gmw band au ♬ album information + we are mad dogs (band picks)
t r i v i a // mad dogs’ first compilation album. released a year after their final tour and official break-up, the album serves as a surprise to fans for sticking with them and enjoying their music. the concept was pitched by zay before they left on their last world tour, and completed upon returning home. each band member selected the five tracks of all their songs that meant the most to them and then offered commentary / trivia in pre-tracks for a richer, more intriguing listening experience. it serves as the last “band chat” i.e., all the bandmates talking to the fans together through an album.
l u c a s ’ s p i c k s + c o m m e n t a r y:
“choose you” ♫ mad dogs. lyrics by lucas friar and riley matthews.
LF: “So, this is … a little weird just because I feel like you all are probably wondering why we’re already on Mad Dogs and I haven’t like, spoken yet. So, first of all, hi, I guess. I hope you’re enjoying yourselves. Drink some water. They say you need eight cups a day. Anyway, the reason I haven’t shown up until now is because I didn’t pick any songs from Semi-Formal or Game Night. It’s not because I didn’t like those albums, and I certainly put out my fair share of effort on them considering how many songs I wrote for both. I just sort of felt like all those songs were kind of a different part of me, like a completely different phase of my life, so I don’t really feel as connected to them anymore as I do the later albums. I mean, I’m definitely proud of them, and the sheer volume that I wrote in such a short amount of time kind of speaks louder than words about where I was with my songwriting at that point. I can remember I cranked out about … three of the Game Night songs in one night. It was a really creative time, but it wasn’t as personal and free-spirited as our later albums. It wasn’t until Mad Dogs that I think we all felt like we were making music that we liked. I know Farkle felt that way, at least. [ Laughs ]. So, okay, I normally don’t talk all that much but I am just rambling and wasting so much time. Choose You. Okay. So I don’t think it surprises anybody that this is one of my top choices just considering how important it is to me as far as a milestone in my life. Things were kind of uncertain and off-kilter at this point when this song was being written, because we hadn’t decided if we were officially going to do another album or just bite the dust, and everything was kind of up in the air. Literally everything. And this was probably, if I’m remembering correctly, the first song that was completed for the new album. Because at that point, we’d decided we were going to do it. Things were turning around, in all aspects. And … of course, as you guys probably know, I wrote this with Riley. It was the first song we wrote together, and it wouldn’t exist if Maya, Farkle, and Zay didn’t force us together to work on it. We were at a weird place at that point and sort of avoiding one another because there was … confusion, let’s say. But they forced us together and in that process we were able to figure everything out and well, the song was born. And everything worked out for the best. And I think it goes without saying, those of you who are Maya Hart fans especially should know, but Riley is an amazing songwriter. She’s just amazing. Like honestly, everything good about this song, everything you love about it, it’s probably because of her. Just all of it. Listen to it, you’ll see what I mean.”
“nothing” ♫ flaws. lyrics by lucas friar and farkle minkus.
