This Friday night at The Roxy will be a party with, I’m betting, a lot of whiskey, some shirtless men and a mosh pit. So obviously, you should join us! Warner Drive, made up of: Jonny Law – Lead Vocals, Candice Levinson – Guitar, Ryan Harris – Guitar, Jonny Udell – Drums, Elvis James – Bassjust, are coming off of their 5 week Europe Tour will be headlining the night in a welcome home show (get your tickets here). I love few things more than talking to musicians that love what they do and are grateful for the opportunities that they are given through their music. In 2012, the band went to kickstarter to fund their European tour. This year, that was not needed. The fans made their tour possible and Jonny, lead vocals for Warner Drive is more than happy for everything that he has been able to experience with the band. I spoke with him yesterday about the band’s tour, the upcoming shows, and the differing music culture around the world.
“The first time we toured Europe, we did it with a Kickstarter Campaign, that helped us “kickstart” our careers in Europe, and that’s exactly what it did. You know, we went back this year and the venues and the festivals paid for it. Our fans are responsible for that. I think there is an attachment because they feel, and they are, responsible for a lot of our success.”
Back in the US, the band had a show last week at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater and will be bringing the show to The Roxy on Friday night.
“We got really lucky over there. Like any touring band, we are afforded certain opportunities and I feel like over here, sometimes it’s so close and then it just slips through your fingers, but in Europe, for some reason, we get all the breaks! Twice now, two years in a row, one of the major bands, the headliners for a festival, for whatever reason canceled. Personal reasons or I think their base player broke his arm or something. Anyway, the festivals believed in us and liked us enough to give us their slot. So we would play our regular time, 3 or 4 in the afternoon on Saturday, a good show, in front of probably a thousand people. Then they bump us and all of the sudden we’re playing at 11 o’clock at night on the main stage in front of thousands of people. So we’re lucky. Really really lucky.”
A lot of hard work and with last year’s campaign bringing the band and the fans very close, they made the most of, what sounded like a great European tour.
“I think that what we’ve done is we’ve stuck to our guns for so long and we’ve let our fans find us. We just stuck with it regardless of if it was cool or if there was a scene for it or anything and people started finding us, and I think that’s really the way it happened for the band.”
I asked him about the photo to here. He was literally surfing, granted with a bench, on the crowd. I didn’t ask him about ab workout tips but clearly, if he wants to, there could be a work out video in the works (Well done! Really, Jonny… well done!)
“Yeah! That was in Germany I think, just outside Hamburg, and people were crowd surfing. Then they started to pass anything they could find over their heads. Tables, chairs, a bench. The bench is what I was on in that photo. The bench made its way to the stage. I could see it coming from the back of the mass of people. you’d see like a trashcan get up there. So when it go to us I told security to leave it there and I jumped on.”
Not only was this a big step with the number of fans but it was also a massive leap forward with the crew that the band had with them. Sleeper buses and a crew of people looking out for the band and their show.
“We had so much help! Most of our crew was European, we had buses, big sleeper buses. It was amazing! I got home and thought: I don’t know how to go to the bathroom without someone telling me I should!”
Above and beyond the experience of touring, I was interested to hear, and probably should have already known (sorry, reader) that these very specific aspects of touring culture in Europe are vastly different. While here, bands struggle to tour for financial reasons many governments there have been truly creating a growth environment for upcoming bands.
“They really nourish the art. It becomes a music culture. In LA, you know I tell a girl that I’m a musician then it’s a bad thing. It’s like a bad word. Unless you make a lot of money. There though! You tell anyone that you’re a musician, they have this respect for you because you’re an artist and you’re working for your art. The government will pay for rehearsal space for bands that play a certain number of shows per year, you know professional bands. It’s just a huge support system.”
Granted, I’m no musician, but musician is never a bad word, if it was, I don’t think I would have any friends or dates. That said, I agree that making it possible for artists of all kinds to make a living while working to break through is a beautiful thing! So Cheers to Europe, and to the bands working their asses off world wide to bring us shows where we can see people surf on benches.
I look forward to the show on Friday (see you all there!) and I look forward to hearing about their 2014 tour which I am sure will be another great experience for the band and their crew.
Cheers and see you at the show (again, get your tickets here),
Photos: - * Kalle Christiansson to www.popfotografi.se - Sweden’s HelgeåFestivalen with The Hives, Nazareth, and HardCore SuperStar, Dithmarscher Rock Festival in Germany, Crash Fest in Hamburg w NOFX and Bad Religion, Helldorado Festival in Sweden with Sister Sin: