Rock Star Lifestyle: Warped Tour 2010 band interviews

A different day a different state becomes the routine lifestyle for the bands of Warped Tour. Some tour for the whole summer, other’s for just a few weeks. Band members rotate between playing shows in the hot and sticky summer sun, to selling merchandise and signing a few autographs for fans here and there.

Backstage they fluctuate between waiting in long lines to take a shower and doing interviews with the press which gets them out of the sun for a little while.  At the end of the day, as the bands head off to their buses, many of whom are carrying around their own equipment, they drive off to a different state to do it all over again.

At about 101 degrees Fahrenheit in Virginia Beach on July 21, Warped Tour at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre was muggy madness. But this is the price to pay for some of these bands to attempt reaching out to a new fan base across the country. The heat and the long tours that cause band members to be away from loved ones for days or months at a time is a sacrifice to the passion behind making music and the dedication that goes with being in a band.

After Midnight Project

As a kid, After Midnight Project lead singer Jason Evigan wanted to be a professional hockey player. In school he would speak a language called “Double G” and pretend he was Russian.

“I think people thought I was a creep, they probably knew I was lying,” he said.

This was the After Midnight Project’s third year on the Warped Tour but first time being a part of the tour for a whole summer. The band is from Los Angeles.

“It’s a hardcore tour. It’s the best way to stay in touch with the fans and it’s the best way to get out there,” Evigan said.

The touring life has become a norm for him since he has been touring for the last two years with only five months off in that time. Evigan said sleeping at home after touring becomes a challenge after adjusting to the constant traveling.

“I’ll be sitting at home on my couch not doing anything, like ‘Hmm this feels weird I should be doing something,’” Evigan said. “It feels good to take a break once in a while.”

Aside from writing songs and performing, Evigan also produces bands. One he’s producing is the band Wicker. A member of the band, Max, was seen on episodes of E!’s reality show “Pretty Wild,” dating Tess Taylor.

After Midnight Project’s latest album came out last August and is titled “Let’s Build Something To Break.” They will be putting out a “Live From Bamboozle” album in about a month.

Evigan is the songwriter, who focuses on love and being away from loved ones. Their single “Take Me Home” made it to number one in the charts in Florida.

Evigan’s favorite song on the album is “The Criminal,” which is about six minutes long and was inspired by a soldier he met at a party. “I met this soldier at a party, we were both pretty drunk and we were talking. He told me his whole story about coming back and the crazy stuff that  he saw and how he felt like he’d never be the same after, and I promised him I’d write a song about it and he was like, ‘OK, cool bro.’ And I’ve never seen him again,” Evigan said.

http://www.myspace.com/aftermidnightproject

Emmure

From Queens, New York, 24 year-old Frankie Palmeri does “communications” for Emmure, a hardcore/metal band. He’s the lead singer.

One of the first things that pop out when seeing Palmeri is the large “Shadaloo” tattoo that covers his throat, which is a skull with wings. Shadaloo is a Capcom figure that represents a criminal organization in Street Fighter, according to giantbomb.com.

He has a lot of tattoos on his arms, one of which is Darth Vader. His favorite Star Wars film is Episode 3 because that is when one sees the transformation of Anakin to Vader.

“[Vader] is Star Wars. If you could [compare] the Bible to Star Wars, he’d be Jesus,” Palmeri said.

He started singing when he was 11 and writes songs that are based on his own personal life experiences.

“[I write about] me. If a class on me could be a class I could take in school I’d get an ‘A.’ Not an ‘A plus’ though, I’m kind of lazy,” he said.

Palmeri couldn’t name his favorite songs of Emmure because he said all the songs have their place. He also couldn’t name favorite places to tour because he didn’t want to leave anyone out.

“I love playing for or fans anywhere and everywhere. I like touring the world. Earth is my favorite place to tour,” Palmeri said. “Anywhere we go we’re just happy there are people out there willing to give us a try.”

One place Palmeri said he really enjoyed was Japan. He made a trip solo and hopes that he can go there with his band to play shows. With Warped Tour he went from Maryland on July 20 to Virginia and will then go to North Carolina.

“People who don’t travel, which is a majority of people, and they ask me ‘Oh you’re from New York, what’s that like?’ And I’m just like it’s just like your life, I sit at home and jerk off and eat TV dinners and I hope something cool happens and that’s the way the world works,” he said and laughed. “I don’t hate on any certain place. I think people make places unique.”

http://www.myspace.com/emmure

The Mighty Regis

The Mighty Regis is a collaboration of six men and one woman (Ryan), touring together and singing Celtic music. They all go by nicknames.

