American Hi-Fi vocalist Stacy Jones’ phone had been ringing nonstop–partially because of his awful AT&T cell phone service in his Los Angeles home, but mostly because the executives at Rude Records wouldn’t take no for an answer when they asked him if he’d consider doing an acoustic version of the band’s first self-titled album. After months of contemplating the decision though, Jones and the band decided they were in fact up to the challenge, and the result is a 13-track all-acoustic project, American Hi-Fi Acoustic, set to be released today, April 29. The album is a celebration of the band’s fifteen-year milestone, a reflection on what the music meant to them at the time and a testament to where each of the members are at in their personal and professional lives today.
“When the record company called us to do this, our first thought was, ‘Is anyone even going to care about this anymore?’ and that’s why we kept saying no,” Jones says. “It wasn’t until we started playing that we realized that these songs still resonated with us. Hopefully they still resonate with other people.”
“We decided to put our own careers on the side then and went on the road because we knew we needed to make time for Hi-Fi.”
Jones will be the first to admit that American Hi-Fi hasn’t been as active as a band since 2005, despite releasing their album Blood & Lemonade in 2014. He says finding time to record American Hi-Fi Acoustic was difficult since each of the American Hi-Fi members are so busy with their own lives outside the band; Jones’ “day job” is musical director and drummer for artists like Miley Cyrus and Troye Sivan.
“American Hi-Fi will never be our full-time job again, but we all make time for it, though,” Jones says, referring to last year’s Summerland tour with Everclear, Toadies and Fuel. “We decided to put our own careers on the side then and went on the road because we knew we needed to make time for Hi-Fi.”
Jones says everything American Hi-Fi is doing is just for fun at this point, and they’re not expecting the release of American Hi-Fi Acoustic to be a major “comeback” for the band. “We don’t expect that, and I don’t know that it’s something that we even want,” Jones says. “But ultimately, when you work on a record like this, you want it to do well and you want it to be well-received.”
American Hi-Fi Acoustic is a trip down memory lane for Jones. From a production perspective, he’s able to reminisce about the amount of work it took to produce an album with thirteen tracks on it, especially when that would be unheard of today. “These days bands just decide between doing an EP or releasing a full-length album with maybe eight songs,” Jones says. “When we recorded American Hi-Fi, we recorded like twenty songs and picked and chose what to put on the album, and people still thought we should put more.”
“…this process did drudge up some old ghosts, but I’m at a place in my life to look back at some stuff that American Hi-Fi did very fondly.”
The decision to record an acoustic version of American Hi-Fi came after Jones sat down to relearn the tracks. Before he picked up the phone to call his bandmates or even considered what it might mean to reengage with their fans, Jones tried to remember how it felt to play their songs.
“Some of these things I wrote when I was 27 or 28 years old,” Jones says. “Now, I’m 45 and having a baby this summer. I’m married and I have a wonderful wife and a great life. I live in L.A. now and at the time I lived in the south end of Boston with a roommate, and now my wife and my baby are my roommates. It’s interesting, because this process did drudge up some old ghosts, but I’m at a place in my life to look back at some stuff that American Hi-Fi did very fondly.” –
Tune into idobi Radio tonight at 7PM ET to hear an exclusive Release Day Listening Party with track-by-track commentary from American Hi-Fi.