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Bringing Emo Back: Reunited Spraynard to Play Rock Shop

In Music
Reunited Pennsylvania punks, Spraynard, combine biting wit, emotional vulnerability and big, tangled licks.

Reunited Pennsylvania punks, Spraynard, combine biting wit, emotional vulnerability and big, tangled licks.

Two years ago, in September of 2012, Pennsylvania emo-punks Spraynard broke up, seemingly out of nowhere. Not only were the three members long-time best friends, but the band was just starting to take off. Then, just as suddenly as they had disbanded, they became a band again. They played their first reunion show—if you could call it that—in May, and started touring again as if their messy breakup had never happened.

“The shows have been really awesome,” says Patrick Graham, the group’s guitarist and vocalist, speaking about a recent two-week tour. “I’d say our worst show on this tour was one of our best shows on past tours.” They come to the San Jose Rock Shop on Aug. 1, with Colossal Wrecks

The timing of their reunion could hardly have been better. The group has returned to find that their following has grown tremendously. In the short time since their breakup, Spraynard’s flavor of emo has been gathering steam, as bands like Joyce Manor, The Hotelier and The World Is Beautiful and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, have released a string of great records, which recall emo’s first wave—replete with endearingly tangled, spiraling guitar lines, bitingly honest lyrics and cathartic sing-shout-along choruses.

Credit for the group’s reunion belongs in part to Mike Park and his esteemed San Jose punk label, Asian Man Records. Park, who also released the group’s pre-breakup 2011 record, Funtitled, released a collection of Spraynard B-sides in May—The Mark, Tom, and Patrick Show—which featured one new song and served as an impetus for the band to begin playing together again.

“More than anything I was trying to get them to be friends again,” Park says of his motivations in reuniting the trio.

The band are seeing bigger crowds than before they broke up, and want to continue to build a following more naturally this time. Members of Spraynard have said in interviews that the initial surge in popularity put a great deal of pressure on the group to make music their job, which ultimately led to their disbandment.

Graham says he feels good about being a band again—especially when he hears how important his music has been in the lives of Spraynard’s fans.

Since his group’s reunion, Graham says he has even come to feel a certain responsibility to the band’s fanbase—many of whom are young, suburban kids, according to the guitarist. Reflecting on his own adolescence, Graham notes that punk bands, especially Green Day, helped him cope with the anger, sadness and other difficult feelings he had.

While he never intended to play the same role in the lives of others, Graham says he has found himself doing just that.

“It’s not something we set out to be, but kids told me that I saved their lives. The fact that I was voluntarily taking that away from kids was something that we had to come to terms with. I think all three of us felt guilty,” Graham says. “At the end of the day, I think it was more important for us to sort out our shit. It was definitely worth the wait.”

Spraynard play the San Jose Rock Shop with Colossal Wrecks on August 1 at 6:30pm. More info.

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