Warped Tour Exclusive Part I- All Time Low & We The Kings
Every summer Warped Tour rolls into town with it’s cast of merrymaking, music and shenanigans. For a music fan, it’s an all you can eat buffet of your favorite bands melting your faces off with their rock, metal, ska, pop, crowd-surfing goodness, call it what you will brand of music. Warped Tour has turned into more than just a music festival, it is now it’s own subculture with the bands on the tour making up their own self-sufficient community that seems to takes care of each other in the true sense of brotherhood (AND the occasional sisterhood!). It’s a lesson that could be learned by a lot of us about doing the things we do for the love of it, rather than for the paycheck.
This year we spent a whirlwind day at Warped Tour in Mansfield, MA catching up with bands, watching a lot of great music, and interviewing as many bands as we could between the tornado warnings and torrential downpours. In part 1 of our multi part Warped Tour coverage we bring you the comedic genius of Alex and Jack from All Time Low and We The Kings.
Interviewed by: Stacie Caddick Dowty | July 2008
Alex Gaskarth & Jack Barakat of All Time Low
What’s it like to be thrown into the music industry at such a young age? (Touring with guys that are 5-10 years older than you, learning what is legit in the industry and what isn’t…)
Alex: At first it’s a little bit overwhelming. I think as time as gone on, over the past two years, it’s become a little more normal for labels to snag bands when they are younger. I think there a lot of bands our age or even younger that are getting signed, and getting put on the road immediately after high school just like us. I think it’s going to become more of a regular thing, cause I think the sooner your start the better you are going to be at that prime time, when it’s time to actually go to that next level.
Jack: We’ve been dealing with the industry a lot, because we started our band like five years ago, and we got signed like three years into it. So we got in pretty early.
Alex: What he said…
I see that you are currently involved in a charity event, with an autographed guitar to benefit “More Than A Zodiac Sign” which benefits the American Cancer Society. What are some of your other favorite charity organizations that you are proud to be involved in and why?
Alex: One of the organizations that we’ve tried to have an affiliation with is “Keep A Breast”, because we really value breasts.
I bet you do!
Alex: …and we want as many people as possible, to keep them.
Jack: Also, To Write Love On Her Arms.
Alex: Yes To Write Love On Her Arms is another one. Invisible Children. It’s really cool being back on Warped Tour now, because a lot of these organizations we met on the tour last year. That is how we got to know these people and what they are all about, so it’s cool to be back out here and support them with the knowledge of what they do.
What are you thoughts on cell-certs? (Fans calling fans that can’t attend shows.)
Alex: That’s awesome! It’s bad ass!
Jack: That happens?
Alex: The craziest thing now is that you can do the video chat on some phones! People are video taping the band playing and it’s going live to this other person. It’s definitely a new age!
I’ve been a part of one that was being broadcast over Yahoo chat, and we had people listening in Sweden and India.
Jack: No more talking shit about Sweden or India…
Alex: We have to watch our mouths now…
Adam Lavine has said that every band has an attention whore (someone has to be!). Who in the band fits this description?
Alex: It’s me.
Alex: Yeah, no doubt!
Jack: I love Maroon 5!
I see you guys are pranksters…
Jack: More like gangsters! Arghhhhhh….chika chika yeah!
What are some of the best pranks you have pulled, or had pulled on you, on tour?
Alex: We killed We The Kings but they were resurrected.
Jack: That was a funny prank.
Um, I was gonna say I just talked to them!
Jack: We were like ‘Ha, now you’re dead!’
Alex: We went on stage for the last song and just cut all their heads off.
Jack: Everyone was like “Oh My God!” – then a few seconds later their heads came back on.
Alex: Someone shit on our van. It was our old merch guy, and it was his last day working for us. So to commemorate the occassion he took a shit.
Jack: So we killed him and his family.
Alex: We beheaded him too, but they weren’t resurrected, we left them.
Being that you guys never yourselves too seriously…
Jack: What makes you say that? How dare you!
What about fanfiction scares you?
(Ed. Note – Q: Wtf is fanfiction? A: Fanfiction is Fans writing fiction about band members getting in on with other fans or bands. That’s the official Websters Dictionary definition at least.)
Alex: It’s not so much that it scares me. It’s that it arouses me to the point that I question my own sexuality. I’ve has sex with so many other people in bands that it scares me.
Jack: It’s awkward. Like “Hey Travis” from We The Kings, “How you doing man?” Uhhhh…
Alex: I’ve fucked Panic At The Disco, I’ve fucked Cobra Starship, I’ve fucked Fall Our Boy…
Jack: So now when we meet those people it’s awkward.
Alex: It’s like so… I’ve fucked you in theory, then their weirded out and it’s awkward for the rest of the day.
ATL Live at Warped Tour 2008 – Photo by Stacie
Was anyone else besides Rian a High School marching band guy?
Alex: He was in the middle school band. He played the idiot. Rian was like Lead Snare. He was bad ass! Rian was Nick Cannon!
