‘The Academy Is…’ makes a return trip to Pittsburgh

By Azia Squire

The Academy Is …

With Mayday Parade, Set Your Goals

Altar Bar

Sunday, Nov. 15

5:30 p.m.

The Academy Is … is no stranger to Pittsburgh.

The band joined Secondhand Serenade onstage in Oakland for the Pitt Program Council-sponsored Bigelow Bash last yeard.

Now that its co-headlining Alternative Press’ “Fall Ball ’09 Tour” with Mayday Parade, Set Your Goals, the Secret Handshake and You Me At Six, it’ll be back in Pittsburgh on Nov. 15, this time at Altar Bar.

Though familiar with touring with associated acts Fall Out Boy, We the Kings and Cobra Starship, this tour marks a serious transition for The Academy Is …, as it didn’t meet the other bands before this tour.

Bassist Adam Siska talked about touring with new bands.

“Over the years, we’ve toured with a lot of the same bands over and over, which is nice, because it becomes like a family after a while. But on this tour, I thought it was nice to get out of our comfort zone and tour with bands we didn’t really know,” Siska said.

Siska said that the chemistry between the bands made them all instant friends, even though it can be difficult being crammed on a bus with 12 people.

“Sometimes people don’t shower for a while, and they start to smell,” Siska said. “Sometimes people leave their dirty socks around. But living on a bus with 11 or 12 people — that’s a natural thing. None of that means anything at the end of the day. We’re all ready [to play the] next city.”

The “Fall Ball ’09 Tour” has The Academy Is ,,, going up the West Coast and down the East Coast, but Siska says his favorite city to play in varies from tour to tour.

“One of my favorite cities in the country is San Francisco, [and] I always have a good time at Mr. Small’s in Pittsburgh,” he said.

In-between cities, Siska said the band worked on its new EP, Lost in Pacific Time. Most of the songs were written over the summer and recorded on the tour bus in their back lounge.

“There was [only] one song on the EP out of the five — that was something we wrote during the sessions for the last record. We just never really finished it, [but] we kept coming back to it. It’s called ‘New York (Saint in the City),’” he said.

Aside from getting closer to the group’s own music, Siska said being on tour allows him to reconnect with some old favorites.

He said that the “don’t look back mentality” of the music of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Wade and others keeps him sane on tour. But his general music taste is very eclectic.

“I grew up in the Carribean, so I’m a big fan of dub-music, reggae music and all that stuff is a big part of me. I like classical music as well, and I listen to a lot of the old country records like Hank Williams,” Siska said. “I have a full 120GB iPod, so … I’m always listening to new things.”

Even though Siska notes that The Academy Is … is a band that takes pride in that it’s dedicated to being a great live band, he and his band mates are looking forward to a much-needed break at the end of the tour.

“Our agenda after this tour is just to take some time for our personal and musical growth for a minute and come back and record an album whenever we’re ready,” he said. “We don’t want to rush the next album or feel like there’s any sort of pressure or preconceptions of what the record’s supposed to be. We want our next record to be our best.”