Band Camp 5
Surgery helped Ryan Key find the right tone
Despite the built-in fan base that comes with earning more than a million dollars off an album or two, Yellowcard frontman Ryan Key said the last year has been anything but easy for his band.
'Band Camp 5'
With Matisyahu, Yellowcard, Plain White T's and Madina Lake
In concert: 4 p.m. Sunday
Place: Waikiki Shell
Tickets: $38 to $48
Call: (877) 750-4400
The lead singer is looking forward to a week of R&R on Oahu with his sister, Sarah, before heading off on the 2007 Vans Warped Tour beginning June 29 in Pomona, Calif. He and fellow bandmates Sean Mackin, Peter Mosely, Longineu Parson and newest member, guitarist Ryan Mendez, stop off in Honolulu for Band Camp No. 5 this weekend, marking Yellowcard's second appearance in Hawaii.
Health issues felled the lead singer last year. "There's been a lot of struggles," Key said via phone from Hollywood. A cyst on his vocal chords, removed in surgery, laid him up for eight weeks last summer. "There was a good amount of time to stop and reflect. I couldn't talk at all -- no press, no Yellowcard."
Key spent his recovery time working on material for the band's latest album, "Paper Walls," to be released July 17. A majority of the songs were written last summer; there will be plenty of pop-punk to keep fans happy. Still, Key felt the artistic pressure associated with the band's previous release, 2006's concept album, "Lights and Sounds," the follow-up to the commercially successful "Ocean Avenue" in 2003.
"We've done the best we could," said Key cautiously. "The new record reflects the way we are right now. We love it ... I write the lyrics ... But it's nice to have a group of guys who stand behind what you say."
Key's favorites off the new album include the ballad "Shadows and Regrets," which he describes as a reflection on youth from the stance of adulthood, and "Dear Bobbie," a sweet, intimate letter written by Key's grandfather for his wife of 58 years. Key's grandfather reads the letter on the album.
"They've been together for a long time, (and now) it's about facing the end with the person you love," said Key of the recording. "It immortalizes her."
The matter of identity is a familiar topic covered by Yellowcard. "Paper Walls" is no exception. "For us, it's a lot about who you are," said Key. "It's a quest to find yourself and become what you want to be.
"With 'Ocean Avenue,' it was about leaving home and finding your place in the world. With 'Lights and Sounds,' it was more about getting lost along the way, and realizing life wasn't what you thought it would be. 'Paper Walls' is about knowing who you want to be and finding that confidence."