Samiam break down every track on first LP in 12 years, ‘Stowaway’ ++ new video
Emo/punk vets Samiam are back with their first album in 12 years, Stowaway, out today via Pure Noise. It finds them sticking to their classic sound, and it's loaded with rippers. For a much deeper dive into this album, the band gave us a track-by-track breakdown of the full LP, and you can read on for what they had to say.
Along with the release of the album, we're also premiering their new video for opening track "Lake Speed." The band says, "The couple in the video, the driver and the woman, are artists Chris Johanson (who painted the cover for Samiam’s Astray) and Johanna Jackson. Austin Rhodes shot the live footage of us playing in Atlantic City last September. The rest—the story of the ‘object of relative values’ and the shots of crows and freeways—was shot in Portland Oregon over the course of a few days last February."
Check it out, and stream the full LP:
Lake Speed is a real person, a Nascar driver I was reading about whose long, mediocre career seemed oddly parallel to Samiam’s. He raced professionally for over 15 years—a lifetime for a Nascar driver, literally hundreds of races—but he was never very successful. He almost always finished somewhere in the middle of the pack, just good enough to keep qualifying but never grasp the glory of victory, never to become a household name (despite having such an awesome name). Sponsors came and went quickly, seldom lingering for more than a few races. He often had to pay for car parts and his garage out of his own pocket. But he kept on plugging away it, year after year, out of love for the sport and a perverse tolerance of punishment.
Jason Beebout hit the vocals for this in one take, first time out the gate. Chris Wollard of Hot Water Music later heard a rough version of it and asked if he could have a chance to sing backups, and he did a pretty damn good job, in my opinion. He and Jason sound awesome together, Wollard’s tattered rasp under Jason’s muscular snarl, like two eagles smoking cigarettes as they fly off together into the sun. (Sean)
“Crystalized” didn’t come so easy. We worked on several different versions of the song over a few years and it just didn’t seem to to be jelling. I really liked the riffs Sergie had written though and I thought it was important to try to get it on the record. My dad had just died and I was up working on his isolated mountain house in Colorado trying to fix up a couple decades of neglect (I do carpentry when I’m not goofing around with Samiam) and while doing that alone up at 9000 ft in a remote heavily forested area, I sorta went into Shining mode and wrote a bunch of different versions of the song. They were all pretty crappy and I was almost resigned to giving up and went to bed discouraged, but then I woke up at 3am and this melody just popped out in my half-awake state with a few lines and I got out of bed and wrote for a couple hours and came up with basically the whole song. Sometimes you just gotta get yourself up when the moment strikes because if you don’t it will be gone forever. (Sean)
LIGHTS OUT LITTLE HUSTLER
I get the present / past tense first person / third person mixed up a lot when I write. I think it’s because when I write about myself and other people I remember stuff like it was in a dream, trying to make sense of it all. My wife and I have been together on and off for 32 years. Our relationship is atmospheric. It feels like it didn't start at any one point in time, it just sort of wasn’t, and then it was. It’s everywhere, and then it’s not. We’re weird.
Sean didn’t like the line “there’s always something there between you” because he thought it doesn’t make sense, but it does to me. There’s still an attraction drawing us together, but we continue to create barriers that keep us apart. (Jason)
Sometimes I drink too much. (Jason)
We wrote this song and made a boom box tape recording of it 20 years ago in a warehouse space in Hunters Point SF. I got thirsty so I went to the bathroom to get some water from the sink. It tasted like dirty metal and burned my mouth. I had to leave. I think I left my notebook in the hall. The sound quality of the recording is really shitty so you can barely hear what I’m singing. I can’t remember the words so I wrote some new ones by listening to the garbled mumbles on the tape and imagining what I meant to say to me then about me now. (Jason)
I didn’t feel welcome where I grew up. It was only 15 miles from San Francisco, but I’m pretty sure half the people in town had never been there. Kids in my neighborhood were angry and mean. If you made eye contact with a guy passing you on the sidewalk he’d stop and say “what the fuck are you looking at?” At night I would sneak out my bedroom window and walk for hours hoping to find something cool happening, I wished I was living in the movie Fast Times At Ridgemont High. I always had the sense that I was missing something. (Jason)
This is a story about an Octopus: https://www.mbari.org/news/deep-sea-octopus-broods-eggs-for-over-four-years-longer-than-any-known-animal/
Natural Disasters is a new Sitcom / Adventure Reality Game Show on FOX about a wacky modern Lib-Fam struggling to make it in Northern California as the world is falling apart around them. It’s like the shows All In The Family and Sanford & Son mixed with Survivor. This is the theme song. (Jason)
When my daughter was in first grade she had a class project based on a book called Flat Stanley. You make a paper doll, send it to kids in other schools, and write a story about the places Stanley goes. We mailed her Stanley to Sean, who took it on a walk around Brooklyn in the winter. He sent us back pictures of Stanley in a pile of trash, a rat trap, the Brooklyn bridge, a shot of tequila. There was one of Manhattan with the caption “Saudi Terrorists crashed planes into some buildings here”. I thought it was funny, but more so it was sweet he took the time to do all that for her.
