HMX Gets Toursick: An Interview with A Day To Remember

HMXPope and I took a ride down to the House of Blues in Boston to catch up with the guys from A Day to Remember. We got out of our cab ride a few blocks from the venue because traffic was, for some unknown reason, crazier than usual. We soon found out why - as we got within sight of the HoB we were greeted with round the block lines – the longest either of us had ever seen for a show there. And it was two hours before showtime! (Don’t believe us? Check out the insanity in the video below).

We met up with the band’s tour manager and snuck backstage for a quick chat with the entire band. We had an awesome time talking about the guys’ experience playing their own tracks in Rock Band. We also covered other pertinent and academic topics like: Tom Hanks, musical influences, tour pranks, video concepts, and other good stuff (some of which we couldn’t put on this video).  If you don’t have the chance to see the band on one of their sold out Toursick shows, you can get your ADTR fix below:


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HMXThrasher: Hey Rock Band fans! What's up? This is HMXThrasher comin' to you live from the House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts. Yeah! Our home turf. Anyway, one of our favorite Rock Band bands who now has a track in Rock Band Network, A Day to Remember, is headlining here tonight and HMXPope and I are going to go inside and chat with the guys.

[video of A Day to Remember's song "I'm Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?"]

HMXT: Hey Rock Band fans. What's up? This is HMXThrasher and I am at the House of Blues in Boston with the gentlemen from A Day to Remember.

A Day to Remember: [waving] Hello.

HMXT: So, guys, you wanna introduce yourselves?

Neil Westfall: Hello, I'm Neil. I play guitar.

Kevin Skaff: I'm Kevin. I also play guitar.

Josh Woodward: I'm Josh. I play bass.

Jeremy McKinnon: I'm Jeremy. I sing.

Alex Shelnutt: I'm Alex and I try to play drums.

HMXT: Awesome. So you guys have two songs in Rock Band right now. One as regular DLC - that's "The Downfall of Us All" - and one in Rock Band Network, our indie music initiative, and that is "I'm Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?"

JM: Nice! I didn't even know that.

JW: We just found out.

KS: I knew.

NW: I knew. Three minutes before the interview I got told.

Everyone: [laughs]

NW: I didn't know before that, though. I'm pretty stoked.

HMXT: Yeah, it's pretty cool! "I'm Made of Wax, Larry…" was actually one of the most requested songs by fans of the band, so that's cool that through your label getting involved we were able to get it in Rock Band Network.

NW: Awesome.

JM: Yeah, that's great.

HMXT: Do guys ever play your own songs in Rock Band? Have you played "Downfall of Us All"?

NW: [nods] Yes.

JW: Neil, remember when we did it?

NW: I played it on Expert and definitely failed. I thought I was going to be an expert at it. I mean, you know, I should be. I wasn't. Then a little thirteen-year-old kid walked up and was like, "Oh, you gotta do it like this… [guitar stance]" and I was just like, "I quit. Thank you."

JM: I played it in front of like - they had the Rock Band tent at Warped Tour, and when they got it, we didn't actually have to do one of those signings or the competitions that day, so I just went there because we had a friend that worked in the tent. And he told us that it came in today. So I went in and played it, I was like one of the first people that played it. I don't remember who was with me. There was someone else with me and we played it together in front of all these kids. And I had it on Hard, because I'm decent at Rock Band, but then…that song just slayed me. [shakes head]

NW: Yeah, the second verse, man. It's so hard.

JW: It's a lot harder on the game than it is in real life.

KS: Absolutely.

NW: A lot harder.

HMXT: So you guys toured Europe last summer, right? ADTR: Yes.

HMXT: Right after I think you guys were in Germany, we were in Germany on tour with the game, and a lot of the German fans were like, [German accent] "A Day to Remember - Downfall of Us All."

AS: That's awesome.

HMXT: That's how I got introduced to your band because I was up on vocals going, "da da, da da da da."

Everyone: [laughs]

HMXT: Which was excellent. So we have a question for you from our friend BritishPhill. He's a huge fan and he wanted to know about what are your musical influences? What influences your sound as it is today?

NW: A lot of bands influence us. I mean, we could probably all go down the line and say a band that influenced us and it'd probably all be different. We could probably do that if you want.

HMXT: Yeah, let's do that.

NW: I would probably say Blink 182. That's probably my main influence in music.

KS: Same, but also Thrice, Poison The Well.

JW: One band, Kev.

HMXT: [laughs]

NW: You just picked three.

JW: You just ruined Jeremy and Alex's picks.

KS: I guess I'm retarded.

JW: I would say New Found Glory.

JM: I would say Millencolin.

AS: I'd say Less Than Jake.

NW: How do we have heavy music [laughs] when we have all…"

KS: I said Poison The Well.

NW: Kevin wasn't in our band to write any music up until now, but he's the only one that likes heavy s***.

KS: Not true. I went to my iPod today, and obviously On Broken Wings was on my iPod.

