Check out our interview with Landmines!
Another installment of our weekly interview series, this time with Tony of Landmines. Check it out:
Interview with Tony of Landmines:
When did you first hear about the Fest and what bands got you excited about going to it/playing it?
I know some of the band who spent their adolescence in Florida had been going since maybe the 3rd Fest. I heard about it back in the day, but couldn’t quite make the trip happen. Last year was my first fest, luckily we got to play it or who knows if I would’ve been able to make it happen. I was really excited to see a lot of the bands that were “reuniting” like Small Brown Bike, Seaweed, Youth Brigade. Those bands
you don’t get to see these days touring through your town.
Are there any bands that you’re excited to see this year, either on tour or at The Fest?
They haven’t really released the juicy schedule yet. There’s a ton of great bands already confirmed, I’m really stoked to see a couple of the UK bands that II don’t normally get to see. I’m already getting stoked to see who they unveil as headliners, that’s when it gets interesting.
What’s your favorite show you’ve played, either on tour or at the Fest?
It’d be tough to beat the show at the last Fest, we somehow scored an incredible slot where we were playing the small stage between Less Than Jake and Small Brown Bike, that show also had The Draft and Seaweed I believe, so to be able to stand side stage and see those amazing bands play was pretty unreal. We also played pretty well that show, at least from what I remember through the drunken haze. That show basically got us hooked up with the person who just put out our record as well, it was a pretty epic show as far as the band goes i guess.
And your favorite show you’ve seen?
God, that’s a tough one, I would have to say that it’s either the Hot Water Music “reunion” show just recently up in Philly, they fucking killed it, and 3 or 4 encore songs, fucking amazing. Or, this one time I got to see Small Brown Bike in this little place called “the art space” in Gloucester, MA. The room was only supposed to hold like 50 people, but we crammed maybe 100 or so in there. That was sonically, maybe the best sounding show I’ve ever seen.
What do you think about the albums that have come out this year?
It’s all about Off With Their Heads, that band is great. They play the purest form of mid tempo pop punk. It’s like if Dillinger 4 and Fifteen were collaborating on songs, at least that’s how I play it out in my ad. That’s really the record I’ve been stoked on. I mean, I’m stoked on our record too, but because I’m proud of it, not because I listen to it.
Are you excited about any albums that are still to come this year?
To be honest, I never really know when good records are upcoming, I just find out about them when they’re released. I’m not sure who’s still got a record to release this year. If anyone knows something I don’t, please keep me in the loop.
How much has the cost of gasoline had an effect on touring for you this year?
It hasn’t effected how often we’re touring at all, it’s just effected how tour goes. We just did a 6 week string of shows that actually went off pretty well, as well as a DIY booked tour has ever gone for a band of mine. What kills us though is that if we had that exact same tour 3 years ago, we’d have come back with at least as much money as we left with. Back then if you got $50 off the door, you were stoked. Now when you get $50 off the door, it’s gonna get you 3 hours down the road. We were going through $100 – $140 in gas between shows, and it
wasn’t really anymore than 5 or 6 hour drives.
With that in mind, what changes do you see coming to the way people will tour in the future?
I think bands in general are going to tour less, but more efficiently. If the gas prices keep going up, like most people think they will, you’re going to see a lot less tours coming through your town. That’s a bummer, but at the same time, when there’s 5 or 6 shows a month that you want to go see, people are less apt to a.) go to every show and b.) pay more than $5 or $7 to get in the door. When there’s 2 or 3 good tours coming through a month, you might find that the shows are better populated and people won’t mind paying $10 to get in, which will give the bands a chance to make it to the next show. I also think, and this might come off as somewhat controversial, but I think there’ll hopefully be less crappy bands on tour. I don’t mean the bands that I don’t personally enjoy, I mean the bands that just aren’t really good enough to go on tour for 3 months, bands that are just watering down the punk rock scene. I know that’s gonna make me sound like a shit head to some people, I promise I’m not an elitist, I just hate watching bands that really can’t play or write songs watering down punk rock.
Is your band planning on playing house shows while in Gainesville?
Hopefully, we’re trying to play one. I keep hearing that people are organizing a house show staff to help the people who actually rent the houses clean up, and set up, and deal with the cops. That’s so fucking awesome and motivated. I wish that shit happened everywhere, house shows are where it’s at, that’s where we feel most comfortable. Hanging out with a bunch of drunk punk rock kids having a fucking
How do you get prepared to come to The Fest?
I didn’t know what I was getting into last year, but this year I’m going to try and get some decent nights of sleep before we head down to Gainesville. I’m also making sure I get a box of emergen-C, cause that shit does wonders on a hangover. Pizza seems to work pretty perfect with beer and booze, so Gainesville is the perfect town for the Fest in that regard.
