Album Insights: Joey Cape Discusses “Stitch Puppy” Solo Album



While Joey Cape is viewed by many as Lagwagon’s driving force, he’s also proved to be an intriguing solo artist with a knack for honest, upfront storytelling that leaves little to the imagination.

On his latest one-man effort, Stitch Puppy (released through Fat Wreck Chords), Cape is as insightful as ever, as he shares stripped-down tales of mental illness, violence, broken hearts, growing old and challenging life realizations. recently spoke with Cape about Stitch Puppy, his ability to maintain musical truth and not losing too many friends along the way.

Making a Solo Album, Versus a Lagwagon Album

“In many ways, making a solo album is much easier because I am not reliant on anyone else to get things finished, or to move forward in any way. The motivation is usually that I have time and am bored because Lagwagon is not always on tour, or working. When we’re not working, I have a studio at my house, so it’s easy for me to produce an album or work on something of my own. Sometimes when I have months off, I think, ‘I might as well make an album and do something I want to do.’ The main thing is being completely, wholeheartedly dedicated to what you think is the right thing to do musically and lyrically…and not have the feeling that other people are dependent on the album as an outlet.”

What was Being Thought About While Making Stitch Puppy 

“I had a loose enough concept where I wanted to touch upon the moments of my life that fall under the ‘learning experiences’ category. I write songs about things that happen in my life. I wrote ‘Broken’ about somebody close to me that deals with panic disorder, I wrote ‘Cope’ about a friend of mine who is going to prison for murdering his wife. It’s like, the hits keep on coming in your life. There are songs on the album about people I’ve lost. Everybody’s life is difficult…I just write about the things that happen.”

Writing Music as a Coping Method

“It does help quite a bit to write songs. There is a cathartic nature about it – and I hate to say that because it’s a cliché – but it’s true. It’s the same as when you talk about [issues] with someone. [Songwriting] is very similar to talking with a therapist or a friend about what’s going on. The difference is that you don’t have to inconvenience your friends by sitting them down and talking about these things. Also, you don’t have to pay a therapist who is using book science upon you. Writing is better because you’re working out issues on your own.”

People Emotionally Connecting to Stitch Puppy

“The most important thing is that people are identifying. If I ever hear that somebody can identify with something I wrote, hopefully that helps them have a little more empathy and compassion for somebody else. I don’t write with that in mind – I try to be really self-indulgent and write about things that affect me – but, [if people relate] that’s a great bonus.”

Holding Songs Back that are Too Personal 

“I always have, but that grey area seems to be getting smaller and smaller as I get older. I don’t know if you become braver or if you just become more foolish with the things you’ll admit. If you come up with a melody, there’s something that usually comes to mind that works with it. Often times – it’s a psychology thing that I don’t get – but something from your life just ends up on the paper. You have to honour that if you want to do the best thing you can do for the soul of a song. I definitely run into issues. With ‘Broken,’ I second-guessed writing about that, because there have been a few times in the past where friends of mine or people I am close with have said, ‘I know you wrote this song about me. There’s no one else in your life this could be about.’ That’s been good and bad. I’ll always admit to it, but sometimes that hurts peoples’ feelings…and I don’t want to do that. [But] my lyrics are better when I write the exact story – when I don’t try to disguise it.”

Getting More Reflective in Song, with Age

“There’s a real fine line between being jaded and a know-it-all and just being honest with your discoveries as you get older. On the humble side of things, we never stop learning. I’m open to that. And I’m open that I can be wrong at times. Even after lots of experiences, I don’t always understand the things happening around me. I might be more gifted as a therapist to the people I care about, because of all those experiences. But, that doesn’t mean it’s easier or that I have a greater understanding [about life.] There are so many variables and the older you get, the right outcome becomes getting humbler and more open-minded.”

-Adam Grant

Tour Dates:
09/25/15 London, ON Canada London Music Hall*%
09/26/15 Toronto, ON Canada Horseshoe*%
09/27/15 Laval, QC Canada Bar Le Repaire*%
09/29/15 Providence, RI The Parlour*%
09/30/15 New York, NY The Bowery Electric*%
10/01/15 Washington, DC Black Cat*%
10/02/15 Charlotte, NC The Milestone Club*
10/03/15 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade*
10/04/15 Charleston, SC Tin Roof*
10/06/15 Nashville, TN The End*
10/07/15 St. Louis, MO The Demo*
10/09/15 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge*
10/11/15 Tucson, AZ Club Congress*
10/13/15 Las Vegas, NV Beauty Bar*
10/14/15 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick*^
10/15/15 Santa Ana, CA Constellation Room*^
10/16/15 Santa Barbara, CA Velvet Jones* (w/ Dave Hause)
10/17/15 San Francisco, CA Bottom Of The Hill*^
10/30 – 11/1 Gainesville, FL The Fest

* – w/ Walt Hamburger, Brian Wahlstrom
^ – w/ Betty & The Boy
# – w/ KJ Jansen, Walt Hamburger, Brian Wahlstrom
% – w/ Jo Bergeron


Please be sure to follow us on Twitter @riffyou and at Home