According to Josh Partington, the best part of “Revolution on Canvas” — a compilation of poems and essays by the Something Corporate guitarist and members of Rx Bandits, Finch, Taking Back Sunday, NOFX, A Static Lullaby and other groups — is who isn’t in its pages.
“There’s no Fred Durst in this book,” Partington said, “no huge rock stars. And that’s cool because it takes away a little bit of the intimidation about poetry.
“If you read a poem by Bruce Springsteen and didn’t like it,” he continued, “you might think you were wrong for not liking it. Like, if you don’t like a Sylvia Plath poem, you must not be getting something, because it’s Sylvia Plath after all. ‘Revolution’ gets rid of the intimidation and lets kids decide on their own.”
Some proceeds from “Revolution on Canvas,” due February 14 from Ad Astra Books, will go to the National Center for Family Literacy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the literacy skills of kids and their parents. The book also offers members of such emo-leaning bands as From Autumn to Ashes, Moneen, Midtown, Further Seems Forever and Hey Mercedes a forum to express themselves outside their usual medium.
“Songwriting and poetry are quite similar,” Partington said. “That’s probably why the book makes so much sense. Our generation really doesn’t have any professional poets. It’s as though all the 21st-century poets are musicians. In that regard, I think the book’s so rad because I’m a fan of most of those bands, so it’s great to see them outside of a songwriting context. When you’re writing lyrics, you’re kind of limited by how the melody goes. This book shows how much deeper a lot of musicians and songwriters can be beyond their recordings.”
Partington, who had been writing poems all his life, was finally published by former Rx Bandits member Rich Balling, who edited “Revolution on Canvas.” “The Doctor’s Waiting Room” is an introspective six-stanza piece in rhymed couplets, while “Burnt Vacant Red,” with a looser rhyming structure, was “one of those poems that came out of being lost through a relationship,” Partington explained.
No plans for an audio version of “Revolution on Canvas” have been made. But that didn’t stop Partington, Nightfall’s Marc McKnight and members of A Static Lullaby and Rx Bandits from recording their poems as spoken-word pieces backed by music for a possible companion EP to a subsequent volume. Partington, who co-writes most of Something Corporate’s songs with singer Andrew McMahon, doesn’t imagine ever turning either poem into a full-fledged song, however.
“It’s not an impossibility, but I’m one of those people who, when it comes to writing a song, writes a song,” he explained. “I’m not very good at turning things into songs. But I like a lot of the phrasing in ‘Burnt Vacant Red.’ It’s some of my best writing.”
Something Corporate have just released “Ruthless,” the second single from their third album, North. Following a pair of mid-February shows, the band will co-headline a seven-week tour with Yellowcard beginning in March.