It’s officially summertime when the Vans Warped Tour rolls into town. Over 75 bands will take various stages at Glendale Camelback Ranch and play for hordes of enthusiastic, devoted fans. Warped Tour is not only the best place to see fantastic and legendary punk rock bands, but it also has talented up and coming acts just waiting to make it big.
There’s a kinship felt by those fearless warriors who attend Warped Tour in the Arizona heat. They share sunburns, good music and great memories. Fans even get to meet their favorite artists throughout the day. What’s not to love?
College Timessent a questionnaire to Warped Tour veterans and newbies to find out what it’s like to be on the road with such a crazy caravan.
What was your impression of Warped Tour before being a part of it?
Kellen McGregor, Memphis May Fire: I suppose that it was a giant party (which it definitely can be) but in all reality, it is a lot of hard work and seeing this first hand has really made me respect the Warped staff.
Shaun Cooper, Taking Back Sunday: I thought it was a really hot, sweaty, well-attended tour that offered a very diverse line up. I was completely right!
Kyle Even, Breathe Carolina: To be honest I never went to it when I was younger. I never knew there were so many diverse bands. I thought it was all punk bands.
Jeff Oster, It Boys: Well I always heard all the tour horror stories of Warped, so I was expecting a lot of heat, dirtiness and running around. But I was also expecting a great vibe from all the bands and crew on the tour and fans attending. All these assumptions ended up being true, for the record.
Levi Benton, Miss May I: Well, I only went to Warped Tour once growing up as a kid. I think it was 2004 with MCR and Fall Out Boy headlining. Growing up going to Ozzfest and arena shows I never really saw such a family like I did at Warped Tour, especially so many younger fans. When I was going to Ozzfest I was the youngest, and when I went to Warped it was like a 20K people summer camp of fun. That was just one day! So being a part of it now on the other side is just as fun and just as amazing.
Did you attend Warped Tour as a young’un?
McGregor: I did attend a few here and there over the last six or seven years, absolutely!
Matt Rhodes, Young London:I did! And I still love Anti-Flag just as hard. I can’t believe I’m touring with them.
Cooper:Yes, the very first one in '95 at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.
Benton: I attended it one year with two other friends and my mom but that was before I was even in or thinking about a band. But going as a fan and not even attached to performing or a band was great because I got to look at Warped Tour as that magic that I know so many other kids see it as.
Have you had any bizarre fan interactions?
McGregor:Ha. None so far … (looks for wood to knock on).
Rhodes: Let’s just say Sarah [Graziani] and I have had to sign some strange things. That is all.
Buddy Nielsen, Senses Fail:Nah, not really. Our fans are pretty cool and respectful.
Oster: Nothing too bizarre. We've had a couple shakers and cryers. Also, we had a fan that flew from Mexico to come see us the other day. That was pretty cool, but nothing too strange.
Benton: I remember this one venue in Texas [called] The Meridian. There was always this fan in the barricade, who I still have not found to this day. But every time we play there whoever it is when I jump down on the barricade always seems to reach down my jeans and underwear and grabs my junk and that is why I don’t jump into the crowd anymore.
How do you beat the heat?
McGregor:At the end of the day, the heat beats you. We escape to the bus, of course, but when you're walking to and from the bus to get food, or helping with load and unload, the sun has no mercy.
Rhodes:You can’t beat the heat. You have to join it. I try to be Buddhist about it and tell myself that I’m not hot I’m just "not very cold."
Cooper:Hydrate constantly, stay in the shade or hide on the bus.
Oster: We're lucky enough to be on an air conditioned bus this year, so we definitely spend some time on there. Outside, though, you just have carry water, dress light and try to find shade as often as possible. It's about all you really can do.
Band that's most likely to steal your food.
McGregor:None of them. They know we're some hungry boys!
Rhodes:Sarah from Young London. Haw haw. No, but she will.
Even:It Boys, because their bus broke down.
Nielsen:None that I know of. Food is pretty scarce on the tour, so that would be a large crime.
Oster: It Boys, those guys are total thieves.
Benton: I think our buddies in The Ghost Inside would steal our food over anyone else.
Whose tour bus would you most like to TP or band that's most likely behind Warped Tour pranks?
Rhodes:I do not know! Sarah and I are still new to this. I am scared of doing the wrong bus and getting beat up.
