Bad Astronaut release first new song in 15 years, give first-ever vinyl reissues to classic LPs
Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape's indie rock band Bad Astronaut have just released their first new song in 15 years, "Wide Awake." The song comes from the new Inner-Space 7", which also includes a never-before-heard alternate version of "Violet" from 2006's Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment, and is coming out on April 23 as part of Bad Astronaut's new vinyl box set. It'll include the first-ever vinyl pressings of Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment and 2002's Houston: We Have A Drinking Problem, plus a repressing of 2001's Acrophobe, which hasn't been available on vinyl since 2010.
"My favorite thing in the world is when bands make three records, break up and then years later, there’s an anthology or a box set," says Joey Cape. "And you’re immediately like, ‘Why? But also, ‘I’m gonna buy it!"
"It’s like a missing link in my life," he continues. "When I have that box set in my vinyl collection, I’ll feel like, ‘Okay, I can finally move on.’"
Bassist Marko DeSantis (also of Sugarcult) adds, "We’re still really proud of this music, and enough time has passed that we can go back and listen to it objectively. But it’s bittersweet because you get so stoked to think about Bad Astronaut, it brings back so many inside jokes and great feelings and pride, but then it also reminds me that [drummer] Derrick [Plourde] died, and he didn’t die in a very sweet way. It’s a hard place to return to, but at the same time, you just remind yourself that anything that has Derrick involved in it keeps Derrick alive to some degree." Joey adds, "I felt the same way going through the music for this box set. It was really lovely to hear how Derrick would finish my musical sentences."
As for the new song, it was written by keyboardist Todd Capps and it came together over Zoom when Todd, Joey, Marko, and multi-instrumentalists Angus Cooke and Thom Flowers decided to catch up. "Todd Capps has been doing scoring with virtual instruments forever, so he was able to put forth something that was pretty much done," Joey says. "I wrote the lyrics, but Todd wrote the melody. I think it came out really cool." It sounds like classic Bad Astronaut; there's a slight pop punk undertone but it's jangly, shimmering, haunting, and baroque -- too musically involved to be a Lagwagon song.
"When I’d say to the guys in Lagwagon, ‘There’s gonna be a keyboard in this song,’ they’d say, ‘No there’s not," Joey said with a laugh, reflecting on what caused him to start Bad Astronaut in the first place. "It became painfully obvious that I had to do something else." Marko added, "No disrespect to current punk music, but our musical vocabulary was so much more than we could articulate in our main bands."