You all have heard about it by now (Or if you somehow haven’t, here’s your new study guide). Jonny Craig is back in Dance Gavin Dance, who booted current vocalist Kurt Travis in order to re-incarnate the founding line-up. The move has affected many parties in many ways we’re yet to even think of, so let’s break down everyone this affects.
For Dance Gavin Dance: Lots o’ press. This should easily blow up blogs and forums everywhere with Kurt vs. Jonny debates, and it’s gonna get heated. The upcoming tour should sell out, the new record will put up gaudy numbers for a post-hardcore outfit. And the band will break-up after.
Yeah, you heard me. This isn’t a band reformation; this is a project. DBM2 will come out, DGD will tour it, and that’ll be that. When reached via phone, when MEB freelancer Matt Colwell asked him why he returned to DGD, Craig said “I guess I started the band- I wanted to finish it.” Travis recently told DeadPress! that “[the band] were going to break up because they weren’t happy with it, but before they did they were going do a tour with Jonny and just do ‘Downtown Battle Mountain’ songs.” Obviously that isn’t the agenda anymore, but circumstances seem to point to a finite ending for Dance Gavin Dance once DBM2 is out.
For Emarosa: I know the announcement of the reuniting said that Jonny’s new commitment to DGD would not affect Emarosa. I know that the rumors about the break-up a few weeks back were proven false. I know Emarosa has gained a huge following (they may have played the tiny Ernie Ball Bus stage at Warped, but the crowd stretched all the way to merch tents). But this is Dance Gavin Dance. This is the band that made Jonny famous. He told us “I started it, and I want to finish it.” The line-up that scenesters have long-claimed has unfinished business.
I would be very surprised if Emarosa continues to be a priority for Jonny. Rather than touring their recently released album, Jonny announced he’s rejoining his old buddies. There’s going to be more dollar signs in DGD than Emarosa, so that’s where the label support will lean. I’ll go as far as giving Emarosa less than a year life expectancy. If the DGD tour sells out and the new record lives to the hype, Jonny won’t look back.
For Kurt Travis: It sickened me how Taking Back Sunday fired Matt Fazzi and Matt Rubano for their reunion, and it sickens me that Kurt was dismissed in the same fashion. Downtown Battle Mountain may be looked at as a classic melodic post-hardcore record, but Happiness reached the highest on Billboard charts and total album sales.
Apparently he holds no ill will towards Jonny, because Travis will be playing guitar and piano on Craig’s upcoming solo tour. To add to the nonsense, Kurt revealed in the Deadpress interview that he is working with ex-Dance Gavin members Tim Ferrick, Zach Garren and Daniel Snook on a new project.
Your guess is as good as mine on when we’ll see more of Travis. The initial reactions were more “what the fuck” than “fuck yes,” so clearly Kurt has some fans in his corner. Maybe we can get a Kurt-to-Saosin rumor going via Twitter. It seems universal that people want to see Travis resurface sooner rather than later.
For Downtown Battle Mountain: Hearing the old songs with the original line-up will be the big draw of the first tour. As well as Travis sang “Lemon Meringue Tie,” no one does it like Jonny. When Craig did guest appearances on the song at Bamboozle at the Squash The Beef Tour, he easily outsang his replacement on the track. Fans will be psyched for “Times New Roman” to be back in the setlist as well as other tracks like “The Backwards Pumpkin Song.” Those who have never witnessed the original line-up will surely be amazed to hear Downtown Battle Mountain live.
For self-titled and Happiness: It would be career suicide to not play these songs (though if anyone is stubborn enough to not care, it’s DGD). They can’t just disregard two albums of material. They’ve gained a lot of new fans in the past two Kurtful years from the man’s tracks. Sure, those of us who have known them since day one will still buy the new record and go see them even if they only play DBM, but their two most commercially succesful albums were with Travis. They can’t abandon Deathstar and Happiness, and I’m rather excited to hear Craig sing the songs. Kurt’s performances on “Alex English” and “Me and Zoloft Get Along Just Fine” were exceptional, but there is little that Jonny can’t handle. He’s more than capable of nailing everything released during his sabbatical.
For those who wonder if Craig will pull a Hagar and not sing the other guy’s songs, keep in mind that he filled in with A Skylit Drive for a few weeks before taking the Emarosa gig. He also sang “Casablanca” from Emarosa’s debut EP for nearly his entire first year with the band. Clearly he’s not too prideful to sing someone else’s tunes. In his recent MEB interview, he showed an interest in “Uneasy Hearts Weight The Most,” a Travis song from self-titled that featured former-Gatsby’s American Dream vocalist Nic Newsham.
For Downtown Battle Mountain 2: This thing better be perfect. Anything else will be an absolute letdown and a shame. They fired a beloved vocalist to bring in the big guns, and they have to deliver now. What’s worse is I feel the hype is far too great. There’s no way the band can deliver on what fans expect because the memories of the first album are far too great.
Who knows what fans want to hear. Many will clamor for tracks reminiscent of Downtown Battle Mountain, a record almost 4 years old. Reverting back to simple melodic post-hardcore is a step backwards for the band, who delved deeper into progressive experimentation with 2009’s Happiness. However, staying in that experimental route will disappoint those who fled once Jonny was kicked out the first time. It’s a typical lose-lose. Unless Dance Gavin Dance can revolutionize a tired genre, keep two very different generations of fans happy and keep from looking like tremendous asses, Downtown Battle Mountain will be a flop.