Anthony Green has been around the block as a member of hardcore-prog giants Saosin and prog-hardcore titans Circa Survive, to say nothing of a parallel life as a high-flying, high-singing solo artist, whose new, fifth album, Pixie Queen, may be his strongest and most personal yet.
That's truly saying something, as the married father of three sons has never been shy about sharing his emotions with his audiences. The Doylestown native says he doesn't need to compartmentalize what he's going through for use in his solo works, as opposed to his band collaborations.
"When working with the guys in Saosin or Circa, I'm creating vibrations that I wouldn't do on my own," says Green, 34, during an interview on his way to a tour stop in Detroit. "I get energy from the melodies and lyrics that we work on - it's reflective of who and what we are."
Doing a poppier, prettier solo album such as Pixie Queen, Green is talking to himself - self-centered and self-identifying. But he's equally frank in his work with the bands. "There were songs on the last Circa record where I was thinking about what my bandmates were going through - the pains of raising families and going through divorces. I could relate to their feelings and emotions 100 percent."
Just because Green empathizes with his occasional bandmates doesn't mean that he is getting divorced. Pixie Queen looks deeply, with poetry and pragmatism, into a young person's marriage. He does that from the viewpoint of his kids and his wife as well as own - a rare approach in the annals of relationship songwriting.
"It was easier for me to take on what is going on organically than to assume," Green said. "I'm not reaching to connect - it's there. I'm working things out, out loud. And I'm a loudmouth, a talker, without a problem of assessing myself. Maybe too much so."
Sugarcoating things isn't his way. He wants to stay magical, but direct. Sobering up - he had chemical dependencies, but has put them behind him - and writing from a clearer place may be why Pixie Queen rings out loudest of all of his bell-like recordings.
"Yeah, absolutely - writing clearer worked to my advantage. When I was younger, I think I put myself in that head space, emulating those people who were maybe [messed] up, [thinking] maybe that I, too, could benefit from being out of my mind. It wound up that it was just an excuse to get intoxicated in some way. It was like trying to put a puzzle together in the dark."
Green called "East Coast Winters," a tune on Pixie Queen, a cry for help he barely recalls writing. Another tune, "I'm Sorry for Everything I've Ever Done," was written from a clearer place, "not the dumbed-out me. I love both songs, though one makes me sadder than the other to think about.
"Clarity," Green says, "just makes the puzzle brighter. When you're feeling everything and clearer, the honesty is more inspiring. Plus, you don't have to worry about all the things that go along with being a full-time drug addict. That takes up so much energy."
Green's renewed physical and psychic energy have left him more able to write and record with old friends and new (such as local producer/musician Will Yip) and to hang out with his three boys, who seem nearly as brutally honest as their father. "I know they say that they like my music," Green says, "but I think, in reality, they're just sparing my feelings."