Tag Archives: Warped Tour

More Warped Memories…

So tomorrow the all day punk rock summer camp, also know as the Van’s Warped Tour, returns to Cleveland.  Once again I, along with a few of my friends, will make way through the endless crowds of kids to check out some amazing punk rock bands including Bad Religion, NOFX, Flogging Molly, and Gallows.

Armed with my trusty camera (the pics in this post are from the 2007 & 2008 Warped Tour FYI) I plan on doing my best to take some killer photos to share with all my readers.  I always have fun mingling with the fans and the bands and already know tomorrow will be an amazing day.  I may even sneak in a couple of photo sessions or interviews too.

I can not even tell you the number of Warped Tours I have been to but I know I have attended over half of them that rolled through Cleveland since 1996.  There were good times and bad times as well as times I do not even remember.

I’ve seen the festival blossom into what it is now and have watched grow as it moved from venue to venue in Cleveland.  I even remember the one time it was held at the Agora!  I think that was in 1997 and I do not remember any of it except for it being very cramped.

Having already recapped the 1996 Warped Tour in a previous blog, I though I would continue the fun stories although I am not sure my other Warped memories can top that dog choke chain story…

Here are a few select years I remember:

I remember this Warped Tour being at the Nautica Stage / parking lot in the West Side of the flats in Cleveland.  Utilizing the parking lot the festival did not seem too cramped but I know that a whole ton of kids snuck in without paying as the fences were unguarded and short.

There were a few bands I can recall without looking them up on the internet that played including Bad Religion, NOFX, Rancid, Deftones, Kid Rock, MXPX, Unwritten Law, and the The Aquabats.

It was a good time although I was not feeling very well.  I was having stomach issues and just did not want to be bothered by anyone.  During Rancid a girl was punching people and kicking the guys in their lower abdominal area.  I yelled at her for her to stop kicking people in the junk after she got me once.  She went for round two to my crotch with her Doc Martin and I grabbed her foot and…well that’s all I have to say about that.  Everyone in the pit cheered.

My long time friend Gary was with us and I remember him flicking off the Goodtime III as it sailed past us.  The horror on the people’s faces was priceless.

Kid Rock…wow.  Kid Rock was one of the closing bands for the day and I kid you not (no pun intended) there were less than twenty people checking him out.  No one seemed to like him.  In fact, after a couple of songs my friends and I took off as did most of the crowd.  (Not even a year later Kid Rock would be opening up for Metallica)

Ha, this was the year my pal Anthony and I collectively spent over $211 on beer.  Yes, $211 of our hard earned money was spent on overpriced draft beer.  I had brought a lot of cash with me planning on getting some merch from a lot of the bands I was a fan of and instead thought it would be a good idea to spend it on rounds of beer.

I think the Casualties played as well as NOFX, Bad Religion, Lars Frederickson & The Bastards, Anti-FlagYellowcard…umm…that’s all I got.  I was pretty hammered at this Warped Tour.  Ok, pretty was an understatement.

About 10 beers into the day my friends and I found an area to the left of the main stage that we pretty much staked ground at when there were bands we did not care to see.

“Eiffel Tower” was born that day too.  No, I am not talking about the Paris landmark, I am speaking of a cheers that takes 3 or more folk to engage in.  Anthony and I would hold our beers up high in the air to a random beer drinking attendee and scream “Eiffel Tower!!!!” expecting them to hold their beer up too.  At first people looked puzzled at the gesture but soon the beer drinking folk loved it and honestly I think we started something awesome that day…in fact I know we did.

In case you need more proof how much of an a-hole I can be, Yellowcard had just finished up their set and the younger crowd was leaving the main stage area because I think Bad Religion was playing and they needed to get to some other pop-punk stage.  Drunk and annoyed we started yelling at the kinds “get you of here you jerks” as well as called them “phonies”.  The looks of their faces was priceless.

I was that guy, that drunk guy, that annoyed everyone.  Hey, I was having fun so I guess that is all that mattered.  Thankfully we sobered up before the show’s end and then killed even more time afterwards ensuring no dangerous/stupid decisions were made.

This was the first year that I got a VIP pass to the Warped Tour thanks to my lady and to the Transplants‘ guitar tech Jay Bastard.  This year I actually went to Cleveland and then the very next day to Cincinnati.

Avenged Sevenfold, Senses Fail, Transplants, No Use For A Name, My Chemical Romance, Dropkick Murphys, and others were on this bill.

