For eight years after its 2003 formation, The Academy Is... was one of the leading lights of the Emo movement, championed by Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, signed to Fueled by Ramen (with later distribution through Wentz’s Decaydance label) and a consistent highlight of several Warped/package tours with the likes of FOB, Armor for Sleep, Motion City Soundtrack, Something Corporate, Plain White T’s and Cobra Starship. Before its 2011 dissolution, the Chicago quintet turned out a trio of quality full-lengths — 2005’s beloved-by-fans Almost Here, 2007’s Santi, which cracked Billboard’s Top 40, and 2008’s Fast Times at Barrington High, a commercial success with a No. 17 chart position and critically cited as one of the best albums of the year by Rolling Stone.
Although there were fluctuations in the lead guitar and drummer positions, the founding core of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist William Beckett, guitarist/vocalist Mike Carden and bassist/vocalist Adam Siska remained constant. The band split in late 2011 on the eve of a Jack’s Mannequin tour, five months after the departure of drummer Andy Mrotek and guitarist Michael Guy Chislett. Beckett admitted in an Alternative Press interview after the announcement that there were longstanding tensions between he, Carden and Siska. Beckett and Mrotek pursued solo endeavors, Siska toured with Say Anything and Carly Rae Jepsen and Carden seemingly retreated into a quiet life.
Last May, after a nearly four-hour-long phone call between the founding trio, the band announced they would reunite for a one-off appearance in September at Chicago’s Riot Fest to perform its debut album, Almost Here, in its entirety as a celebration of its 10th anniversary with drummer Mrotek and band pal Ian Crawford from Never Shout Never rounding out the quintet. A second show at the Double Door was scheduled and sold out almost immediately. The full reunion tour was booked shortly thereafter.
There’s no word on the permanence of this reunion, so just be glad that The Academy Is… has, however briefly, returned.