"I saw Mötley Crüe the other night, and I had backstage passes," reports Josh Berwanger, guitarist and one of the band's many vocalists. "It was The Anniversary versus Mötley Crüe, because we got pictures with them and we're going to put them on our Web site. We gave Nikki Sixx our album." Even in this dog-eat-dog rock world, Berwanger remains hopeful that he might have made a new friend, far more so than after meeting Bush's Gavin Rossdale and Oasis' Liam Gallagher. He even secured Sixx's e-mail address. "I don't want to e-mail him, because I have nothing to say, but I want to, just to ask, 'Hey, did you listen to that record?' That was the most starstruck I've ever been."
If Sixx hasn't gotten around to it yet, perhaps he'll have more impetus to do so after seeing The Anniversary's video -- because all Big Rock Bands must have a video -- for "All Things Ordinary." Like its music, the video, filmed in Lawrence at Oldfather Studios and directed by the band's drummer, Christian Jankowski, draws inspiration from the greed decade. "We kind of went for an '80s look because in all those old '80s videos they had those white backgrounds," Berwanger says. "At the beginning of the video, a director comes in and he's telling us he's going to play with our look, like we don't have a good look, so throughout the video we're playing in front of this white backdrop and he keeps changing us. We go from pirate suits to caveman suits to these animal costumes, and we all hate it and the director loves it. Finally, it ends with us in our regular clothing."
Although they were able to recruit someone to play the part of the director beforehand, it wasn't until the night of the shoot that the band managed to score some extras. "There's this other scene in it where the director wants it to be all MTV, so we have a scene where there's, like, Gs in the video dancing around us," Berwanger recalls. "There was this party down the street, so we went there and got all these drunk people and we dressed them up like Gs. All those drunk people -- we're all sober and they're all really drunk -- dancing around us and grinding against us for just about 30 minutes of the shoot. Then they all left."
So far, the video has yet to air on MTV, but at least one person there wants to see it. "We mention Carson Daly in the beginning, and I guess they're giving it to Carson Daly or something," Berwanger says with a sinister laugh. "He heard about it somehow and he wants to see it. That doesn't mean they're going to play it or anything, but it was kind of funny that he wants to see it since we're making fun of him."
Besides making a video, The Anniversary has also been making more music, which is a very good thing to do if you are a band. While the group won't be heading into the studio to work on a new full-length until early next year, two 7-inch treats are on the way, one much easier to get than the other. The first is a split with Hot Rod Circuit, out in October, and the second will hit mailboxes in December as part of the Sub Pop Singles Club, releases from which aren't available in stores. "I think we only get 10 copies ourselves," Berwanger mentions.
But wait, there's more. The Anniversary has also laid down a nine-minute track that's going to appear on the Vagrant Records sampler Another Year on the Streets, which drops in October. The real kicker is that some of these new songs are acoustic, which would seem to throw the band's signature analog keyboard-laced sound for a loop. "Adrienne (Verhoeven) plays piano, and she's been playing electric piano on a lot of our new songs, actually," Berwanger muses. "We're going to get back to doing a lot of synthesizer stuff, but we just wanted to take a break for a while, and it's good to change. We definitely don't want to put out the same record again."
One thing it will be doing again, of course, is touring, heading out with the Get Up Kids and Koufax for some Napster-sponsored fun. With a little luck, The Anniversary won't get stuck with the decidedly un-Big Rock Band transportation issues it had earlier this year. "We went through a total of seven cars on that tour," he says, noting in particular that the band almost got stuck in Idaho. "The tour was over already, and we saw this guy and his wife. They were, like, 70 years old, and he was towing a minivan and driving a trailer. Jim (David) talked to him right when our van broke down at a gas station and he just blatantly asked, 'Can we use your van to drive to Kansas?' We talked to them for about 15 minutes and they ended up letting us follow them."
This tour will take The Anniversary through October 15, when it gets a two-week break before heading out again until around Christmastime. Though it's spent a little bit of time at home over the past few months, the band is still eager to get back out and live the Big Rock Band life. "We've had this whole summer off, so we're really antsy," Berwanger says. "We're ready to go, and we're excited for this tour."