Focus On: Warped Tour 2009

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In its 15th Anniversary, creator Kevin Lyman wanted to go off with a bang, and in doing so, Vans Warped Tour 15 was born. With a line-up including bands such as All Time Low, 3OH!3, and Underoath, there’s no reason not to call Warped Tour 15 one of the biggest in its history.
I received a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend Warped ’09, not only as an attendee, but also as press, and I sat down and chatted with bands such as All Time Low and Forever The Sickest Kids. Meeting them was an experience I can never forget, but besides meeting up with cute boys with scene hair that play guitars, here is a brief overview of the tour in general as well as my day at my first-ever Warped.
Vans Warped Tour was created in 1994 by Kevin Lyman, the mastermind behind the lineups of past and present, including bands from Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance to All Time Low and The White Tie Affair. So, being a press member at Warped for the day, I got to meet a few of these bands, and the thought of being able to do so was awesome!
I arrived at Cruzan Amphitheatre at ten o’clock on that ridiculously hot and sunny morning, and by the time the gates opened I had put on-and sweated off-enough sunscreen and eyeliner to last me a lifetime. The gates opened and I received my press/photo “passes,” being that they weren’t really passes, rather wristbands. Then it came time to try to find the press trailer, which took forever. Walking among the masses, I searched for “the huge white trailer-looking thing behind the stage” as described to me by the woman who had given me my passes. There was a “the huge white trailer-looking thing” behind EVERY stage! What ELSE do you think that the Warped staff packs it up in? I started becoming beyond frustrated as asked the people who I thought would know something about press, but even Cruzan employees and Vans representatives didn’t know what I was talking about and they all looked at me like I was crazy. I looked and looked but somehow couldn’t seem to find it, so I gave up (temporarily), took a picture of the Warped inflatable with the set times on it, and ran off to catch All Time Low’s set.
Shooting pictures of ATL was awesome. Being up close and personal as the band performed onstage was unforgettable. Vocalist Alex Gaskarth, guitarist Jack Barakat, and bassist Zack Merrick kept coming up to the cameras making funny faces and striking poses as I shot picture after picture of the band entertaining the West Palm Beach audience. After the first three songs of their set, security kicked me out of the photo pit along with the other journalists gathered there, and I ventured out once more to find the press trailer. It turned out that when I was looking for it earlier, I had walked by it about five times.
I walked inside of the newly-found press trailer and signed up for three band interviews- Forever The Sickest Kids, The Maine, and All Time Low. However, The Maine’s interview conflicted with All Time Low’s interview; they were too close together. So, I scratched the interview with The Maine and stuck with the two I had already signed up for.
At around this time, I had about two hours until my first interview, so I did an interview with Chris Youngblood of To Write Love On Her Arms, an organization created to aid those dealing with addiction, self-injury, and suicide prevention, which went pretty well. He was such a nice guy and gave me a more personal insight on TWLOHA, its doings, and how everyday people can help both the organization and those in need.
I also walked around and listened to some of the other bands playing and bought some merch at a few of the many merch tents set up around the venue selling everything from t-shirts to lighters. I attempted to make All Time Low’s signing at the AT&T booth, but trying to get in a line that extended from the booth to both ends of the amphitheatre in both directions seemed both ridiculous and a waste of time to me.
Finally the time came around for my first interview with Forever The Sickest Kids. Vocalist/guitarist Caleb Turman had already seen me before- we had met right when I was leaving All Time Low’s set earlier this morning-so he instantaneously recognized me and gave me a hug, which was going to continue throughout the rest of the day. I then got to talk to Caleb and lead guitarist Marc Stewart about FTSK and their goals for the future. The interview ran smoothly despite the inclement weather which consisted of pouring sheets of rain and lightning, and I was just about to ask for a picture with drummer-and my personal favorite FTSK band member, besides Caleb- Kyle Burns when the head of Warped press told me that I had to leave the backstage area. In doing so, I had another time frame before more press duties called my name.
Following the interview with FTSK, I shot pictures of the first three songs of their set, the first song being “My Favorite Nightmare,” a catchy dance-pop tune which just so happens to be a personal favorite of mine. I enjoyed shooting pictures of FTSK the best, particularly because I was standing right in front of Caleb’s microphone and he gave me his guitar pick, which was AWESOME! The band continued their set with “Whoa Oh” and a new song that is going to be featured in their upcoming album, and security kicked me out once again as the third song came to an end. That’s when I left for my next interview with All Time Low.
Waiting for ATL wasn’t fun. First of all, it was raining and the band was about 15 minutes late, which made me upset because the time I spent waiting could’ve been the time I used to go shoot pictures of 3OH!3’s set all the way on the other side of the venue. Then, Zack from the band stated via Twitter that they were by the showers. So, on top of being late, they were also going to be extra-late because of a stupid shower! Who cares if they were all sweaty and stuff? I sure didn’t! I just wanted my interview.
Alex, by himself, finally showed up around 4:05 in the afternoon- 20 minutes late. I was interviewing another band to pass the time, a band called the After Midnight Project from Los Angeles who defines their music as “Kings of Leon meets Warped,” and they were a pretty interesting and funny group of guys to talk to. I felt bad having to cut their interview short, but Alex Gaskarth in his beanie was practically calling my name, so I left.
Interviewing Alex wasn’t what I had expected it to be. I’ve heard from friends who had done previous interviews with either him or the whole band that he usually laughs and jokes around with his interviewers. But, Alex was actually very serious and gave either one-word or one-sentence answers, and he looked (or seemed) upset to me. But, I proceeded with the interview, asking him questions about the new album and such. The interview ended with a picture taken with him and a bunch of “goodbyes” and “thank you’s.” I later learned that Alex complained to the Warped press stating that another one of the interviewers-NOT me-had made him feel very uncomfortable and upset during the interview, hence his passive mood.
The rest of the day consisted of more rain, sweat, puddles, muddy shoes, and run-ins with FTSK. I also shot pictures of The White Tie Affair, Chiodos, A Day To Remember, The Maine, and an up-and-coming band called Ice Nine Kills. As day turned to night and as Warped came to a close, I slowly recalled all of the moments in my mind, and despite all of the day’s ups and downs, Warped was such an unforgettable experience, and I can’t wait until next year to go again.





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miranda_n said...
Jul. 13, 2010 at 9:42 pm
What an amazing opportunity!
 
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