The Heyday
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The Heyday

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF
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""..a promising new group to trumpet from the mountaintops.""

"Oh you broke my heart, but you saved my life that day that you walked right out the door. So just stay away 'cause I just can't take the thought of you

The saline-drenched mewlings of a jilted ex-lover, or a lament to unrequited love torn from the pages of a teenage journal? Maybe either or both. Behold the chief refrain of "Come In or Stay Out" -- my pick for this year's "Over My Head (Cable Car)."
...
In the meantime, prepare to do the dance of joy, Balki, because I'm moving on. I've found a promising new group to trumpet from the mountaintops. Actually, there are a half-dozen others that I'm enthused about, but this one in particular has all the makings of becoming the next Mile High sensation to sweep the nation.

Ladies and gentlemen, without further adieu, I give you The Heyday.

So what makes me think this quintet is the heir apparent? For starters, the band's burgeoning backstory strikes a familiar chord. Founded less than a year ago, the Heyday seems to have materialized out of thin air. Really, though, the baby band was birthed by an outfit called Like Chasing Wind. Although none of the freshly minted minstrels are of legal drinking age and have only performed together in fewer than fifty shows (near as I can tell), their sound is refined and mature.

And then there are the songs.

Despite their noted juvenescence, the players already exhibit a stunning ability to craft instantly memorable hooks that become irreversibly embedded into your consciousness on first spin. (Listen for yourself at myspace.com/theheydaymusic.) Led by Randy Ramirez's vibrant tenor, which recalls the shaky warble of Hellogoodbye frontman Forest Kline, the Heyday's straightforward, guitar-driven approach darkens the doorway of '90s alt-rock grandpas the Gin Blossoms while courting the sunbleached melodies of Rooney and Phantom Planet. The result is super-polished, beyond-radio-friendly power pop.

Colorado, here we come! Again.

That pop has undeniable mass appeal. I have scientific proof (sorta): Aside from Meese (another entrant in the Frayday sweepstakes), this is the first local outfit that each member of my family has embraced, immediately and universally. Considering their divergent inclinations -- Sweetie kneels at the altar of Elvis and bristles at the thought of Bowling for Soup coming to town, my daughter thinks Brandi Carlisle and Sam Phillips are the bee's knees, and my son is all about the Ramones, Bad Religion and NOFX -- their collective endorsement tells me everything I need to know about the Heyday. It's gonna be huge! - Dave Herrera - Westword


"One listen to their self-titled debut makes it clear that these guys have a handle on crafting instantly addictive hooks. It's no wonder they're turning heads."

It's been said that being in a band is a lot like being married. In reality, though, interacting in a group dynamic is often like being in the most volatile romantic relationship imaginable — times a thousand. While the intense closeness forged between bandmates can inspire meaningful art, that same intimacy can also drive them apart.

The members of the Heyday are barely entering their heyday. Everything is still sublime for the young quintet, which has only been together for a year and a half. But its members recently took the kind of leap that can test the limits of any relationship: They moved in together.

"So far, it's working out pretty well," reports frontman Randy Ramirez. "It can get challenging, figuring out everything from who's going to do the dishes to when we're going to practice. But so far, so good."

That same sentiment could be applied to the Heyday itself, which has quickly become one of the area's most promising new acts. The band has made quite an impression in a remarkably short amount of time with its effervescent, guitar-driven pop. One listen to their self-titled debut makes it clear that these guys have a handle on crafting instantly addictive hooks. It's no wonder they're turning heads.

"It seems like every time we go back to a venue, the draw is little better," Ramirez declares. "We've been printing these three-song demos for the last six or eight months, and we've handed out close to 2,000 of them, which seems to be helping to build the fan base. We put the MySpace site on there, and the next thing you know, people are coming to the shows."

That's most likely because they can relate to the simplicity and the sincerity of the Heyday's music — which is not to say that it's boring or sappy; in this case, "pop" is not a dirty word. The act just has a knack for writing songs driven by the type of relatable narratives you know by heart. Ramirez has already learned a lesson that still eludes many songwriters twice his age: Songwriting is not only about finding a way to tell your own stories; it's also about finding a way to make those stories universal.

"Well, all of the songs are obviously things I've experienced," he points out. "Not necessarily word for word, but just general experiences that I've gone through and other people have gone through, and that people can relate to. Sometimes I can look at something two months behind me and then write about it."

This sense of familiarity permeates the band's music. On its MySpace page, the Heyday describes its sound as "the drive home with all your friends on the last night of summer," which, it turns out, is a perfect description. Led by Ramirez's vibrant and powerful tenor, the songs soar, sounding natural and unforced. At the same time, there's a tangible sense of longing and melancholy shading their edges, especially on tracks such as "One Foot Out the Door," from the act's self-titled debut. Over an upbeat tune that's virtually one long hook, Ramirez sings the lines "If this is the way it has to be/Don't come back to look for me/Just let it go and turn around while you still can."

