About Motion City Soundtrack
Motion City Soundtrack is an American rock band that formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1997. The band's line-up consists of vocalist and guitarist Justin Courtney Pierre, lead guitarist Joshua Cain, keyboardist Jesse Johnson, bassist Matthew Taylor, and drummer Tony Thaxton. Over the course of their career, the group has toured heavily and released six studio albums, the majority on independent label Epitaph Records. The band's sound, at times described as pop punk or emo, makes notable use of the Moog synthesizer. Pierre mainly handles the band's lyrics, which often touch on themes of anxiety, alienation, relationships, and self-destructive behavior.
The band was founded by Cain and Pierre, and it took several years to form a stable lineup. I Am the Movie, the group's debut album, was released in 2003. Their commercial breakthrough, Commit This to Memory, arrived in 2005, and its follow-up Even If It Kills Me was similarly successful. For many years, the band was a staple of the Warped Tour. They briefly signed to major label Columbia for My Dinosaur Life , but rejoined Epitaph for Go in 2012. Their most recent effort, Panic Stations, was released in 2015. The group disbanded the following year, but they announced a reunion in 2019.
Motion City Soundtrack was formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1997 by singer-songwriter Justin Courtney Pierre and guitarist Joshua Cain. Previously, the duo had separately played in a number of bands. Cain was in a group named the Saddest Girl Story, and recruited Pierre to join as a singer. He was subsequently in a band called Boxcar, and following its dissolution, he and Pierre founded Motion City Soundtrack together. The band's name was inspired by a defunct film project that was originally created by Cain's brother, Brian. Their early days were difficult, as they found it hard to break out of their local scene. When they could get weeks off from their jobs, they would tour. According to Cain, the members of the band soon realized that there "wasn't really anywhere to play in Minneapolis", and that they would have to "tour all the time" to rise in popularity. In its early years, the group went through several lineup changes. Through these, Cain and Pierre would often have to take over keyboard duties during shows. The group's first release was a 7-inch single, "Promenade / Carolina", released in 1999. Their next two releases, both extended plays—Kids for America and Back to the Beat—were released the following year.
Over the course of the early 2000s, the band continued to tour and shuffle through members. In late 2001, while touring in Milton, Pennsylvania with the band Submerge, they convinced two of its members—bassist Matthew Taylor and drummer Tony Thaxton—to join Motion City. Thaxton initially took about a year to convince to join the band. Jesse Johnson, a friend and co-worker of Cain's, joined the band as keyboardist just three weeks before the band recorded their first album. Johnson had never played the keyboard before but Cain taught him the parts that had already been written. After their first attempt at self-recording an album failed, the band culled together $6,000 to record with producer Ed Rose, best known for his work with the Get Up Kids. They recorded much of their debut album, I Am the Movie, in ten days. Initial copies were hand-packaged inside floppy disks, which were sold out of the back of their tour van for a year.
The band began receiving offers from various record labels, including Universal, Triple Crown Records, and Drive-Thru Records, and they performed at industry showcases. Meanwhile, Brett Gurewitz, founder of Epitaph Records, learned of the band from members of the group Matchbook Romance. He attended four of their shows in Los Angeles that Pierre later regarded as among his worst, as his voice was poor from constant touring. While they were interested in Universal, they chose to sign to Epitaph as they felt the contract was less restrictive and more honest. Eli Janney from Girls Against Boys helped the band secure management and a lawyer. Motion City became part of a slew of Epitaph signings, including Matchbook Romance, Scatter the Ashes and From First to Last, amid concerns the Southern California label had strayed too far from its roots, and seemed "a little too emo."
After signing with Epitaph, they recorded three new songs with the bands Reggie and the Full Effect and Ultimate Fakebook for a triple split EP which was never released. The new songs were added to the second release of I Am the Movie, which was released via Epitaph on June 24, 2003. Epitaph afforded the quartet wider distribution and a proper budget, which allowed them to re-record several songs on the album to match their original vision. During this time, the band visited the United Kingdom for the first time in 2003 while on tour with Sugarcult, followed by an inaugural stint on Warped Tour 2003. The band continued to tour heavily into the next year, with US dates alongside Rufio, Mae, and Fall Out Boy, plus Simple Plan and MxPx. A European leg—titled the "Totally Wicked Awesome Tour"—featured the group with Sugarcult, the All-American Rejects, and Limbeck. That year, the band also filmed music videos for the singles "The Future Freaks Me Out" and "My Favorite Accident". Their fame grew concurrently with a second appearance on the Warped Tour 2004, where they were considered by fans to be a "must-see" act.
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