It’s been since spring 2013 when we last talked to Clinton Cunanan, lead singer of the hard rock band Another Lost Year. When we last visited with Cunanan, it was while he and I sat on the Another Lost Year RV before a show at Krazee Kafe in Des Moines, Iowa, with a photographer documenting the entire interaction. See the full interview here, or here’s a short recap: At the time of our last interview Another Lost Year was touring in support of their first CD release Better Days. The tour, named the High Octane Tour, was with fellow hard rock band Three Years Hollow. Another Lost Year’s first album was a solo project started by Cunanan, who told us he only writes “what’s real.” They had two #1 hits on iHeartRadio, and they were being lovingly compared to Creed (mostly because of their sound and Cunanan’s voice sounding somewhat similar to Scott Stapp’s), which Cunanan was OK with, if the comparison meant they sold 50 million albums! They were working on releasing a second CD, starting an Indiegogo campaign to help cover some of the expenses involved in putting out a new album and Cunanan was feeling the pressure to put out an album matching the success of their first release Better Days. The touring life had proved difficult on Cunanan, with Another Lost Year playing over 300 shows in 2013, and Cunanan explained he was lonely and had lost everything to this life.
This time when had a chance to speak to Cunanan he was home in Charlotte, North Carolina for a two-week break from touring.
What’s changed since we last talked to Cunanan? Apparently A LOT!
First, Another Lost Year’s New EP The Revolution Part 1 came out in June 2013. It features a cover of the country tune Cop Car (written by Sam Hunt, recorded/sung by Keith Urban), as well as four original songs. On the album creation process, Cunanan says, “We have a direction we want to go, forward. Forward with making good music, forward with growing our relationships with our fans and making sure we don’t go way off the grid. We did half the new album with Justin Rimer from the last time [Rimer produced Better Days] as well as half with Brett Hestla, he was in Creed, Dark New Day and produced a ton of great jammy jams. As far as the creation process, I wasn’t sure how I was going to follow-up Better Days. I had 30 years to write it. But after going into the writing process I learned I had a lot to say. In a much different manner, I’m really trying to expose myself musically to everyone. To leave no stone unturned so to speak.”
Another Lost Year’s first album Better Days received so much praise that it seemed the band might struggle following it up. But as far as Cunanan is concerned material on the new EP has seen a similar response. “The response has been phenomenal,” says Cunanan. “We had to pull it down because of a deal we had signed with SMG/Warner, but we should be relaunching soon. Possibly even add a few bonus tracks for good measure….. I was really happy to see how people were latching on, and the feedback from the diehards was absolutely reassuring.”
The track The End of You and I was the first single release, then Cop Car. As Cunanan explains once The End of You and I was well received, they decided to test the waters with Cop Car. “We loved the song.. I love country music, there is no denying that! But some of the newer stuff is more country and some of it is harder than the Better Days album. Staying true to our all over the place motto.”
Second, the band lost a few members along the way this year. Lee Norris stepped down from drums after having a baby. Nathan Walker, formerly a tech and tour manager, is now playing drums. David Whitaker had some health issues, forcing him to step down from his guitar duties. But the show will still go on. “We still love everyone,” says Cunanan. “They have just taken new positions in the company. I’m back to playing guitar full-time which I definitely love, the songs get a chance for me to put my sound on them. And that is exciting to me. Adam [Hall] has stepped up and taken over lead [guitar]. Like a boss. End of story. Haha”
Third, they are still touring like crazy. “Yes we still tour like it’s going out of style,” says Cunanan. “We are currently gearing up for a 2 month run with Saving Abel, so that’ll be fun. We are doing mostly support shows right now, good and bad, we get to reach a ton more people, BUT, we miss out on playing ‘super sets’.” [Writer’s note: I’ve been privy to experience an Another Lost Year “super set.” The best way to describe it is a set where Another Lost Year plays pretty much EVERYTHING they’ve ever written, plus the one cover they’ve picked up You Be The Hero by Joan Red – a cover they’ve chosen to play to keep Joan Red’s legacy alive as Joan Red’s singer, Anthony Basurto, unexpectedly died in 2011 of unknown causes at the age of 26.]
Fourth, being on the road has not gotten any easier on the guys. “Touring definitely takes its toll on all of us. Mentally, physically, emotionally, it’s draining. It breaks your heart day in and day out watching your loved ones live their lives, and you are miles and miles away. A lot of people don’t realize the loneliness of the road and the mental state that it puts you in. Depression is a real thing. Speaking of that, remember to smile at people. That always helps.”
On the days it’s emotionally taxing, when Cunanan has a bad day, feeling as though he’s losing momentum to get up on stage, he relies on support from home and the support from the rest of the band. “You try not to let your highs get too high and your lows get too low. I usually talk to my daughter while I’m gone, her voice changes my whole attitude. We are all a good support system for each of us. That definitely helps as well. We all know when someone is having a bad day. Obviously. You live with these guys for years at a time. We know too much about each other. We all know how fortunate we are to get to do what we do.”
Even the fans step up when Cunanan is having a bad day. In fact, Another Lost Year’s fans have just recently witnessed Cunanan struggle with some hard times. “I’m getting older and things are changing in my life personally. I’m battling a serious bout with depression and it truly is amazing the support that our fans and my friends have given me. I’ve had the best and worst times of my life in this band, and I wouldn’t change anything. Not one thing. You guys mean the world to myself and all of ALY. We appreciate each and every one of you. Never stop asking questions and never stop dreaming. The world needs more dreamers and doers. Thanks for being a doer and thanks for taking the time to talk with me.”
What can fans expect from ALY going forward? Cunanan’s thoughts and aspirations: “Well I’m actually working on a new album as we speak. Not necessarily part two of the revolution. We have a ton of songs recorded and ready to go already. We just want to make the right move. Obviously a lot of touring and shenanigans. We hope to end up out on tour with Breaking Benjamin, ambitious I know, but hey, look at where we are now. Hard work is the key. And having people like you helping spread the word!”
Right now, you can catch Another Lost Year coming to a city near you, as they embark on their next tour as direct support to Saving Abel.
Last, but not least, does Another Lost Year still hear the “Creed comparison?” “Man oh man. Not so much anymore. I’m really finding my voice and although we have a similar range, we are very different. We do share the same A&R woman though, Ms. Diana Meltzer. I’m still hoping for all those albums sold, though!”
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