It is part of a commonly practiced mantra to accept the things we cannot change. The reason that it is so widely practiced is because it’s not an easy feat, but Scranton outfit Tigers Jaw are moving towards it. Having announced their album I Won’t Care How You Remember Me, the band address having the courage to turn your back on the things that are beyond your control.
“It means a few things to us,” founding member Ben Walsh explains. “It’s about being in the moment. It’s about realising that you can’t please everybody…Despite your best efforts to be a good person, you can’t control how everyone is going to see you or remember you.” He adds that a recurring theme for him was “trying to be more present in the moment and caring about the things that truly do matter.” In a personal sense, Walsh describes that if your relationships with others go south, “you spend so much time agonising about what they might be saying to other people about you and what they’re going to think about you and it keeps you from being able to move yourself forward.”
If you think about it, about what we invest our time into, it doesn’t necessarily make all that much sense. Surely we should spend our time with the people around us, the people who actually care about us, as opposed to carefully piecing together an Instagram page that no one’s going to check when we’re dead. Long story short, your Instagram feed is unlikely to contribute to your legacy.
Walsh continues: “Social media is so prevalent and to me it’s pretty draining. I find myself really benefitting from taking breaks from it and having a phone call with somebody, or meeting up and having some sort of distance hang. Life looks a lot different through the lens of social media and it changes how you experience things…We all need to take a step back from it and focus more on what’s truly right in front of us.”
Co-vocalist Brianna Collins adds that “the meaning of the title has duality and senses in different ways that still relate to each other.” In that vein, it reconciles our external with the introspective: “You can’t control what other people think, but you have to think about how you’re living your life, trying to be a good person.”
“You can’t control what other people think, but you have to think about how you’re living your life, trying to be a good person.”
I Won’t Care How You Remember Me has been under the band’s belt for some time, but they decided to wait to release it because of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. With a tour planned and cancelled, they attempted to try to plan shows around the album release, before realising that an end date for our little dystopian nightmare was more of a dream than a reality. Recorded with the man, the myth, the legend Will Yip, Tigers Jaw had a full band this time around, rather than just Collins and Walsh.
“It felt great to make a record where everybody’s contributing and they have their own musical voice and their own style,” Walsh adds. “We can work off each other and complement each other and have our personalities come through in the record.” Collins expresses a wish that the full-length could have been released sooner, but the extra time gave Tigers Jaw an opportunity to make sure they were proud of every detail. “I feel good about the time that we’ve had to be intentional with how we’re going to put out the record,” she explains. “I know that we all feel proud of it. We’re excited to share it. We’re getting to take our time and do it exactly how we want to do it.”
The band have been spending their time at home refining their music, figuring out what a hobby is (drummer Teddy Roberts discovered that he’s never had any) and for Collins, even conducting private art lessons. With the election coming up, Collins has signed up to be a poll worker. Her decision to do it came down to not just the fact that she has a little time on her hands, but more so because “the majority of poll workers in the States are elderly.”
“They’re a vulnerable population,” she continues. “I’ve only been to one training, but it feels like no matter what, it’s going to be a dramatic event either way. I’m just going to go and try to do my part to abide by the rules, literally unbiased as the job requires you…” During her training, there were clear red flags with those disregarding safety guidelines. “It’s like, how can you be the person without a mask on and not realise you’re just being an asshole? Not even for yourself, but for other people, you don’t know who these people are going home to, who in their lives might be vulnerable.”
While we don’t know when things are going back to normal, or if they ever will, Collins did board a plane recently to California to help her brother move and described the experience as strange for her. “Usually that doesn’t feel that big of a trip, because we [Tigers Jaw] get to go there a lot. It’s been so long that it was like, ‘Oh my God, people, I’m getting on an airplane!’”
Even if they don’t care how you memorialise them, you can tell that Tigers Jaw are just decent people that are using music to get through their days, and we’re lucky enough to benefit from their decision to share it. If history is anything to go by, they’ll be remembered fondly.