William Beckett could have easily called it a career when The Academy Is... broke up almost two years ago.
Beckett had already proven his abilities as an infectious songwriter and a captivating frontman. Anyone who saw The Academy Is... on tour in the late 2000s can attest to Beckett's knack for capturing an entire crowd with pitch-perfect, candy-coated vocals and awesome microphone stand tricks.
But instead of ending his stint in the scene, Beckett turned his sights toward a solo career. He will release his first full-length album as a solo artist, Genuine & Counterfeit, via Equal Vision Records on August 20 – and you can check out the music video for his first single, "Benny & Joon," above.
"Benny & Joon" sees Beckett continuing on the trajectory he started with The Academy Is... while bringing in a new set of influences. There are shades of Tom Petty amidst the synth-powered melodies, and it seems as though Beckett's solo album might be a perfect complement to Andrew McMahon's recently released solo effort.
"I wrote 'Benny & Joon' in Nashville, TN during a rain storm," Beckett explains. "I wanted to tell a story of two oddballs falling in love, accepting each other's quirks and differences. That being said, I wanted to do something I haven't done in a video before and turn things upside down. For instance, in the first scene of the video I'm in my underwear. And I'm not the only one. But things aren't what they seem...this one is a real brain buster, folks."
To promote the release, Beckett has spent the entire summer performing in the Acoustic Basement of the Vans Warped Tour, and he's not done yet. He'll head to Australia with Anberlin and The Maine next, and he says there will be even more to come in the near future: "It's going to be a wild ride over the next year," Beckett tells Fuse. "I'll see you there."
If you're wondering what The Academy Is... might have sounded like if they had kept on going, look no further than Beckett's refrain of, "We know who we are now, so just leave us alone" in the chorus of this track. And if you like what you hear, you can preorder Genuine & Counterfeit in Beckett's webstore.