Fortunately, when it came to the Heyday, Ramirez heeded his own advice. Toward the end of high school, he was playing in a band called Like Chasing Wind with keyboardist Jeff Appareti. Frustrated at being confined to playing strictly roots/Americana music, he and Appareti began seeking out other musicians to form a new band. And like a storybook romance, the pieces just fell into place when the two met guitarist Brian Martin, bassist Peter Wynn and drummer Sean Bennett.

"I had been playing with Like Chasing Wind for a little over a year," Ramirez recalls. "And right about the time that we started this band, pretty much all of us were finishing high school and doing our own thing. And I decided to start doing something a little more serious. Jeff was also in Like Chasing Wind, and he and I started asking around for people to jam with, and we met Brian, and then Peter and Sean. It all kind of came together the day after the last Like Chasing Wind show."

Although the bandmembers have all dabbled in music throughout their lives, adding Wynn and Bennett opened a lot of doors musically for the nascent group. The rhythm section had played together in jazz band and percussion ensemble while attending Cherry Creek High School, and their experience added a layer of technical complexity to the group.

"I think all of us have had some degree of private instruction," Ramirez says. "I took bass lessons and guitar lessons for a long time. And, of course, Peter and Sean have played in jazz bands for years, so they bring a lot to the table in terms of our sound."

The style that Ramirez and company came up with was arresting enough to grab the attention of singer-songwriter Christopher Jak, who's produced records for a number of other Colorado artists, such as Melissa Ivey and Coles Whalen. The Heyday had already recorded five tracks at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins for a planned EP release last August, but engineer Andrew Berlin was so taken with the band that he passed the recording on to Jak, who offered his production services.

"Before we released the EP," Ramirez notes, "it got into the hands of Chris Jak, and he wanted to release it as a full-length. So we went back into the studio in December and recorded five more songs and re-recorded the ones we had already done. It was just right off the bat. We'd barely been around for four or five months, and to already be starting on a full-length was really great."

The resulting album is a seamless piece of pure pop rock, with an added depth of feeling that is surprising considering that most of the members are barely old enough to drink. But what they lack in years, they more than make up for in talent. More important, as a group the Heyday seems larger than a sum of its parts. Although Ramirez says he or another player often brings a tune or a few lyrics to the band as a starting point, the music is ultimately a communal effort.

"A lot of times I bring the foundation, some chord progression or some lyrics," Ramirez reveals, "or someone else brings something to the table and we all kind of arrange it from there. The finished song is more of a collective product."

Sounds like the beginning of a long and productive relationship. - Kurt Brighton - Westword


"I have seen the future, and it is The Heyday."

The Heyday with Tickle Me Pink, The Autobiography and The Simple Discussion
June 30, 2007
The Marquis Theater
Better than: Waiting to see The Heyday until it starts filling arenas.

I have seen the future, and it is The Heyday.

Hyperbole? Maybe, but it’s hard to overestimate a band that’s been around just over a year, hasn’t released an official album yet, and can still almost fill the Marquis and send the crowd into paroxysms of exuberant joy within minutes of taking the stage. The make up of that crowd says a lot, too. During the three openers’ sets (The Simple Discussion, The Autobiography, Tickle Me Pink) I had to be the oldest person, by at least ten years, paying any sort of attention. Looking around after The Heyday took over I saw a much more diverse group staring raptly at the stage. Sure, the kids were still the nucleus of the crowd, but I saw a lot more folks who could get into the bar area without asking for an MIP ticket.

The Heyday’s performance was tight, polished and incredibly self-assured for a bunch of guys that still only need to worry about shaving on a weekly basis. The songs were full of instantly memorable melodies, well-crafted turns of phrase and fist-pumping choruses. Stylistically, it’s pretty straightforward rock and roll straight out of the late-90s school of MTV alternative. That could be an indictment, but these guys mean it, and do it so damn well it’s hard to find fault, even for a crusty old bastard, like myself, who finds the esoteric fringes a lot more captivating than the well-scrubbed mainstream. If there was any doubt left in my mind about the potential these guys held, it was erased during their last song, when about a third of the audience spontaneously rushed up onto the stage and formed an impromptu troupe of dancers and backup singers. The Heyday? They took it in stride, as if they knew it was their due.

As for those openers, none of them were bad, but none of them did much to impress me, either. The Simple Discussion featured a singer with a voice so clear and high and pure, you’d swear he was a woman if you closed your eyes. As pretty as his voice was, the set was held back by a guitarist who seemed at times to think he was in a different band. The Autobiography thrashed out one of the more rocking sets of the evening but haven’t yet developed strong enough material to leave much of an impression. Tickle Me Pink’s best moments came when they dropped the emo-lite act and became a rock band, especially the instrumental tune they played near the end of their set. More of that, please!

