Brand New

A low moment in pop-punk quartet Brand New’s early career was discovering that bassist Garrett Tierney’s car had been stolen from in front of the studio where the band was recording its debut album, leaving the members stranded hundreds of miles from home.

And when they called the cops to report it, they got laughed at.

“[Tierney] was the only one who brought a car and we were only about 20 feet away from it, too. It’s just that we were inside,” vocalist Jesse Lacey told Pollstar.

“It just kind of goes along with us living away and us kind of in a box … a box on wheels or a box in a motel,” Lacey said about being away from home for long stretches. All four members: Lacey, Tierney, guitarist Vin Accardi and drummer Brian Lane, hail from Long Island, New York.

Lacey joked around about showing off a “van and a trailer” for MTV’s Cribs someday, but those lean days are numbered for Brand New, which got its start with the help of Fred Feldman at Triple Crown Records, a label that’s been described as “one guy in a room.”

“Fred was there from the very beginning, from just about our very first show,” Lacey said. “We decided not to sign with Fred initially because we felt we were better off doing things on our own for a while, releasing our own songs and demos and touring by ourselves.

“But when it came time to sign with Fred, there were other labels interested in us. But we just got lucky when we went with Fred because he’s one of the most honest record label people I ever met. He just wanted what was best for us.”

As it turned out, that included a short-term deal, which ran out just as the band was blowing up. He helped them secure distribution with BMG and, according to Lacey, virtually offered the band to Razor & Tie.

“He knew that would be better for us, that the record would be able to reach more people and we would have more money to be able to record,” Lacey said. “He took a bit of a cut, actually, as far as what he would get out of it, for our sake. It’s a credit to his character that he would do something like that.”

Feldman got the band a two-record deal with Razor & Tie, which ended with its band’s current release, Deja Entendu.

Feldman also introduced Brand New to agent Andrew Ellis of Ellis Industries.

“Andrew’s one of the few people that we were all terrified of from the start. He just puts out this vibe that’s like he’s going to kill you, basically,” Lacey said of those all-important first impressions.

Brand New

“Then four months later, Andrew saw us at a show and he said, ‘You guys suck so bad,’ and all but told us he would never, ever work with use and never book us anywhere.

“But after a year of us booking our own tours and doing everything for ourselves, he kind of realized that we were in it for the long run with or without him, and I think that mattered a lot to him to see that a band is willing to work like that. Now we’re like best friends.

“The funniest thing is when I’m in a place and watching somebody meet him for the first time, I always see the fear in their eyes. It’s always great!”

Pulling it all together to guide Brand New’s career is Nettwerk Management’s Tom Gates, another member of the “team” that has been with the group from early on, so early that, in fact, Lacey couldn’t be positive when they first met. It seems like Gates has always been there for them, as have most of the band’s professional associates.

“Our team is the greatest. Tom (Gates) and Ari (Martin) who manage and Andrew (Ellis) who does our booking … no one’s really tried to push us in a direction that we didn’t want to go or anything. Everyone just kind of is along for the ride, which is really great and really helpful to us,” Lacey said.

“I really don’t know how we hooked up with Tom. He just kind of came to one of our shows, I think at the Metro in Chicago,” Lacey recalled. “Our drummer, Brian Lane, mentioned that a guy from Nettwerk was coming down to hang out with us there and we hit it off right away.”

Gates’ feelings are mutual.

“I saw those guys at a show and just loved them immediately,” he told Pollstar. “They are great kids and they work hard.”

He signed them after that show in Chicago, and has just finished guiding them through a deal with DreamWorks, which was then acquired by Universal Music Group and folded into Interscope.

“It’s more hilarious than that,” Gates said of the timing of the deal. “[DreamWorks] got bought the week after we signed that record deal. What ended up happening is our A&R guy is now at Interscope, the same guy that has A.F.I. and Saves The Day.”

Brand New didn’t have time to worry about that, of course; they were preparing to head back out on the road.

“We’re going to Japan and England, then we have basically the whole summer off, which is really well deserved since we haven’t taken … more than one or two weeks off at a time, in the last couple of years,” Lacey said.