“We started out as a roll-around good-time let’s-play-for-some-drinks band, and at that time we had silly nicknames for ourselves when we were just starting out and they just stuck with us,” Ryan, who’s original name is Mary, said. “Some were bestowed on us and some came organically.”

“We kind of, out of fun, grew personas and back stories around these nicknames for our fun and took it on stage and it became part of our stage show and people started to enjoy it,” Franky said. “We took the names and added some Irish accents and made it a different kind of punk show for us.”

Franky said people assume that people with Irish last names are 100 percent Irish. “My family’s from Ireland so I made up a story about being arrested 45 times in Ireland and having to leave because I was the most wanted person in the island,” he said. The nicknames, back stories and accents are a way to give the fans a lot to see as they perform.

“Celtic music is a great way to tell a story,” Franky said.

Without a label or much financial backing, The Mighty Regis makes money playing at pubs and clubs. They also pulled in almost $3,000 from their fans by offering sponsorships.

“It was a huge help. It enabled us to rent the RV and put gas in it,” Ryan said.

According to Ryan, The Mighty Regis get along well touring. “It’s like having a big band of brothers, they treat me extremely well, I have to say,” Ryan said. “We’re friends who love to perform with each other.”

“Every time I check in with my mom, she says ‘Oh that poor Mary, what she must be going through…I’m like ‘She’s the one you don’t have to worry about,’” Paddy said.

The band suggests to anyone with financial concerns about being in a band to just find a way.

“You really gotta want to do and you really gotta not let those barriers stop you. We’re not doing it at this point to get rich. No one here in this band has gotten paid to be in this band,” Paddy said. “You really have to want it and it really has to be something that you want to do.”

http://www.myspace.com/themightyregis

Iwrestledabearonce

They didn’t really wrestle a bear, but guitarist Steven Bradley said their stage manager who the band call’s “Manny” used to wrestle bears. The band name was actually inspired by an episode of “I’m With Busey,” starring Gary Busey.

“We were wasted watching the show ‘I’m With Busey,’ he took people to the desert to find a magical Indian guy. Then they’re in the middle of talking and he’s clearly been smoking peyote and literally people are speaking and he grabs one of them and says ‘I wrestled a bear once.’ Nobody [was] talking about wrestling bears but we thought it was a great idea for a band name,” Bradley said.

Aside from being a guitarist, Bradley said he also handles “the nerdy stuff,” which consists of electronic/computer programming. “My dad worked on the first computers ever in America. We had AOL 1.0,” he said.

Bradley said he’d like to deejay if he had the time. “I love electronic music. Everyone’s like ‘What do you listen to lately? Brutal metal?’ I fucking hate metal. For some reason we play in a band people consider metal. It doesn’t make any sense,” he said.

This is Iwrestledabearonce’s first time in Warped Tour. Their first day was July 20 and they spent their first night on their tour loading their merchandise which came in later than expected. “We had to load all of our equipment, our stuff rides on an 18 wheeler for the rest of the tour. Our dolly broke yesterday so we had to carry pretty much everything. The reason I play music is because I suck at manual labor and carrying heavy things,” he said.

The album “It’s All Happening” which came out a year ago was rereleased a couple weeks ago which features tour footage and the stem of their tracks so people can remix their music. Bradley said the band wants to do a contest for the best remix of their music and fly the winner out to a show.

Iwrestledabearonce tours together and lives together. “Obviously we get pissed at each other but it lasts like five minutes and we’re just like, ‘sorry,’” he said.

The secret for a band to stay together according to Bradley is to not be a dick. “Be nice to the people you’re in a band with. No egos,” he said.

“As soon as someone in our band thinks they were special we would beat them to death with their own shoes. That’s like our thing as the band, destroying the fact that if you’re in a band you immediately have to be a dick and I don’t know, it’s ridiculous,” Bradley said. “We’re idiots, we’re lucky to be here. I never understand kids who like a band and they’re assholes and they still like the band. You’re a human.”

http://www.myspace.com/iwrestledabearonce

Parkway Drive

This is Parkway Drive’s second time with Warped Tour. The Australian hardcore band came from a small town called Byron Bay, a town of about 15,000 people. A town not too keen on their music style.

