I shot about 15,000 images over the course of 47 days while I was on tour this summer. I picked a little over 800 of my favorite images and a couple thousand words to go with them- and created this blog entry. I didn’t edit many of my images while I was on the road, nor did I write any of it- I did it all when I got back home. I figure that if it’s something I can do while I am home, well then it should be done at home. The only hard part about my technique is that it is awfully hard to remember everything that happens for this many days in a row. When I got home I sifted through my images, and then in chronological order I wrote down as many events as I could remember. I just made a quick note, something like “six flags, big ride, scares the shit out of me” or “fall off bike movie theater”. Then I went through my images again, only this time I picked out all the shots that best represented my stories, and any other shots that looked cool in my mind. The next step is to edit the images, and then insert them into my text timeline of events I had already created. The last step is to go back through and expand on all the notes, so that you can hopefully understand what happens while on the road. It’s fun, hopefully you have fun reading it.
Warped Tour means a lot to me, it allowed me to get my career started two/ three years ago while challenging me to keep going at the same time. It’s a rough tour, a really rough tour, and is very easy to get burnt out on. I attended Warped in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as a fan in 2006, paid for my ticket and watched as many bands as possible. Come 2007 I was working for Alternative Press magazine. I attended the Indiana date and photographed it for their website. By 2008 I had been touring with a few bands and was lucky enough to get on the tour for just under 3 weeks with Settings. That was a tight squeeze-18 days, 9 dudes, in a very small 15 passenger van. This tour is built for being in a bus, not a van. I slept by where your feet go, back row, half under the seat and half pressed against someone’s calfs. I used one shoe for a pillow, the other in-between my knees and I nudged my sweatshirt somewhere between my ribs and my waist to keep my hip bones stress free. When I first started touring I just wore this hood I picked up from H&M for $10 bucks, no shirt underneath. I thought I was so badass. That stuck with me for a few months, all the way up until I finished the Scream The Prayer tour a few months before Warped Tour ’08. Then I switched to a cut off shirt with a Robot Mosh Fest graphic on it and a pair of My Children My Bride basketball shorts. I looked like an unkempt scene kid getting ready to go for a jog- fully equipped with snakebites, leftover gauge holes, and a camera that I might have well stolen. It looked so out of place. I grow up slow.
The good thing about a bus is that it comes with a driver. For those of you that are not familiar with how a tour works- a driver drives all night and sleeps all day. Most of the drives on Warped Tour are upwards of eight hours. But let’s say you are veining it and splitting drives between band/ crew members- which is what most bands do. This works efficiently when load-in is 2:00pm and you can sleep it off at the venue. Warped Tour‘s load-in was 8:30am, which means someone isn’t going to be sleeping much. And if they don’t sleep at night while driving, I can’t imagine them sleeping very well while it’s 105°F plus humidity in a van. Then when you don’t sleep, you get sick, and then everyone gets sick, and then tour sucks even more. I saw a handful of people camping out by their vans. For example, Closure In Moscow took out one of their seats from their van and kept it in the trailer. During the day they would put it in the shadow and relax on it. I lucked out and for the last four days of Warped Tour in 2008. I got a bus spot. Daniel Good, a sound guy I knew from local shows back in Madison, WI, was out doing sound for Dr. Manhattan. He said I could crash on their couch for a few days. The Dr. Manhattan dudes ended up being the most positive human beings I have ever hung with, and they were sharing the bus with Bring Me The Horizon– this is where I met those guys. DMAN x BMTH = mayhem, it was a wild four days. I parted ways with the tour in Milwaukee and drove a quick 70 miles home with a friend. In 2009 I went out with Scary Kids Scaring Kids for a little over a week, and Breathe Carolina for a few days. It was a quick one, but I packed a lot of work in to my short stay.
One of the most common questions I get asked is “How do you get to tour with bands? Do they pay you?” Touring with a band is the comparable to going on a road trip. Now who accompanies you on road trips? Your friends. And that, for the most part, is who bands take on tour with them- their friends. Making friends in the music industry is tough, and it takes a few years to really make friends. I am not talking you met some band dude for five minutes after a show and now you think you are friends with them- you’re not. They are in a band, they are not going to be mean to you, they have an image to withhold, they are treating you as a fan. I don’t need to tell you what a friend is, you have a bunch I am sure- but it probably took you at least a few hangouts before you started calling them your friends. Now try doing that with someone who travels constantly- it’s rough! You have to work with the same person on multiple occasions , while maintaining a relationship with them at the same time. This year I road with three different bands for different amounts of time- totaling up to about 46 days on tour. I road with Whitechapel for four days, Bring Me The Horizon for a little over a week and Pierce The Veil for the rest of the time. I’ll use these three bands as examples to show you how I am now able to tour with them.