LF: “This was a tough one to write, and to be honest it’s probably going to be a tough one to talk about, too. To really get into it I first have to sort of paint a picture of the way the band was at this point in time, during the Flaws album production. I mean, the group of us was still solid, still going strong. There wasn’t really a time I can think of where we, the guys, were ever falling apart. Like even if everything else had gone to shit – oh, fuck, are we cursing on this? Oh, fuck. I mean – fuck! OKAY WAIT A MINUTE! [ Pause ]. Well, if I wasn’t supposed to do that I’m sure Zay will just bleep me out or whatever. Okay. Anyway. Even if everything else was going badly, the four of us were always there for one another and always strong, and I really feel like that’s the only reason we survived. I’m really grateful for these guys, I don’t think I could ever eloquently express that enough. So even though we were all okay as a unit, at the time that we were working on Flaws, everything else was just … I mean, just awful. Our interactions with fans had gotten strained, especially some of the more rowdy ones. The music was starting to weigh us down in a way it hadn’t before, and we were really fed up with the industry and the media and the continual hoops we kept having to jump through. Farkle was lashing out at reporters, critics weren’t digging whatever we put out, it really just felt like a no-win situation. And it sort of coincided with this build up of negative energy for both me and Farkle, we were both going through this thing where all of the anxiety and tension and stress of the last few years was catching up to us. Being in the media so often had really taken a toll on me mentally, it had gotten to the point where I couldn’t even look at pictures or video of myself without feeling disturbed. I was drumming a lot more late into the night, but not in a good, therapeutic way and more in a relentless, self-destructive way because I didn’t know how else to deal with it. I just felt terrible, all the time, and when Riley and Smackle both helped Farkle and I try to tackle it we realized that we were going through some of the same things. It was Farkle, really, who came up with the crux of the song and kind of encapsulated exactly what we were both feeling. It was this draining feeling of like … no matter how much we did, or who we managed to please, it would never really be enough. There would always be something else to prove. And even though we had all these fans and all this following and arguably successful careers, at our cores we still both just felt empty. We felt nothing. It was very much a mental health issue, and I’m glad to be able to talk about it now having gotten to a better place and figured out a way to handle it. And please, if you’re ever feeling that way, if you find yourself feeling like nothing, talk to someone who cares about you that you trust. Because you can find your way out of the rabbit hole, but you have to realize you’re trapped in it first. It’s worth it to claw your way out, I promise. Anyway, without further ado.”
“forget about her (i will never)” ♫ flaws. lyrics by lucas friar.
LF: “As I mentioned with Nothing, the album Flaws was a really tough era of time for us as a band. Farkle and I had our whole mental health jam, but another huge factor was how ridiculously strained our relationship with fans had become. Now before I lament over it for a few minutes here, I do wanna clarify that I, of course, am not referring to every Mad Dogs fan out there when I rehash this experience. It says a lot that for every negative encounter I had with an alleged fan, there are three or four great memories I can recount that make up for it. There are so many of you that are kind, and enthusiastic, and it’s you guys that we love sharing music with and sharing the experiences with. So thank you, to those fans and those of you who are probably listening to this album right now, loyal as you are. You guys are what make it worthwhile. But this other type of fan … it was a rough time. People were being intrusive, people were being rude – there’s something about a social media presence that gives you a faux sense of superiority. I mean, people on the internet are just vicious. It’s like the screen gives them 500 EXP and suddenly they’ve leveled up and they’re this God awful monster, but if they met us in person I’m sure they wouldn’t say half of the mean-spirited stuff they put out on the internet. Anyway, social media was bad at that point, and the press tended to echo whatever popular sentiment was being thrown around within the fan circles. Fandom. Fandom? That’s the term, right? In regards to this track in particular, a rather big tabloid had put out a short column on the band and our relationships. They had chosen to echo the then misguided, rude, but popular sentiment that I could do better than Riley. There was all sorts of weird stuff being said about our relationship: that she was just bouncing back and forth between band members, that I was secretly in love with Maya and shouldn’t drag her along, that I could simply do better because I had more star power and shouldn’t waste it. There was all of this advising going on about how I should handle my love life, and it was kind of like … who asked? When did I ask? And I remember I was angry enough to put out some harsh tweets on her behalf – rare, as I don’t really like using social media – but I was just so fed up with it. No one knew, or knows, how my relationship is with Riley except for me. No one has the authority to tell me, or any of the band for that matter, who we should or should not be with. Especially when they have no idea the impact that she’s had on me. That’s what spurred this song. Because everyone was telling me to drop her, to do better, to forget about her … and I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. Never. The sentiment hasn’t changed. I’d be hard pressed to find someone better than Riley Matthews. And I don’t have any intention of doing so any time soon.”
“coincidence” ♫ legacy. lyrics by lucas friar.
