attractive for some affectionate of clay or story,” Walsh notes, adding, “we’re still accompany with everybody and we abutment ceremony others’ projects.” Best notably, McIlwee pivoted to his emo-trap activity Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, which is accustomed with creating the Gothboiclique aggregate frequently repped by the backward Lil Peep and is the newest signee to Run For Cover.
Perhaps some sliver of Tigers Jaw fanbase ability booty breach to seeing alone two-fifths of the aboriginal bandage demography the 10th ceremony appearance on the road. But afresh again, the “all easily on deck” archetypal is absolutely added accurate to Tigers Jaw’s roots, and Collins feels the association created and fostered by this anthology is its accurate legacy. “Sixteen-year-old me, was, ‘I appetite to absolution a CD on this bounded characterization and comedy a appearance in Wilkes-Barre, which is a half-hour drive bottomward from the highway,’” Collins gushes. “As addition who wasn’t a accepted person, music gave me this accomplished association that fabricated the apple assume so abundant smaller, and I’ve been able to see so abundant of it because of it.”
STEREOGUM: Attractive aback on your ancient canicule in the Scranton jailbait scene, how did bodies dress and conduct themselves at the shows?
WALSH: In agreement of dress code, there were lots of checky things and bodies in the abuse pit cutting backpacks that were abounding of I don’t apperceive what. There was a lot of hacky-sacking activity on and there was consistently two abuse pits — the one up advanced aggravating to affect everybody with their moves and afresh the array of afraid ones in the aback of the room. A lot of the bands would accept these tripod.net or cjb.net websites breadth they would column about their shows, and flyering about boondocks was still a thing. We’d acquisition out about these shows and there’d be a brace hundred kids advancing out to these awe-inspiring [places]. One of the big venues was alleged the Mighty John and it was the basement of the library.
COLLINS: My aboriginal appearance anytime was [when I was in] 7th grade. I went to a Mighty John appearance and my mom let me go because it was in a church.
STEREOGUM: The actualization of accepted indie-punk bands from this era is consistently absorbing to me because it happened during this abeyance amid the appendage end of MySpace and pre-Twitter, and none of it was accepting any boilerplate attention.
WALSH: The two capital sites were PureVolume and MySpace. Aback the internet started demography over the music scene, attractive at a band’s Top 8 was agnate to blockage out the liner notes. And afresh in PureVolume, you could chase based on zip code, and we would do that and additionally clarify based on genre. So I’d be 14 years old, backward at night aback none of my ancestors were application the internet because it was a dial-up, analytic bands from our breadth that were beneath the ska-punk or the pop-punk genre.
COLLINS: I went to aerial academy with Greg [Barnett] from the Menzingers and that’s kinda how I got into music in general. At our school, my accompany were air-conditioned into what earlier kids were doing. One of my accompany in 7th grade, he had an earlier brother in a band, and he told me about the shows and would accomplish mix CDs of our friends’ earlier brothers’ bands. I didn’t abound up in Scranton proper, I grew up in Hamlin, which is a tiny little acreage village. So actuality able to assuredly go to shows in Scranton, I owe a lot to Greg, because the adjacency to him and Captain, We’re Sinking was how I got to access this apple of music [ed. — the advance accompanist of Captain We’re Sinking is Greg’s brother Bobby].
WALSH: Aloof advertence the ska ancillary of it is alone bisected the story. There was this absolutely air-conditioned indie/art arena in Scranton, but a lot of it was abundantly 21-and-over. One of my cousins played in this absolutely air-conditioned power-pop bandage alleged the Sw!ms, they played a lot with this bandage alleged Okay Paddy, and a lot of it was centered about this bounded almanac characterization alleged Prison Jazz. They had all these aberrant indie bedrock and power-pop bands that were like annihilation abroad I’d anytime absolutely heard. I would analysis the website for shows and see my accessory wherever he was playing. I never absolutely played in one of those ska bands, but I met Adam through some alternating accompany because of the ska bandage that he played in. At the aforementioned time I was advertent these indie/artsy-sorta bands, he was award those aforementioned bands. The aboriginal time I talked to him was at a appearance breadth a lot of those Prison Jazz bands were playing.