In Cleveland I was tame but Cincinnati was a different story.  I was reunited with Anthony and even though the two of us planned on only spending little money on beer we still got hammered.  “Eiffel Tower” was introduced to Cincinnati that day.

Later during the festival Anthony and I were beyond wasted looking for our girlfriends who were actually on a tour bus with Tim Armstrong (Rancid) and Jay Bastard enjoying the AC.  Anthony and I were hanging on a fence trying to watch the Dropkick Murphys having no idea where to find the girls while sweating our asses off.  Eventually the girls found us drunk morons and walked us back to the car.

I swore to never again get hammered at the Warped Tour.  That sun was lethal and drinking did not help it one bit.  In fact I think it made us drunker…haha.

This was one of those years I will never forget in my life.  Not because of the festival but because of mother nature’s fury.

This was actually the first festival I would not only attend but also review for the blogging site Blogcritics.org.  I was pretty psyched to have the opportunity to review the festival yet a little nervous becuase it was the first time I had ever really reviewed a festival.  I was so clueless what to do or where to go but I soon figured it out.  See below for a link of my review.

I drank one beer this time.  My friends…did not.  “Eiffel Tower” returned to Cleveland.  I kept a good eye on my friends this time to make sure they stayed out of trouble.  I should have kept my eye on the sky.

Around the 3 o’clock hour the blue skies turned dark and a freak thunderstorm rolled in to the Cleveland area.  I remember calling my lady asking her if she was getting hit by the storm.  She was at a dog park by our house and she stated it was still blue skies and had no idea what i was talking about.

This devil of a storm for some reason decided to slowly pass downtown Cleveland causing just horrible conditions, especially for folk like myself who were stuck outside with only tents to protect.  The storm pounded the area with heavy rains and winds so strong I swore we were in a tornado.  Everyone made the best of it because honestly, what the hell were we to do?  Luckily I was under the main tent surrounded by a ton of other folk.  Some kids were not so lucky hiding under bridges and wherever else they could find cover.

After the storm I walked around the grounds and it looked like armageddon.  Almost all of the merch tents were either packed up or blown over and destroyed.  The power was out in most of the city and there were hints of the Warped Tour not going on.  Even though the rumors were brewing, not many fans left and stuck it out waiting for an official announcement.

Kevin Lyman, the founder of the Warped Tour, made way to a stage where Coheed & Cambria were to play stating that the storm was one of the worst he has ever seen.  He also added that the show would go on and that they had two generators to power the two main stages.  He also offered all the storm survivors an added bonus and told everyone that their ticket stubs were good for admission to any Warped Tour for the duration of the summer.  I did not take advantage of that offer but some of my friends did.

As the sun set Bad Religion took the stage with a single hanging light bulb hovering over the stage.    It was a bittersweet ending to one heck of a day.

Click here for the review I did for the 2007 Warped Tour on Blogcritics.org

Pretty tame year actually.  Since earlier in the year I put drinking on a hiatus I just flooded myself with water and enjoyed such acts as Against Me!, Story Of The Year, Gallows, Gym Class Heroes, MC Chris, 3OH!3, Beat Union, The Briggs, Pennywise, and Bouncing Souls.

Click here for the review I did for the 2008 Warped Tour on Blogcritics.org

The day starts tomorrow at 11am.  I am sure I will have some stories to share.

Until then, have a good one.

I Am A Warped Tour Senior (Citizen) – True stores of the 1996 Vans Warped Tour

Summer of 94
Yes, this is me 13 years ago...

The Van’s Warped Tour has turned 15 this year.

How awesome is that?

The longest running festival ever is on it’s 15th run this year and does not seem to be slowing down at all.  Punk rock summer camp is still in session for fans of all ages.  I know when I go this year I will be laughing at the fact that there will be tons of kids there who were not even born when the Warped Tour first took place.

In other words…I’m getting old.

Recently I read a pretty interesting article in this month AP Magazine.  It basically told the tale of the history of the Van’s Warped Tour from the beginning until present day.  I suggest you go out and grab a copy of the magazine (who I should add has been around for 24 years!) if you want to know the true history of the Warped Tour and read the wonderful article.

I will tell you one thing…it was almost called the Calvin Klein Warped Tour. (read the article!!!)

