51 bands, 60 cities, 64 days, 8 stages, loads of sponsors and thousands
in attendance. The Vans Warped Tour is a marathon tour to say the
least, there's no sprinting allowed. It's been 12 years since its
conception and the Tour is still going strong. Each summer it manages
to draw in hundreds upon thousands of fans of all ages from pre-teen
to adults, to spend a day with bands from all types of labels, from
the majors to the indies. I've been going ever since it was its
humble beginnings held in a small outdoor park in my hometown, where
half of the venue was setup for music and the other half was setup
for skateboarders. However, this was the first year I got the chance
to attend as "press". And let me tell you it was awesome!
Never before have I had the chance to sit down and really connect
with so many amazing bands in one day. After it was all said and
done I came back with having interviewed 8 different bands and spent
a total of roughly 3 hours in the press room. To then turn around
and spend another 4 hours out in the blazing Kansas sun, watching
multiple bands play... like I said, a marathon. The bands that play
on this Tour have one heck of a schedule and a summer, it doesn't
take just any normal band to play everyday, in the heat, for weeks
at a time. It takes a band of super-heroes and I talked to 8 crazy
alliances (My last question to each band was a "fun" one:
super-hero for a day).
City Soundtrack (The Fantastic Five)
Hailing from the "City of Lakes" (a.k.a. Minneapolis),
these five young lads have left their home for the travels of the
Tour. The journey has taken them far from the "pleasant 78
degrees and sunny" climate, to a stifling 98 degrees and humid
sauna that is Kansas. Yet the change has not deterred them from
giving their fans an awesome performance. I managed to sit down
with them in the cool air-conditioned cave, or Press Room, and get
their thoughts on well, music (more specifically, theirs):
Hybrid Magazine: I'll jump right into it: After a slower start
in the beginning, you guys hit the ground running with being asked
to tour with Blink-182 and then to have Mark Hoppus
produce your next album is quite awesome. How did this effect things
for the band, being so young in the business, yet having a big name
to back you?
Motion City Soundtrack: Definitely did help having Mark jump
into the mix of things, it was a pretty big boost, being able to open
for him, and play shows with him. It helped having us associated with
HM: Do you think that Hoppus influenced your music at all?
MCS: Don't think he did that much, if anything we influenced
HM: What initially drew you to Warped Tour?
MCS: Being accepted is what drew us here, the fact that
they actually allowed us to play 3 shows the first year.
HM: Anything you guys would change about the Tour?
MCS: They should make it in a bubble with air conditioning.
HM: Anything wild happen on the road?
MCS: Jesse - This one time I wrote a book in my bunk,
it's the "bunk book". Justin - This happened to
us on one of our trips on Warped Tour: We were in a van and some
kid threw a rock through our windshield, and woke up our driver.
The driver ran, jumped the fence and chased the kid to his house
where his mom, who was a police officer, was waiting. She was like
'I'll take care of this myself' and he was like 'no you won't',
so he actually called the police over and she got in trouble for
trying to take care of it herself. It was crazy, we're not actually
The Fantastic Five- "The Shoveler" from mystery men (Justin-vocals),
Blank Man (Matt-bassist), Pluto Nash (Tony-drums),
Aquaman (Jesse-keys), and Wonderwoman (Josh-guitar)
have made their presence on Warped Tour known. Not only by their
music, but by their much anticipated "bunk book" due to
be published in late 2007??? Hey, it's got me curious.
Senses Fail (Arc Angel)
Armed with magnificent wings with which to fly across the Great
Plains to the aid of fans in trouble, Arc Angel (Buddy-vocals)
also brings with him the powers of poetry, literature, comparative
religion and excellent music. Taking on the task of speaking for
an entire band with one man is tough, but this super-hero prevailed
HM: Your bio mentions being versed in poetry, literature
and comparative religion, how does this play a part in your music?
Senses Fail: Immensely, if I didn't read that stuff or cover
that stuff, I wouldn't be in a band, or pursuing it as much, or felt
the need to have that outlet. It allows me to have a wider spectrum
of things to talk about, instead of being waa, waa, waa, waa, waa.
I don't just write a song about a girl, if I do, then it's really
HM: You're playing two sets on this years Tour, one normal
and one acoustic, this makes your schedule more hectic from day
to day. Was there a specific reason behind taking on the extra load?
