After the success of their 2016 debut album, The Lemon Twigs could have played it safe to try and stave off worries of a sophomore slump.
Instead, the band — led by brothers Brian and Michael D'Addario — wrote, produced, recorded and mixed a full-on musical for their second album, Go to School, which is available September 14.
The album follows the journey of Shane, a chimpanzee raised as a human, who comes to terms with life's obstacles with the help of his parents — voiced by the brothers' mother Susan Hall and musical hero Todd Rundgren. It's an ambitious concept for an alternative band but as Brian tells Q104.3's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke, the theater is part of how he and his brother were raised.
"We always loved musicals growing up," Brian explains. "When we were like 7 our mom decided she was going to go do some community theater and she asked us if we wanted to do it. We just wanted to do it for fun. Someone saw us at one of the shows and introduced us to an agent. By chance we started auditioning for real stuff. So there were about three years where we were doing Broadway shows..."
By age 9, Brian had done stints in Les Misérables and The Little Mermaid. As the brothers got older, they were influenced by rock/pop artists like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and The Who.
And while The Lemon Twigs had been performing music from Go to School in their live sets prior to the album's release, Brian says that he and his brother hope to follow in the footsteps of The Who and perform the show in a theater setting with a full compliment of musicians to pull off the instrumentation of the album.
"I'd love to do something like that," he says. "I keep saying maybe next year we can plan about five bigger productions of it. 'Cause right now we're playing most of the record in order in the middle of our shows, but with a five-piece group, so there are certain limitations with some of the songs that have a lot more orchestrations."
And Brian isn't procrastinating. He and The Lemon Twigs have a lot to focus on in the short term, namely a European tour with Arctic Monkeys.
"I have no expectations for it," Brian says, attempting to temper his excitement. "[We're playing] gigantic places. We haven't really played in any place that big. They're like arenas, so it's crazy. But I've been to those kind of shows and I know what people do during the opening bands; they eat hotdogs and they walk around. I almost feel less pressure for that reason. I feel like it'll be a great place to kind of work on some stuff and experiment with our show."
Watch the full interview above!
Get all The Lemon Twigs' tour dates here.
Check out the music video for The Lemon Twigs' "If You Give Enough":