I am not really going to go into detail with the history of the Warped Tour here, but I will go into detail of the history of myself at the Warped Tour; July 24th, 1996 to be exact.

Now I don’t remember everything because let’s face it, growing old does a number on you sometimes but I remember enough to talk about it.  This was my first Warped Tour festival I had attended and is the one that I will remember for a lifetime.  It became the start of a summer ritual my friends and I have been engaging in almost every single summer since.

It all started one day when I read about a punk rock festival that was coming back to town.  I missed the first Warped Tour in 1995 for whatever reason and still kick myself for doing so but what happened, happened.   Regardless I was excited to see it’s return and this time planned accordingly.

The festival was held at the old Cloverleaf grounds, a one time drive-in turned flea market parking lot, let me rephrase that, a gravel filled parking death lot, located under the I-480 Valley View bridge.  Of all the places a festival could have been put at they chose the white stoned parking lot and it was the perfect venue in every way.

Tickets were only $20 for the festival and the parking was free.  We arrived before anyone else and parked directly in front of the entrance gate.  Too young to buy beers and pre-game we just hung out until the gates were open and the festivities began.  Featuring acts such as NOFX, CIV, Pennywise, Unwritten Law, The Dancehall Crashers, Rocket From The Crypt, and others it was to be one of those days that I would never forget.  (Speaking of forget, it is possible that Sublime, No Use For A Name, The Deftones, Face To Face, and Fishbone may have played too but I can not recall – anyone else remember?)

Spite the lack of remembering the entire lineup, I have a lot of memories that day that will last for a life time.  I don’t even know where to start… I can tell you this though, many of those memories did not even include the bands.

Band memories:

CIV.  I miss that band so much.  I was a huge CIV fan (still am) and absolutely thrilled to see them take the stage.

I was still new to Unwritten Law having seen them previously opening for Bad Religion so i was excited to see them again live.  I was a huge fan of Blue Room and really got into their set.  So did some other fans who, apparently, started fist fighting in the middle of the pit.  Lead signer Scott Russo and yours truly broke up that fight.  I’m more about peace and rock over knocked out teeth.

I should also mention the famous boot prints found on people back’s.  I will not confirm if they were from my boots, but my friends did mention that I became very excited about NOFX taking stage and might have run over 4 or 7 kids while charging into the mosh pit.

Speaking of NOFX, one of my friend’s girlfriends at the time somehow got backstage and did not bother to invite any of us.  We later in the day discovered she made out with one of the members of NOFX.  Awesome.  I think at that moment I was double pissed.  Once for the blatant cheating and the other for the non-invite back stage.

Right before Pennywise took the stage for the final set of the day the clear skies turned into hell.  Huge dark clouds took over the sky and as Pennywise tried to close out the set lightning was striking dangerously close and the rain was pouring causing for their amps to blow out.  It was at that time that the two friends that were by me hi tailed it to my car and got the hell out of there.  We may have left someone behind.

Other memories:

I was on the nightly news that evening because apparently all of the cussing could be heard echoing in the surrounding cities thanks to the venue being located at the bottom of a valley.  I remember I was walking with my pal Jonah and was eating a hamburger.  I noticed one of the local news channels filming us so being the goof that I am I proceeded to stop, look at the camera, and stuff the 3/4 worth of hamburger left in my hand into my mouth where I proceeded to eat it.

Mom was so proud that night.

Later one of the newscasters was talking about all of the controlled rowdiness in the grounds and I walked up behind him and threw the devil horns over his head.  Everyone surrounding the camera burst out laughing.  Even the cameraman was laughing at that newscaster who had no idea what was going on.  I am pretty sure that was edited out of the evening news.

Then there was the choke chain I wore around my neck.  You see, being punk means wearing dog chains and other miscellaneous metal accessories all over your body.  I chose to wear a choke chain around my neck along with other various items including the super long chain connected to my wallet I used to trip over all the time.

For some reason I opted out of using a safety pin or mini pad lock to secure my dog choke chain and chose a chain link connector, something that I was so proud of discovering at a local hardware store earlier that year.  Well thanks to the intense heat my neck started to swell and I realized it was time to take off the chain from my neck so I could breath.  There was one problem…genus me decided to secure the chain link connector with pliers at home and I could not unscrew the chain link connector for the life of me.