Cooper:Pranks are for numskulls, knuckleheads and noodniks. I take pride in not being any of these.
Oster: Breathe Carolina, but, shh, don't tell ‘em!
Benton: I would love to TP the man himself, Kevin Lyman, just to show him that MMI is ready for summer camp and that we came guns hot!
Band with the best video game hookup?
Rhodes:I believe Motionless in White was rocking an original Nintendo today. Pretty amazing.
Cooper:Me. I play old video games on my computer like a real cool motherfucker.
Even: Us (Breathe Carolina). We'll smash on NBA 2k12.
Oster: Hmm. That's tough for me. I don't play much video games, but I'd guess All Time Low might have some good games on their bus.
Benton: We have the best video game hookup on Warped Tour. We used an old guitar cab road case to mount a TV and a N64 so we can play video games outside and with everyone else on tour!
The healthiest thing you've eaten since hitting the road?
McGregor: Most of the catering provided by Warped is actually pretty healthy and provides you with many different options depending on your diet/lifestyle choices. I speak for everyone that when it comes to the catering, we sure ain't mad about it!
Rhodes: I have had some great tofu, salads and fresh fruit almost every day on Warped. The staff here is incredible!
Cooper: Raw, vegan organic salad that cost almost as much as my first car.
Oster: I had some kale salad at catering the other day. It was actually really good.
Benton: I just found out that Wal-Mart has these awesome veggie patties and that’s my new jam!
What's something every tour bus should never run out of?
McGregor: Paper towels, water, and sunscreen most definitely.
Rhodes: Snacks. They are crucial to every bus hang.
Cooper:Water and/or beer.
Even:Water and herbal medicine and air conditioning.
Nielsen:Beer and water.
Oster: For sure water or air conditioning.
Benton: Definitely should never run out of water because at night the bus turns to arctic temperatures and the driest weather so you need a water to survive.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
McGregor:“Interstate Love Song” by [Stone Tempe Pilots]
Rhodes: Great question! I actually talk about this with Sarah and friends all the time. It is between “Crocodile Rock” and that song about not wanting to work and banging on a drum all day [“Bang the Drum All Day” by Todd Rundgren].
Cooper: I'm never gonna die so no need for a funeral.
Even: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, “Crossroads.”
Nielsen: “At Your Funeral” [by Saves the Day].
Oster: That's a bit morbid but maybe "Hallelujah," the Jeff Buckley version. I could go out to that song.
Benton: I would love to have that song “Dust in the Win” but sang by Will Ferrell like in the movie “Old School.”
Got a musical guilty pleasure?
McGregor: Colbie Caillat. I'm pretty sure she's either married or engaged so there's no hope of that happening anymore...
Rhodes: I suppose my guilty pleasure would be really nerdy German techno. I am such a sucker for it.
Cooper: I don't feel guilty about much, especially my musical tastes.
Even: “Sound of Music.”
Oster: I don't really feel guilty about any music I'm into necessarily, but people give me the most crap about listening to country as much as I do. Zac Brown Band has been on repeat on my iPod for about two weeks now.
Benton: Everything I listen to is a guilty pleasure like Usher, Bieber, Timberlake and much, much more.
If you could marry any album, which album would it be?
McGregor: Purple by STP. That album changed my life.
Rhodes: Third Eye Blind’s first [self-titled] record. I listen to it almost daily.
Cooper: None, I am already married and polygamy is illegal in New York state.
Even: The one with the baddest bitch on the cover.
Nielsen: OrangeRhyming Dictionary, Jets to Brazil.
Oster: “Thriller,” Michael Jackson.
Benton: As I Lay Dying, Ocean Between Us.
Would you rather eat a dog or a monkey?
McGregor:Definitely a monkey. You can't eat man's best friend!!
Rhodes:I am vegan. I would rather snuggle with both. Haha.
Even:A hot dog.
Nielsen:Monkey. I love dogs and wouldn’t want to kill them.
Oster: A dog. Monkeys are too much like people, and I'm not much of a fan of cannibalism.
Benton: A dog because I feel it’s more sanitary and has ate less insects, which I am most terrified of.
2012 Vans Warped Tour, Camelback Ranch, 10710 W. Camelback Road, Glendale, vanswarpedtour.com, Thursday, June 28, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., $40