Past glory

Everyone can appreciate an underdog. A fighter who turns it all around when hope is all but gone — I know I appreciate them.

Max Bemis is that real-life fighter.

After a long fight with some of the worst demons one can face in life, he’s come out on top with a resounding clarity that shines through in his most recent work. The closer he nears to to the birth of his daughter with his beautiful wife, the more of a hero he becomes for me. the rock star that truly has it all.

Tuesday, a compilation album, “All My Friends Are Enemies,” of 45 of Say Anything’s first songs was released on their new label Equal Vision Records. But the thing that excites me most about this release is the collection of essays over what these demos meant to Bemis in his early years.

As Bemis himself put it in a recent interview with Billboard, “When you’re obsessed with a band, knowing their roots sort of helps you enjoy their later stuff more. Sometimes you end up enjoying the old, crappy stuff just because you know where it led.”

I couldn’t agree more. As a lifelong fan of Fall Out Boy, I must say that their crappy quality demo “Evening Out With Your Girlfriend” ranks higher than some of their fully mastered albums on my overall favorites. And the final track “Moving Pictures” is one of my favorite songs of all time.

“The idea that we have this kind of semi-embarrassing material, that just makes us more interesting,” added Bemis in the same interview. And that’s a quality I can always admire in an artist.

That same idea of throwing what you have got out there for all to see and hear is another reason that this release is so special to me. I cherish memories like singing along to a cover of “Colorblind” with Ryan Silver, Nick Jones, and Damon Stark at the St. Charles Coffee House and appreciate that Bemis still holds his roots just as dear.

The song “Try To Remember, Forget” ends with the lyrics “cause I know that spark ain’t comin’ back,” but I beg to differ. For Max Bemis and Say Anything, that spark is alive and well in AMFAE and I encourage all to go out and buy one of the 5,000 physical copies released.

Finally, if that isn’t up your alley — and you’ve got $150 laying around — then be sure to check out the next round of Max Bemis’ song shop, of which he will now be offering the chance to write an original song for you with his wife Sherri singing backup vocals. Send any questions, comments, or concerns to [email protected] and follow me @thehippestcat.