1. How did you get your band name?
In college, my roommate thought it would be funny if a band was called Abandon Kansas so everyone would think it sounded like ďa band in KansasĒ. The name was a joke, and now weíre sort of stuck with it. Itís confusing over the phone and in person until you see it in writing. A name is a name, and ours is definitely not a good one. Don't hold it against us, please?
2. How did this band get started?
My sophomore year of college I met some guys at school and at church that wanted to write original music. Aside from some silly talent show bands in high school, none of us had ever really been in a band. We started out playing a lot of church youth group activities and local events. The songs I wrote were terrible and our live show was awkward. AKís first tour was over spring break in 2006. It was the least successful outing ever, and we had an absolute blast. From that point on members came and went due to marriage and college and lifeís happenings. We grew up on the road, figured out how to write better songs and how to put on a better show. We definitely learned the hard way, but I believe weíre still progressing. Weíve had this lineup for a year now, itís our best lineup yet.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
Weíre always listening to so many different groups, and there are few bands we enjoy collectively, but some of those would be Phoenix, The Killers, Passion Pit, Margot & The Nuclear So and Soís, Muse, John Mayer, and Friendly Fires.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would it be and why?
Mute Math puts on such an incredible live show. Itíd be such a privilege to be able to watch them play every night. Being on tour has so little to do with the time on stage though. The tours we have enjoyed the most have been the ones where we connected with the other guys and made friendships for life. Some of our best friends are Progress In Color, PM Today, The Wedding, Swimming With Dolphins, and House of Heroes to name a few.
5. If you were a furry, what animal would you be? Why that animal?
Iíve been trying to grow my first beard for No Shave November. Iíve had a disgustache before, a wicked molestache, but Iíve never attempted the full mountain man beard. I would love to be a bear. They eat and sleep the whole day. They are so darn lazy, yet they intimidate everyone. I donít know if Iíd really enjoy being a bear, thatís just what came to my head first.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
Our band has a unique combination of sounds that doesnít completely betray any of the genres we find ourselves dipping into. I write pretty straightforward songs with some interesting chord progressions and then our guitar player Brad will write the most illogical riff on top of it. Add in Nickís tasteful bass lines and Brianís loose drumming style and you have a concoction of creativity that we havenít heard in many other bands. We spend a lot of time reading in the van, and my lyrics are often inspired by the relationship between life on the road and the authors I read. I figure a person canít write well if heís not reading something good.
7. If you were chosen to be in Guitar Hero/Rock Band, what song would you want in the game? How hard do you think it would be to five-star on expert?
"Make Believe" off of our latest release probably has the most Guitar Hero friendly guitar riff. Itís a fun song to play live and I could see people jamming to it on their tv screen. I donít think it would be too hard to get a five star on expert though, itís no Dragonforce.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
Absolute Punk, duh. If Abandon Kansas won a Grammy we would have to thank our families first, for letting us bail on our ďnormalĒ lives and pursue music. After that would come all of our friends at our shows, in the studio, at our label, and back home.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Someone needs to make a documentary on how radio works. I donít listen to the radio, and I doubt most of the AP.net viewers do either, but it would blow the general publicís mind if they could see how charts and song plays work. I would also like to see some sort of requirement system for social networking sites that would filter out all of the terrible bands out there. It would be a lot simpler for industry reps and general public to find good music if they didnít have to wade through this swamp of bands with no direction. Really, if I could change one thing about the music industry, it would just be for Nickelback to go away, forever.
10. Memorable tour experience?
Everything that happens on tour would be a grand story for the average Joe. At this point, the roller coaster of victory and defeat that we ride daily seems normal. Iíll never forget the time our trailer key broke off in the lock. Our gear was in the venue and it was time to load out but we could not get into our trailer with that lock on the door. All hope was lost until Matt Shelton from The Wedding busted out a saw from his duffel bag. Why would someone travel with an electric skill saw capable of cutting steel? Donít ask me, Iím just glad he does.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
Visiting AP.net each day is a great way to stay in the loop on the all the latest musical happenings. Itís less about gossip, and more about new art (songs, videos, cd covers) that our favorite artistís are releasing. The only drawback of music sites is the ďtoughĒ kids on the forums. Actual musicians donít waste time defending genres or their favorite bands; they just support bands if they believe in what they are doing. I think a mutual respect for musical taste and preference would do all music forums well.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
My favorite song to play is "Make Believe" because I like the vibe it puts off into the room wherever we play it. A lot of people know the chorus, which makes it fun to sing, and the handclaps towards the end bring everyone together. Same as any band out there, we arenít crazy about playing our old songs. But part of being in a band is honoring the listeners that make our career in live music possible. We still play some of the first songs Abandon Kansas ever wrote, hopefully we can move on soon though.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
The northwest (Seattle, Portland, Boise) has so much flavor, such nice people, and unmistakably beautiful scenery. If I werenít on ďvacationĒ all the time I would visit the pacific northwest for sure.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
Christmas music stuck out to me the most as a child. I know thatís a bit of a weird answer but I can always remember looking forward to Thanksgiving when the radio stations and my household would start playing Christmas tunes. I canít stand that junk now. Ironically enough we have our own rendition of "O Come All Ye Faithful" coming out next week. Having grown up in a pretty conservative church, hymns also take me back to my younger years.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Is transporting from one location to another a super power? Anything that would lead to less time spent traveling in the van would be my vote.
16. Do you feel that your band has "made it"?
What a terrible term. Success in the music business is nearly impossible to evaluate because each aspect of the industry defines it differently. Is success based on record sales? Label? Ticket sales? Radio play? Name recognition? No doubt that success in all of those areas would make us smile, but they wouldnít make this band happy. As long as we are able to continue to write the music we want to create, play shows across the country, spend time with amazing people that continually invest in our lives, and pay the bills on our end, then weíll have ďmade itĒ. Whatís cool about those factors is that none of them have to do with our songs catching on or our band blowing up. The public is fickle, and bands come and go. If those four factors are the only things that define our happiness, then we control our own musical destiny.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
We play disc golf, we love buffalo sauce, we rarely stay in hotels, we love Michael Jackson, we have been in four wrecks in our current van, we have never been to New York City, we hardly ever turn Red Box movies in on time, and we donít take ourselves too seriously.
18. What's your favorite holiday?
My favorite holidays are the ones spent at home with my family. We normally spend Easter, the Fourth of July, Halloween, and Valentineís Day playing a show in a state far away from home. Weíre always home for Thanksgiving and Christmas though and we all soak up the time spent with our closest family and friends during that season. I know that sounds like a Hallmark card, but those are the kind of things weíll never take for granted after having spent so long on the road.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I catch up with my favorite TV shows via Hulu. Lately Iíve been slightly addicted to "Flashforward" and "Itís Always Sunny". If there is free time beyond that itís usually spent reading, writing, or catching up on sleep that we never seem to get.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
Brad is a very gifted drawer/painter. He actually painted the cover of an acoustic release we did early this year. Also, as a band, we collectively did 83 pull-ups in less than 3 minutes with Bradís perfect pull-up bar.
The only drawback of music sites is the ďtoughĒ kids on the forums. Actual musicians donít waste time defending genres or their favorite bands; they just support bands if they believe in what they are doing. I think a mutual respect for musical taste and preference would do all music forums well.
So awesome that this interview noted this. These are words that should be listened to.