I panicked and tried to do everything I could to get that thing undone from my neck.  I ran around like an idiot searching for pliers to get the link unscrewed as I was slowly choking.  All of the folk at the band merch booths could not help, the pro-skaters laughed at me, and the security was not any help at all.  Finally I found a booth where some folk were making jewelry and luckily borrowed some pliers and took that damn chain off my neck.  Who am I kidding, I basically lept over their table and snatched the pliers from one of their working hands in order to save my life.

Luckily there were no news crews around to film me during that episode…although that would have been hilarious.

Let me not forget about the the mosh pit, it was more like a death pit thanks to all the gravel.  I do want to note that the pit was very friendly and who ever slipped and fell or was forcefully knocked over was helped up immediately.  There was not as much blood as I though might occur but there were plenty of scrapes and bruises.

The drive home too was a memory.  Thanks to all the heavy rains my car decided to stall in the middle of Route 43.  I literrally beat the crap out of my car when it did not start and am pretty sure scared my friends.  To make matters even worse I screamed at my friends to get out of the car and help me push the car into a nearby parking lot.  One of them told me “no way, it’s raining”.  Thanks Pete.


The Warped Tour then was just in its baby steps when I attended.  I think there were three stages, maybe four, on that stony drive-in with just a handful of merch booths.  Within the next couple of years the success of the festival provided the means to expand and turn it into a larger festival with more stages and attractions.  Moving from place to place it just got bigger and bigger to what it is now.

I have to admit I was getting a little disappointed in the line-ups of recent years primarily because I have no idea who these bands are anymore.  I am all for the new generation of music and their fans but it has gotten to the point where I just do not care.

Luckily for me (and others I would assume) Kevin Lyman decided to go back to the Warped Tour roots this year and has asked some of the veteran punk rock bands to once again spend their summer playing on stages to thousands of fans all over the US, Canada, and even a couple of spots overseas.

This time around there will only be one main stage and longer sets.  That right there got me excited seeing how I never enjoyed seeing my favorite acts only get 30 minutes to crank out as many songs as they could.  I can honestly not wait until next week when the Warped Tour rolls through Cleveland once again.

Featuring bands (aka the bands I want to see most):

Bad Religion, NOFX, Bouncing Souls, Gallows, Flogging Molly, Anti-Flag, Fake Problems, Alexisonfire, 3OH!3, Authority Zero, Fishbone, The Flatliners, P.O.S, The Reverend Paytons Big Damn Band, Westbound Train, and Thrice (just to name a couple)

I will say this though.  This is my last year with the Warped Tour and I plan on retiring from the punk rock summer camp once and for all.  It was a touch decision but seriously even I am starting to think I am too old for it…

With my luck the 2010 line up with be even better than this years…  I’ll just insert foot into mouth now and not tell anyone later if I do return…

Vintage footage of the Warped Tour:

Speaking of memories…I came across this YouTube video of footage from the storm that nearly destroyed the 2007 Warped Tour. I was standing pretty close to the kid who filmed this. That was one hell of a storm…

NOFX – Coaster – CD Review

Not too many bands out there would make fun of the struggling music industry by naming their latest release after what CDs are almost becoming, but NOFX had no problem doing so. After just celebrating their 25th anniversary as a self-regulating punk-rock foursome, the band has just released a new album entitled Coaster on CD (as well as the limited edition Frisbee on vinyl).

This is the band’s eleventh studio release under front man Fat Mike’s self created label Fat Wreck Chords. The CD is almost like a career journey with taking some sounds of their younger years with a harder rough feel but also incorporating their current more mature style making for a well rounded listen.

In the beginning NOFX was more of a hardcore, skate-punk, disorder band of the eighties. Throughout the years they added elements of punk rock, pop punk, and even ska into their musical style, almost creating a unique genre of their own. With methods of trying everything once and asking questions later, the band has changed their style on more than one occasion including adding their personal views on America and the government but never leaving out their incredible sense of humor.

Getting wasted and popping pills were things the band never thought twice about nor was what ever spilled out of their mouths. Speaking their mind about religion and government were just a couple topics the band was not afraid of singing about and something the fans looked up to. It appears that this time though, perhaps now that GWB isn’t office anymore, the band has decided to focus on the less obvious on at least a couple of the tracks. It might also be that most of the band are now family men who may be still young at heart but getting up there in age.

With just a brief interaction with MTV in the past, the band has always been quick to show their middle finger to corporate marketing and do things themselves. They built their own success without the help of others. Their hard work and dedication paid off over the years as they still remain one of the most important punk rock acts out there.