Jack: Nick Cannon is hilarious!
Now that you’ve been touring bigger venues over the past year, hitting Warped this summer, do you still go home and practice in the basement?
Alex: No! Mostly because we were eating all the food in our parents houses and they were like “Please just get the fuck out!” No, I think the big thing is that we tour constantly enough now that practice is just the first couple days of tour. You just kinda get into it and get into the swing of things. Once you’ve done it that many times, you really don’t forget it.
Jack: When you are as good as us, you don’t really need practice.
Alex: I once learned to play Eruption with a blindfold on and no fingers. Eruption is an Eddie Van Halen solo for those of you who don’t know. It wails!
Jack: I need to shave my pubes.
Where did THAT come from? That was random!
I read that as youngsters you were into hip hop and top 40 stuff like Backstreet Boys, is that true? What turned you into the direction of playing pop-punk?
Alex: Jack turned me in that direction.
Jack: Yeah I was into Top 40 and Blink-182 was in the Top 40 at the time. I got Alex into Blink by…
Jack: I got Alex into Blink by having him listen to the “Mark, Tom and Travis Show” which is their live CD. After that he was like “Wow, that’s the best band ever!” and we were like “Let’s start a band like that!” and we were like “ok!”
Alex: That is exactly how it happened. Yeah, before we hit puberty our voices were really…now we all sound like Barry White.
Jack: Hey baby.
Do you have any special plans while you are on Warped to hobnob/chin wag with anyone in particular? Or is there any particular band you are excited to see perform?
Hobnob and chin wag…
Alex: I’m not going to hobnob it with anyone! What are you saying Madame?! I’m going to hobnob the shit out of Gym Class Heros.
Jack: Gym Class, Cobra, We The Kings, Every Avenue, The Audition, Just Surrender *big exaggerated deep breath* Set Your Goals… I think that’s it.
Alex: I want to kiss Katy Perry!
Jack: That’s a very bold statement sir, because Travis is dating her, so we may want to lay low.
Alex: I want to kiss Travis as well.
In closing we’re making a summer mixtape..
Alex: a laser… Magma… Mix Tape…
..from the bands on Warped, what’s one song from any band on the tour that you think should be included?
Alex: Is Tyga on Warped Tour?
Alex: Damn because I was going to say Coconut Juice would be a great summer song. Lets go with Skyway Avenue by We The Kings.
Do you have any particular song you would like to include my friend?
Jack: No… Damn it! I’m really bad off the top of my head. Cobra Starship! Paparazzi!
(Alex and Jack bust out into song, singing Paparazzi)
(Travis Clark on vocals/guitar, Hunter Thomsen on guitar/vocals, Drew Thomsen on bass & Danny Duncan on drums)
It’s been said you burst on the scene almost out of “thin air”. Set the record strait tell us how long you’ve actually been together and how hard you’ve worked to get here today.
Travis: The air was really over all pretty thick though the years. We started playing in High School to get girls and stuff, so we’ve been doing this for four and a half – five years now.
Danny: We still haven’t gotten it yet…
Hunter: Yeah essentially we burst on the scene in a sense of getting signed and stuff like that, but not to say we started the band yesterday. I think what it is is that we finally have the chance to show everyone what we’re about on this record and get it pushed, and people are having the opportunity to hear it. That’s why people are having the misconception of us just coming on the scene.
Travis: We still have a long way to go.
Danny: The moon!
Travis: I don’t know the moon is really hard to get to.
The Album (which is self titled) peaked at #3 on the Top Heatseekers chart on Billboard.com. “Check Yes Juliet” is on the Pop 100 and Billboard Hot 100! It has become a summer single of sorts. I hear it just as much as “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry. What do to attribute the success of this song to?
Travis: I think the song just came about at the right time, when there wasn’t anything like this song out there. Like for Katy Perry, there was no song like that, and with “Check Yes Juliet” I don’t know… it’s a good song, I think it just hit people in the right way for a good summer song. It’s definitely a party single.
How important was it for you to sign to an indie record label?
Drew: Very important.
Travis: We didn’t want to get on this major label that put our CD behind every other one that they were presenting on the shelves. S-Curve records literally had like no records; they had a past history of doing Joss Stone and Tom Jones and Fountains of Wayne. They had a really good rap sheet. When they came to us they were like “We’re really going to push your band.” Out of all these other labels, we thought they were really cool. They were one of the labels that really listened to what we had to say about certain stuff, where as some of the majors that we talked to were like “you need to be here at this time and do this.”
Take us through a favorite track or two and how those songs came about. What is the writing process like for you?
Travis: We kind of remember everything because it was such a monumental period in our lives, because it was like “Holy crap we’re doing a real record!” We had an intro to the song Secret Valentine that’s on the record and it was a piano intro, and they took the piano intro out, and we put it in the bridge. Now if the song is our next single, like we want it to be, hopefully we’ll put the piano intro back in. Then I can bring a piano on stage and play.
You play piano?
