1. How did you get your band name? Sam: Around the time I was starting the project I was in a place where I felt like a lot of things in my life were really black and white. I was always the friend, never the lover; always good at what I was doing, but never good enough for some people; I was always the outgoing one, but never the one people would be outgoing in return for. And so on and so on. And a lot of the inspiration for our songs came from those situations. So I thought it would be the right name for this project. Luckily things have gotten a lot better since then. Haha.
2. How did this band get started Sam: I started Always & Never in January 2010 after my two previous bands split up. In each of those bands we had planned on recording an acoustic EP, but never had the chance to. Once I was on my own I figured, "Why not just do the acoustic EP solo?" So I did exactly that. I arranged my favorite 6 songs from the previous bands (some released, some unreleased) into acoustic versions and started recording our self-titled EP. Mike Vacio, who had played in both my previous bands played drums on the EP and became an official member shortly after. After releasing the EP and touring for a few months with our initial lineup, we added our lead guitarist/keyboardist Chris Anderson. Chris had done a couple of solo acoustic sets on different bills with us and was a mutual friend of ours, so we thought he'd fit perfectly. So it's been the three of us for about a year now along with various bassists. We also added my good friend A.J. Horton on third guitar a few months ago and it's been awesome having him in the lineup.
3. What bands are you influenced by? Sam: We definitely have a lot of influences in this band. I personally get a lot of influence from Smile Empty Soul, Seether, Paramore, Foo Fighters, Staind, etc., but the rest of the guys have influences anywhere from death metal to reggae to pop. You'd be surprised at how different each of our music collections looks. Mike: Led Zeppelin, Santana, Animals as Leaders, Bob Marley, Born of Osiris, Bob Dylan, and anything hip-hop, rap, pop, and oldies Chris: '90s alternative rock. AJ: The Used, Blink 182, Paramore, Bullet For My Valentine, A7X, Yellowcard, As I Lay Dying, Slipknot, and a s*** ton more.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why? Sam: Foo Fighters. Spending even a day hanging out with Dave Grohl would be insane, I can only imagine 3 months. Mike: Our friends. Chris: Always & Never. Haha, no. Third Eye Blind because they bring out my inner teenage girl. AJ: I would definitely tour with The Used. They have been my favorite band for many years and their music never ceases to amaze me. Watching all their DVDs just makes me wanna go on the road with them and screw around and write amazing music.
5. Best food to eat on tour? Sam: Sonic, definitely Sonic. Mike: I've never been on tour but I eat Subway pretty much every day. Chris: Top ramen by far. The chile flavor, not that beef s***. AJ: Bakers, In N Out, Taco Bell, Chipotle, any kind of pizza - I just love food.
6. Why should people listen to your band? Sam: I'll be the one serious one…so I'll have to think about that…. Mike: So we can be rich and famous. Chris: 'Cause I look like sex with legs. AJ: Why wouldn't they?
7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with? Sam: As much crap as he's gone through, Kobe Bryant. Winning championships and playing for the Lakers is pretty cool. Mike: O.J. Simpson so I can get away with killing white bitches. Chris: Tiger Woods or Michael Phelps 'cause one gets p**** and one gets to participate in substance abuse. AJ: Travis Pastrana…the guy's got BALLS.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank? Sam: Everyone who's worked on music with me. And all the heartbreakers who I've written songs about. Mike: My family, my friends, and everyone I love. Chris: I'd miss the show and have them mail it to me. AJ: Your Mom.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be? Sam: No more required pre-sale. Mike: That I would be in it at the top. Chris: The music industry. AJ: If I could go back in time, in a Delorean of course, I would've stopped any digital downloads of any kind. It made it so easy for people to steal music and not give a shit about buying music to support a band. It's no longer a luxury to have music.
10. Memorable tour experience? Sam: Recently I've actually had a couple great experiences. Last month we got to share the stage with my favorite band Smile Empty Soul which was really cool. That's always been a dream of mine. Also at our CD release show this month, Chris broke a string in the first song and had to rush across the stage and lean over A.J.'s shoulder to play his solo that was only 4 bars away on A.J.'s guitar. They've now coined it the "brolo".
11. What does AP.net mean to you? Sam: It's the number one spot for all the music news about my favorite bands, and a good place to interact with people and promote.
12. What is your favorite song to play? Sam: I can't really choose a favorite, I love them all. Mike: "A Changing Picture." Chris: Our cover of "Drive" by Incubus, 'cause it's not ours. AJ: "Home" and "Goodbye For Now."
13. What is your vacation spot of choice? Sam: My main vacation spot has always been Bass Lake, CA. Get a cabin, ride jet skis and relax. It's always a lot of fun. Mike's been up there like three times now too. Mike: Hawaii, fo sho. Chris: My cerebral cortex.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood? Sam: "All Killer No Filler" by Sum 41 always reminds me of sixth grade, it was the first CD I really intensely listened to. Mike: Classic rock and pop. Chris: Boyz II Men and Soul Train. AJ: Sadly, Hanson and Garth Brooks.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why? Sam: The ability to freeze the time space continuum. It'd be cool to just freeze time and get all the stuff done I need to do without worrying about being late or anything. And to just walk around and do random crap. Mike: Flying. Chris: Same as junior high, seeing through girls' clothes. AJ: I would fly. Everywhere.
16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals? Sam: I never eat before I play, I don't want to get a stomach ache. Mike: Caffeine and green. Chris: 3 beers and to f*** up a bunch at practice so I don't f*** up at the show. AJ: I always make sure to pee before I play…there's nothing worse than having to shake the mist when trying to play.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you? Sam: I played travel basketball for years when I was younger and played for our team in high school. Mike: Sometimes in public situations I pretend that I'm on my cell phone so I don't have to talk. Chris: I hold my breath when I walk by people and hate the sound of pouring liquid.
18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish? Sam: I never listen to the radio anymore. Haha. Mike: Maybe if we had more synth and electronic drums. AJ: I'm with Sam…I hate the radio. Too many commercials. I have the radio disconnected in my car.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time? Sam: Just hang out with my girlfriend and friends, draw, design, play video games, watch TV and movies, play basketball. Mike: Hang out with girls. Chris: What every other 22 year old man wants to do... AJ: Usually write songs, hang out with friends, eat, watch movies.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have? Sam: I can do a lot of really weird cartoonish voices. I mostly choose not to though. Mike: I don't know if I should tell you... Chris: My hips don't lie. AJ: I have this amazing ability to seduce women.