If it seems I’ve given the rest of these groups short shrift, I apologize, but the night belonged to The Heyday, and the rest of us, openers included, were just there to experience it. -- Cory Casciato

Critic’s Notebook
Personal Bias: Stylistically, none of these bands were particularly my thing, but The Heyday had the skills to overcome it in a big way.
Random Detail: I loved the degree of enthusiasm the audience expressed for all the bands. It was a nice change of pace from the usual sullen hipster stance on display.
By the Way: If The Heyday doesn’t become the Next Big Thing, it won’t be for a lack of talent. - Westword


"Peter Wynn, Martin and Ramirez build country and rock riffs on quiet intensity, exploding on a snare roll from drummer Sean Bennett and soaring on Jeff Appareti’s keyboard melodies and Ramirez’s slight vibrato and catchy hooks."

Randy Ramirez, sheepish and soft spoken, drinks an IZZE fruit soda on his barstool and doesn’t seem anything like the next big thing. But, sure enough, there’s his name in alphabetical order in the lining notes of one of the best local albums released this year: a self-titled debut from local pop quintet The Heyday.

Ramirez fronts the group with crisp, heart-wrenching vocals in the indie vein of the Format and Death Cab for Cutie. They’re sweet and anxious, delivering all the change and heartbreak involved in being 19 years old (which, save for the 20-year-old guitarist and backing vocalist Brian Martin, they all are) and full of rock and roll idealism. The kicker is that the music is hardly teen dream. With the help of bassist Peter Wynn, Martin and Ramirez build country and rock riffs on quiet intensity, exploding on a snare roll from drummer Sean Bennett and soaring on Jeff Appareti’s keyboard melodies and Ramirez’s slight vibrato and catchy hooks.

“I kind of take it as a compliment most of the time,” says Ramirez of the hullabaloo about the group’s youth – they graduated high school in May of last year. “But I mean, it’s something that I really look forward to – progressing in the future.”

The Heyday liken their sound to “the drive home with all of your friends on the last day of summer” and their anthemic choruses are full of new love and saying goodbye, topics du jour for a group of kids negotiating graduation, college, new responsibilities and friendship lost to time and distance. Ramirez, who pens the group’s lyrics to their already-crafted songs, takes a nod from his own experiences as well as what’s going on around him. And, despite the low frequency of broken hearts and bad experiences at that age, the Heyday lyrics are surprisingly universal.

And, for now, the Heyday is pretty cozy with a fan base working out their first set of heartbreak. Thanks to a team of friends handing out demos to their classmates and obvious circumstances that lead to a lot of all ages shows, the Heyday has got a spender’s market tied around their little finger: a legion of kids looking for the next greatest Myspace act to miss their homecoming for. The helping hand of Colorado’s local music scene also had a big part in finishing the album.

“It was really incredible how it worked out,” says Ramirez of the band’s serendipitous involvement with local producer Christopher Jak. “From the start he was really interested in getting us on our own feet. He’s been really supportive and really made a lot of things possible for us.”

Jak was given the demo tracks the band recorded last summer at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins and, impressed at the quality, pushed the group to record the full length. He would ultimately fund the extra recording time, arrange for them to be mixed by Jeff Juliano (known for his work with Dave Matthews Band, Jason Mraz and John Mayer), and help release the album. Also noting the marked quality of the Heyday demos, local promoters Soda Jerk even forwarded their copy straight to the Westword, where music editor Dave Herrera deemed the act the next generation Fray … six shows into their musical career.

“It really is awesome how everyone has wanted to help us out,” says Ramirez. “We really appreciate it so much.”

All the hard work pays off this Saturday, Sept. 29, with a Heyday release show at The Marquis Theater, a Soda Jerk venue. Ramirez expects all of their parents to be in attendance, even though “some are and some aren’t” in support of their musical endeavors. He and the rest of the group are on hiatus from school, practicing four nights a week on top of full time jobs. But, the former music major doesn’t really see this as a detour. His dedication is obvious when he tallies up the number of hours he spends on music a week.

“Uhm,” pauses Ramirez, “all of them.” - Tasha King - This Week In Denver


Discography

The Heyday Self Titled (LP)
Till We See The Sun (EP)

Photos

Bio

I have seen the future, and it is the Heyday," writes Cory Casciato of Westword. The Heyday are rapidly becoming used to these praises, but these five kids from the south end of Denver started out just looking for fun.

The Heyday formed in the spring of 2006, when singer-songwriter Randy Ramirez and pianist Jeff Appareti parted ways with their former Americana-roots project aptly-named "Like Chasing Wind." Shortly after, guitarist Brian Martin and drummer Sean Bennett began sneaking away from their other bands to develop the Heyday's sound in Appareti's parents' basement. Spring turned to summer, and Pete Wynn, a friend of Bennett, took over as bassist. The newly formed quintet decided to forego any live performances and write for the remainder of the summer, honing their soulful sound into an honest but radio-friendly new take on rock and roll.

The result is a solid, wonderfully constructed 10 song effort by this mostly-teenage outfit. Tasha King, of thisweekindenver.com, wrote that the "anthemic choruses are full of new love and saying goodbye, topics du jour for a group of kids negotiating graduation, college, new responsibilities and friendship lost to time and distance." The band calls them fit for "the drive home with your friends on the last night of summer," but these radio-ready tunes are destined for bigger things.