Interested in an alternative indie band with some great songs? If so, The Juliana Theory is the band for you.
The Juliana Theory formed in 1997 by Joshua Fiedler, Neil Hebrank, Chad Monticue, Jeremiah Momper and Brett Detar.
“We really stared out as a joke,” Brett Detar (lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist) said in a 2008 interview. “Slowly, we started to like the music we were making with The Juliana Theory more than the music we were making with our regular bands.”
After spending time touring to build a fanbase, the band signed with the independent record label Tooth & Nail. This record deal allowed for the group to record and release their first album, which was “Understand This Is a Dream” in 1999. This was followed by Momper leaving the band and Joshua Kosker replacing him. In 2000, the band released its second Tooth & Nail album, titled “Emotion is Dead.” That album features the band’s biggest song, “We’re At The Top Of The World,” which has more than 4 million streams on Spotify.
“I think the song (‘We’re At The Top Of The World’) was really good,” Isaac Ryer (freshman, nursing) said. “I really liked the way the lyrics sounded.”
Ryer went on to say that, despite liking the song, he would not end up listening to it regularly. Ryer said it did not fit into his style of musical taste.
Combined, “Understand This Is a Dream” and “Emotion is Dead” sold almost 130,000 copies. Despite this small success for the new band, creative clashes with Tooth & Nail led to the band leaving the label in late 2000.
The Juliana Theory was without a label for only a short time. In 2001, the band signed with Epic Records. This led to an EP released in October of 2001 titled “Music from Another Room.” After the release of the EP, the band saw another lineup change with drummer Hebrank’s being replaced by Josh Walters. Following the lineup change, the band moved into recording a new album. This album became the 2003 release “Love,” which peaked at No. 71 on the Billboard 200. “Do You Believe Me?” is the most streamed song from the album.
“I liked the way that the song (‘Do You Believe Me?’) sounded,” Gaby Allison (freshman, undecided) said. “It reminded me of indie music that I hear people listening to sometimes.”
Allison said that the lyrics of the song worked really well with the feeling that the background instruments were giving off. Allison also liked the effect that the backing vocals had on the song, specifically saying that their inclusion made the song a bit better than if they were not there. “Love” sold more than 100,000 copies, despite little promotion from Epic Records.
Following disagreements with Epic Records, the band left the label and moved on to form their own label called Paper Fist. Paper Fist was affiliated with another label, Abacus Recordings, which is traditionally a heavy metal record label. Now being in complete creative control, The Juliana Theory released another album, 2005’s “Deadbeat Sweetheartbeat.” The song “Shotgun Serenade” is the most streamed song from the album, according to Spotify.
“I liked the sound of the song (‘Shotgun Serenade’),” Joey Semetkoskey (freshman, accounting) said. “The guitars and drums were really strong and carried the song.”
Semetkoskey went on to say that lyrics of the song also felt very charged and aggressive, which also helped to carry the song and make it have a hard rock feel.
Following the releases of “Deadbeat Sweetheartbeat,” the band announced Feb. 9, 2006, on MySpace that they were breaking up.
Following the 2006 separation, the band reunited a couple times to do live shows, but they never truly reformed to make an album. This changed when Detar and Fiedler reformed the band into a rock duo and signed to Equal Vision Records.
This new Juliana Theory duo and new record deal led to the release of a single in late 2020 called “Can’t Go Home.” The single was soon followed by another single released Jan. 1 called “Better Now.” Both singles led to the new duo recording a new album with Equal Vison Records called “A Dream Away.” The album features re-imagined versions of old songs, similar to what another Pennsylvania native Taylor Swift has been doing by releasing new recordings of old songs.
Currently, The Juliana Theory has not released any new music, but the door is open for more to be released.