Recently the band toyed with going commercial as their FUSE hit rockumentary series was released on DVD entitled NOFX: Backstage Passport. The series was a huge hit with many fans old and young as it featured NOFX on one of the craziest world tours in areas most bands would never set foot at. Not even a month later now Coaster has been released. NOFX fans all over the world are shaking with excitement.

The CD started off just like any other NOFX CD enticing the listener immediately with the pop punk powerful “We Called It America”.  Next up was “Quitter” which basically nailed all the folk out there who have given up on codependency.  At only two songs in NOFX seemed to have not lost their touch at all.

The very personal, and almost tear jerking, “My Orphan Year” talked about the loss of Fat Mike’s parents in 2006 with the death of a non-existent father and the passing of an angel of a mother. The line alone “I bet if you had been there, there wouldn’t be this song” really shows a more emotional side to the band that usually is all about slapstick.

Hands down the funniest song on the CD was “Creeping Out Sara” speaking of Canadian sisters Tegan and Sara. The lesbian punk rock song almost sounds like an actual conversation but the truth remains to be told. Continuing the fun was “Eddie, Bruce and Paul” a fast fun punk rock song with a sick guitar solo and hammering bass. The song has nothing to do in the aspect of “Liza and Louise” as some might suspect due to the three dude title, but is more of an ode to Iron Maiden with a NOFX twist.

“Best God In Show” pokes fun at over exaggerated religious shout outs with a more ska punk feel backing it up. The song seemed to be aimed at the punk rockers who are growing up and still laughing at the way things are. “I AM An Alcoholic” pretty much sums up the type of song you would expect to hear with a title about addiction. “One Million Coasters” ended the CD strongly with an array of music playing including an bass clarinet. The song slowly faded out ending this first-rate crack of a release.

For anyone worried that Coaster might not be all that, there is nothing to worry about. This CD is really a great listen and NOFX proves that it does not matter how old you are, just how you do it. Even if the band has been around for 25 years they still have it and show no signs of slowing down. They will be doing all that they can to entertain their fans and themselves with every release issued for hopefully years to come. Look for the band this summer as they return to stage at the Van’s Warped Tour once again.

DOWNLOAD THIS!“Creeping Out Sara”

In April NOFX announced a contest of sorts asking fans to create a DIY video for “Creeping out Sara” after the band found this fan made video on YouTube:

The contest has already ended and NOFX is to pick a winner shortly.

Warped Tour Line Up 2009 Looking Amazing…

Vans Warped Tour 2009
Vans Warped Tour 2009

While checking out Punknews.org this evening I could not help but get excited for the Van’s 2009 Warped Tour.  The successful punk rock festival created by Kevin Lyman looks to be getting back to it’s punk roots this year.  This will mark the 15th year the festival has been running.

The line up announced so far:

Anti-Flag, Bad Religion, Big D and the Kids Table, Bouncing Souls, Chiodos, Flogging Molly, Lights, NOFX, P.O.S., Shooter Jennings, TAT, The Devil Wears Prada, Thrice, Underoath and Westbound Train.  Also listed to perform are Less Than Jake, Silverstein, Senses Fail, Streetlight Manifesto, The A.K.A.s, The Ataris, Alexisonfire, Black Tide, Dance Gavin Dance, Escape the Fate and Gallows.

Can you say awesome?  WIth Bad Religion, Flogging Molly, NOFX, and Shooter Jennings listed I am going to be there for sure.  In fact I may try to hit the Cleveland and Columbus shows… maybe even Pittsburgh!

I have has the pleasure of reviewing and photographing the Warped Tour in 2007 and 2008.  I hope again to be able to cover the festival as each year is all so entertaining.

My reviews of both years on Blogcritics.Org:

Warped Tour 2007 Review

Warped Tour 2008 Review

Something that got my attention too was the announcement by Kevin Lyman on NotMTV.tv that there would be some changes at the next installment of the Warped Tour including 40 minute sets, less stages with only one major stage, and ticket prices staying hopefully around the same price.  By the looks of the line up too it looks as if he is making a point to actually have a more punk oriented festival in 2009..

Here is an interview with the creator of the longest running festival ever thanks to NotMTV.tv:

For more info on the Warped Tour check out:

Warped Tour Official Website

Warped Tour on Twitter

Warped Tour Schedule