STEREOGUM: No amount breadth you go, there consistently this bandage amid “indie rock” and the DIY/punk arena — a lot of the time, it can assume based on aesthetics, but the 21 barrier at shows makes a huge aberration as well.
WALSH: You alpha out in the added DIY jailbait arena and you’re bound by what you apperceive and what you’re apparent to by the time you’re 16. The earlier army — it’s funny cerebration about the 21-and-over army as “older” — they were activity to confined and had added activity acquaintance and had accomplished that point in their activity breadth jailbait bedrock isn’t that cool. “I appetite to accept to Radiohead,” or whatever. There was a bar city alleged the Bog affiliated with those indie bedrock bands — it’s still there. Across the artery was an art arcade that a agglomeration of academy kids went in on and rented, and they started absolution us do shows there. So we would ask some of those indie bands to comedy while we were addition out what our complete was.
STEREOGUM: What was your aboriginal adumbration that Tigers Jaw had a absolute future?
WALSH: That almanac characterization Prison Jazz — aback we started the band, that was our aspiration. “We appetite this characterization to affliction about us,” that was our capital objective. They quote-unquote active us and were activity to put our CD — and we anticipation that was the coolest affair ever. With absolutely aught dollars of promo and apparently aloof accepting best up by assertive blogs or whatever, they got so abounding orders compared to what they were acclimated to, they kinda aloof chock-full sending them out for a continued time. We’d get these emails like, “I ordered this CD and never got it and I’m not audition aback from the label…” Those emails were advancing from added and added places, we were accepting a agglomeration from bodies in the UK. And I was thinking, this is crazy that our music would’ve accomplished addition in addition country. That was a absolute abrupt moment. I bethink one of the aboriginal times we played in New York and bodies were singing every chat to every song and I was like, “we’re not in our hometown, there’s a ton of bodies that apperceive these words.” Little moments like that fabricated me anticipate we ability accept article appropriate here, this is resonating with people.
STEREOGUM: How abundant were you able to bout abaft Tigers Jaw at the time?
WALSH: Aback the almanac was declared to appear out on Prison Jazz in 2008, we had a week-and-a-half-long bout with Title Fight. In 2007, we did a horrible, pieced-together bout with a brace of Prison Jazz bands. There was one time on the absolute bout breadth addition absolutely came and paid to see the show. We were mostly arena to added bands and the complete man the accomplished time, and it was one of the best amazing things I’d accomplished in my life. I was 16 years old.
COLLINS: I wasn’t accustomed to go because I was 15.
WALSH: It was the coolest affair ever. And the aing year, Brianna wasn’t accustomed to go with us on the Title Fight tour. The CDs weren’t gonna be accessible in time and there was a acquaintance of ours who did this baby Scranton-based almanac characterization that offered to advice us out with this bout EP with two of the songs from the self-titled and three acoustic songs that Adam had done. That was the aboriginal bout that we were arena with the blow of the bandage bare Brianna unfortunately, but bodies were assuming up and Title Fight were accepting a big moment. That absolutely helped a lot of bodies acquisition us, through that friendship. We toured actual little, that week-and-a-half-long bout was the alone one we did in 2008. We did affluence of bounded shows, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre and Tamaqua, this tiny boondocks in rural Pennsylvania. We did a lot of appearance trades with Mother Daughter Team, that was one of the aboriginal time we played out of Scranton. We kept that accord up and kept accomplishing appearance trades bottomward there. It became affectionate of a aberrant hub for shows, because we’d comedy shows there and they’d appear up to Scranton.
STEREOGUM: Did bodies at aerial academy alpha seeing you abnormally already Tigers Jaw were accepting momentum?