How are you preparing for the aftermath of the Fest this year?
You really have to ease back into reality, don’t try and go back to work too soon. It’s like getting off of tour, it’s so hard to quit awesome cold turkey, but i guess we’ll have to try.
Any advice for the kids coming to see your set?
If people are actually stoked to come see us play, which would be awesome, then I would recommend listening to the songs and get some lyrics down, I’ve got them posted on our myspace and punknews.org is streaming the record, so if you don’t want to purchase it, you can listen for free. When people know the words, it makes us go crazy, it’s the greatest feeling in the world. Oh, and for those of you who drink, try and make sure you’ve got a little fog in your head for our set, god knows we will. Please, drink till we sound good.
What changes would you like to see more of in the way venues operate?
Yeah, I want to see venues across the country start letting kids in for free, oh and let people bring their own beer in, and give the bands plenty of gas money, ha. On the serious side, I just like seeing venues run by people who are actually into music and not jaded by it. When promoters and everyone are honestly stoked on putting shows on for a living it makes everything easier for the bands, the kids, everyone.
On a similar topic, what changes would you like to see in the way albums are recorded and distributed?
I think people do a pretty good job of both these days. Good punk rock doesn’t need to be recorded in expensive studios (though I’m not against punk rock sounding “pretty”). Good punk rock is going to be good punk rock. If Fifteen spent $30,000 recording Extra Medium Kickball All Star, it would still be a good record. If Good Charlotte went into a studio for a weekend and dropped $500 on their last record, it’s still gonna be crap. I dig that albums come out on vinyl and as digital downloads, those are the two ends of the spectrum, from pure to convenient, and I think both are important.
Do you feel like digital releases, an increasing trend in the last few years, will eventually supplant physical mediums like CDs and vinyl?
Vinyl will never go away, it’s too perfect. It sounds superior, you get nice big artwork, it feels so right. Cds on the other hand are on their deathbed, people have been giving us shit for not putting our record out on cd, but who really cares, if you want the artwork and the lyrics, buy the vinyl, it comes with a free download so you burn your own cd or put it on your mp3 player. If you don’t have a record player and don’t want one, just download the record, you can get the lyrics off our myspace or whatever. Cds were never a pure medium, they were just the most convenient for a time, now they’ve been replaced by Ipods, which are more convenient. It’s like people bitching that they can’t get the new Transformers movie on Laser Disc. I really don’t think there are any true CD purists out there.
If you attended/played the Fest last year, what was the highlight of the weekend for you?
The Holiday Inn pool party was pretty intense. Really the highlight for me was the whole thing, all of it, walking down the street and seeing a town completely overrun by people you can relate to. People who are into punk rock for the right reasons, seeing great music and partying their asses off. A “poseur” can’t survive the Fest, it’s impossible to be there and not really give a shit about punk rock. It’s great bands from noon till 2am, then house shows after that. It’s not sleeping for 3 days because there’s just too much damn music and booze to close your eyes. Oh and watching the emotron piss on the floor at the 1982 at 12:30 in the afternoon while chugging sparks trying to wake up was pretty tight.
When you’re on the road what’s your favorite city to play in?
I would say Boston, I’m kinda biased because I’m from the area, but the shows are always good, the bands are always good, and our friends are always buying us beer (which is a good thing when a PBR costs $4). Boston or Gainesville, we have great friends there, and it’s like Richmond-South as Tim Barry would say. This last tour we hit some towns that I’ve never been to before and had a blast. Can’t wait to get back out.
How many stage dives would you like to see at your set this year?
One, but it has to be every person in attendace all at once. I want to see 75 kids stage dive at once, which will be tough to pull off, cause who’s gonna be there to catch them?
What is your favorite thing about attending/playing at the Fest?
Meeting a thousand awesome people you haven’t met before. Seeing a hundred bands that you’re dying to see, all in a few block radius over the course of one weekend. Then realizing two weeks later that you barely remember it all. That’s the best motivation to make it back next year, “shit, what the fuck happened, guess we’ll have to go back down and try that again.”
What would you do differently if you ran the Fest?
I don’t know if I could improve on what Tony does. That dude is amazing, I don’t know how you go through all that planning, calling, emailing, etc… and not have a mental break down. I mean, when it’s something you love I guess it makes it easier, but that shit’s gotta be stressful. I don’t think it could really get any better. I guess the only thing I’d do different is try and plan one in Richmond as well, you reading this Tony?
Big thanks to Tony for taking the time to answer our questions. Keep checking back for more updates here at