Real estate

For Sunny Day Real Estate, time is poetic again

Located on 120 acres less than a mile from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Disney Springs is, according to its creators, “a themed retail, dining and entertainment center inspired by the charming waterfront towns of the Florida”. This “sprawling promenade” divided into “four distinct neighborhoods” is home to adorable establishments such as Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante (“enjoy authentic Italian cuisine at this superb trattoria”, prompts its website) and multi-tiered odes to the giants of the companies such as Coca-Cola and M&M’s.

At a time when no aspect of American life seems, well, real, this is where SPIN meets Sunny Day Real Estate guitarist Dan Hoerner for a rare interview on an 89-degree afternoon in late September, two weeks into the pioneering Seattle rock band’s first tour in 12 years. Indeed, while they created hugely influential, genre-defining and emotionally resonant music like 1994’s Diary and 1995 colloquially titled The pink albumThe members of Sunny Day Real Estate have often been incongruously their own worst enemies, with a variety of interpersonal dramas resulting in three breakups and reunions and at least one aborted album throughout their intermittent three-decade existence.

Chronicling the details would require an entirely separate article, but in summary: Sunny Day formed amid the explosion of grunge-focused alternative rock in the early 1990s, signed with Sub Pop after playing just a handful of shows, essentially (and inadvertently) invented the modern emo. with Diary and decided to break up before recording The pink album. Frontman Jeremy Enigk had a religious epiphany and made an orchestral solo album unlike anything Sunny Day had recorded before. With their main band gone, bassist Nate Mendel and drummer William Goldsmith joined Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters in time for their first tour in the spring of 1995, but Goldsmith quit the band within two years amid well-documented tensions with Grohl. Mendel remained with the Foos and was replaced by a series of bassists when Sunny Day reformed to record 1998’s. How does it feel to be something and the 2000s The rising tidebefore the band broke up again a year later.

Sunny Day Real Estate in 2009. (Nicky J. Sims/Redferns)

Mendel did not play with his former bandmates again until a 2009 reunion tour, but he is not participating this time after a series of statements made by Goldsmith, including a 2018 video implying that Grohl was somehow at blame Sunny Day for not being able to complete a planned fifth album recorded at Foos’ Studio 606 over a decade ago. Mendel said at the time that there was no truth to that claim, and relations between him and Goldsmith have been strained ever since. “A lot of this stuff was wrong and hurtful to Dave and Nate. Hopefully one day we will sit down and talk about how we fixed the issue with the Foo Fighters, and they accepted our apology,” Hoerner said, “I also hope and pray that someday I can play music with Nate again, but we’re going to have to earn it, and it won’t be easy.”

Yet despite everything, the 2022 edition of Sunny Day Real Estate has started this new chapter in an unlikely way. They are middle-aged statesmen of a genre now celebrated with massive festivals such as Chicago’s Riot Fest and Las Vegas’ When We Were Young, and are capable of selling 1,500 tickets on a weeknight in a location adjacent to a theme park like Orlando’s House of Blues. “It makes me so happy to see how well our legacy has aged,” says Hoerner, who was especially thrilled to see members of Sleater-Kinney, My Chemical Romance and Circa Survive watching Sunny Day from the Riot’s side stage. Feast. “I also like to see the young people there. There were so many in the crowd at Riot Fest, and they were singing every word. How? We haven’t even played a gig in 12 years. It’s incredible.

That trend continued once Sunny Day hit the stage in Orlando, with tattooed, pink-and-blue-haired, gender-neutral 20s who weren’t even born when Diary was released screaming the lyrics at a piercing volume, with some even wiping away tears. Enigk had lost his voice four days earlier after a concert in Detroit, forcing the band to postpone and reschedule two dates, but he was in great shape at the House of Blues. Hoerner was impressed with Enigk’s ability to “deliver a controlled performance when his voice was so tender because so much of Sunny Day is about completely losing your mind”. “It’s so cool to see you so happy and smiling,” Enigk said from the stage, his eager, penetrating voice only deepening slightly over time. “It is comforting.”