Travis: I do, I’ve been playing since I was four. The writing process is usually, I’ll come up with an acoustic song and I’ll take it to the guys and everyone puts their input on it and pieces everything together.
Hunter: Another song, “This Is Our Town” ends the record and we’ve had that song for a long time, probably two years now. When we were doing the record we went to the producers and said “We’ve had this song for a long time, and it really means a lot to us, it’s about our hometown and how we grew up and what we do.” And they listened to it one time through and were like “Don’t change anything, we’re putting it on the record!” I think that meant a lot to us. Where we were raised and we get to show that.
Travis: …and we had too much pride, had they said “No” we probably would have been “Screw you, we’re not doing the record.” It was that big of a song to us. It was the only ballad that we wrote, so we were that determined to get it on the record.
Before Warped you were in the UK, how was it? Tell me a little bit about the tour, what it’s like playing in the UK, and the general vibe there.
Travis: Drew was sick the entire time because he’s allergic to sulfur , and the water has sulfate in it. So he stayed hydrated on cold Coors Light.
Drew: I don’t drink light beer.
Travis: The kids there are incredible because with all the bands that come over, they maybe do it twice a year. All the shows are sold out, and everyone is so stoked to be there. It’s weird to think that kids in America get to see their favorite bands like twenty times in a year, and maybe take it for granted, and these kids really appreciate it.
So here you are on your first Warped Tour… playing ALL the dates. How’s it been so far?
Hunter: It’s been so awesome, this has been a dream for us, it truly has. When we were growing up together and starting to play music together we’d all go as a group to Warped Tour back in St. Pete…in Bradenton. We’d always sneak in and pull up and say “Oh yeah, we’re playing today” when we really weren’t and they’d be like ‘Ok, go in right here.” So now we’re actually playing, and we get to roll with all the bands, and meet all these awesome, awesome bands. We get to hang out everyday. It’s one of the coolest tours possibly ever!
Travis: It’s like band summer camp!
What follows this?
Danny: We go out on a co-headlining tour with The Academy Is…and it’s actually going to go over to the UK from September 13th to the 21st.
Travis: Drew is going to bring a lot of water. Then we come back and on October 1st and start a two month US tour.
So I forgot to ask, while you are here, is there anyone here, now that you are on the bill as a band, and not just fans coming to Warped that you are so excited to connect with?
Drew: Against Me!
Travis: Story of the Year, because they’ve been on the past three bills on Warped Tour and we saw them every time we came! Now we’re seeing them from the side stage.
Hunter: They were definitely a true inspiration for our music and our stage presence as well.
Travis: It’s like this year we’re playing soccer with them and stuff where two years ago we were just sprinting to stages. Also, Andrew was with the tour for like three weeks, and we grew up listening to Drive Thru bands like Something Corporate. They may not have had an influence on our music but we definitely respect it. Tom DeLonge is here from Blink-182, so there is really a lot of cool people out here that we are totally stoked to see.
You guys really haven’t had any time off… because you’ve been on the go since the winter time correct?
Hunter: At least! I think last year we started touring like the second week in June when everything started to pick up, and not really getting to go home too much.
Travis: It’s not even like straight through we get like two days off here or there. Hunter and I usually do radio shows…
Danny: We go to the beach and send pictures back, and tell them how wonderful it is.
So when you finally DO get some time off, what are you looking forward to the most?
Hunter: I’m going to go to the beach, put a towel down, drink a couple beers and pass out in the sun.
Travis: I would say for all of us, because we grew up on Bradenton, we miss Guppy’s Hamburger Shop on the Island that has the hamburgers we all love. We miss two for one Applebee’s experience. Just going back to a normal life.
Hunter: Our crew back home! Everyone back home has been pushing us for so long and always been a part of our lives and now that we are getting success they just flip out any time we are played on the radio, or seen on TV. It’s so awesome to come back home and we have above and beyond respect for them. They’ve been pushing us from the start.
I think the first time I saw you guys was on Spring Break on MTV, and I thought “I think I’m liking them!”
Travis: We were sooo nervous! What happened was that we were sound-checking and they had the whole place closed off. Then some kid jumped the rope and ran towards the stage, and everybody followed. We were like “Holy crap, here’s like 2,000 people running towards us right now!” We were just sound checking and we were like “Oh My God!!”
Do you have your scooters out here with you?
Danny: We’ve got four wheelers.
Travis: We didn’t bring the scooters because Drew lost the key.
Danny: Edit that… that didn’t happen!
Hunter: We’ve graduated to four wheels.
But, are you wearing the helmets? Lets face it guys… you have to be good role models now!
Travis: Well, we do have a lot of hair.
Drew: We have so much hair helmets aren’t necessary.
In closing we’re making a summer mix tape from the bands on Warped, what’s one song from any band on the tour that you think should be included?
Travis: Just Surrender – Tell Me Everything.
Drew: Anything by Swayze!
Hunter: Story Of The Year – And The Hero Will Drown
Danny: The Academy Is… About A Girl (Because they just debuted that song on Warped Tour!)