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"By the time we'd finished the record, the Frampton Brothers had broken up, and I had decided I didn't want to release it as 'Ed Masley,'" Masley continues. "I think when you see someone's name on a record, it implies a certain type of music that this wasn't. That singer-songwriter thing — boring, earnest, non-rocking. So I came up with the name The Breakup Society. I liked the name because it sounded like a John Hughes film with Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy."
Before the critically acclaimed James at 35's release in 2004, Masley was still in Pittsburgh and assembled a band there to replicate what the Frampton players and Hoag played on record. The Pittsburgh lineup flew back and forth to Phoenix to record the follow-up at Hoag's studio. In March, the Breakup Society was invited to play at South by Southwest, and Masley was faced with the decision: Which Breakup Society does he take to the senior prom?
"It's hard doing two bands. I don't recommend it," Masley says. "There's some tension with that, but any betrayal is a logistical one. It was practical to go to SXSW with a band I could practice with. I moved here and they didn't. I like to play in Pittsburgh. I worked years carving out a little niche there. I like having those guys to play with there. When we get together, it's like the Stones' sloppy greatest hits show, whereas with the Phoenix lineup here, we can learn new songs. I imagine it getting less awkward as time goes on. When I formed the Breakup Society, it was going to be me and whoever else happened to be in the room."
As for the immediate future, Masley rules out extensive touring with either lineup, but, he says, "I would like to play Europe. Get Hip has good distribution there. Couldn't there be some European musicians to back me up? Can't I go over like Chuck Berry with just my guitar and videotapes of employees peeing?"
He nudges the recorder. "That's off the record."