Further Seems Forever is getting back together and reuniting with their second of three frontman, Jason Gleason, at 2016's Self Help Festival, and the singer gave us the opportunity to speak about his time with the band, his departure, and what's been going on for him since.
Read part one of the interview here.
Gleason shared he got his start in music playing in a hardcore band called Affinity. They put out an album called If I Only Had an Ocean that was released on Dead Droid Records. That same label was putting out a Weezer tribute album that both Further Seems Forever and Affinity were on.
He explained the owner of Dead Droid Records had bought Gleason's band a van, and then traded it to Further Seems Forever as compensation for them to be on the tribute album. Shortly after, Affinity ended, and Chris Carrabba had left FSF to work on Dashboard Confessional. That's when Gleason got a call one day asking if he would be interested in trying out for the band.
Luckily for Gleason, Further Seems Forever was a band he was really into, and their first release, The Moon is Down, was among his favorite albums at the time. This gave him the confidence to try out for the band because a lot of different people were auditioning, and he wanted to stand out.
He then flew down to Florida and stayed at bassist Chad Neptune's house. They went through every song and every cover "and I guess I nailed it" said Gleason. In fact, they had called and told him they found someone else, and then offered him a job as a roadie. Gleason was bummed but accepted the roadie job before Chad said, "Nah, just kidding, you got it."
"I packed up my entire life and put it in the van, drove down to Florida, and the rest is history."
Going from a hardcore band to a more melodic rock band may seem like somewhat of a shocker for a vocalist, but it is just a testament of Gleason's skills as a singer as he was classically vocal trained growing up.
"I did choirs at a young age, continued on and did choirs in high school..." he shared. "My choir director hated that I was in a hardcore band. Hardcore was what I was feeling at the time - a punk at heart."
This new opportunity was a "dream come true" for Gleason as now he gets to front one of his favorite bands. He then spent around a year and half singing original vocalist Carrabba's songs before they had a chance to record How to Start a Fire.
When he joined the band, Dashboard Confessional was doing some tours, but Carrabba wasn't as big of the star he is now. Nevertheless "at 19-years-old there was a ton of pressure there...I definitely spent a good solid month banging my head against the wall trying to do my best Chris Carrabba."
The day before Gleason was to go to the studio he suffered a complete mental breakdown to get all the vocals down for the record. "I spent a good 48 hours rewriting everything...so there was a version of How to Start a Fire that does sound a little more akin to The Moon is Down."
Ultimately he was glad to give the people himself instead of trying to be something else.
After touring on How to Start a Fire for around a year, tensions in the band began to mount. In previous interviews Gleason stated there was "mistrust" and "anger," which all became too much for him to handle.
Gleason likens his time with Further Seems Forever as a marriage that came to an end. The business side of things brought upon most of the bad blood in the band, "It stopped being fun, and started being a business, and whatever emotions and conflicts that come along with that statement, it was my time to go. I think Jon Bunch stepped in and did a bang up job."
He continued, "If I were to take the whole thing upon myself, I'd say I was a little young and maybe a little quick to jump the gun on things. It's definitely something I regret in terms of how the whole thing went down." However, he does believe everything happened the way it was supposed and it turned out like it should of.
Moving on from FSF Gleason made a decision to leave those songs in the past except for one time. A close friend of his in Minnesota asked him to play the song "On Legendary" at their wedding so Gleason performed it with a couple of musician friends from back home.
The vocalist admitted it took a couple years to go back and even listen to his work with the band and it wasn't until the album was pressed on vinyl that he picked it up again. "I listen to it a couple of times a year since then, and as the years have gone by it becomes more and more pleasurable. I'm proud of the work we did together."
After Further Seems Forever Gleason did another band called ActionReaction and tried to make it his breadwinner. But just like before, business and art did not mix and things got messed up. "It was cool, it was fun" and let him continue touring and do what he wants to do. Once that band ended he went back to school and took a number of jobs in different industries.
Gleason then put together a group of musicians called Old Wives. They started as a five piece but grew to a complete horn section filled with all different members. It was the most different thing he had ever done and "probably my favorite music" he said. They recorded an album called Tidal Tales and put it out on vinyl only, although it can be found on Spotify.
The singer said they recorded most of the album live, and many of the vocals were first takes that went right along with the band. There were very few overdubs, and absolutely no autotune or pitch correction used.
He is now currently living his life with plans to do music again in the future. Right now he's the general manager of a restaurant in Montclair, New Jersey, 'The Pig and the Prince' and sometimes even throws together shows there.
"I Love my life, love my job, and still do quite a lot of music on a personal level."
Lastly, there is the whole business of Further Seems Forever being on a Christian record label, Tooth & Nail. The band themselves never identified as Christians, and their music didn't reflect it but because of the label and the bands they played with, they were grouped in.
"I think at the end of the day the whole 'Christian label' is a very personal thing. I try my best not to talk religion or politics with anybody really because I truly believe there are as many denominations of Christianity or any other religion for that manner, as there are a number of followers," said Gleason.
He said labeling yourself, as something tends to get things pigeonholed. It wasn't the group's intent to be a Christian band where thoughts of a guy on stage preaching the gospel might be more ideal. Gleason would rather "let the music speak for itself."
Referencing the song "On Legendary," lyrically it could be about God or a girl, which is pretty much like any love song can be.
"Are we a Christian band? Were we a Christian band? No," said Gleason. "There are a lot of outspoken athletes that are Christians. When that pitcher gets that save, is it a Christian save? Joe Namath throws an amazing touch down, was that a Christian touchdown? The fruit speaks for itself, and by the way 'On Legendary' is about a girl."
Be sure to catch Further Seems Forever next year at Self Help Festival, and stay tuned to their Facebook page for any updates regarding other shows. Read part one of our interview with Jason Gleason where he talks about how much the band means to him and the possibility of more shows.