Danny Stevens of The Audition
Danny Stevens, Ryan O’Connor, Seth Johnson, Joe Lussa and Timmy Klepek, collectively known as The Audition have been rocking out the tunes on their sophomore album Champion all over the country on this years Warped Tour. An instant fan-favorite, these pop-punksters have found the perfect addictive blend of rock meets pop, with catchy choruses, booty shakin’ beats, and lyrically a bit more maturity since their debut release over three years ago.
In Part III of our Warped Tour exclusive, lead singer and songwriter Danny Stevens sits down with TWRY staffer Stacie to fill her in on their latest album, rumors about the bands demise, and of course, all the hijinx that come along with Warped Tour.
Interviewed by: Stacie Caddick-Dowty | August 2008
Your album “Champion” was released in January…your first album in three years. I have to start off by asking, why three years between albums?
Basically we just kept getting really good tours that we couldn’t turn down. We were going to write a record in September of ’06 when we got our first UK tour. Then we were going to work on it in February of ’07 and we got the Jack’s Mannequin tour. Then they wanted us to do it in November of ‘07 and we ended up doing the Boys Like Girls tour. So we were like ‘oh we have other game plans right now.’ Because it was all newer fans and we felt that was more important than putting out a new record at that point.
One of the reviews I read on musicemissions.com, is quoted to say “it was as catchy as the herpes your dorm’s slut has”.
That’s good! I like that!
I thought you’d enjoy that. How do you feel about reviews, be them professional or amateur?
I don’t really read reviews. The only review I read was the Alternative Press review… because it was really good. They gave us a 4.5 out of 5, which is unheard of! So I read that. Got happy about that, but that was really the only one I read.
So you don’t make a habit of reading reviews.
No, cause people have jobs to review for websites and magazines and stuff. If they get assigned your band, and they don’t like your type of music… lets say they are into The Locusts, or harder bands like that… then they are going to give you a shitty review. SO I try to stay away. We listen to our fans, and people that like our band. Not those who hate on us just because they don’t like our type of music.
Take me through a couple of your favorite tracks off the last album, what the songs represent and what inspired them?
The record is about me as a person just living life and about different things that I’ve gone through. About this one guy going through different aspects of life. There is falling in love. There is heartbreak. Pushing someone away and then regretting it. There are songs about sex and scandalous things like that. I wanted to write a record that reflected all areas of life and human emotion, instead of just writing ‘she broke my heart’. I don’t think I wrote a song on the record like that, but I just wanted to put a different spin on the songs.
How do you feel about being compared to other artists out there, such as Fall Out Boy?
It’s cool man! If you want to compare us to the biggest band out there right now. So be it. If it gets people’s attention? Whatever.
You’ve toured with some amazing bands, tell us some of the greatest/hardest lessons you’ve learned on the road, and who you learned them from.
Staying sane! Andrew McMahon taught me that! He is one of my best friends and I look up to him immensely. He’s been doing this since he was 17 and touring. Watching him and seeing how he deals with things has taught me how to deal with people and press and things like that… even stage managers. He treats everybody so well, and with such respect that it’s something that I admire and look up to.
Seems you’ve had a bit of a black cloud over your heads, with a bit of vehicle troubles… tell us what is going on, and how Warped Tour is working out for you now.
Well… It’s raining! We’ll we couldn’t afford our bus, so Seth and I did two and a half weeks in a mini van doing acoustic shows at Warped Tour which was actually pretty awesome. Then our van broke down, but we got the van fixed and we’re back out, the show’s have been great! We’re doing really well on merch, which is always a plus on the Warped Tour cause it’s the only way you get paid. The kids have really been coming out, and hanging out… it’s been great!
Why do you feel it’s important to video blog and such from the road? Is it for your benefit or the fans?
I think it’s really for both. I think it’s going to be cool when I done with all this twenty years down the road to look back and see all these things that I did. With the times right now, with the MySpaces and the Facebook websites, it’s almost like you have to or else people get bored. People want to know what is going on ALL the time, and I think MySpace is a big attributor to that. You can find anybody in the world with the click of a button. It’s been proved to work with bands like All Time Low, where you constantly give the people what they want. Fans feel like the KNOW the band now, even if they don’t. They feel like they are friends with the band just from watching videos. I remember when I was younger and I loved New Found Glory, I would always watch all the videos that they would post. I thought it was the coolest thing. I felt a connection with certain band members. I definitely think it helps out with people coming to your shows, cause they feel like they know you, and they feel like they are a part of something!
Speaking of the fans… some conversation is going on regarding a rumor of a breakup. Would you like to respond to that rumor?
With us? Hell no! Definitely not!
Pranks seem to be a big part of life on the road. Take us through one of your favorite pranks!
We haven’t done any in a while. The best thing we ever did was with a band called Aiden, they are Goth-Punk you know with the black and the eye makeup, and they hate God. When we were on tour with them, they had a black van and a black trailer. We took white shoe polish and wrote the Jesus Fish and “God Squad” and “We *heart* Jesus” and “Jesus Saves”. Then we got a gallon tub of Vaseline and vaselined the entire van, the handles and the entire trailer. I think they said it took them six hours to get the thing clean, and a month later they were like “we’re still finding Vaseline!”
The Audition – Champion
Danny I hear you love Jason Mraz?
I love Jason Mraz!
Do you have his latest album “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things”?
Which of his albums is your favorite and what do you love about him?
I really really like Mr A-Z. I think this new one is my favorite because it’s just so fucking good. It’s weird because the other dudes in the band weren’t big Jason Mraz fans and they started listening to that while I was driving. So they be listening and be like “Damn, this is really good!” then went back and started listening to the other stuff. But, I think Mr. A-Z is my favorite because it’s so eclectic, and he has so many different styles. He’s got a salsa song, he’s got strait pop songs, and he’s got a ballad!
He’s an amazing wordsmith!
He really is.
Do you have any special plans while you are on Warped to rub shoulders with anyone in particular? Or is there any particular band you are excited to see perform?
I’ve been hanging out with Matt from Relient K a lot. All Time Low are like our best buddies. Say Anything… it’s easy to hang out with people on this tour, because every one is all together, all the time, all day long, everyday! It’s not like I’m going to say “Hey I’m going to see what this one is up to…” because I don’t know them, or want to be their friend.
In closing we’re making a summer mixtape from the bands on Warped. We’d like you to nominate a song, from any other band but your own, to go into the mix.
Ummmm… I’m going to have to say The Avett Brothers either the Ballad of Love and Hate or Salina.