“For the scene we had there, which was the hardcore scene at the time, it was just a handful of friends. The people who actually wanted to do the band was very limited, and the people who could actually do the music was limited  as well so eventually there were five of us left so that’s how the band started,” lead singer/lyricist Winston McCall, 27, said.

Rather than the lead singer, McCall refers to himself as the “screamer.” “I sound a lot like the Cookie Monster,” he said.

While on the tour, McCall said the band isn’t too much into partying. However, they share Every Time I Die’s sound guy, and he likes to drink.

At one point, McCall said their sound guy was under the influence when driving a motor bike with their merchandise which was piled on a Home Depot trolley.

“We turn around and we see Zach screaming and he’s doing 30 miles an hour in a motor bike. He loses it completely, the motor bike takes off and he flies into the side of a bus. We all completely lost it, and the merch comes flying out of the back of the trailer. That was like three days in. That’s probably the best moment we had so far,” McCall said.

Parkway Drive’s latest album, “Deep Blue,” was released a couple weeks ago according to McCall. Since they are all surfers, McCall said the ocean and being from a small town plays a major influence on their lyrics.

“I’ve been to so many places in the world, and the town we come from is still the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The town is on a cape so we have the ocean surrounding three quarters of the town. It’s a nice place to live,” he said.

He said being from Byron Bay made them not take anything for granted. “To be in a band especially the type of music we create, there’s no commercial or monetary gain. If you want to make this music you don’t do it because you want to get big. We literally started this band to play and share it to our friends so they could mosh and have fun, and now we’re on Warped Tour which is pretty ridiculous,” he said.

In order to make money, they had to tour. However, McCall said touring in Australia could only last two weeks but in America one can tour for months and never hit the same place twice. He was making coffee before he decided to quit and tour.

“Being able to play this music is a great way of seeing places and a great way of meeting people. Being surfers we all have the travel bug,” McCall said.

“A band is just people playing music. If you’re doing it just for the sake of the band, you’re guaranteed not to fail. There [are] so many people out there just trying to make some money,” he said. “Do what you want to do.”

http://www.myspace.com/parkwaydrive

Tip The Van

Before “indie rock power pop” Tip The Van started, the members had pretty good jobs. Howie was a product manager for a restaurant and Nicole also worked in the same restaurant and did marketing in college.

“We just quit them, we all had our last days July 1,” Howie said. “People told me I was insane for quitting my job.”

To make that decision was terrifying, Howie said, but it was what they wanted to do, and

the band had their parent’s support. “For us it was like, we’ll never have this chance again,” Howie said.

“We decided to quit our jobs and do this because we believe in the record we just wrote and we believe in the music we play. We know that we’re going to be OK…we hope that we’re going to be OK,” Nicole said, then laughed.

Tip The Van got its name when the band literally almost tipped a van they were riding in on their way to a show. They have been a band for eight years; Howie has been there for two. Tip The Van played at Warped Tour as a band in 2005 and 2006. Nicole and her sister, Simone, sang back up for Big D And The Kids Table at Warped Tour last year. They have traditionally been a ska band but have recently been working on a different sound.

“We were sitting down to write this new album that we will be releasing tat the end of the summer and we were like ‘should we write a ska album which is what is expected,’ or, we’re all getting older, do we write an album that we’re going to be super proud of that represents who we are?,” Howie said.

“A lot of the songs that are on it, we had in the works for a long time. Some of them we were kind of like should we introduce this? It’s how we feel it’s what we want to write but how is everyone going to accept it. But then we were like it’s how we feel, you have to be true to that,” Nicole said.

Before playing shows, Howie said they sing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” in a cappella. “We get some weird looks,” Howie said and laughed.

Tip The Van’s single “Refuse The Tide” will be the title track to the new AP they’ll release in August or September. As of now, they don’t have a label. “We’re shopping it around right now to see if anyone wants to pick it up,” Nicole said.

“Everything is on our own.  That’d be cool being on a label in five years but if we were still doing it like this at least we have control over everything that gets released,” Howie said.

“We want to be self sufficient. We want to be able to do this and not have to worry about day jobs,” Nicole said. “This is what we love.”

http://tipthevan.com

Mike Posner

At the age of 13, Mike Posner convinced his mother to buy him a keyboard. He figured out how to hook it up to her computer, and then he started making his own beats for eight years.