SF: Vagrant asked us to do it, and wanted to make it work
so that it was something new. We really prefer the acoustic, people
seem to like it, kids want to hear songs that we think will sound
weird, but it's more laid back.
HM: Everything now-a-days is online or going online, this
largely includes music, are there any fears or worries about this
changing things for the music industry or your band in particular?
SF: No, the more people listen to you and then they come
to your show. You don't make a lot of money on record sales, you
make money playing shows and people coming to watch you. Yeah, it's
going to piss of the record industry, there's so many other things
you can do, but it's not going to destroy it, it's just going to
make it change.
HM: The name Senses Fail, is it supposed to be taken literally,
as in your senses fail you? Or is there a more specific theme you
were trying to get across?
SF: I guess I didn't have a set goal in mind; I just read
it in a book. There was this quotation in a book about philosophy
and eastern religion, it was talking about how certain guys would
go out in the woods and not eat and not do anything, just deprive
themselves of everything because they felt that was material in
this world was stopping their ability to be released from the cycle
of death and rebirth. So I really got into that, and it was the
beginning of the idea of Senses Fail. The idea to find true happiness
you have to give up everything, and just go for it.
HM: Is there anything you'd change about the Warped Tour?
SF: Less bands, it's good and bad, but a little less bands.
Other than that it runs as smooth as it possibly can for something
A smooth interview all together, in and out with the greatest of
ease. On to the next press person he flew, leaving behind his mark
on society with his lyrics and none of those "waa waa, waa
waa" songs about girls (he left so quickly, I never got a chance
to snap a picture).
The Academy Is
(Superman and Wolverine?)
"If it was just for a day I'd be Superman, if it was a long-term
thing, I'd be Wolverine". The only person I had the entire
day that truly put some thought into the super-hero question and
the only one that came up with a logical reason to be two. Since
the Tour lasted only a day, I had the chance to talk to Superman
(Tom-guitar). After tucking the cape away, we were able to
get down and dirty:
HM: Originally from Illinois, you can definitely be considered
a "Midwesterner". Do you ever find yourselves hanging
out with other Midwesterners or Illini?
The Academy Is... : The Plain White T's we've know
for a long time are from Chicago and June we've shared a van
with before are also from Chicago. So yeah, we've been hanging out
with a lot of bands from Chicago, there are just so many cool bands
and cool people on this tour.
HM: Where does "the butcher" come from?
TAI: "The butcher" was a vegetarian butcher for
a long time. We had a different guy doing the drums for awhile and
that wasn't really working out. "The butcher" used to
be in another band from Milwaukee, who broke up around when we were
starting. So, we knew he was free and asked him to join the band.
On stage and off stage he's "the butcher", no one ever
calls him by his real name, I don't even think I know what his real
name is off-hand.
HM: Is this your first year on Warped Tour?
TAI: We did two weeks last year, living in a van. It was
a rough tour.
HM: How's it going so far this year, now 4 days into it?
TAI: This tour is great, lot of cool bands and a lot of
good people. Pretty laid back, this tour's a little different from
our typical ones. A lot less crazy, it's more just hanging out with
friends. We could use an easier way to shower each day without having
to wait in line.
HM: Fueled By Ramen is a slightly small and newer
label, is there any anxiety with being under them?
TAI: No, Fueled By Ramen is really growing. There is a new
breed of bands coming out of FBR, it's a unique thing, and really
fits with our sound. It's a great label, I couldn't be happier with
HM: Any thoughts of going major in the future?
TAI: We have
FBR is still very involved with everything
and everyone. There just got to a point where the label thing was
no big deal.
A laid back "Man of Steel" could be seen lounging in
the press room as we delved deep into conversations of vegetarian
butchers. Although perhaps, had the interview carried on, the atmosphere
of the room may have become a bit more intense. As the hair started
to grow (more than it already has) and the "Steel" started
to protrude from the skin. Lucky for me, there was no such intensity.
Therefore, we made our way to the Hurley Stage for their performance.
