January 09th, 2011

Arrested Development - Strong Speech
Written by Krissi Weiss
It’s late on a Thursday evening in Atlanta, Georgia, when I speak with Speech. I am the last in a long line of interviews but he is more than enthusiastic and candid during our conversation. “I’m actually in my studio,” Speech answers when I ask if he had been gigging at all that evening. “I have a separate building on my plot of land that is a studio. I’m gonna start DJing in the new year so I’m getting prepared for that.” So does the band also use this same studio for their recordings? “Yes, we record in this studio; we’ve done every album in the studio since we’ve been back together.”

I’m glad Speech brought it up before I did. The band received phenomenal attention from fans and critics alike when they released their debut '3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days In The Life Of…' Their following two albums didn’t live up to the successes of the debut and in 1995 the band called it a day. “It was only really five years we were apart,” he explains. “We stopped touring and recording in 1995 and we got back together in 2000.”

And when asked the reason why, I am met with a simple answer. “Honestly, it just wasn’t fun anymore,” he says. “It had become a job and the band never really started that way, it was never meant to be that way… Our first album was so big and we really didn’t have enough time to plan for that type of success and that type of exposure. It pretty much decayed the essence of what the band was about.” It is important to note that the new Arrested Development is without original members Headliner and Earle Taree.

Last year’s album 'Strong' was received well, especially in the band’s most successful region, Japan. I ask Speech specifically how this album was written. “As always we were very creative,” he says without a trace of arrogance. “I went into the studio and started cranking out ideas based on life and just things I’m going through. I approached the band with these songs and that’s one way we do our writing. Another way we created was we all just blocked out time in our schedules, our busy schedules, to go into the studio and we’ll just write things from scratch.”

Sometimes bands can come to resent the songs that reached the widest audience and I ask Speech whether he still enjoys playing the 'Mr Wendal' and such from the debut album or whether it bothers him that that is what the crowd are often waiting for. “Not at all,” he says genuinely. “The truth is I owe so much to those songs and I feel so special about those songs and I think the songs are brilliant. I know I wrote ‘em and stuff but I just think they’re really brilliant songs and I’m very proud of them. The only times I felt they haunted me was when corporate, like, the labels we deal with, tell us to write another one of those songs. That type of stuff haunts me. The songs came from such a real place, they weren’t written to be top hits.” Fans can be relieved; they’ll be playing 'People Everyday'.
'Strong' is out now through Vagabond Records & Tapes/Cutting Edge.
This article was originally published in Rave Magazine: