Originally published in Issue #19
Article by Natalie Bisignano
“You can try this whole ‘be in a band’ thing for two years after high school. If it’s not going anywhere, you have to go to college.” This was the deal Dan O’Connor, vocalist and guitarist of Four Year Strong, made with his dad as he decided where his life would head after high school graduation.
Looking back, it’s clear that O’Connor chose the right career path; the band just released its third full-length album, which landed at number 47 on the Billboard Top 200. Since proving that the road is where he and his band mates belong, even his parents have been able to fully join in on the excitement. O’Connor proudly expressed how much support his parents have offered him with each new level of success the band sees. “They’re so awesome. They go to every show we play at home. Last night they came out and my dad was wearing his Four Year Strong varsity jacket with his Four Year Strong shirt underneath. He loves it!”
Hailing from Worcester, Massachusetts, the band grew up in a town that boasts some of the most passionate fans and performers in the country. With so much musical talent and competition in the air, it was evident from the start that it would take a grueling amount of work to grind their way towards the top. “We practiced every single day, seven days a week. Everybody would come over to my house and we’d practice for three or four hours. We would maybe play one show a month? And we were perfectly content with that.”
With nine years of practice, hard work and experience behind the, their dreams have slowly but surely transformed into a reality. The past five years of the band’s career have proven to be ‘make-or-break’, during which they have managed to successfully tour the world while paying their dues and earning the respect of each and every fan, once city and one venue at a time.
With the success of their previous album, Four Year Strong felt an added pressure heading into the studio for Enemy of the World. “It had been a long time since the last album. It was very daunting. We were very scared of it because when we did Ride or Die [Trying], we literally planned on a couple kids liking it, playing some shows for those kids, and then doing it again. We didn’t expect that many kids to like it. We were like…is it a fluke? Can we do it again?” Once the band hit the studio, the nerves eased and the flow came as naturally as ever. “We really wanted to focus on writing good songs. That was the main challenge we set for ourselves: writing better songs as a whole, not just a cool part into another good part.”
The album’s official release day included acoustic, in-store sets in Worcester and Norwood, Massachusetts, and a headlining show at The Palladium that evening. “It was a lot of fun; we’ve never done anything like that. Our manager and all of our parents came out. It was especially cool because we’ve never had a proper release show!”
Fresh off the release of their strongest album to date, the band has been touring throughout North America alongside Every Time I Die and Polar Bear Club. This summer, the touring wheels will forge on as Four Year Strong has confirmed to perform all dates of Warped Tour. Worcester’s hometown heroes have proven themselves yet again and will undoubtedly continue to make 2010 their most memorable year yet.