Some stars refuse to burn out: Beckett gets back to basics and back on stage

By Danielle Gittleman

William Beckett has been recording music for years; the first album he worked on was released when he was only 17.


Getting your foot in the door of the music industry is hard work; having to start over from scratch once you’ve attained fame is even harder. Nevertheless, William Beckett, former frontman for the band The Academy Is, has announced that he is starting another chapter in his life — his solo career.

“I’m essentially getting back to my roots, as to why I started, how I started music to begin with,” Beckett said. “I’ll be breaking it down and be able to play anything I want.”

The Academy Is was a punk-rock band that formed in 2003 and hails from Chicago. The band was an extremely successful addition to the pop-punk music scene, as it has released three full-length albums, four EPs and frequently plays in the annual Vans Warped Tour circuit and Bamboozle Festivals.

The Academy Is was signed to the Fueled by Ramen record label alongside other huge acts such as Fall Out Boy, Paramore and Gym Class Heroes, who performed at Rider in spring 2008.

Recently, Beckett has been all over the place, calling radio stations and doing interviews in support of his debut solo EP, Walk The Talk. The EP, featuring four brand-new songs, is set for release on April 17. It can be preordered along with T-shirt bundles on The first single, “Compromising Me,” has already been out for a few weeks and can be purchased on iTunes. Beckett also made a video for the single that is set to come out later this month.

“Right now my team is hard at work editing it,” Beckett said. “I really can’t say much. There’s something about questioning cloning techniques and human cloning.”

It is an odd concept for a video, but fans should be excited for it.

Upon being asked about his new solo career and adjusting to it, Beckett mentioned that it was not adifficult transition to make.

Though they were members of rival bands, Beckett joined with guitarist Mike Carden to create The Academy Is when the two were high school students.


“Before, there were so many checks and balances with the band and so many different tastes that you have to adhere to, bend [to] and mold to,” he said. “I was trying to make everyone happy and there’s too much compromise happening to the point where the results turn out to be this muddled mess.”

He’s finding that his new solo career is giving him more freedom than he ever had before and he’s excited to show it.

“It feels like I was put on this Earth to make music, put on this Earth to write songs and to perform them,” he said. “When I have to compromise what that is and if I don’t feel right about what’s coming out, I’m cheating myself. And not only myself, I’m cheating my fans and any potential listeners. That being said, I had to do something and I had to take the reigns completely and make [my] own vision.”

Even though Beckett is only releasing four songs on the April 17 EP, he has plenty more written and ready for future release.

“After the 17th, when Walk The Talk is released, I’m going to be releasing a new EP every three months for the rest of the year,” he said. “By the time Halloween rolls around, you’ll have twelve songs that would have otherwise been on a full-length record.”

Not only is Beckett taking his writing and composing freedom seriously, he’s giving back to his fans in a brand-new way. All he wants is to play music for them. Later this spring, Beckett is going on a small acoustic tour in tiny venues.

Fans shouldn’t be worried though — Beckett plans to play a variety of songs. “[I’ll play] particularly new material along with my favorite Academy songs and my favorite covers. It’s going to be moreso like an evening out with William Beckett.”

William Beckett is taking a huge step when it comes to starting a solo career and at the rate he’s going, it seems that he plans to persist until he reaches success.

For more information on William and his new project, visit or follow him on Twitter at @billbeckett.

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