Anyone that grew up in the MTV TRL generation remembers Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue album and its irresistible, catchy single of the same name. The melodies stuck in your head like a perfect pop song, but the lyrics were smart and relatable, and still had that punkish rock vibe. It may be surprising to you, then, that Ocean Avenue was released a whole decade ago, when some current Rollins students were still in elementary school.
Yellowcard drummer Longineu “LP” Parsons feels just as surprised. “It feels like yesterday since we still play those songs from the album often,” he says. Parsons has been in the band for 18 years, the longest out of the current lineup which also consists of Ryan Key (vocals/guitar), Sean Macklin (violin), Ryan Mendez (guitar), and Josh Portman (bass).
In 2003, internally and externally. There have been a few lineup changes, and the band has had to adjust to the emergence of digital music files and social media. Parsons wistfully remembers growing up watching Headbanger’s Ball on MTV and searching record stores to discover new bands, and then starting Yellowcard in the mid-90s and relying on word of mouth and excessive performances to gain fans. He feels like fans had “more of a personal connection to the artists,” and some bands now “just rely on social media.” Some concertgoers are too focused on filming the band on their Iphones instead of just enjoying the performance. However, “the industry just has to adjust,” he says, and Yellowcard is taking advantage of social media opportunities. They created the website moment.yellowcardrock.com, where fans can share some of their favorite Yellowcard moments using the hashtag #YCMoment.
In honor of Ocean Avenue’s tenth anniversary, and the recent platinum status of the “Ocean Avenue” single, the band decided to release Ocean Avenue Acoustic, a complete acoustic rendition of all the thirteen original songs, this past August. “We had been wanting to do an acoustic album for a while,” shares Parsons. “We wanted the fans to have something new, and not just do a re-release. [The album] is both old and new, and fans can now dissect the songs and hear everything that we put into it.”
To support the album, Yellowcard is in the midst of a United States tour, and on Sunday, September 22 they performed at the House of Blues in Orlando. The entire first hour of their set is acoustic, followed by an electric set. Parsons has been amazed by the reception; he says that the Chicago crowd “blew him away” and the New York City crowd was so loud and memorable, “a beautiful moment.” He enjoys performing some of their biggest hits acoustic, because now the members and fans alike can notice the more intricate parts of the song that usually would be covered by distortion and other noise. This summer, Yellowcard also played at Warped Tour for the eleventh time. Parsons calls Warped a “family-oriented tour” in that “everyone sweats and bleeds together.”
After their US tour, Yellowcard is playing tour dates in Europe, Australia, and the Pacific. “We’re a tour-based band, it’s tours, tours, and more tours,” says Parsons. Parsons also has two side projects: LMPD, a two-piece hip hop ensemble, and two solo albums, Defining Me Part I and II. Other members of Yellowcard have other bands they play with as well. However, the band shows no signs of stopping after Ocean Avenue Acoustic. Parsons shares that another album will be in the works soon, but he remained mum on any details.
For now, you can check out Ocean Avenue Acoustic on iTunes and where albums are sold. The band has gone through many changes since they released Ocean Avenue.