Augmented by new bassist Chris Jordan and guitarist/vocalist Jason Narducy (who alternates dates with former Sunny Day touring musician Greg Suran), the band tore up favorites like “J’Nuh”, “Seven” and “In Circles” while recasting songs. like “The Riding Tide” with new arrangements. While the 2009 tour focused almost exclusively on the first two albums, this series also rises from Sunny Day’s comprehensive discography, as well as the gnarly, nodding ‘Lipton Witch’, which Hoerner describes as “undeniably the best song” from and the only one to come out of the Studio 606 sessions (on a 2014 split single with Circa Survive). Goldsmith descended on the barricade after filming to chat and sign autographs for fans, most of whom came over to tell him about the impact Sunny Day had on their lives. Upstairs, the merchandise stand did good business with people like a tattooed father in his forties on crutches, who had driven four hours to the show with his three young daughters.

“Everything we play is our vision to be as big, as wonderful, and as colorful as possible,” says Hoerner, adding that Sunny Day crafted his very first cover art (by an all-time 80s college great) . rock band) and hopes to debut at some point on the run. The band also enlisted renowned underground music photographer Sunny Singh to film their nearly sold-out Oct. 1 show at Philadelphia’s 2,500-capacity Fillmore. “We found ways to open up each song and add expansive elements to it. At the end of this tour, we want to record everything we played the way we play it now, maybe at [the Horner-owned Spokane, Wash., venue] The Big Dipper when it’s empty, then take it to a studio to dig deep, play with, and do with it as we please. It will be a brand new album. »

Hoerner admits that the alleged fifth album unreleased tracks circulating on YouTube are legit and that the band worked on 12 or 13 songs during the sessions, but felt they “just didn’t sound like Sunny Day”. It sounded like a straight rock record, but not even good. Just, like, boring and bland. I’m so grateful to the studio and the generosity of Dave Grohl and Nate, and I hate to criticize our work because we worked hard on it. We watched them and unanimously we missed. We missed the mark. It’s hard because you put in so much time and effort, and a song becomes a living part of you. We had to bury those songs and move on.

There is, however, one potential new song: an unfinished piece of music over eight minutes from a brief period in 1997, when Mendel was considering joining Sunny Day while working on what became How does it feel to be something. “It’s like the peak of Sunny Day, but also very forward-looking,” says Hoerner. “The bass lines that Nate created for him are off the charts – they’re like John Entwistle meets Mozart. We’ve been working on it for a while. It’s beautiful. It’s huge. I wrote lyrics for it, and I think they’re timely. They talk about where Sunny Day is right now and how far we’ve come together. We’ll see how that pans out.

Hoerner says he’s continually amazed that Sunny Day Real Estate remains meaningful to new generations of listeners, even if they don’t fully understand the timeline and different subvariants of ’90s emo. is 15 years old and she is in a phase of discovering groups”, he tells me. “She came to me recently and said, it looks like you copied this band called Jimmy Eat World. I had to explain, well, they’re great, but most of our stuff came before. We always wanted to try and do something timeless. We were very conscious of creating something that didn’t sound exactly like anyone else. Now, of course, it sounds like everyone else. [Laughs].”

With tour dates booked this year leading up to his hometown finale Dec. 17-18 at the Moore Theater in Seattle, Hoerner admits it’s “impossible for us not to look ahead.” This is by far the best tour we’ve ever done: incredible venues, incredible crowds, incredible guarantees. Everything is bigger and better than we’ve ever done before.

The band agreed to perform at Coheed And Cambria’s S.S. Neverender rock ‘n’ roll cruise in October 2023, and eventually hopes to visit markets he didn’t hit on this tour, including Canada, the UK, Europe and South America. “I would love to go anywhere people want to hear Sunny Day,” Hoerner says. “I’m still the eternal optimist and biggest fan of Sunny Day Real Estate, but I’d be very surprised if that didn’t lead to more stuff.”