NW: I wondered who had it on there.

AS: Wasn't me.

JM: Me.

HMXT: So, if you guys feel like talking about it, you had a lineup change last summer when Kevin came on to join the band.

NW: Yeah.

HMXT: So how have things been going? How's the reception been with fans?

NW: It's never been better.

JM: They don't even know what happened, most of them.

KS: I think everybody thinks I'm him.

JM: Seriously, it happened at the perfect time for our band, because he kinda quit right before the record came out. So Kevin has done every tour that we did on Homesick, which has been our biggest record to date. So it was like a seamless transition. A lot of our older fans noticed, but it was like, you know, if you were following our band it's obvious that it's for the better because Kevin's awesome and he actually wants to be there, and you can tell on stage.

NW: Right.

JM: It made everybody involved happy. And we're a better band because of it.

HMXT: Awesome. Speaking of fans, have you guys had any interactions with fans who came to know you by playing your songs in Rock Band?

JM: I did at Warped Tour

JW: Warped, yeah.

NW: Definitely at Warped Tour. Um, ever since then, I don't know. I haven't really talked to many people.

JM: You guys have people playing our songs on Rock Band the day of the show, so definitely had a lot of interactions with them about that.

HMXT: And were the interactions with them different than your typical long-term fans?

JM: Eh…well, we were growing a lot in that time.

NW: I think they were just as stoked as anyone else, you know. It was like the first time they had heard the song, but it was the first time a lot of people had heard the song, so they were all becoming fans together.

JM: And also it gives them something to kind of hold on to. They can be like more of a part of it than just listening to a song.

HMXT: Cool. What other songs, if any, do you think you guys would like to bring to the Rock Band platform?

NW: Of ours, or just anything?

HMXT: Of yours or of anything. You can answer both ways.

NW: Of our songs…

AS: What would be a good one?

NW: Dude, we should do…if we do an older song we should do "A Shot in the Dark." That'd be a pretty hard song to do on there.

AS: Yeah, that could be good.

KS: I want some Meatloaf in Rock Band. Piano and guitar. [makes guitar noises] I just want guitar.

Everyone: [laughs]

JW: I don't know…I'm trying to think.

AS: Me too.

HMXT: We can come back to it.

AS: I've always been pretty content.

NW: Yeah, I'm pretty happy. You guys have done a great job of choosing the songs.

KS: If there was one song that I would ever put on Rock Band - "That Thing You Do."

AS: Yes!

HMXT: From the movie?

AS: Yes. That would be incredible.

HMXT: Pope, call up your BFF Tom Hanks.

HMXPope: [from behind the camera] I do love Tom Hanks. [laughs]

KS: He's my favorite actor.

HMXPope: We met him at E3 last year.

HMXT: We hung out with him at E3 last year.

AS: That's awesome.

HMXPope: He's a big Beatles fan, so we played The Beatles[: Rock Band] game with him.

HMXT: He's also really tall. Like, really really tall in real life.1

NW: Wow, I wouldn't expect that.

JM: Was he good at Rock Band?

HMXT: He was incredible. He and his wife were rockin'.

KS: Rita was there?

JM: Rita Hanks?

HMXPope: Yeah, he started on Easy and an hour later he was doing Hard.

NW: Colin was there? The whole family?

HMXT: We ran into Colin at South By Southwest, but not the whole family.

JW: Just this last one?

HMXT: Yeah.

KS: Chillin' with the Hanks.

JW: Was he just out there listening to bands there and stuff?

HMXT: I have no idea. [Pointing to HMXPope] You're the one who saw him.

HMXPope: He was in a movie that premiered at South By.

JW: Gotcha.

HMXT: So, how's the tour going so far? Generic question.

JM: Great.

JW: Generic answer

JM: No, it actually has been pretty cool so far. It's actually our first A-market headlining tour ever, so…

NW: It's the first time we've gotten to play in the nice cities and nice venues

AS: Bigger venues.

JM: We get to bring out a lot of bands that we believe in, that we like. So it's been cool to put together a package that we are stoked on and it seems like our fans and other people are stoked on it as well. So it's going really well so far.

JW: It's diverse enough to pull in different kinds of kids, so it's pretty sweet.

HMXT: Your tourmates Silverstein actually have a song coming to Rock Band Network.

JM: Which song?

HMXT: "American Dream."

JM: Cool.

NW: That's weird. They're Canadian.

HMXT: I know.

JM: [laughs]

KS: It'd be cool to do "Smile In Your Sleep" because they have the new buttons at the top so you can go [makes guitar noises].

NW: The double tapping?

KS: That'd be cool.

NW: [miming playing Rock Band guitar buttons] Fail fail fail fail fail.

KS: [makes wrong note sounds]

HMXT: I heard through the grapevine that you guys have on tours with other bands had difficulty with other bands playing pranks on you, getting naked on your stage and things like that.

JM: It's us getting naked on their stage.

HMXT: It's you guys getting naked on their stage…okay.

NW: Yeah, we were doing that to them.

JM: That was in Pittsburgh.

JW: I got naked.

HMXT: [laugh] Have you pulled that at all since you've been headlining?

JW: Last night I got naked in the pool and hot tub.

JM: You did?

NW: No, we haven't done that to anybody

JM: We should get on that, because that was probably one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

AS: Yeah, me too.

JM: He [gesturing at Josh] hopped up on top of The Devil Wears Prada's guitar cabinets while they were playing and they're like a serious band. And he just was dancing up there. He jacked up his underwear so it was like a bikini thong. And he was just dancing all over the guitar cabinets.

NW: A mankini.

KS: [laughs]

JM: The entire crowd was just laughing at them and they didn't have any idea why until the very end of the song.

NW: Yeah, we changed their bass drop to a cat meow.

AS: [laughs] It was really funny.

HMXT: [laughs] That's amazing.

AS: But the file was messed up and it played really fast and it just sounded like a really annoying, eerie ear-piercing screech. [mimics noise]

NW: It sounded like a dolphin.

AS: It was supposed to be a 808 bass drum but it just hurt everyone's ears in the building. It was awesome.

JW: It was pretty awesome.

NW: Naked and…[shakes head].

HMXT: Naked and kitties.

AS: Naked cat pranks.

JW: We used to set fireworks off in people's cars or people's vans.

JM: F*** yeah.

NW: That was a long time ago, though.

JM: We've grown up since then.

HMXT: You guys haven't matured?

NW: No, no no.

HMXT: You moved from fireworks to nudity.

JM: We just don't have fireworks around here.

AS: Yeah, we're just waiting to get to Wisconsin.

NW: So we're naked until then. We'll just get naked instead of using fireworks.

HMXT: I have two questions for you and then we'll be totally done and you guys can go back to prepping for the show. I want to ask about who did the concept for the "I'm Made of Wax, Larry…" video?

JM: [clips from "I'm Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?" video playing as he talks - click here to watch "I'm Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?" at] That was a duel thing. A good friend of ours, Kyle Crawford, actually, just hit me up one day and he was like, "Hey, you should totally make a video where you guys are playing kickball and you play a bunch of kids and just kick the s*** out of them?" I was like, "That is a great idea. Let's look into it." And then we had Drew Russ - the guy who does all of our video stuff, all of our updates online and all of our DVDs - he sat down with us and we just went over brainstormed a bunch of funny ideas and put it all together for a treatment. And our good friend Dan Dobi actually filmed it.

HMXT: I really like the scene with the little kids doing shot for shot with you guys in the performance sequence. [the scene from the video playing while she speaks] One last question - the title of "I'm Made of Wax, Larry…" - it comes from a movie, but it's obviously lifted out of context. You guys care to elaborate on how that relates to the lyrics in the song?

JM: It relates absolutely none. It's just part of a movie I thought was cool.

AS: [laughs]

JM: Anytime I hear a cool quote or something, I just write it in my notes and it just ended up being the title of that song.

KS: That's why you never judge a book by its cover.

JM: Exactly, 'cause it has nothing to do with it.

NW: Or a song by its name.

KS: Except for Moby Dick.

JW: I've never even seen that movie.

JM: It's a good movie. I haven't seen the second one.

NW: The movie Moby Dick?

KS: I don't think there is one.

NW: I think that's a porno…the movie version.

JM: Coby ***

AS: [laughs]

JW: Kobe Bryant?

KS: Jacoby Shad***

JM: Wait a second. Are we talking about Papa Roach?

AS: I guess so.

JW: We're talking about d***.

JM: This is going in so many different directions.

AS: I know, I'm so sorry. [laughs]

NW: Rock Band Network anyways…

Everyone: [laughs]

JW: There's going to be so many bleeps. Bleep bleep bleep.

HMXT: Do you guys have anything you want to say to your fans? There are lots of them on

KS: I think we've said too much already.

Everyone: [laughs]

AS: They've probably tuned out by now.

NW: We should probably start by saying, sorry. And thank you at the same time.

KS: [laughs]

JW: I've had something in my nose this entire interview and I can't get it out.

KS: [hits Josh in the nose]

HMXT: Like a jellybean or like a booger?

JW: It's not a booger. [touches nose] I've been like picking at it. It feels like it's a piece of fur or hair. But I'm gonna have to go to the bathroom after this.

NW: There was that magic guy that was on the tour. He probably left a rabbit up your nose.

JW: Probably. Or a car key.

KS: [laughs]

AS: We love you. That's all this comes down to.

NW: Yes. Plain and simple, back to the point, editing is prime here.

JW: Yes.

Everyone: [laughs]

HMXT: [waves at camera]

1 HMXPope would like us to point out that Tom Hanks is listed as being 6' tall. HMXThrasher is a wee 5'3" so everyone seems tall to her.