After returning to Richmond, Seymour set out to find musicians with which to make Pedals On Our Pirate Ships a full band. Recruiting Jameson Price and Michael Otley, the band completed a short tour. But with a recording session approaching, Seymour still needed to round out the lineup. “After that tour, we had realized that one of the members didn’t work out,” Seymour says. “We were slated to return to Minimum Wage, and I figured, why not call back some of the people from the first album’s session? Adrienne and Casey came in and it worked out great. Thankfully, they were into the sound, and when I asked them to join permanently, they were into it.” This recording session would become Take Flight, and help set the stage for the band’s future. “Goodbye Optimism” encompassed Seymour’s experiences in Bloomington. Despite the very frank dissection of his psyche at the time, it’s easy to see that he derived a certain solace by being honest with himself. It may have acted as a saving grace when it counted the most. The undisputable standout track on Take Flight, though, is “The Ballad of Jonny Z.” A eulogy for a friend (Richmond musician/ artist Jonathan Zanin) who passed too soon, the song describes the deep impact said friend had not only on Seymour, but on the community as a whole. “Jonny meant a tremendous amount to me, and that goes really without saying,” Seymour reflects. “What gets me to this day is how we go on the road and we meet people that knew him. They have their own stories about what he meant to them, and they have their own way of connecting to that song. It’s a telling way of showing how much of a legacy Jonny left behind.” After the release of Take Flight, that lineup of the group slowly dwindled away. With Price eventually departing to go abroad with life partner Laney Sullivan (with whom he later formed Lobo Marino), Martin joining Landmines, and Otley deciding to focus on other aspects of his life, POOPS soon consisted solely of Brown and Seymour. Eventually, though, they found an appropriate counterpart in drummer Louis Cyrtmus. Not only did Cyrtmus have a knack for adding creative drum parts to Seymour’s pop-punk anthems, his sense of harmony fit wonderfully with Brown’s remarkable range. The two created a powerful foundation for Seymour’s dirty delivery, thus allowing the group to take their sound beyond folk-punk and incorporate other genres. Cyrtmus joined the band at a very peculiar stage in their development. “At first, the biggest hurdle for me was learning how to play on the kit that Jameson had constructed,” he says. “With the kick pedal being inside of a trunk that required constant repairs, and the limbs extending from its body holding various other drum essentials, it was something else. It was also a cool point, because it was the time when Pedals was deciding on moving away from CHECK RVAMAG.COM DAILY
the acoustic sound of the earlier records, and really [becoming] a full-on pop-punk band.” “I think that is one of the bigger misconceptions about the band,” Seymour explains. “I know it started with just an acoustic [guitar]. To me, it was always me writing pop-punk songs on that instrument. As I started having more people join the band, the idea of what I always thought Pedals to be started to unveil itself more and more, whether that was through improved songwriting, developed harmonies, or just more instrumentation. It seemed to me that it was always that kind of band, just truncated.” The first release with Cyrtmus was a split with Atlanta, Georgia’s The Wild, on which each participant covered a song by the other band. Pedals On Our Pirate Ships picked The Wild’s “We’ll Drive These Warlords Out,” for several reasons. “It was an easy song to figure out at first, but then once we got to thinking about it, it was a song that fit the attitude of the band,” Seymour recollects. “When we first met them and went on a tour with The Wild, it was this immediate sensation that we wanted to work with them on something down the road,” Brown adds. “We could have easily picked any song from their incredible catalog. Anything off of Set Ourselves Free would have been awesome, but after all was said and done, I’m happy with the song that we decided on.” Meanwhile, The Wild decided to do a rendition of “The Ballad Of Jonny Z,” thereby further adding to Jonny Z’s legacy in the regional community and beyond. After the release of the split, the band finally decided they wanted to fully embrace an electric sound. This required one more component, which they found in bassist Richard Bollinger. “Matt and I were working together at 821 Café at the time, and I got a phone call to come meet him at a party late one night,” Bollinger recalls. “I had just played a show where I felt like the band got stiffed, and I was upset about that,” Seymour explains. “I needed to have a friend nearby, and I gave Richard a call. After sitting around and slugging a few beers, I told him that I needed him in Pedals. I thought that he would be the best one to help round out the lineup and help us get to where we needed to be.” The last acoustic release by the group was the six-song EP No Bad Blood, released in 2011 by Say-10 Records. The EP signified a proper send off from the acoustic sound; it has moments that you can imagine being louder, which was the band’s opinion as well. The time had come to reveal to the world the newest incarnation of Pedals On Our Pirate Ships. This would be done through their third full-length album, A Place To Stay, recorded once again at their home base, Minimum Wage Studios. The pop-punk aesthetic that Seymour had felt was there all along was finally front and center. “Shoot The Hostage” and “Sweet Tragedies,” both first heard on No Bad Blood,
found new life on this release. A Place To Stay is the most fully realized of the group’s releases to this point. Each member fits into the overall dynamic of the group, and there is a confidence to the songwriting. From the declarations found in “Knives” about what keeps everyone invested in their respective scenes, to personal sentiments like “Cupid Baby” and “Side By Side,” this is POOPS at their best. “I think this is the best thing we’ve ever done,” Seymour says. “The experience of recording this with Lance to working with the band and just feeling really comfortable and at home, it all felt great throughout the entire process.” As a reflection to their past, the group included their cover of deceased Richmond musician Nathan Joyce’s “On The Way Home.” Joyce had inspired the title of the previous Pedals album, Take Flight. “Nathan was always an inspiration to me, and we had recorded a cover of that song long ago after he had passed away,” Seymour says. “It felt right to bring that back and find a way to have that exist on a release of ours, considering the impact he had on me and the group in our early days.” Having had a few opportunities to showcase the new record, the band’s future is both exciting and uncertain. “We decided to take the summer off from touring, for the sake of collecting our thoughts and figuring how to move on to the next step,” Seymour states. “I took last summer off to tour with Hold Tight!, and that was amazing, but upon returning my job basically told me that they weren’t down with me doing that again,” Brown adds. Despite the small break, Seymour is optimistic about regrouping for the later months of the year. “What really excites me about right now is that we know we are capable of evolving into different ideas of Pedals,” he says. “It can be just me and Adrienne or me and Louis or Richard, Adrienne and me. I think the true nature and heart of POOPS will always be the four of us together, but in moments like this, I know we can keep performing despite any breaks that any of us might have to take.” As a musician, Seymour has always drawn people towards him. There is a raw, contagious energy to his craft, and it’s why he has been beloved in the local scene for years. Pedals On Our Pirate Ships are no different. They’ve become a fundamental element of the local music scene; an example that many other bands strive for. Their evocation of yesteryear’s pop-punk sound keeps the past alive. At the same time, they provide a distinct voice that will always be quintessentially Seymour. This is why he has been a touring ambassador for Richmond for years, and what has enabled the bands he has been involved with to act as proper representation of our city and its continued history. www.pedalsonourpirateships.com
The Richmond Mural Project hit the streets of our fair city and changed the game. Tyler and Jon of The Head & The Heart stopped by to disc...