The drummer of Pantera [Vinnie Paul] died recently, and Pantera is one of my favorite bands of all time. It hit me really hard, even though he wasn’t necessarily the member I connected with the most. I posted on Instagram that it’s kind of hard to describe how significant it feels to watch your heroes die. With me being almost 40, that’s happening more and more. So when things that I’ve been a part of creating reach these milestones, it really resonates with me because I realize now more than ever that we are to some people what my favorite artists were to me. I also appreciate and respect fans who still show love and come out to shows and still support our band.
FELDMANN: I DJ Emo Nite, which is sort of become an event in Los Angeles, it always sells out. It's typically a bunch of artists from the scene back in the early 2000s playing their favorite music from that era, and "Until The Day I Die” always gets one of the biggest responses. So it is interesting watching it from a real fan point, standing on stage playing My Chemical Romance and The Used and The Starting Line, and when Story of the Year comes out, it's this visceral response that is pretty interesting. We knew that we had something really special at the time, but the record they did after me didn't really connect. Sometimes it's hard to judge what's gonna happen with an artist when the first album is so big, and then they never really recapture that.
These bands existed, but there were never these big anthemic chorus, melodic, sing-along moments in the hardcore music prior to The Used. So when I was producing The Used and Story of the Year, and then hearing My Chemical Romance, this whole thing happened and I was just in the middle of it. It was really exciting to watch Story of the Year. I remember the  cover of Alternative Press and they were headlining Warped Tour really quickly. They were called Big Blue Monkey and it was like, probably within a year of changing the band name, getting signed and putting this record out, it all just exploded for them.
There isn't really that big of a stretch between Page Avenue from Story of the Year and what Post Malone is doing. All these artists, there's hints of their influences when you listen to Nothing, Nowhere or Lil Peep. They have these very emo-centric moments that still exist in modern music. When I heard "SAD!" by XXXTentacion, I really still feel the influence of that movement of My Chemical Romance and The Used, so it doesn't really feel like we've done a complete 180. I think we made a timeless record with Page Avenue, and I’m really grateful to have been part of it.
Take me back to that time, were you nervous about coming into the music industry? Or were you young and bright-eyed?
RUSSELL: It was a little bit of both. I especially was gung-ho on every level and ready to become the biggest band in the world, because I was so pumped about the music that we were making. I joined the band when it was morphing into what would become Story of the Year, as I was a big fan of the local band that included Dan [Marsala] and Ryan [Philips] and was friends with them. When we joined forces, we had no fear whatsoever. But ironically we were also afraid of success on a credibility leve,l since we were such hardcore punk kids. We were worried about the “hardcore police”! [Laughs.] Although we’d been playing music for what felt like forever at that point, to the world we were brand new. So coming out with a big radio-pushed single [“Until the Day I Die”] for our first album was not only scary, but we actually fought it.
We wanted to wait and tour for a year before pushing a single, because everything we grew up on in the ‘90s was all about development and labels used to invest in that. I remember when the Red Hot Chili Peppers released Blood Sugar Sex Magik and “Under the Bridge” became this worldwide hit. When I went and looked back [at their music] I was like, “Oh wow, this band’s been around forever.” And that opened my eyes to the idea of band progression. So we were really afraid of becoming this sellout band with a big single and lose our credibility, but the label was adamant about releasing it, and it was obviously the right thing to do. We made sure to get out and tour, like, immediately, in order to prove ourselves as a live band and to elevate the song’s presence, rather than let it pass through this window of opportunity like a lot of radio bands do.