With fellow super-members in tow, The Academy Is.. put on a rock
performance the kept the audience humming their songs all night
Paramore (The Mod Squad)
Now, I realize that the Mod Squad wasn't composed of super-heroes,
it was rather crime fighting members. But, it also had a unique group
of people in it. That's the only way I can describe the super-heroes
I had in this band. There's one Séance (Haley-vocals)
courtesy of Gerard Way, which has the ability to steal everyone
else's powers. Then we have Spiderman (Josh-guitarist), Aquaman
(Hunter-guitarist), The Tick (Jeremy-bassist), and an
undecided hero: either Fat Albert or Jimmy Neutron (Zac-drums).
As you can see, they have quite a uniqueness to them and a lot of
creativity flowing. Which is can be seen not only in their imagination,
but their music as well.
HM: Being a band that is fronted by a girl automatically places
you guys in a category, before people even get a chance to listen
to the music. How have you dealt with that?
Paramore: There are a lot of female fronted bands, but we're
totally different as far as our music goes, we're just really energetic.
There's a lot of emotion mixed in with that, so when you see us live,
it won't be what you expect. You see a girl singer and you automatically
put the band in this different category. We can change that. It starts
at the source, we don't consider ourselves a female fronted band,
we're just a rock band. That helps a lot.
HM: You have some young members in the band, where the rest
of your age bracket could still be in high school, has that ever presented
P: Zac - I have my permit, I can drive, but I'm only
16. Haley - We're a completely different band than we were
when we started. It's evident in the way we look and act, but in the
music we're writing now. We just shot a video that can really show
people how much we've grown. It's somewhere we've all wanted to be,
but it seems we've gotten there a lot faster than we expected it to.
HM: All We Know Is Falling is your first album and
really first appearance on the music scene, how has the response been
from the industry?
P: We've had a ton of good and bad, but the bad comes with
everything you do. We all kind of knew coming into it, what we would
be compared to and who we would be grouped up with. The industry has
been cool, for the most part, they've had a lot of good things to
say and give us a lot of compliments that we appreciate. But, at the
same time they're the reason that we do get those comparisons to the
HM: Warped Tour is a unique tour for most bands to go on,
how do you like it, has it been enjoyable so far?
P: We played last year for a month and this year we've only
played for like 4 days but it's already been such a great experience.
Last year was kind of draining, we didn't really know what to expect
going into it. And this year we were just ready for it, this was our
second summer. It's been amazing, this is like summer camp. The most
fun we've ever had on a tour.
HM: You're currently signed with Fueled By Ramen, how did
that all fall into place for you?
P: Through management, got hooked up through a friend-of-the-family.
We recorded some demos; he flipped out over them, just loved it. So,
he came to visit one day and watch us, and that was it, he wanted
to put out the album.
HM: Is it a perfect fit or are there thoughts of going major
P: Yeah, perfect fit. We can't imagine being on another label.
In the end Zac decided on Fat Albert, and Hunter still couldn't figure
out the name of the one superhero with the long white beard who lives
in the water. Even though we're all convinced he secretly wants to
be the king from The Little Mermaid. Whether water bred or
land, and cartoon or real, this band has something to offer the industry.
Put aside the fact that a female is in front and really give them
a chance. Besides if you don't, you better watch out, the Séance
might be watching!
Autumn to Ashes and Moneen (The X-Men)
No, Wolverine didn't make it to this interview and Cyclops called
in sick. However, we did have another Wonderwoman (Brian-guitar/FATA),
a Dreadlock Fiasco (Chris "The Hippy"-guitar &
vox/Moneen), and two "Kenny's" (Josh-bassist/FATA
& Kenny-guitar & vox/Moneen). Ok, so no one from the
actual X-Men showed up, but these four guys were so crazy, making
up some of their own superheroes that I just grouped it all together
in "X". Let's see, well Dreadlock Fiasco was given powers
in his hair that allowed him to climb walls, grab things and fight
people all without lifting a finger. So, then Kenny was so insane
that they thought he could just be his own superhero, complete with
banana and dad's swim trunks. Not really having any special powers,
except for the fact that everyone wants to be him, like Josh. This
interview was one of the most entertaining, it took about 20 minutes
to answer the first question and come to think of it, I don't think
it actually got answered. After that, the two bands basically interviewed
each other, we were just the spectators.
HM: For Moneen - online you're classified as both emo
and rock, how do you manage to fit two distinct genres into one album?
Moneen: Well, you got to make them small enough to fit on
the press machine when you press the CDs, you got to stick in there
and shove it in there, kick it. Then take a lighter to melt it a little
bit to make it squishy, then BAM press, done. New album, rock and
HM: Everything today is going online, are there any fears
that this will drastically change things for your bands or the industry
M: I've never been pissed, ever, for touring before a record
comes out and kids are singing along to a song that hasn't been released
yet. (On this question we had a guest speaker, Rick from The
Casualties) Rick - in the future there's not going to be
CDs or records, people are going to buy something online with the
artwork. I'm bummed in that fact that there might not be physical
music anymore. I hope that doesn't happen. But any way people get
your music is going to reciprocate in some way, they're going to come
to your shows, they might buy a t-shirt, or come jam out with you.
Real fans will buy it 'cause they want the artwork.
From Autumn To Ashes: If that many more people know us for
some reason or another, which will generate something for more kids
coming to shows. To us the artwork has been almost as important as
the actual music.
HM: For Moneen- "If Tragedy's Appealing, Then Disaster's
An Addiction" is not only quite a song title, but it also demands
a lot of the song itself. Is there any specific theme or message that
you're trying to get across on the album?
M: Last year, when we were writing it, so many bad things
were happening that we really couldn't get away from. It was like
the whole world was falling to pieces. We didn't want to sing about
girls, because I've been with the same girl for ten years, and what
the hell am I going to sing about? Nothing. So we tried to look for
other things. It got so bad; I had to write about it. We wrote about
things that felt relevant to everyone. In the end we felt better about
this record than any other, because it felt like what we were singing
about had much more of a message.
HM: There are so many stereotypes associated with this style
and genre(s) of music, how do you guys combat those or try to break
free of them?
FATA: It's pretty ridiculous; it's just a different costume
than everything was 5 years ago. Everyone thinks that they're doing
something cool cause they got their punk-rock studded belt on, when
really that's just uncomfortable. The whole segmented genre thing
right now is ridiculous, cause it's the same dudes, and same music.
It was probably one of the least productive interviews of the day,
yet one of the most enjoyable. To hear the wild stories that came
out of Brian's head kept us all laughing, from: the days of unlimited
limo service, to flying on a plane with "new guy" Bon
Jovi, and starting his whole career at the age of 7. After awhile
you had to ask yourself, "Is any of this true?" Whether
or not it was true, these four guys were hysterical! It was nice to
have an interview that really wasn't that professional, rather it
was relaxed and unscripted. I didn't get a chance to see either of
the bands perform, due to being trapped in the press room. However,
I am making it a point to make sure that I catch them the next time
either is in my area. You can be sure that sticking Wonderwoman and
Kenny on one stage, and then another Kenny and Dreadlock Fiasco on
another stage will really give you a memorable show. It sure gave
me a memorable interview!
Thursday (The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen)
Extraordinary indeed, this was certainly one of the interviews and
performances that I was anticipating ever since I heard the line-up
for Warped Tour. Not only did we have an excellent interview session
(which ended up being more of a press conference), but I was lucky
enough to have the opportunity to go backstage with the band and hang
out on stage while they performed. From mild-mannered guys by day,
they transformed into: He-man (Andrew-keys), Skeletor (Steve-guitar),
and Wonderwoman (Tucker-drums). Yes another one, what's the
deal with all these guys wanting to be a girl? Though they would argue
that they're just typical guys, having fun just doing what they want.
The hundreds upon hundreds of screaming fans which show up at each
stop on the Tour just to see them, beg to differ the mildness of their
manner. Granted, it was an honor to be able to sit with them, like
normal people, and talk:
HM: There's been talk that today there are bands coming out
that tend to sound like you or consider you their influence. It has
also been said that you guys can be considered icons of our generation,
is it a welcome surprise to hear this or a bit nerve-racking?
Thursday: It's definitely a little nerve-racking. They go
after specific records, not necessarily our sound. There's always
going to be bands ripping us off. Although, I don't really see our
new record sounding like anything else. But, it's definitely flattering.
We've been influenced by other bands, so to have that happen for us
is definitely flattering.
