Pop-punk maestros/some shmoes I know The Wonder Years will be re-releasing their seminal second album The Upsides on their new label Hopeless Records with new artwork and four bonus tracks Sept. 21, and the band was kind enough to give me an exclusive stream of one of the new songs, "We Won't Bury You." It was written about my cousin, Mike Pelone, and his struggle to stay sober and coherent. It's important to note that this song was written back in June, while Mike was alive. This song was meant to be hopeful, even though Mike's passing renders it eerie. This is unquestionably the most emotional song I have heard in 2010:
Frontman Dan Campbell had some words to say:
"As I type this, I am just taking off my tie. Today, we buried, Mike Pelone, one of the best friends any of us have ever had. We would not be in this band without him. He introduced most of us to one another. He was originally supposed to play guitar but couldn't make the first practice. We played our first 'show' in the middle of his band's set. It was one song played on their gear and I remember it vividly still. Our first release was a split with his band. Our second release was put out on a record label he and I ran together.
Just last week, he was on the phone with Kennedy saying that he was proud of how far we'd come and henceforth we'll be striving to keep him proud of us. Mike struggled with drugs for the past few years. He had a serious desire to stay clean and would often not come hang out so that he wasn't even around people drinking, but in the end, the addiction got him. In June, we recorded a song for Mike that we were planning on showing him this past weekend. He never got to hear it. It was inspired by a conversation I had with him when he went back to rehab last. I asked if there was anything we could do and if he wanted to start touring with us so that we could watch over him. He said that he needed to be in a facility for awhile and that he just wanted to make sure we didn't bury him. Those were his words. I could tell a million stories about Mike and I know we all will for the rest of our lives but I'll leave them out of this entry.
Today, I saw friends I hadn't seen in years as we gathered at his grave site and left flowers on the casket. I tripped a bit carrying it. Dave said it wouldn't have been us if something stupid hadn't happened and the way he said 'us' really hit me. I saw people that have bitterly disliked each other hugging today. Everyone was together again for a day and I have to thank Mike for that last gift. George threw dirt on the casket as we walked away and I felt like maybe now, even with as hard as today was, we all got some closure. He wasn't a real religious guy and neither are we, so you can save your prayers. Instead, take a minute and listen to this song and think about all the people you love and if any of them need help.
We'll be holding a memorial show for Mike at the VFW hall he used to book shows in in Lansdale, PA on September 4th. There will be good friends and some fun surprises. We will say goodbye the right way. I love you, Mike. I'm going to miss your shit-eating grin and the shady way you smoked cigarettes and the way you always had us laughing even when we were at our angriest or our saddest or our worst. We're all going to miss you so much." 8/11/10.
Here's some info about the memorial show that Soupy mentioned in his essay:
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 4th
THE LANSDALE VFW
805 W. SECOND ST
price: tba (perhaps donation style?)
The Wonder Years
I'm going to pimp this something fierce, so expect more info to come.