What is a Song Shop song, really?

A Song Shop Song is a personalized song written for you, by me, about anything you want. You buy a song and then tell me what you want it to be about. I write it and when your song is ready, we upload it to a place where you can download it as an mp3 and it’s yours and yours alone.

How much does a song cost?

A shorter song is $85,and a full-length song is $170. There are various other “packages” available on the front page of this site with their respective prices.

How long is each song? What do they sound like?

Song Shops are acoustic recordings done by me through a quality mike. Once and a while I’ll layer guitars or sounds but more often than not I just perform them live for a very organic, emotionally resonant feel, (which is the most fun and easy) while still having them sound great. The fidelity and production as well as the songwriting of the songs continues to improve each time we open up. The “vibe” of the song totally ranges based on what feelings your description provokes in me. They make be scream-filled, punk-ish, loud and dark or delicate and soft; bouncy and jubilant or aching and longing. You can (but don’t have to) specify what you’re looking for in that sense when you submit your description.

As for how long they are, a half-length song is usually between 1 and two minutes. A full length is generally between 2.5 and 4, but both vary and sometimes I tend to make the songs a bit longer. I’ve never received a complaint as to the length of the songs.

What is a "Featuring Sherri" song? How long are they?

"Featuring Sherri" songs are Song Shop songs featuring additional vocals by Max's wife, Sherri Dupree Bemis, of Eisley and Perma. Outside of her own band, you can hear Sherri's vocals featured on the last two Say Anything records, as well as singing with Max at www.permamusic.com. Max will write the lyrics and sing lead vocals on the songs, and Sherri will contribute backups, harmonies, and in certain cases, leads of her own. Either way, if you dig songs like "Cemetery" or "Overbiter", this is the option for you.

How long has Song Shop been around and how many songs have you written for it?

I started Song Shop in the summer of 2008. We’ve opened it once or twice a year since then, and I’ve written between 800 and near about 1000 frickin’ songs for it.

What gave you the idea for Song Shop?

With music pretty much free for the taking (which rules), I was thinking about how a musician can present something that’s totally original and ACTUALLY MEANINGFUL (not to say original music isn’t meaningful). I asked myself: as a music fan what is something I would actually want that can’t be pirated? What is something that would touch my heart in a truly direct way?” My answer was “a song written by Dave Grohl”. I thought to myself “I would probably pay a thousand dollars to have my own Foo Fighters song about my life.” Before I conned him into writing music with me for free (we’re in a band together), I would have done the same for Chris Conley from Saves the Day. Though I don’t consider myself as talented as either Grohl OR Conley, I realized a lot of kids probably would value a song written about them by me (which is crazy to think about, but uncannily it’s true). It’s become a really involved emotional experience connecting with our fans on this intimate a level and providing them something unique.

How the @#@# do u write so many songs?

I consider myself a writer before anything, so I’ve spent years (trying) to master phrasing and rhyme, kind of like a medieval court minstrel or something. Melodies come first, but since I’ve written so many already, it’s become an acquired sort of muscle memory-ish ability of mine to be able to come up with a lot of stuff and still have it be worthy of a song and from the heart. Part of how I write songs is wanting to affect an impression right out of the gate with what I say (as you may have noticed with my Say Anything work) so being bluntly honest isn’t as hard as writing some weird veiled overly poetic stuff. It’s pretty much the only thing in my life that comes this easily to me, since I’m clumsy, neurotic and have A.D.D. I’m also an easy empathizer so I actually disappear into the subject matter and emotion of the songs.

What should I have you write about?