HM: Your band has been classified in places as "indie",
now to some music enthusiasts the word "indie" refers to
a band that is independent of a major label or currently signed with
an "indie" label. Do you consider that label more of a style
of music rather than a category that you're placed in because of legality?
T: For us "indie" means we started this band doing
it ourselves, and we still do it ourselves. We make decisions and
have everything go through us. We'll always be independent band; we
don't really follow the major label standards.
HM: There are so many other tours to be going on. Why the
T: Well, in our first year, which was 2000, we only did 3
or 4 shows and then 2002 was our first real tour. It's a crazy schedule;
you never know what time you play each day which can get annoying.
But in the end its cool, it's like rock'n'roll summer camp, with all
HM: Anything you would change about the Tour?
T: More showers, less lines for the showers, less sun, more
air-conditioning, lots of soap, longer set times, half an hour is
good because you're usually exhausted anyways, but it would be nice
to play for an hour or 45 minutes.
HM: Ever catch yourselves wishing you had chosen a different
path, or wanting to be doing something else?
well, it would be nice to be a stay-at-home dad,
but I have to have a kid first (Tucker). We're fortunate that we can
make a living doing this. We never really call it a job, because it
doesn't feel like one. We're just really lucky. The band's been together
for close to 8 years, I think that once we hit that 10 year mark,
Thursday has that chance to stay around for a really long time (Andrew).
Being in a band there's a time and place for everything, you can act
like a retard if you want to, and there's always the time and place
to be grown-up. I wouldn't want to do anything else, it's the only
thing that affords me to be who I am and not have to answer to anyone
or have someone tell me what to do (Tucker). We have a lot of fun
and act like little boys (Andrew).
HM: What's one thing you want people to get out of this interview?
T: Go watch Every Time I Die
get rid of your flat
With there being two other press publications in the room, I didn't
really get a chance to ask all of my questions. But, everything was
made up when I got to go on stage. To see the faces of all those fans
while they watched their favorite band perform, there aren't words
to describe it. Extraordinary is really the best way to categorize
them. You can stick in real and down-to-earth as well, because I got
that sense as well. Are they icons of this generation? I'm not sure.
What I do know is they inspire, they influence, they move and they
excite their fans. They're in it for the long haul and will be around
for sometime, with or without their super powers.
Against (The Dynamic Duo)
With the absence of their fellow members, the two heroes represented
their band well. A second Wonderwoman (Joe-bassist) was present
and an intriguing Super Ex-girlfriend (Tim-vocals/guitar) accompanied.
However my trusty sidekick (voice recorder) was already indisposed,
recording a previous conference in another room. Thus, I had to resort
to pen and paper. Therefore, the answers are not exact and I will
do what I can to relay what was said.
HM: You guys are one of the few bands on this Tour who are
under a major label, how does this effect things with other bands
that are on independents?
Rise Against: Everyone started out on an indie label
still have those friends that we made when we started out
label stuff doesn't really make a difference when you're backstage.
HM: Your website doesn't really offer a "bio" section;
do you think you can give me a brief run-down of what it might say?
RA: All started out in the Chicago punk-rock scene
networking we were able to find our various members
countless drummers until the perfect one came along
HM: There are a lot of amazing bands that have come out of
the Midwest, more specifically Chicago. Can you think of an explanation
for the surge from Chicago?
RA: The Midwest/Chicago is such an outlet for music because
it's able to maintain it's originality from either coast
become able to be independent of each coast as well
ability to keep growing and bringing in more and more talent.
HM: Why Warped Tour?
RA: The camaraderie of all the bands is awesome
fun for us.
HM: Anything you would change about it?
RA: Less cities!
Their powers are astounding; they have the ability to "rise
against" or as Tim would say: "in true punk form, it's the
ability to overcome anything that's in your way". It was their
performance that closed out the day for me and was definitely one
of the largest. Their incredible music pulsed through the giant speakers,
causing all citizens in the way/ audience to jump to their feet in
exhilaration. Though all our energy had been drained from not only
the happenings of the day, but the intense, unyielding Kansas sun,
we still managed to jam out for their show. Tim showed us his appreciation
for sticking it out all day, over and over again.
By the end I had had one unbelievable day. I came out with some great
interviews, even better pictures and a slight sun burn. Will I do
another marathon next year? Heck, yes!!
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