COLLINS: For me, it didn’t absolutely change anything. I had acclimated aerial academy to my advantage for authoritative all the art for Tigers Jaw and screen-printing T-shirts. Bodies in my aerial school, it was geared added to actuality a farmer, our football aggregation sucked, it wasn’t a appropriate affair to be in this band. But now, bodies will acquaint me they anticipation it was so air-conditioned but didn’t say annihilation [then].
WALSH: I was actual abhorrent throughout all of my schooling. I ambition it would’ve afflicted a few things, but it didn’t. Now, I get hit up by some bodies that I knew in aerial academy and they do say, “it’s so air-conditioned that you get to travel, I abhorrence my job, etc. etc.”
STEREOGUM: As academy approached, what was the controlling action for how Tigers Jaw were activity to proceed?
COLLINS: We’re all aing in age, but in altered grades. Anybody was at a altered starting point. I don’t apperceive the exact point breadth it became, “we’re gonna accomplishment academy and afresh we’re gonna do it.” My angle was that any of us would’ve admired to accept alone out and aloof pursued the band. But we didn’t appetite to booty abroad from addition accepting two semesters larboard afore they alum college.
WALSH: I anticipate it was appealing bright none of us were accessible to bead out and do this as a band. It appeared like we did a lot in those years but we did very, actual little. We never practiced, we played actual few shows, and we would do maybe one summer bout throughout aback we went to college. We were accepting assertive touring offers that would overlap with academy and I absolutely thought, “it’d be so air-conditioned if we did this.” But as a accumulation decision, we knew it was never gonna be a achievability to get anybody abroad to appetite to do that. It was a aberrant time because we were seeing our shows added and added well-attended and rowdier during those years, but we weren’t absolutely touring at all. Our booking agent, who acknowledge God is still alive with us, through those years, he would absorb all this time axis actuality bottomward until, “OK, here’s a two-week amplitude in the summer,” with a ages apprehension or something.
COLLINS: We’re active through Canada in the abhorrent acclimate in January because that was the alone time we could go.
STEREOGUM: I grew up in burghal Philadelphia in the ’90s aback the bounded blemish artists were guys like G. Adulation and the Bloodhound Gang, so it was aloof so aberrant to watch places like Temple and Drexel become these hotbeds for indie bedrock a decade later.
WALSH: A lot of the Scranton kids confused to Philly because of college. It was absolutely remarkable; bands like Captain, We’re Sinking and Three Man Cannon and the Menzingers, anybody confused to Philly. That accomplished arena was transplanted, Philly already had the basement and every blazon of venue. Which was absolutely air-conditioned for bands accepting a lot of opportunities to play. But the Scranton arena absolutely took a huge hit. There was a lot beneath activity on afterwards that.
STEREOGUM: Are there any songs on Tigers Jaw that accept developed on you in the accomplished 10 years?
COLLINS: We never chock-full arena a lot of the self-titled because it’s an anthology that resonated with a lot of people. I aing the bandage aback a lot of those songs were [already] accounting and I wasn’t a songwriter. So I was aloof advantageous to be a fan of a bandage that I additionally played in. We comedy “I Saw Water” because it’s absolutely one of the best accepted songs in our absolute catalog, but I still adulation that song so much. As far as alert to songs that we haven’t played in a continued time and gearing up for the tour, “Heat”…that song is so fun and dance-y and I anticipate aback aback I acclimated to comedy it in my house, like, “how is it that article I anticipation I should do?”
STEREOGUM: What were the ones that were toughest to relearn?
WALSH: Apparently “Heat,” “Meals On Wheels,” and “Between Your Bandage And The Added Band.” We’ve played them appealing minimally over the accomplished six and seven years. Those ones are gonna be…not a challenge, but it’ll booty a little added accomplishment to get into the beat of those.
STEREOGUM: Aback I attending aback at Tigers Jaw about 2008, those are the ones that angle out to me as actuality the best pop-punk, the ones about aerial academy and arena backroom — how do you currently chronicle to the actuality who was in the bandage at the time?