Seriously, anything goes. Details are always very helpful, but less info (a line or two) can sometimes be just as inspiring, as it leaves me more room to expand upon the themes with my own word-play and vision; therefore you can have lots to say or a little to say and it will be equally helpful. Don’t feel “cheesy” for having me write you a love song; I adore doing so and try to make every one stand out and resonate. Don’t feel cliché for having me write a song about loneliness, angst, depression or mental health issues; the songs always reflect a part of my soul and I can write about it forever and in an infinite amount of ways. You DESERVE your song, should you want one. Everyone’s problems and joys are epic to them and that’s why music makes people feel so much. Don’t be embarrassed, this is between you and me and I’ve led a really awkward, messed up life, so I’m up for anything. If there is something you know a loved one would want, you can express the type of person they are or what they mean to you and I will do my best to make the song something they’d love. Also, something silly and lighthearted is also just as valid as something dark or deep.

Can I have you cover a song or sing guest vocals on my music instead of an original song?

Unfortunately, though you wouldn’t think so, both of these things take much more time than writing a song for me, so we don’t include them as an option in Song Shop. However, if you have lyrics you’ve written, I will change them around a bit and incorporate them into your song if you’d like. Just include them with your description and it’ll be like we collaborated on the song! I’m also known to do the odd Say Anything cover, but we try to keep it minimal.

When and how often is Song Shop open?

As of now, I can only do Song Shop in a limited capacity because of Say Anything, family, and writing comics and whatnot, and how long it stays open depends on how many people buy the songs, so I can’t say either definitively and would encourage you to join the mailing list when it’s closed and act quickly when the Shop opens.

What is the process of buying a song like? Where do I write what I want it to be about? What if something happens and I want to change my song info? How can I check the status of the song and how will I know when it’s done?

First you’ll select what kind of song you want, and then pay for it through PayPal. You’ll be emailed login info to a site where you can enter one or two paragraphs about what you want me to write about, and your phone number. You can then login back to this site any time to make sure your info is there or change the info, all the way up until when I do your song, when the status will change and your description will be locked. Once the song is done we’ll email you to notify you. At this time you can go back to the same site, download an mp3 of the song and it’s yours!

How long does it take to receive a song? When does Max work on them?

The functional basis of Song Shop, as I’ve said many times, is patience. Some people get their songs in the first couple of weeks/months after we open and it’s awesome to see people’s reactions to that. I try to do what I can through my g-mail account to see if I can get people their songs on prescribed dates, but this is in no way a guarantee.. It all depends on how many people bought songs, which kind of song I happen to be working on each day, family situation, and so many outside factors I can’t even begin to list them.

These songs and this interaction are a HUGE, HUGE part of my life. Once the shop is open, whether I’m on tour or not, I reserve special time almost every day to get a bunch of songs done. Sometimes I’m forced to take off time from writing. However, I’m back at it again ASAP and over a decade into doing this, I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I were pumping out crappy songs for the money y’all pay me and would have instead named it “Song Factory”. When it comes to having to wait a bit for your song, the only thing I can say is that, having spoken personally to literally hundreds of kids who bought songs, all of them take the time to mention that the wait is nothing compared to how fulfilling an experience having your own song is.

What are the best things I can do as a Song Shop customer to keep things functional?

First of all, complete your song description as soon as you get your payment verification email or shortly after so I can attack your song as soon as I’m ready. Also PLEASE make sure emails from noreply@merchdirect.com or my email at gmail.com aren’t going into your spam folder. The only times we’ve ever hard a harder time getting someone their song is when contact information has changed without notifying us, people don’t answer our emails, or the evil SPAM folder gets involved. Either way we’ve set up our new online status system to avoid those email mishaps, so you can check the status of your song online whenever you want and download it directly from the site. Overall, keep in touch, be patient and look for the emails we send out to everyone who bought a song that will keep you updated about the status of this “wave” of Song Shop.

If I bought a song and have a question that isn’t answered on this site, whom should I contact?

Feel free to shoot an email over to at help@merchdirect.com when it comes to the functionality of the process, or if you have a personal concern you can reach me at youboughtarecord@gmail.com. The least productive thing you can do is tweet at me or about the process. Remember there are thousands of cases involved and I’m totally anxiety ridden in general so having someone complain about their particular issue publicly gives me a mini meltdown. I am ALWAYS down to try my best to address each and every customer personally if needed.