LF: “This was a super fun song to write and record, and it makes sense considering we’re well into Legacy now. Legacy was such a great album. We knew it was going to be the last one, and I think that colored a lot of the atmosphere in the studio. Things just worked out. The music jammed. We were all in good places. It was sad to think about the band coming to an end and not having these jam sessions every day, but it also was such a relief to think about the amount of freedom we were going to get in a few months. Like, we could leave Los Angeles for a while to travel, we could relax, we could kind of do whatever we wanted to do after we finished this one last thing. And we all also knew that no matter what happened with the capital-B band, we still had one another. That was never going to change. The song itself sort of has this upbeat, rock sound that was a lot like what we sounded like on Game Night, it was almost like an homage to that part of our careers. Very reflective, and it makes sense because Coincidence came out of me sort of reflecting upon everything that had happened in the last few years. We knew things were ending, and I was kind of having this whiplash in remembering how we’d gotten to where we were in the first place. Because for me, I can still vividly remember sitting in my garage while Zay sang covers, and encouraging him to follow his dream if he really wanted it. No matter how ridiculous I thought it was on the inside. Like, coming out here and starting a band seemed crazy – was crazy – but I knew if anyone on this Earth could pull it off, it would be Zay Babineaux. And when he asked me to go along with him, well, it felt a little bit like I didn’t deserve it considering I sort of found the whole notion insane, but I’m glad I went. I’m glad I came along. I have learned so much from this experience and these people, about myself and music and the world, that I would not trade this for anything. Despite all the bad and because of the good. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, so everything that I’ve experienced and gone through with the boys and Riley and you all, I don’t intend to forget about it any time soon. I’m always going to carry it with me. So, thank you.”
“faith in me (feat. riley matthews)” ♫ legacy. lyrics by lucas friar.
LF: “I’m going to try my very hardest not to ramble and not to be too sappy in this last one here, like I’m really going to try my best. I didn’t make it easy for myself with my song selection, but it’s whatever. So, Faith In Me. Obviously, this is a really special song for me, but I like to think it was for the rest of the band too. It was the first time we were featuring someone who wasn’t like, a known entity. Like, Maya Hart was a powerhouse in her own right as far as the music scene, and while Riley had written a ton of songs, she’d yet to sing on one. I don’t think she was entirely sold on the idea when I first pitched it to her, but she agreed because she knew how important the concept was to me and she’d read the lyrics so she knew where I was coming from and what the song was about. That, she never had any doubt about. So the band put in this very concerted effort to make the studio as comfortable as possible, keep it low pressure and good vibes, because Riley had hung out many times in-studio with us before but never had she been at the instruments herself. She was admittedly super nervous, despite how often she’d sang it around the apartment in the couple of weeks leading up to the production day. It was really cute, honestly, she’d sing it all the time – while working, in the shower, cleaning up after dinner – and she’d also kind of look to me for approval when she finished, because she always knew I was listening. And I never had any complaints, she does such a great job with it, but she was still very anxious when the actual day to record came around so I’m grateful to the guys for being so accommodating and calming. They’re her friends too, of course, so they knew how to handle the situation. So she did a couple of takes and it was great, I mean, every take was, but Zay could tell her nerves were holding her back and that we hadn’t reached the best version yet. After the fourth take, I sort of pulled her aside and asked her how she was feeling, you know, what could we do to make it more comfortable, etc. But Riley’s not one to complain even when she has every right, so it was hard to get a read on exactly how she was feeling. The only thing I figured I could offer was myself, me as a like, familiar presence so that’s what I told her. I told her if it helped, she should just forget about the rest of the studio and focus on me. Like we were hanging out at the apartment, like she was singing while cleaning up the dishes. And I don’t know if that worked or what but she did one more take, the fifth take, and it was perfect. And she looked at me the same way she did after every time she finished the song, that same look she’d throw me over her shoulder while working on her photo spreads, waiting for approval. I didn’t have any complaints. Zay told her she was going to put him out of a job. This song is my favorite not only because she was involved in the track and it’s all my favorite people coming together to create music, but also because the sentiment behind it is incredibly true. It’s that expression of relief on her face after I assure her that she sang it perfectly well – that knowledge that someone else out there believes in you, and so maybe you can believe in yourself, too.”