“Two years ago I just got sick off giving my beats to other people so I started singing,” Posner said. He decided to sing, which lead him to have a hit single, “Cooler Than Me,” which has been getting major radio play and got him on Warped Tour for his first time.

“There’s so much tradition on this tour, it’s such an honor to be a part of it, doing the kind of music I do, it’s an honor” he said. Posner said the song “Cooler Than Me” is about a certain person and a certain type of person.

Despite the popularity of his single, which he has even performed on The George Lopez Show, Posner said he isn’t satisfied. “It feels good… but I’m not content at all and I can’t wait for people to hear the rest of my album August 10,” he said. The album is “30 More Minutes to Take Off.”

The 22 year-old from Michigan said the tour has been a lot of hard work. “There’s two ways to do Warped Tour, you can do your show then chill on the bus or you can do your show and then thank the people that allow you to live your dreams and that’s what I do every day I don’t care how long it takes,” Posner said. “I’m working as hard as I can. Sometimes I’m doing three shows a day.”

His advice to others who are interested in becoming musicians is to do whatever it takes. “You never know what opportunity’s going to lead to something successful so you can’t let any pass by,” Posner said.

http://www.mikeposner.com/us/mywall

Dirty Little Rabbits

The merchandise table for Dirty Little Rabbits at Warped Tour features a uterus and ovaries. The picture represents their front-woman Stella who is a cute and petite blonde. But don’t assume she’s just some girly-girl.

Stella was backstage with crutches because she broke her ankle seven weeks ago. She also had a fractured rib.

“The people with the golf carts are not impressed by my crutches at all. They could care less. ‘I’m in a band, with a broken ankle and I’m cute,’” she said and laughed. She broke her ankle coming off a stage after playing a show in Iowa.

When performing she comes to the microphone with her crutches, and by the end of her third song, she’s hopping up and down with her arms in the air as both crutches lay on the stage.

Dirty Little Rabbits was originally supposed to be the name for a song they were writing. Their self titled album came out July 7.

Stella is originally from Chicago and has lived in London, Ney York City and Los Angeles. She moved out of Los Angeles to Des Moines, Iowa in order to be in the band after being convinced by good friend and band mate Shawn Crahan.

“He came to LA looking for me to sing in this band with him. He came and three weeks later I left,” she said and laughed.

Though transitioning from living in bigger cities to Des Moines was a shock at first, she knew she had to do it for the music. “[Shawn] and Michael Pfaff were writing partners and they had written like 10 songs and recorded them and brought them with me and he’s like ‘Listen to this, sit with it for a day, let me know if there’s any song on it that you’d like to put vocals on.’ I didn’t get it, that I was auditioning for a band,” she said.

Stella said the next day Shawn told her he had a plan for her to move to Iowa and be the lead singer. “I just fell in love with the music, you know. And I was like ‘fuck, I got to move to Des Moines now,’” she said and laughed.

Stella said that being a woman lead singer sometimes poses a challenge. “What’s difficult is being in front of maybe slightly misogynistic audiences and I got blonde hair and blue eyes and they think I probably don’t have much inside. That sucks because I’m so far removed from that mentality. A groupie? Are you serious? But then on the same token I got Shawn saying, ‘Fuck ‘em, be more fierce than guys.’ These aren’t the first bones I’ve broken on stage,” she said.

Stella said she “gets shit” about her age because she is 39. “To me it is what it is. It’s a fucking number,” she said.

When describing her music, she uses the term “weird” a lot. Despite their unique style, Stella isn’t worried about their music finding a niche in the music business. “Fuck finding a niche, let’s make our own niche,” Stella said.

Shawn was unable to be at Warped Tour because of a family emergency, so Stella said she texted him after their first show to tell him how it went. She texted, “Well, we did the first show and I think I totally confused them.”

Stella said, “[They] weren’t leaving, but not clapping either. I think that’s a good thing? That is always the first reaction when people see us. I’m sort of giving us shit right now but, it is really strange, we got the organs that sounds kind of Door-sy, you got me and I’m kind of Bjork-y. I fucking love our band.”

“I think if one of us dropped out we’d be done,” Stella said. With Shawn unable to be there for most of the shows, they decided to carry on without getting a replacement. “I haven’t played without him in like four years.” She started tearing up, laughed and said, “I’m such a girl.”

http://www.myspace.com/dirtylittlerabbits

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