On Sunday, January 8, twenty one pilots celebrated the 10th anniversary of their incredible 2013 album Vessel with a very special variety stream – during which Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun performed songs, told stories, and raised (at the time of writing) a whopping $46,000 for Make-A-Wish.
The whole thing was fascinating and fun – and also put to bed the tale of Vessel’s tracklist and the band’s previous album Regional At Best, which was released independently in 2011 and features many of the same songs, such as Car Radio, Guns For Hands and Holding On To You.
As Tyler explains (transcribed by Kerrang!): “It’s always been a weird conversation talking about the album Regional At Best. To give you guys some context, the first record that Josh and I released was independently, and it was the self-titled record [released in 2009]. And when I say ‘independently’, you record 14 songs in your home studio and you go, ‘This is it, so I guess let’s pay some company to print the CDs and have them ready for people to buy at shows.’ That was pretty much what that meant, to release something independently.
“And then we recorded more songs, and then we decided to release Regional At Best. Well, right around that time that we got signed [to Fueled By Ramen], was the time that we released Regional At Best.”
“The whole point of putting out one of those records was so that we would have music to play live,” continues Josh. “At that time, we were kinda like, ‘Let’s just put something together – that way we can play shows.’ And so it wasn’t a professionally recorded record; it was really just material to go and play.”
“Something for people to buy to get enough gas money to get to the next show!” adds Tyler.
The frontman then continues: “So right around the time that we got signed was the time that we kind of had already released Regional At Best – but then the time between when we released Regional At Best and when we were ready to officially release our first professionally-done, major-label record, we had written more songs since then. That’s why songs like Semi-Automatic and Fake You Out and Truce and House Of Gold aren’t on Regional At Best, the old record that technically doesn’t exist. So what happened was our label said: ‘Hey, do you wanna release Regional At Best, as is? Maybe we can remaster it or something.’ And we were like, ‘No, we have new songs, we wanna record a new record, but we’ll pull some songs from Regional At Best and have that be a part of Vessel. So technically Regional At Best doesn’t exist, because it falls in that kind of purgatory of as we were releasing music independently, and right when we got signed and we were able to release and record music professionally with a label.”
“The Regional At Best conversation, just to wrap it up: it was just a record that we had on the merch table when we were performing independently, and then we wanted to go record a real, professional record when we got signed – some of those songs we took from Regional At Best and kind of re-recorded them, and some of we had written new, since then. And that’s what Vessel is. I know some people might not like this, but I kind of view Vessel as our first record.”
Watch the full variety stream below (the RAB/Vessel discussion happens from around 40 minutes):