MEB Editor Maria Gironas and staffer Heather Allen got a chance to talk to newbie to the Vans Warped Tour, Mike Gossard, leader singer/songwriter of Acidic, about joining the Warped Tour family, songwriting, and advice to new bands.
Maria: So Mike, I understand that you’ve never been to Warped Tour before?
I haven’t! Well, now I have, I’ve been to a couple. But before this Warped Tour I’ve never actually been to a Warped Tour. All my friends have gone, but every year I was always in the studio, or I was doing something, or I was too young to go. And so, what a great honor! This is my first year and I happen to be playing, this is amazing! First of all, everybody here on Warped Tour, incomparably amazing! Everybody’s great, everybody’s friendly, every body hangs out, Kevin Lyman is an amazing dude. So I couldn’t be happier.
M:What do you think, as far as your Warped Tour experience so far, what has been kind of the most like touching or significant?
You know, I don’t think there’s any one specific time that I’ve had a touching moment. I think the whole thing – everytime we get up on stage and people respond, people know ing the lyrics to our songs, people jumping up and down – that’s it. I mean, we get to spend time with those people, and the part is they get to come to the merch booth after and we get to just hang out with them. So that has to be it, just the interaction with our audience.
M:Great! And your band name, how did you guys come up with it? Like what is Acidic exactly?
It was on the back of a soda can one day. *laughs* No, actually I’m absolutely serious! We could not figure out a name for the longest time for our band. I think it was easier for us to write music than it was for us to come up with like a folder name for all that music to put it in. So I was sitting there one day, and we had like this whole list, and I looked on the ingredients list on this can of soda and saw ‘acidic’ or ‘acid’ something and it looked like ‘acidic.’ I was like ‘that’s a cool name and it’s alphabetically convenient and it’s great!’
Heather: A’s are the best.
We’re always like first or fourth!
H: So you replaced your bassist at the beginning of the year. How has Max adjusted to being on this fast paced tour life?
Oh he’s done an amazing job! One thing about touring in a band are showers are a prized possession, and since we’re in LA right now we all got to shower so that’s wonderful. Sleep is also a prized possession and food is a prized possession. Food is really easy to come by here on Warped Tour, sleep and showers are not so much so we get those it’s amazing. But he’s adjusted just fine, he gets up on stage and that’s the whole reason we do this. We do it because we love getting on stage. We love it more than anything else and that’s just it. So he’s been doing a great job, he’s been playing well and he’s getting along with the guys. There’s no difference like you could’ve told me, if I didn’t know him, that he’s been in the band for the start and I would’ve believed you.
M:Kinda going off what performing is like, what is you favorite part about music? Is is performing? The writing aspect? The studio aspect?
Oh, they all have their appeal. The studio is great because we get to sit down, find our ideas, you know, all that good stuff. Live is great because there’s something that happens when the mixture of the music coalesces with the energy of the audience and everything kinda just builds into this crescendo, it’s wonderful! Everything has it’s merit and I don’t want to skip a single part of it.
M:Definitely makes sense. How would say that Warped Tour has been different as far as, you guys have been on a tour before correct?
We’ve been touring since 2010.
M:What’s the difference between Warped Tour and the average tour?
Well the average tour, we’ll play a concert hall or a club. We get there around 3 o’clock and we set up our gear and the sound system is built in like the stage is built there and doesn’t move. We get there, we set up, blah blah blah, and backline the supporting bands who, oh course, are supporting a bigger act. We’re backlined beyond them, we do our soundcheck, we leave our stuff. Here at Warped Tour, it’s the whole venue moving everyday. So we get there at like 7 o’clock in the morning and boom they set up the stages boom they set our gear up and boom we’re on like there’s a line check and we’re on. So, it’s hectic but it’s really not. Once we get into the groove of it it’s just normal. I will say that the with loading part, all the bands have to load their gear across 3 or 4 football fields worth of distance so that’s muscle building right there. Good workout.
M:Kinda a question of your recent album, but what is a ‘copper man?’
A ‘copper man,’ well it’s actually English slang *in English accent* ‘copper man’ like ‘copper,’ a police man. Anyways, the song’s about an undercover cop and I don’t know why, but we chose to do that and it came out really well and it was convenient. I mean, it’s fun to sing, so there we go. Like all of our best songs, it was a complete accident. Completely!
M:So what is a ‘planned’ song then, for some of you other songs?
A ‘planned’ song? You know, we don’t really have one! I mean, we ‘planned’ to get into the studio with all of the material that we’ve been writing and we look at each other and say ‘Nah, I’m not diggin this.’ We wrote a completely new album on the spot. I don’t think we have much planned music, it’s all about the spontaneity, it’s about the energy. And that’s what we do.
M:So I guess as a group, you would say that you write best with kind of your backs against the wall kind of thing?
Yeah. Ok there’s a story about that. We finished our album Copper Man, we send it off to the label, and they say ‘We love it! We love it! Except for these 2 songs. We don’t like these 2.’ And so they we like ‘We need the album done in 3 days’ or something like 3 days to a week. So we had to go in to write 2 new songs, get them recorded, get them produced, get them mixed, get them mastered, and re-master the whole album because it’s gotta be cohesive in like 3 days to a week. And so that was awesome and those 2 songs were ‘Drive Thru’ and ‘Monster.’
M:Oh my God. I guess kind of with that experience has it made you closer as a band obviously?
Oh absolutely! There’s nothing as cathartic as writing a song together. It’s like sharing blood.
M:Hmm, good metaphor.
H: Well we hope you don’t do that right?
*laughs* No no, thank God. Those days are over!
M:As far as how Warped Tour’s been going, you’ve gotten the opportunity to hang out with a couple of the bands. Has there been any in particular that have really stuck out to you personality wise or with musicality?
You know, I think the band that really stuck out to us hasn’t even gotten a chance to play. It’s a band called Boy Meets World. They wanted to get on the tour to work catering for the opportunity to play a couple of shows. Those guys work harder than I could ever dream of. And, of course, we’ve gotten a chance to hang out with some of the members of Falling In Reverse and they’re great. Pacific Dub, those guys are great. Dangerkids, they’re really nice. Naked Walrus, those guys are cool. Everybody’s great, nobody is not great on this tour.
M:For anyone that’s trying to get on Warped Tour like you guys did, what advice would you give an up-and-coming band?
Be ready to spend years knocking on the door only to get turned down. When it happens, it happens. When you’re ready, you’re ready. When we were ready, we got our opportunity.
H: Or you had someone convincing you to go to Warped Tour.
Exactly! There ya go!