Chicago Sun-Times
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The Academy Is... no more: Chicago band splits

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It may not be an R.E.M.-level announcement, but don't tell that to fans of The Academy Is..., the Chicago pop-punk band that announced its breakup this weekend via its website.

"We began in 2003 as three young friends in the suburbs of Chicago, with dreams of creating music that meant something to us," the statement reads. "Dreams of leaving those suburbs behind and seeing all of the beautiful things that this world has to offer. Dreams of making a difference in the lives of others. It is now 2011 and we look back at the records we've made, the shows we've played, the places we've been. The people we've met. The Academy Is... has made its mark."

The Academy Is... (born The Academy, added the verb for legal reasons) got their break when fellow Chicago suburbanite Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy heard their 2004 self-titled, Villa Park-recorded EP and signed them to his Fueled by Ramen label. Years of constant touring, including a couple of acclaimed Warped Tour slots, grew the band's fanbase. By their third album, 2008's "Fast Times at Barrington High," they scored their biggest hit with the song "About a Girl."

The band always credited its Chicago-area outlook for the particular cheek and energy of its music.

"We're suburban kids, and we've never pretended that we were on the mean streets," Beckett told the Sun-Times last year.

Three members of the quintet remained after guitarist Michael Guy Chislett and drummer Andy Mrotek left the band earlier this year.

The band's statement also promised, "You can look forward to hearing new music from each of us." Singer William Beckett is already at work on a solo album.

"I will be working on a new record in the coming months and have never felt more freedom and inspiration to create my best and most honest work yet," Beckett said in his own statement.

Beckett, in the Sun-Times interview last year, described the band's ability to straddle alt-rock and the mainstream: "We're bridging the two worlds, in a way. The thing for us is that we've always believed our band is its own entity. We've clearly separated ourselves from any particular scene, but we don't belong in the same sentence as Nickelback or any of those mainstream rock bands. We're not trying to belong to an underground scene any more than we're trying to belong to a mainstream scene; we're just trying to make the best music we can and stay true to ourselves and our roots. ... I guess there are a lot of people who like our band because they're a fan of the FBR Fueled by Ramen record label world, or they're a fan of Fall Out Boy or Something Corporate. But we also have fans who've never heard of those guys. But yeah, it's a strange place to be, but it's also strangely comforting, because we rely on ourselves and we don't need to rely on any particular scene."

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Just a heads up about my niece(Christa Collins) who is in the final (32) in the X-Factor. Her late mother and most of her family are from the South East Side of Chicago, about fifty of us. We'd really appreciate it if it if the Sun Times could make mention of her. You could also do yourself a favor by stepping out and being the first to predict her winning. Thanks for your time.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on October 10, 2011 9:00 AM.

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