So Warped Tour in Mountain View was on Saturday, and it goes without saying that it was the best day of my life yet again.
With Warped Tour, I always feel like I’m home. I show up at the venue to see lines already forming, artists walking about, and set-up crew turning parking lots into venues the way the Fairy Godmother turned a pumpkin into a carriage. And something about that clicks with me just right, and I think, “yeah, this is where I’m supposed to be.” Warped never lets me down.
For the past five years (yep, this is my sixth year!), I’ve shown up, passed out postcards and put up posters with my set time, performed, and then watched bands and checked out the booths for the rest of the day. This year, however, I’m “getting into the Warped groove” as Julie Grant (an absolute goddess who works at Warped and who has helped me every single year I’ve been there [and is in the center right picture below]) put it. And I did. So for the first time in years (since 2011, I believe), I’m blogging about it! But first, a quick trip down memory lane to last year:
... And we're back to the present!
I woke up early Saturday morning, drove to the venue with Siri and Sasha in tow, met up with the band and Steve, and began filling out post cards and posters. I really couldn’t have a better cast + crew for Warped - they all took it seriously, just like a job, while simultaneously enjoying themselves. I’m looking forward to Auburn and Portland with them, because they kick ass at doing what they do!
From left to right: Grae (drums), Rory (rhythm guitar), some creepy stalker girl with weird hair, Austin (lead guitar), Nick (bass), Steve (crew), and Sasha (crew). Not pictured: Siri (manager/official Tess Dunn iPhone photographer)
Our set was at 1:10, and the crowd was the loudest it’s ever been. I was blown away, and if you look at videos, my face clearly gives my shock away! I was so happy to be playing, and I concluded that it was definitely the best show I’ve had in the Acoustic Basement. Brian Marquis’s huge hug at the end sealed the deal :]
BRIAN! He runs the Acoustic Basement and is a musician himself. Click on the link above - it'll send you to his website!
Then I raced off to Natural High for a signing. Natural High is a non-profit dedicated to inspiring youth to discover their passions and live life off of that natural high, instead of an artificial one. I was honored that they wanted me to sign with them after my set!
After that, I headed on over to The Canvas Foundation’s tent. The Canvas Foundation is another non-profit dedicated to donating art supplies to and saving the art programs in schools. I was initially supposed to do an Instagram takeover, but I ended up doing something a bit different and absolutely awesome - painting people! I thought I’d be there for only a little bit, but nope - people wanted me to paint them for an hour! I had way too much fun, and I’ll be partnering up with them again in Auburn and Portland. They even made me my own smock :] I also plan on rocking my shirts, which you should do to!
Proof that I'm not an artist: I accidentally called my smock a "Spock." I also don't watch Star Trek oops
Next was Punky Pets. I can’t even begin to describe them, but their mini-summary is rad: “Global Misfit Reject Punks Making Music Together!” Basically, a group of eight rejects form a band and must get from NYC to LA for Warped’s Battle of the Bands. Definitely check them out, because it’s a hilarious, fun, and cool story! I’m honored to be a part of their Warped compilation video. I’m holding Lady Scratch in the picture (who I can relate to, based on her personality). I got the best shirts and some plush figures - they’re badass to say the least!
I also met up with Terry from My Life Vs Your Vacation, a clothing company with a simple message: "Make your life whatever you want it to be." That message attracted me to reach out to them, and I’m happy to announce that I’ll be doing a signing with them after my show in Seattle! Everyone at the tent is friendly and the shirts are awesome, so stop by if you're going to Warped. I’m looking forward to working with them next weekend and throwing their shirts into the crowd (as well as rocking them on- and off-stage)!
I didn’t get the chance to see many sets due to everything else going on, but I did get to stop and see We The Kings perform. I’ve seen videos of them playing, but physically being there and listening was even better. I also finally met up with Vinnie Langdon of The Vinnie Langdon Show there - we’ve been trying to do an interview for ages, but never gotten around to it. It was fantastic to finally meet, and I’m looking forward to doing an interview with him soon!
Then I grabbed dinner with Nate and Ryan from HeartSupport, which was founded by Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red “as a place for this generation to express their struggles in life.” You don't have to be alone with what you’re going through, which is something I talk about regularly and a message I hope to spread through my music and with HeartSupport. Stop by their tent when you can! I’ll definitely be hanging around there in Auburn and Portland. You won’t be able to miss me - I’ll be wearing a neon shirt.
After dinner, Sasha, Siri and I went back to the car and headed home, where I full-on collapsed. I’m serious. I don’t even remember what happened between the time I got home (9) and the time I fell asleep (12:30, as opposed to my usual 4 AM). I mean, I vaguely remember eating Lucky Charms and talking the day over, but that was pretty much it. My brain was solely focused on my day at Warped - the rest was just kind of overtime-existing, haha.
I’m looking forward to my gigs on the Hard Rock Kevin Says Stage in Auburn and Portland next weekend (the 28th and 29th, respectively)! Everyone I’ve worked with so far have been so kind, and I’m lucky to be working with them in the future as well. Warped is a giant community, and I wouldn’t have discovered these amazing non-profits - and met so many inspiring people - without it.
So here’s to another fabulous date at Warped, and another two on the way. Auburn and Portland, GET READY. I won’t be there to mess around. (Okay, maybe a little bit, but can you blame me?
I’m in love with you all. Thanks for letting me be able to do this.
ps. I'll leave with you this gem. I call it "Austin + The Hat."