For most bands like pop-punk quintet Motion City Soundtrack, life on the road is all about nonstop parties and waking up in a trashed hotel room in a puddle of your own bodily fluids.
But for the band's guitarist Joshua Cain, the excesses of the road are measured much differently.
"We're kind of not that crazy of a band, you know," Cain said. "The highlights of this tour have been playing good shows. No real crazy stories right now. Crazy as in like 'Yeah, I just watched an entire season of 'Heroes' yesterday.'"
While the band's fan base has developed the most over the past five years, the earliest incarnation of Motion City Soundtrack formed nearly a decade ago in Cain's and front man Justin Pierre's hometown of Minneapolis.
"We grew up in the early '90s, when grunge broke out in Seattle," Cain said. "But Minneapolis was having a large music scene at that time, with The Replacements and Soul Asylum."
Cain said he enjoyed being a part of the Minneapolis music scene, and his veneration for the scene shows in his current musical efforts. On the b-side for their single "This Is for Real," the band covered "Plymouth Rock," a song by local cult favorites Lifter Puller, best known as Craig Finn's old band.
"I like where I live a lot," he said. "It's a good feeling to like where you're from."
But unlike fellow upstarts The Hold Steady, Motion City Soundtrack is more Sunny Day Real Estate than Bruce Springsteen, fusing together pop-punk, indie and '80s dance music for an upbeat, danceable take on their genre.
"We definitely grew up with Fugazi and The Promise Ring," Cain said. "I feel like there's a movement of really washed-out pop bands going. The movement we're a part of may move toward obscurity, which is cool, I guess. We're just going to keep doing what we do and see what happens."
But the band has looked outside both Minneapolis and the realm of bands like Fugazi for inspiration. On its most recent disc, 2007's Even If It Kills Me, MCS employed the works of three pop music veterans: Eli Janney of Girls Against Boys, Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger and The Cars' Ric Ocasek.
"We were really stoked to work with people who were really song-oriented," Cain said. "Adam Schlesinger's a songwriter. He gets in there and tries to pick apart your songs"
Cain said working with Ocasek, who produced landmark albums like Weezer's Blue Album and Bad Brains's Rock for Light, was a disappointment.
"We were kind of bummed afterwards because he really didn't do much with it," Cain says. "We were really stoked before, but we wish we would have done the record without him."
Because Motion City Soundtrack has produced and shot music videos for a sizable number of singles, the band has a large catalog to choose from to keep shows exciting for both themselves and the fans.
"We really want to diversify this tour and not make it so standardized," Cain said.
Following their fall tour, the guys plan to take a much-needed vacation before going back into the studio to write and record their fourth album.
"We're spending the rest of the year writing this record," Cain said. "We're going to say goodnight and Jeff's going to go on a Japanese soul-searching vacation. And some of the guys are going to take a big break and enjoy themselves."