Ryan McClain & Tim McLaughlin of The White Tie Affair
2009 has been quite a year for The White Tie Affair (Chris Wallace on vocals, Tim McLaughlin on drums, Ryan McClain on keyboards and guitar and Sean P on guitar and programming). Touring with Secondhand Serenade, The Fame Ball (with Lady Gaga), and spending most of the summer on Warped Tour, the band is now out in support of their own headlining tour. Hot on the heels of their major label release “Walk This Way” that debuted in April of 2008 the band is bringing their own unique take of Pop meets Rock meets Melting your face off fun to the stage. One thing you should never do is to show up at a TWTA performance and expect to be merely a spectator, their shows are a full on feast for the senses. Fans come ready for a full on dance party and the pledge to get their booties rocked off by the end of the night.
On their recent tour stop in Boston, TWRY staffer Stacie sat down with Tim and Ryan pre-show to talk shop. On tap? Boy bands, cold showers, Twitter, and Halloween Costumes. Boo!
Interviewed by: Stacie Caddick-Dowty | October 2009
We’ve seen you on many different tours throughout the past year or two from the Metro Station tour to the Fame Ball Tour with Lady Gaga, to Warped and now this headlining tour, considering that broad range of musical styles – what would you describe as a the typical fan base for The White Tie Affair?
Ryan: Typically a little younger. I’d say anywhere from 13 to early 20’s. Do you feel old?
Yeah I’m feeling kind of old.
Ryan: I feel old too!
You guys have really had to work your butts off to get where you are – do you feel like that road to where you are now has helped you stay grounded as a band?
Ryan: Yeah, I think so. We’ve definitely worked very very very hard to get to where we are. We’re the same people. It’s hard to say though because I don’t think you’d notice a change in yourself. I guess others might say something but, no one has said anything to me! Wouldn’t you say Tim?
Tim: Yeah, I’d have to agree with that. The greatest thing though? Is not driving! I don’t think people realize how much that sucks, when you are up all night driving, sleep a couple hours, set up, play, pack up and do it all over again.
Ryan: Really though I think the only difference is a few more beers and later nights.
Tim: More time to drink beer too.
We read an interview where you said your dream gig would be playing with Guns N’ Roses or Journey with Prince and Stevie Wonder – which is pretty much the perfect blend of pop meets rock. No one can say you sound like every other band out there today. Who were your musical influences growing up?
Ryan: Personally Prince was a big one, as well as Guns N’ Roses. I really loved the 80’s hair metal type stuff. We listened to a bit of that last night here on the bus. We had a little air guitar session going on up in the front lounge at 4 o’clock in the morning. We were playing the music and jumping around like idiots.
Tim: I have pretty broad musical taste, Radiohead to pop.
Ryan: I listened to New Kids On The Block as a kid.
Tim: I loved KISS. I had a KiSS axe, and a Kiss cape!
Ryan: Some night we whip out the KISS boots! It’s crazy!
Tim: I wake up and brush my teeth in my underwear, and I have KISS across my butt. They’re all in the back smiling. It’s pretty cool. Two on each cheek.
Are you opposed to or in favor of being called a “boy band”?
Tim: Well, we are boys!
Ryan: I guess it depends on how you define a boy band. Most boy bands don’t play instruments.
Thus why the question is here before you today!
Ryan: I guess they can call us whatever they want to call us. Yeah, as long as they come out and as long as the buy the records. Or illegally download the records.
Isn’t that how most people do it these days?
Ryan: Yeah but you know what? It doesn’t really affect us; as long as they come see us play.
You’ve covered a lot of cool songs throughout the years from Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga to a Lil Wayne Song, what will you be covering for us tonight and on this tour?
Tim: Can we tell her?
Ryan: Yeah, I think we can tell her.
Tim: We’ll have to swear you to secrecy!
Ryan: We have a medley that we are going to play.
Tim: But even we don’t know, we make it up 35 seconds before we play it.
Ryan: Yeah we literally do. It sort of surprises us too that way you know?
Really, no rehearsal… no planning… no nothing… it just all comes together?
Tim: You may have mentioned one of the artists we’ll play. There’s a little hint. The other one you didn’t. I’m a Lady Gaga fan, I have to say so. That should help.
(Their secret is safe with us, go catch their show to witness it for yourself!)
As artists you are probably always working on new material, but I’ve heard that you have been recording new material recently – What is your general writing process?