WALSH: I absolutely still chronicle to that actuality in a lot of the songs, it’s about all sorts of relationships with added bodies — adventurous and non-romantic — and aloof actuality open. It’s weird, as specific as some of the songs get, the affections abaft those are relatable in a lot of ways. You ability not accept the aforementioned trials and tribulations as a aerial academy student, but you chronicle to those problems in a added carnal way. I don’t apperceive if it’s added or beneath existential now, but aback you’re 16 or 17, the apple seems a lot bigger and your own problems assume a lot bigger. Now, we accept a abundant bigger abstraction of our abode in the world, and in our lives, and in our relationships with added people. Some of that helplessness or ambiguity from aback we were autograph lyrics as 16- and 17-year-olds, there’s consistently activity to be those afraid tendencies. I additional assumption myself in a lot of situations, that hasn’t changed. None of those songs were aggravating to be able or metaphorical. We were autograph the alone way we apperceive how to write, it was actual raw and untested. And sometimes I try to approach that. Now, aback I’m writing, I ambition I was that airy about it and aggregate was beneath adored — “I like this line, I’m gonna stick with it.” Now I ability cantankerous it out and carbon it bristles times. That ability be a big change, but I do try to approach that adaptation of myself.
STEREOGUM: I can’t assurance aggregate I apprehend on Genius.com, but I’ve apparent that there’s a agreeable alternation of “I can’t delay forever” that connects a lot of the Scranton bands.
WALSH: To be honest, I don’t apperceive who wrote it aboriginal — Greg from the Menzingers claims he did, which could actual able-bodied be true. But I do apperceive it’s been acclimated in our songs and Menzingers songs and Captain, We’re Sinking songs anytime since, aloof as a nod to the little association we’ve congenital together. There’s an agitation or alacrity to that bandage that changes the affection — you gotta bustle up and do something, which is a representation, at atomic the way I attending at it, about how we had to body our arena and how it was air-conditioned DIY aback we all started. We were throwing shows wherever we could bandy them, basements and backrooms and art galleries. There’s this active activity to that line, you can’t delay around, you gotta go advanced and try to do something.
COLLINS: A little all-overs too. The best important affair that I’ve been absorption on afterwards 10 years — and the aberration amid us absolutely actuality in aerial academy and adults — is how anybody took the action to do what we capital to do, alike admitting it didn’t absolutely fit. I bethink Ben accomplishing complete and allowance with booking and flyering with our association because it was article for us to do and be a allotment of. I had so abounding accompany that I didn’t go to aerial academy with, but [we connected] because we all adulation music and capital to be allotment of article bigger than the shitty little boondocks or whatever we came from. I anticipate that’s still accessible today, alike added so because of how accustomed the internet is, it’s a lot easier to get advice out. Accepting the action and action to do something. I never anticipation I could be in a bandage and afresh I absolutely met Adam and Ben, and then, aback their keyboard amateur at the time quit, and all of a abrupt I’m in a bandage and I’ve been in that bandage back I was 15. It’s a activity alteration acquaintance and I’m so beholden for Adam and Ben giving me that opportunity.
Here are the Tigers Jaw 10-Year Ceremony bout dates:
09/13 – Amityville, NY @ Revolution09/14 – Washington, DC @ Bedrock & Roll Hotel09/15 – Richmond, VA @ Aberrant Matter09/16 – Durham, NC @ The Pinhook09/18 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade (Hell)09/19 – Orlando, FL @ The Abbey09/21 – New Orleans, LA @ Zeitgeist09/22 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall09/23 – Austin TX @ Barracuda09/24 – Dallas, TX @ Club DADA09/26 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge09/27 – Anaheim, CA @Chain Reaction09/28 – Anaheim, CA @ Alternation Reaction09/29 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo09/30 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo10/02 – Oakland, CA @ Starune Social Club10/04 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre10/05 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret10/06 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile10/07 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux10/09 – Denver, CO @ Marquis Theatre10/11 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown10/12 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge10/13 – Ann Arbor, MI @ The Blind Pig10/14 – Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop10/16 – New York, NY @ Market Hotel10/17 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair10/18 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair10/19 – Scranton, PA @ Montage Mountain
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