With a career spanning 25 years and over 20 studio albums, very few bands have been as prolific as Joan of Arc. But while highly influential, the band never quite reached the same level of commercial success as some of their peers. They had a dedicated following, but their fanbase ebbed and flowed.
“The shows, attendance-wise, have always bounced up and down,” says lead singer Tim Kinsella. “One year we’ll play a room in a random city and it’s full, and the next year we’ll come back it’s half empty, the next year we’ll come back there’s no one there, the next year we’ll come back and it’s half empty, and the next year it’s full.”
After over two decades of extensive recording and touring, Joan of Arc decided it’s time to finally put a bookend on the band.
“We didn’t arrive to the conclusion easily and we didn’t arrive to the conclusion quickly. We made the whole record knowing it was our last record,” Kinsella says.
The band’s final studio album, which is titled Tim Melina Theo Bobby and is out today on Joyful Noise Records, serves as a sense of closure, both for the band and their fans.
“We did have this idea of, if we put a punctuation mark on this thing, people might understand it,” Kinsella explains. “If it’s closed, and it’s a complete self-contained body of work, people might interact with it in a different way than they do as an ongoing thing, if they have expectations of what’s next. So, I would say that was another motivation for ending it.”
The band have a lot to be proud of. In the early years, they traded sleep for band practice, juggling their music career with school and work.
“Our regular practice schedule would start at midnight and go till 3 in the morning before we’d have to wake up at 7 to deal with school and jobs. And we just wanted it so bad,” Kinsella says.
This work ethic didn’t end as the band got older. They still had to cut their teeth through ruthless touring cycles.
“The physical exhaustion of tour is crazy on our scale,” Kinsella says. “When you have to play every day, and you have to wake up early enough to drive that far, set up, sound check, play the show, do merch, load out. There’s just no time to actually be healthy.”
Joan of Arc are ending things as close friends. Through all the highs and lows, they never stopped caring for each other, and this is reflected in the album’s title.
“Just going with our names was also an intentional gesture of… it’s just about us, it’s about our friendship, it’s about how we work together,” Kinsella says.
As for Kinsella’s future, he has already begun turning his efforts towards a band he’s in with his wife called Good Fuck. A lot can change in 25 years. But one thing that hasn’t changed is Kinsella’s love of music.
“When we started [Joan of Arc] I was 20 years old, and now I’m 46. It’s too late for me to get a new career. I’ve had a million jobs, but I’m not gonna have a new career. I’m not interested in that. I’m obsessed with playing music,” he says.
Pick up a copy here.