Bayside have have issued a lengthy statement in defence of their recent single Dancing Like An Idiot. The song was met with some controversy for its lyrics which, according to frontman Anthony Raneri, aims to call out “bullshit” bands in the punk rock scene.
Bayside released the single, which will appear on the deluxe reissue of their 2014 album Cult, earlier this week. It’s a scathing look at some of the bands in the punk scene and while not referencing any band in particular, it includes choice lyrics like, “you’re basically One Direction if they all had throat tattoos.”
When introducing the track to Billboard, Raneri said some of the lyrics were inspired by Bayside’s experience on Warped Tours. “At Bayside shows, I wouldn’t know what the trends are with young kids, same in my home life. Warped Tour is where you see all kinds of different people. I see bands or fans come to the show, different fashion styles, different statements. Some of it’s rad. Some of it’s bullshit. And the bullshit rises to the top sometimes.”
In his Facebook statement, Ranieri said he wanted to clear a few things up about the song, writing that it isn’t about Warped Tour per se but rather Warped Tour is the setting for a lot of what he has witnessed in the scene. He also concedes that some of the criticism about the song being a bit hypocritical is valid.
“The song is about the people responsible for being a bad influence on “kids these days”. I’ve walked around Warped Tour and heard sexist and homophobic slurs come from the stage. I’ve heard front men implore girls to take their tops off. I’ve heard not giving a fuck championed and encouraged. I do give a fuck and I want kids to give a fuck about what they do and say and become. I want to challenge people to be better and I don’t know if I am doing that but I can be proud to say that I take my responsibility seriously and try everyday to at least not make it worse.”
“Which brings me to a really interesting point. I have seen some interesting and poignant comments about past Bayside lyrics being violent and misogynistic. I’m not going to deny it. I have always written songs from the top of my head. I write journals and then I turn them into lyrics. Literally. I wrote some songs when I was younger in which I was venting and at the time, it was a cathartic experience to get the crazy thoughts out. A lot of people do this in their heads and in private journals and my journals have been published. I think it goes without saying that I never intended to encourage anyone to put their ex lover’s head on a stick, but the misogynistic undertones aren’t lost on me looking back 10-12 years later.
I am obviously a smarter, more mature and most importantly, more stable person these days. If you have listened to Bayside since the beginning, you have watched me grow up. I’m not looking to gain favor from anyone who felt like I was a hypocrite. I read some people say it and thought they had a good point and that if I was going to call out anyone else, then I owe everyone full disclosure. I knew that I had become better and more responsible in my life and my lyrics and I suppose I assumed that people would just know and I understand how they wouldn’t.”
Ranieri concludes by saying he believes that is it dangerous to sell “fake and misguided rebellion” to fans. “I’m not a rebel. I’m not a punk. I just say what I’m feeling and I do my best to not hurt anyone in the process.” Read the full statement below.
Watch the video that sparked it all, below and check out Bayside’s upcoming Soundwave Sidewaves alongside The Wonder Years and New Found Glory.
Watch: Bayside – “Dancing Like An Idiot” Lyric Video
New Found Glory, Bayside, The Wonder Years Soundwave 2015 Sidewaves
Tuesday, 24th February
The Hi-fi, Melbourne (18+)