Brian Sella of the Front Bottoms is soaking it all in, literally and figuratively.
Literally: When I spoke to Sella, he was in Phoenix, Arizona, taking in the sun of an 85-degree day as he prepared to play the Van Buren, a “fucking beautiful” venue the Bergen County native has sold out before.
And figuratively: Sella is also soaking up the touring experience, something that the Front Bottoms have missed out on over the lockdown.
“It gives me life,” says Sella about playing shows. “You get to hang out with all these people who are so excited to see you. It feels like playing shows times 10. It feels like everyone has needed this for so long. So I’m just happy to entertain, and I realized I’m meant to be an entertainer and being on stage is where I feel most at peace.”
And in the business of entertainment and concerts, the Front Bottoms are a Fortune 500 company. Whether attending a show in Phoenix, Philly, or New York they put on a quality show and make sure to include their fans in the action as well.
One song that Front Bottom fans might be singing along to this fall is “Lover Boy,” a long in-the-works piece that’s finally seeing the light of day. The process behind “Lover Boy” began when Sella’s writing partner Tom showed him a song that he wrote music for, and that Sella would later record the vocals for it. Sella kept the song in his back pocket, but he knew eventually when the timing was opportune, the song would be released.
“We had this song that was in a folder, and I would always think about it,” says Sella. “I would play it to people if I was at a bar and they’d be like, ‘Woah, this is so good,’ and it got me feeling good so we just released it.”
The Front Bottoms released “Lover Boy” the same week that Drake released his album Certified Lover Boy—though Sella came up with the name before he knew Drake was going to release that album. That said, Sella didn’t let this moment go to waste and took advantage of the marketing opportunity.
“When we found out that Drake was going to release an album called (Certified) Lover Boy, I was like let’s speed this shit up and get as many clicks as we can,” says Sella. “It’s viral marketing, and it’s 2021. If you’re not trying to rip Drake off, what are you doing?”
Besides all the Drake stuff, the Front Bottoms had a pretty busy summer, and it included a single with Matt Skiba of Blink-182 and Alkaline Trio called, “Voodoo Magic.”
“He’s a really thoughtful guy,” says Sella about Skiba. “He listened to a bunch of songs we had and he didn’t want to mess up anything that we were working on. It was cool working with him. I love Alkaline Trio, and I think Skiba’s amazing.”
When the Front Bottoms started as a band Sella couldn’t have imagined playing songs with Skiba or ripping off Drake. One of his biggest concerns was getting his bandmate Mat Uychich into bars they were playing at.
“When me and Mat started this thing he wasn’t even 21 at the time, and he wasn’t allowed at the bars we were playing in; now he’s 31,” Sella says.
Even though Uychich and Sella are touring all over the world, their story began in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, as the two lived a block away from each other in the same neighborhood.
“I grew up down the block from Mat, and I would ride my bike over to his house every single day, and we would play video games and make music,” says Sella.
Sella also soaks up the experience of getting to play music with his neighbor as well. “Shit, I’ve played this venue (The Van Buren) two times already and both shows sold out, and now this is my third time here in Phoenix, and this is all with my buddy Mat. … I got a tattoo that says ‘lucky’ because I feel lucky as hell to be able to be with Mat and play music.”
Even though Sella has toured the world, he never forgets the Bergen County town that he comes from and credits Woodcliff Lake and his parents for his success in music.
“It was ideal,” says Sella about growing up in Woodcliff Lake. “Growing up there definitely made me the person who I am today, and my parents took care of me, and I never felt stressed as a kid. I feel extremely lucky to grow up where I did, and where running through the woods was an option. I got to be myself and my parents really never bothered me. If my parents saw me doing something weird it was never like, ‘Hey, what are you doing, idiot?’ They just let me be.”
On Oct. 24, the Front Bottoms will be playing in Sayreville at the Starland Ballroom; playing shows in Jersey is a busy experience for Sella: “Playing at home, there’s a whole bunch of other shit that you have to face. You gotta make sure everyone is good, and you’re like the host of the party. And when the party starts, you’re the party master, and you gotta make sure what a good time this show is.”
Not only is the Sayreville date a homecoming show for the Front Bottoms, it’s also the last date of a 32-show run.
“I think that’s gonna be a special show,” says Sella about the upcoming Sayreville show. “It’s gonna be the last show of the tour, and I’m gonna be mentally like scrambled eggs and it’s gonna be a good fucking time.”
The Front Bottoms will be playing at Starland Ballroom with Oso Oso, and Sydney Sprague on Oct. 24. Tickets are sold out.