Q&A with The Wonder Years
MOVE checks in with the current kings of pop punk.
With several headlining tours under their belt, and yet another spot on the main stage at this year’s Warped Tour, The Wonder Years seem to be the main driving force that’s steering the pop punk scene in the right direction. Lead vocalist Dan Campbell talks about the band’s new album and whether or not they’ll be hitting CoMo any time soon (either way, their shows are worth a drive, trust us).
[MOVE]: How tour has been so far?
[Dan Campbell]: This tour has been really, really awesome. Almost all the shows have either sold out or done like, 70 percent plus the cap. So, I’m really happy with it. The kids have been awesome. It’s a cool tour for us because the last tour we did was Yellowcard, which is an expensive show in a big venue. It’s not very personal. These are all small shows for very cheap. The highest ticket price [is] $15 which is kind of unheard of in 2013 for shows this size and with this many touring bands. We get to meet the kids, they get to stage dive and sing along and have a good time. It’s fantastic.
[M]: You just released your album trailer for The Greatest Generation. Can you tell us about the album?
[DC]: I can tell you that it was recorded by Steve Evetts, who did Suburbia and who’s also done Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, Every Time I Die, Saves the Day, Say Anything, The Dillinger Escape Plan. It was mixed by Mark Trombino. He played in a band called Drive Like Jehu, and then he recorded, produced, mixed, Jimmy Eat World, Blink-182, The Starting Line, Motion City Soundtrack, etc.
The record’s my favorite that we’ve ever done by a landslide. It’s the right amount of growth, you know. It’s the right record. It feels like us. It feels totally like us and that feels really good. It feels like the record we’ve always wanted to make. I said in the trailer, it’s kind of the third piece of a lyrical trilogy surrounding the idea of growing up, in that The Upsides was kind of this internal battle, a lot of ‘me vs myself.’
And then, Suburbia was kind of an external battle, you know, the ‘me vs. the world, where do I belong?’ thing. This is kind of the realization that all those battles needed to have a purpose and that purpose is kind of defined by what you do after them, how they affected you, how you learned from them and what kind of person they made you into. So that’s kind of this record. It’s a series of defining moments, defining memories, defining ideas that all build to the person you are and the realization that ‘I know the person I wanna become and the person I wanna be for the rest of my life.’ It’s time to live up to that. That’s kind of really the basis of it.
[M]: You guys made the album above an old, abandoned sandwich shop. What made you decide to have the process there?
[DC]: Lack of other places. There’s not a whole lot of places to practice in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. That place is kind of a legend for us, locally. A bunch of bands you’ve probably never heard of practiced there when we were kids. You know, they were the big bands from our town. Dysphoria is the main one that everyone talks about. Through the years, different bands have always practiced there.
A long time ago, we did some rehearsals there and when we were teaching Nick (Steinborn, keyboards, backing vocals, guitars) to play drums when Kennedy (Kennedy, drums) quit briefly. And a room opened up, we shared it with a band called Reign Supreme. But they only use it once a month, maybe. So it’s really just our room, and it’s a total piece of shit.
[M]: How would you say that environment affected the writing/recording process?
[DC]: It’s hard to say because there’s nothing to compare it to. We’ve written other records other places but it’s not like we can say ‘Well, this record would have been different if we did it somewhere else.’ It’s hard to say what would make this record the same or different. But, it definitely fueled some things.
It got really hot. It got really cold. We were using this little kerosene heater to try and keep warm when we were doing it, we had a couple of winter practices. The summer practices were all swelteringly hot. But it was kind of nice to have a place that was close enough to home so that we could go home every day after practice.
[M]: You guys are playing main stage at Warped Tour this year. What do you have in store for that? Will you be playing a lot of the new album?
[DC]: It’s hard because you only have 35 minutes, and you gotta try to cram a lot of material in. I would say that we’ll be playing an equal portion from the three relevant records.
[M]: So you’re hitting Canada with Silverstein at the beginning of the summer?
[DC]: Yeah, right before Warped Tour. That’s how we’re getting to Warped Tour. Warped starts in Seattle, so we’re driving across Canada to get there.
[M]: What are your touring plans for after Warped? Will you be coming back to St. Louis or anywhere in Missouri?
[DC]: We haven’t confirmed anything for St. Louis. We have some UK stuff coming up that we’re really excited about. We have some record release stuff coming up that we’re really excited about that’s not announced yet. The UK stuff is announced, that’s the Slam Dunk Festival. But we will be touring. We will be doing the full US again in some capacity. Not every tour hits St. Louis. Some hit Kansas City or Springfield, but I would like to come back. I like it here.