Interview: Yellowcard still carrying the flag for pop punk

There was a time when pop punk bands went toe-to-toe with bubble gum pop acts for air time on MTV's "TRL." And while 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears usually won out on the music video countdown show, bands such as Blink-182, Sum 41 and Simple Plan did manage to reach No. 1 on occasion.

Now? "TRL" is no longer on the air and the pop punk genre no longer has much of a presence in the mainstream. Some of those acts continue to release records and tour, however, including Yellowcard, which took two years off but returned with 2011's "When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes" and then "Southern Air" in August. Here, Yellowcard singer Ryan Key, compares the pop punk scene of old to today's pop punk scene:

Radio play: "The biggest thing that's changed is the lack of radio. When you play guitars and drums, it's hard to get a song on the radio. Most of us are on independent labels. And you don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on radio campaigns. One of the problems for us is we're too pop for whatever is left of rock radio — Q101 not being there (in Chicago) is insane to me — and we're a little too 'rock' for top 40 (stations). We don't belong anywhere."

Promotion: "We're using social media the best we can and doing in-stores around the country. The best promotional campaign is to go on tour. You're able to personally connect and raise awareness about the record."

Warped Tour: "It was amazing to see all of us out there (this summer) — Yellowcard, Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, mid-2000s bands — with the young bands and killing it. We felt like we were the flagship bands (for Warped Tour). We've been doing this a long time. It's great to see those bands still out there. So many guys are married now and have little ones coming out to the show."

Crowds: "The average age of the 'Ocean Avenue' crowd was probably 16 years old. ('Ocean Avenue' was Yellowcard's biggest radio hit.') That was seven years ago. The (people in their) early to mid-20s are definitely out there now, but we feel like we have something for everyone. We had a chance to tour with All Time Low and that brought in a lot of younger fans."

Music videos: "In the mid-2000s, Capitol Records spent $300,000-$400,000 on music videos. Now you get $150,000 to make three videos with one director for the whole album cycle. I can't even fathom walking into (our label) Hopeless Records and asking for $350,000 for a video. The only place to go see videos is online. That's where rock 'n' roll fans live."

Record label: "Major labels don't even know we exist. That's why we're not signed to them. We're signed to independent labels whose bread and butter are hard-working and touring musicians. They're stoked to have us."

Style: "We went from cargo shorts and Hurley shirts to jeans that fit and getting haircuts regularly. I had my hair dyed from (age) 15 to about two years ago. I don't think Yellowcard is too into multi-color hair now. … There is some high-style stuff coming into the pop punk scene, but I'm not going to get into it because I don't want to sound like I'm judging."

For more celebrity news and sightings, go to

Twitter @aboutluisgomez


When: Friday and Saturday; 6:30 p.m.

Where: House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn St.

Admission: $25 general admission ($23 in advance);

Copyright © 2018, CT Now