Ryan: Chris and Sean generally get together and write a general idea together and bring it to the band and we’ll hash it out. It’s a lot of us guys sitting in the back lounge for days at a time, staying up till 7 o’clock in the morning.
So, do you guys have a timeline for what you are working on right now?}
Well, you know the fans always want MORE and they always want it NOW.
Tim: There will be a new record.
Ryan: We’re thinking early next year. We’ll just throw March out there as a possibility.
Tim: We have to leave room for Santa Claus time, then New Years time. Then there is January and the rest of February. So we want there to be something for people to come back to. So March is good.
You’re pretty active on Twitter – do you ever regret tweets after you hit send?Tim: No, ya know recently I was at a restaurant and I was biting a chip and I realized that if you bite a chip the right way it can break off in the shape of a tooth, and you can stick it right there.
Ryan: The corn tayta worked out quite well!
Tim: Yes it did, and it was inexpensive.
…and that had what to do with Twitter?
Tim: I tweeted it! If you need a tooth, try a corn chip!
Ryan: We actually decided to start tweeting absolutely ridiculous tweets last week. I’ll just show you. You know that guy that just walked on the bus? His name is Dave, he is our guitar tech. So anyway, I tweeted that I had a date tonight and posted this picture. That’s Dave.
Tim: He’s single and available.
I’m married, sorry.
Ryan: No he’s on a date with me tonight so he’s not actually available.
Having been on Warped Tour all summer, did you get to jam with any other bands that you love once the performances were done?
Tim: We got to share a stage every day with Senses Fail. We tried to play with Bayside but they were “busy”. You get to see a lot of bands every day.
Ryan: Chris actually got to go on stage with Jeffree Star and sing with him nightly.
What’s the longest number of days you’ve gone without a shower?
Ryan: Ya know, we actually had a shower on the bus, but not the first bus. The first bus was a pile of crap.
Tim: The first bus smelled so bad.
Was it the funk bus?
Tim: It was the funk bus!
Ryan: SOOOooo we got another bus, and the second bus ended up having a shower. There were so many people on the bus however, you couldn’t use it every day, because you’d run out of water.
Tim: You could shower maybe every other day.
Ryan: I think I showered every day on Warped Tour. I found a way! Even if the drain was clogged with hair and you were standing in water. I still showered every day. There was usually no hot water either.
Tim: Yeah, it was cold! You had to tough it out. Once you dried off, it felt good. Or you could grab a bottle of water and take a parking lot shower.
Halloween is coming up… I think Sean-P would make a killer Tom Brady.
Ryan: Tom Brady?!
Any plans for costumes? If so… I want to know!Ryan: We are a “last minute” band. It’ll be one or two days before something happens before we’ll work on it.
Tim: Last year we had a vampire, a guy from NSYNC, Sean and I were Insane Clown Posse.
You’ve got to throw the Tom Brady thing out there for me.
Tim: I don’t see that happening.
Ryan: I don’t think Sean even KNOWS who Tom Brady is.
Talk to me about fans tattooing themselves with TWTA likeness, would you consider these fans “super” fans, or “crazy” fans
Ryan: I have a picture of every tattooed fan that I know of on my phone. It’s a good question; I’d say they’re “super” fans. I don’t think they’re crazy, I mean I guess if you love something that much.
Tim: The thing to me is that we’ve played like four hundred and something shows. We’ve played these songs a lot of times. It’s hard to imagine what a random persona hears. So when I see a person with a tattoo all down their arm, that says a lot. They’re definitely into what they’re hearing. I don’t have any tattoos personally and I don’t know what it’d take for me to get one, but something is going on for them to go out and have it put on themselves. And, it’s happened more than once. How many now?
Ryan: I’ve got at least eight or nine on my phone. I mean, it gives me chills each time I see it. I usually take a picture and hug them and am like “You guys are awesome”.
Being that we love the underdogs, what band that we may not have heard of would you suggest we check out?
Ryan: Specifically and from this tour – Runner Runner. We’ve recently come to love them because they are on our tour, but seriously they are fantastic. Go check them out. Chae Hawk too!
Tim: He’s MC’ing the show and running the talent show. He’s an upcoming talent. He’ll be performing a few of his own tunes tonight too. He’ll have a record coming out pretty soon.
For more info on the TWTA Talent Show, check out the video below:
For more info on The White Tie Affair: