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Watch Lifehouse Perform New Song 'Yesterday's Son' Live In-Studio: Video Exclusive
Lifehouse's upcoming seventh album Out of the Wastel didn't start life as a band project.
The album (which started streaming exclusively on Pandora on May 19 and will be released on May 26) emerged after a two-year hiatus that frontman Jason Wade tells Billboard "was kind of paramount for us." During that time he started working on songs for what he expected to be a solo outing, but he wound up deciding otherwise.
"I think for the first year and a half I thought I was making a solo album until I realized that just wasn't what I wanted to do," Wade recalls. "When I got close to making this alt/country record, the idea of starting over with a new band seemed like a terrible idea. At 34, I've spent my whole life with these guys (in Lifehouse) and they're family. And some of the stuff I was writing sounded so much like Lifehouse it didn't make any sense to do as (a solo album), either."
That led to the realization that it was an opportunity for Lifehouse to record an album. "I think once we had some time to just take off and get some clarity it seemed like a great time to bring everybody back together and everybody was in a good head space, too," Wade explains. "We really needed to recharge; we hit the road so hard for 12, 13 years, so by the time of our last album, Almeria (in 2012), we were kind of burnt out. It made sense for us to just kind of unplug and take a hiatus for awhile."
Wade acknowledges that "a lot of the fans thought we were breaking up" during Lifehouse's hiatus, especially after drummer Rick Woostenhulme, Jr. spent some time with the Goo Goo Dolls and bassist Bryce Soderberg started a side project. "We never had any side projects before; it was always 100 percent Lifehouse for over a decade, so I definitely think there were some concerns," Wade says. "But I think, personally, the band gets along so well and we all stayed connected during that time, hanging out and going to restaurants, barbecues and whatnot. When we got back together I think there was this kind of renewed sense of purpose and energy that was kind of great."
"'Yesterday’s Son' is a coming of age song," Wade says of the song. "It’s forging your own path and discovering your own identity. Oddly, it really came to fruition musically when we muted all the instruments at the beginning and allowed the vocals to tell the story.” Check out an exclusive in-studio performance of "Yesterday's Son" below, which Billboard is premiering.
Out of the Wasteland is also Lifehouse's first independent album -- for Ironworks Music, which longtime producer Jude Cole founded with actor Kiefer Sutherland -- after its predecessors came out on DreamWorks and Geffen Records. "Leaving Interscope we adopted more of an independent mentality," Wade says. "We had a lot more fun with it. It almost feels like DreamWorks back in the day, to be honest -- very kind of artist-friendly, artist-driven, you're making your own calls when it comes to singles and what videos you want to make. That seemed a little different to me, 'cause historically with Interscope we would present our songs and they would kind of pick our singles, so this kind of freedom is really, really nice."
Lifehouse is gearing up to promote Out of the Wasteland with a 32-date tour opening for Nickelback, which begins June 19 in Ridgefield, Wash., and, according to Wade, will be a bit of a blast from the past for his band. "I haven't seen those guys for 15 years," Wade notes. "When we both first started, we played, like, 10 to 12 shows with them and they were the nicest guys. They were a lot heavier back then; they didn't have that more polished sound they do know, but I really liked them from the get-go. As it turned out, as soon as we were finished touring with them for that brief amount of time, 'Hanging By A Moment' just blew up and they just exploded, too, and it was interesting to watch their career take off and I haven't seen them since, so it should be interesting."
Wade says Lifehouse is planning more touring after it wraps with Nickelback on Aug. 29 in Atlanta. Meanwhile, the singer says he also has 1,000 copies of an Elliott Smith-influenced solo album called Papercuts "sitting in my garage, but I haven't been able to do anything with it. That should surface at some point."