Interview: The Plain White Tees at Warped Tour
Written by Adrian Leuthauser on July 21, 2017
The 23rd annual Vans Warped Tour is pretty much what you can expect at any Warped Tour. For newbies, it’s the prime opportunity to meet some of the bands that you never thought you’d ever get to meet and for the veterans, well, it’s an opportunity to catch up with friends and see bands that you’ve either seen before or ones that have just hit the scene.
In a way, my seventh year at Warped Tour was new to me. For the past six years I’ve always attended the show that was closest to home, which overall makes sense since only a select few fans actually decide to make the trek to multiple Warped shows. A new location meant trying to figure out where the hell I was going and where the hell the stages are because for the most part, they tend to be stagnant each year and end up in the same spot.
Truthfully, that only became a problem when I had the opportunity to interview the acoustic, love-song driven band, The Plain White Tees, which if you ever have the chance to, chat with them because they are absolutely hilarious and incredibly chill. I would say you could do that with the upcoming Warped shows, however, Blossom was incredibly lucky to host The Plain White Tees for their first and last show of the Warped season, which is in part due to the Alternative Press Music Awards. Nonetheless, they were still eager to talk about their one stop on Warped, The APMA’s and briefly talk about the future as they get ready to start working on their new record.
Photo by Adrian Leuthauser
So, how’s Warped been for you guys?
The Plain White Tees: Well, we had our last day of Warped Tour today, also our first day so it’s been pretty great, just one day. We don’t even have tan lines, well not yet, you never know. Dave (Tirio, rhythm guitar,) was thinking we’re all gonna be burnt tomorrow but of course, we didn’t come prepared.
Why just the one show?
TPWT: You know what, we weren’t even supposed to do it at all but we got asked to do The APMA’s last night and since we were already here, our agent I think hit up Kevin Lyman (Warped Tour founder) and said “Hey, the tees are in town, can they do warped?” and he said “Hell yeah.”
Traditionally, when you are on the entirety of Warped, what do you guys do before and after the show?
TPWT: Well, we’ve done Warped in a van and on a bus and it’s drastically different. In the van days man it’s terrible because you got nowhere to go so you’re stuck all day long in the heat. You basically hang out at your merch tent all day and then you drive all night to the next venue. Then you gotta be, because you know everyday they pick the order, and so you don’t know when you’re going to play until 10 a.m. the next day so you gotta get there on time, you gotta get your gear loaded by your stage and then for all you know you might be on at 11 a.m. or something. Or even those awesome days when your stage moves and you gotta drag your gear all the way across the park. But once you get into a bus, it’s cushy. For the bus, we ended up sharing a bus with another band, 17 people to 15 bunks.
So people had to share the bunks?
TPWT: Yeah, a couple girlfriends, but that was our first ever bus and so we were like “aww yeah,” we were loving it. But yeah, we’ve been thinking about doing some (Warped Tour) dates next year, hopefully.
Since this is your only day on Warped, have you been looking at other bands that are around?
TPWT: Oh, yeah dude, Alestorm, they were awesome. We watched Beartooth from a signing and Save Ferris was right by our signing as well. We just got to watch the end of I Prevail.
Those guys came out of nowhere, they did that cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”
TPWT: Oh, is that what happened? On the “Punk Goes Pop” album?
No, they just did their own cover and literally got picked up from that
TPWT: Whoa, no kidding. That coincides with everything we’ve been saying, it’s more of a trendy thing for hardcore bands to do, but we were just talking about it, everybody here loves pop music, all the bands and stuff but yet there’s such a diversity in music and at each stage you hear something different, it’s pretty cool.
How were the APMA’s?
TPWT: It was kickass, and even with that we got lucky, we just played one song, we played “Hey there delilah” because, that song, it was actually the 10th anniversary of that being on the radio, so they asked us to do that. It was cool because we played in a balcony box and it was right after John Feldman accepted his award, and we’re buddies with John so it was really cool to watch, and we were sitting right next to the guys from Sum 41, who we also played with wayyy back in the day and we’ve known them forever and they’re friends so it was like a cool little reunion over there.
Photo by Adrian Leuthauser
Were the APMA’s kind of a last minute thing as well?
TPWT: Kind of, they had a venue change and a lot of that was kind of a last minute thing. I know Korn was supposed to perform and they didn’t at the last minute. But apparently, the catering gave about half the people, half the bands and artists food poisoning and people were… vomiting and shitting all over the place, after and during the show. We heard there was some bad “Korn” in the catering (laughter). But we’ve also heard that a sponsor pulled out last minute and that’s why they had to move venues.
(BSR can neither deny nor confirm this information so please, take this was a grain of salt. Why the APMA’s changed location, we may never know)
What was the best part of the APMA’s for you guys?
TPWT: I mean, I guess performing, that was pretty awesome. Like, as soon as we started to play that first chord for “Hey There, Delilah” people started screaming and that was a weird moment for me, I almost got goosebumps, I was like, “holy shit.”
Was it kind of like a flashback?
TPWT: Yeah, it was super cool to get that kind of reaction from that environment.
It’s definitely a classic song
TPWT: It’s scary though in that kind of environment, getting up there with acoustic guitars, on the balcony you could easily fall of (laughter) but like, you don’t know how people are going to react. Everyone’s doing like, hardcore shit and we get up there and play our little acoustic love song but the fact that people still love it, still scream for it, it’s amazing.
The craziest metal head could be belting that song along with you guys
TPWT: Yeah, and that’s cool for us, seeing that guy sing along with us.
So what’s the plan for you guys after this single day (Warped Tour) and with the APMA’s over, what’s the plan for you all?
TPWT: We have a few one off shows for the rest of the year and then we’re going to be recording a new album.
With “Hey There, Delilah,” that was a huge hit…
TPWT: Why don’t you do that again? (laughter)
Yeah, exactly, most bands have that huge hit and then it’s like, “where did they go?”
TPWT: Yeah, it’s hard dude, I mean we’ve had “1, 2, 3, 4,” and “Rhythm of Love,” which were big hits for us but yea, it’s tough because it changes from what people expect of you. It’s kind of like a mind fuck because it’s like “Okay, you want to write these songs, you still want to connect with your audience” but when stuff like that happens and there’s these big radio crowds all of a sudden, it’s like of like, you didn’t know who your audience was for a second. We didn’t know what was going to connect, and it was like, kind of what we’ve always tried to do and so we just kind of write songs that we like, whether they’re acoustic, whether they’re rock and roll, it doesn’t matter, so that’s just kind of our way of navigating through it.
So what can we expect from the new record?
TPWT: Full acoustic songs (laughter) no it’s gonna be uhhh, we don’t really know. We’re not quite done writing yet so we’re still demoing, actually a lot of demoing. We kind of feel a little bit more… I mean we went back to Fearless Records, our original label, so we definitely have that independent spirit back in us so I think a lot of the songs are going to feel a lot more inspired and a lot more fresh.
Great, thank you so much for sitting down and talking with me, I think that’s pretty much it
TPWT: Yeah, we should probably get the hell to our show (laughter).