The Wonder Years strip down “Dismantling Summer” for their “Buzzworthy Live” acoustic performance.
The Greatest Generation is a good title for an album, but maybe The Wonder Years should’ve just gone with The Greatest Album Of The Year, because every song on the record is better than the last, and that’s no easy feat, because it already started off amazing. (You can stream the album, out now on Hopeless Records, here.) So, to celebrate the Philly band’s fourth LP, we invited The Wonder Years over to MTV to perform a “Buzzworthy Live” acoustic rendition of “Dismantling Summer.”
Watch The Wonder Years’ “Buzzworthy Live” acoustic performance of “Dismantling Summer,” and see what Soupy had to say about the song after the jump.
Earlier this May, singer Dan “Soupy” Campbell, guitarists Casey Cavalier, Matt Brasch, and Nick Steinborn set up shop on the 17th floor of MTV in New York to perform a different take on the hard-charging pop-punk anthem. While it’s a more stripped-down version of the song, naturally, the band still manages to inject most of the bending guitar notes, and vocal dramatic flair, particularly on the chorus, with Soupy shouting “I’ve been acting like I’m strong, but the truth is, I’ve been losing ground to a hospital too crowded, a summer winding down. I hadn’t seen a heartbreak until now. I hadn’t felt a heartbreak until now.”
The song is about the singer getting back from the road and finding his grandfather in the hospital, and dealing with the conflicting emotions of being on tour while a family member that was important to him growing up is experiencing health problems. “If you’re in a hospital bed, and I’m in an airport, well, then what kind of man does that make me?” he pleads, trying to figure out the answer himself. The song’s about a very specific incident in his life — Soupy explains the story behind the song in an interview below — but the song itself, particularly in its acoustic state, is a meditation on the gravity of adult decisions.
+ Watch The Wonder Years’ “Buzzworthy Live” acoustic performance of “Dismantling Summer,” and read an interview with Soupy about “Dismantling Summer.”
Buzzworthy: Give your fans a little back story about “Dismanting Summer.”
Dan “Soupy” Campbell: “Dismantling Summer” is kind of a reflection on a hard week in my life. We’d just finished the Vans Warped Tour in 2011, and it was the best summer of my life. We got home from the tour, it’s the beginning of September as summer’s ending, we’re about to leave for England, and I get a call that my grandfather had a series of heart attacks. I went to the hospital, and I was the first one there. I was sitting in the waiting room, kind of peeling back my sunburn, and I realized that this was how the best summer of my life is gonna end. He had to have a triple bypass, and the surgery was the day before we flew to England for this tour. If I have to cancel the tour, we’re letting down a couple thousand fans and promoters and agents and managers and venues and all these people and my band members. It was about realizing I can’t please everyone.
BW: So it’s like a domino effect.
Dan: Yeah, there’s a lot of negative repercussions. The other side of that is: something bad happens, and I have to leave, but my family is left to take care of my grandfather, and I’m not there. So it was one of those realizations that there’s gonna come points in your life where there’s no way to please everyone, and you will have to let someone down, and reconciling that idea. I got very lucky that my grandfather came out of surgery stronger than he ever was before happened. I didn’t need to stay home, I could go to England and do the tour. My grandfather is happier and healthier than he’s been in the past 20 years. So it really worked out well for me, but that whole week was a reflection of ‘you’re gonna have to let down somebody, you can’t be everything to everyone.’
BW: Was there a lot of guilt?
Dan: Of course! Of course! And it’s building up in me. As soon as you start even thinking about ‘If something bad happens and I have to cancel this tour, then everyone is losing a lot of money,’ then all of a sudden you’re like ‘you’re such a bad person thinking about money when family is involved.’ But it’s not about MY money, it’s about a whole lot of people who are going to get hurt. You start chastising yourself for even thinking about it going wrong or thinking about it going too right — it’s a very difficult time to get to. I was 25 at the time. I had never really had a moment where it was like, ‘You will let someone down very severely right now; there is no other option.’
BW: Sounds like a coming of age.
Dan It is. And that’s a little piece. Every song on the record has one little segment of one big catharsis, so that’s just one piece of the puzzle.