How Gas Station Doughnuts Inspired Timeshares' Songwriting

As the songs were coming together for their sophomore album, the members of punk quartet Timeshares felt like the band was settling into a stronger identity.

Already Dead, the follow-up to 2011’s Bearable, is a record of big guitars, sing-along melodies and recalls bands like the Replacements and Lucero, punk at the core, but willing to make some musical pivots as well.

“We learned a little more how to sound like ‘us.’ Whatever that is, I think it sounds more like a record we made than a record anyone could have made,” says guitarist Jon Hernandez. “It’s a product of learning how to play together as a band. We get each other’s ins and outs a little more and know how to write and play to each other’s strengths.”

The first spark of Already Dead emerged at a routine band rehearsal, at the tail end of about two steady years of touring for Bearable.

“We had a practice where we realized we hadn’t worked on new stuff for a long time,” Hernandez says. “At one point, we were just talking and I had an idea I was tossing around. That ended up being ‘The Bad Parts.’ We worked on it and finished it that day and that ended up being the first song for the record.

“It didn’t sound much like the stuff on the first record. It was never a conscious thing to do that. We never talked about a direction or anything. But when we finished that it kind of shaped the album,” he says.

Spread from Philadelphia to Brooklyn to Long Island, Hernandez, guitarist Jason Mosher, bassist Mike Natoli and drummer Eric Bedell now have six years as a band to draw on and decided to make that experience count. Writing collaboratively, they found themselves on the same page (“All of our heads were in the same crappy place,” Hernandez jokes).

“We’d spent so much time away from writing songs, whatever we’d compiled by that point, whatever direction we were going in as songwriters, it was working, thematically, tone wise,” he says. “We learned how to dig deeper into the influence pool, learned how to let things that were moving us musically manifest themselves on record.

“As a band with four songwriters, it’s a lucky break when things are cohesive, but the pieces fell into place. We all knew that, regardless of whether the dialogue was happening between us that we liked what we were doing. I felt especially on this one, all of us were coming at it from a similar perspective.”

What ties the songs on Already Dead together, and it’s no accident, is a sort of “what-now” optimism.

“Lyrically, the first record we did was just a record saying ‘What the fuck do I do now?’ This one ended up being about the attempt to figure out what to do now, the attempt to make things better,” Hernandez says.

That mentality comes from the album title, an inside joke that the band had long before they had compiled a batch of songs. On tour, Natoli had a bad habit of buying gas station doughnuts and when he’d eat them, Bedell would lean over in jest and check his pulse. “Already dead” was the general diagnosis, which became a running joke, applied to anything stupid the band might do on tour.

“It doesn’t matter, already dead,” Hernandez says. “It’s sort of this silly thing we made empowering. It’s a really stupid version of carpe diem.”

Timeshares are scheduled to perform Sunday, October 18, at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe. 
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Eric is a freelance writer covering music, travel, science, and food and drink.
Contact: Eric Swedlund