So I wrote a song about it with the Chorus “walking along the water front for you” We recorded it a few times that way but it never felt right. When we recoded it this time Sean told me a sad story about his friend who’d gone missing during the covid lockdown, only to be found dead in a car days later. He wrote a new chorus about his friend. I tried it both ways. I liked my version better. He liked his. Wollard came to the studio and listened to them both, smoked a bowl, and suggested we mix them together. The song is about friendship. (Jason)
What is it about belligerent stupidity that if wielded persistently enough starts to become compelling to some people? Why are some people drawn to arrogant fools bloated with childish narcissism? You try to ignore them but after a while you can’t anymore, they’re in your face all the time, every day saying something so dumb you think it’s the lamest shit you’ve ever heard until the next day when they say something even dumber and more vain and you realize that you and everyone else is becoming hypnotized by the bullshit. People don’t really like it but they can’t stop watching it and the shit-spewer gets more and more energy through his fourth-grade bullying tactics. And all that bad energy swirls together in a shit tornado and raises the imbecile into a position of ultimate power where he becomes untouchable. Sometimes it just keeps going and you get a Hitler and millions die, other times it stops just short of that and you just have a dumb ex president blathering like a baby to himself in his tacky golf clubhouse. (Sean)
I got to see the Buzzcocks at Riot Fest in Chicago. We played right before them at like 2:00 in the afternoon. I don’t know why they had them play so early, but I was stoked to be so close to them. I’d just flown in that morning and hadn’t eaten anything yet, so hitting the bottle of whiskey I found in our dressing room was a bad Idea. I think we played ok, and then I sat down on the side of the stage and watched them play. It was fantastic. I was drunk by the end of their set and a total mess. I think security kicked me out for being annoying. Pete Shelley died a year later. I wanted this to sound a little like a Buzzcocks song. Sort of happy and nostalgic, but I have never been able to write happy songs. I seem to have an endless supply of shit to complain about so I just went with that. Life. (Jason)
I actually wrote the main riff to this song 25 years ago when we were on tour in Japan but never quite knew what to do with it. Then when we were writing for this record it suddenly fell together out the sky with this other part and became a song. Sometimes things just go like that and you can’t figure out why. The lyrics are about a kid wanting to be in an adult world but not really grasping the complexity of it and also still retaining a bunch of childish traits. I think it is kind of how I felt in about third grade, when I felt trapped, powerless and humiliated and thought that being an adult would make everything so easy because I couldn’t see the difficulties that came with it and really just wanted to escape on an adventure. (Sean)
Samiam also have upcoming shows, including NYC's Brooklyn Made on April 19 with Walter Schreifels and 95 Bulls. All dates:
Samiam -- 2023 Tour Dates
04/07 Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
04/08 Oakland, CA @ The Golden Bull (sold out)
04/09 Oakland, CA @ The Golden Bull
04/19 Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Made w/ Walter Schreifels, 95 Bulls
04/20 Baltimore, MD @ Otto Bar
04/21 Richmond, VA @ Cobra Cabana
04/22 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
05/10 Milwaukee, WI @ X-Ray Arcade
05/11 Chicago, IL @ Metro #
05/12 St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall #
05/13 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade #
05/15 Orlando, FL @ The Social #
05/16 Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room #
05/17 Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum #
05/18 Pensacola, FL @ The Handlebar
05/19 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall #
05/20 Austin, TX @ Empire Control Room #
05/21 Dallas, TX @ Amplified Live #
# w/ The Bouncing Souls