I met Pierce The Veil a few times in 2007 and 2008 while I was shooting at some local shows in Wisconsin.
• 9/24/07 at The Loft in Madison, WI view gallery
• 2/3/08 at The Majestic Theater in Madison, WI view gallery
I didn’t really meet them enough to get to know them, just to make my face familiar to them. Come Warped Tour 2008 I had been working with their manager for some time now, as she also managed Mayday Parade at the time- and I worked with them frequently. I hit her up and asked if I could shoot her guys on spec at an upcoming date of Warped Tour. I was on Warped Tour at the time so I could really make any date work. She gave me a date, time, and day of contact for the guys- and we were good to go. I met up with them on the lawn of the venue backstage and did a quick shoot. Vic actually remembered me as the “guy with the vest from Austin Texas”. I use to wear this vest everywhere, so he got that right, unfortunately his state was off by a few hundred, but close! My goal was to get at least one useable image, more if possible- but one at least. At the time I had long hair and during the day kids would come up and ask me for autographs, thinking I was Vic- the front man for Pierce The Veil. We talked about that and other random small talk junk- got to know them all a little bit better. They were really nice dudes, for a few months after that I remember telling everyone that they were the nicest band I had met to date, still are. Here is the final image from the shoot.
In late 2009 I worked with the guys on a Alternative Press magazine feature, shot some studio image, and continued to hang out with them in San Diego.
I shot Whitechapel in late 2007 after a show they had in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We started shooting at about 11:00pm or midnight, and ended in a short 10 minutes. A few members in the band were drunk, another few exhausted and/ or sweaty. Photoshop to the rescue. Here is what we came up with from the shoot. Yes, this is very old and very over processed- but it’s what I liked back then.
Bring Me The Horizon
I had a shoot in late 2008 with them for the cover of Substream Music Press (blog here). Unfortunately I couldn’t stick around and hang out with them this time because my van broke down and there was a huge snow storm in Milwaukee that day. About three months later they were out on the Taste Of Chaos tour and when it crossed through Milwaukee I had a shoot scheduled with the headliner, Thursday, that morning. After the shoot I cruised to the show and hung out with my friends from Milwaukee- I was hoping to meet up with the Bring Me The Horizon guys, but I didn’t really have any solid numbers to reach them at, except for Sheep, their tour manager. I was hanging out in the venue with my friend when I felt a hand on my shoulder, before I could really process what was going on, Oli had put me under his arm and started making me walk with him. They had just finished their signing and were headed back to the bus when he saw me. After he grabbed me he said “Wacko, let’s party”. Wacko was my nickname, I seem to get one of these from every band I tour with, whether it be positive or negative, it’s memorable and that’s what counts. The story behind the nickname? Well my full nick name was Wacko Jacko, and it’s because I sound/ and or look like Michael Jackson, which may very well be an insult. But I don’t take it personally. Being remembered is being remember, regardless of what it is for.
I went back to the bus with all the guys, hung out, and shot the show for them from the stage. After the set they mentioned they needed a ride to Fuck City (which is Andy of Fall Out Boy‘s house). All the Misery Signals dudes live with him, and all the Bring Me The Horizon guys are friends with them- Andy wasn’t even home at the time. I offered my fifteen passenger van I had rented for the shoot to them. We could drive them their, but they would have to cab back. Me and my two assistants crammed all my gear into the small trunk and crammed about 10 Europeans in the remaining space. Off to Fuck City. Hung out for a night, and made pretty good friends with the guys. I saw them again on their US tour later that year in San Diego and did a studio photo shoot with them and then went to the show and shot them, then drove them to the bars and partied with them. After that I saw them in Europe while I was out with A Day To Remember on their coheadling tour. I hit up Sheep, their tour manager, prior to let him know I would be out and if they needed anything shot- I could do it. I ended up really getting to know them on this tour.
Shot in Cologne, Germany- with their stage setup behind them
At least in my experience, it takes years of friendship and getting to know someone. I have learned to be really patient and accepting to all types of people- the last thing I want to do is butt heads with anyone that I work for/ have to tour with. I always have to remember, I am out here to get work done, but most importantly- to have a good time. Good times are inevitable when you surround yourself with crazy people. Hopefully this blog will help you understand what I mean.
The Van’s Warped Tour has been going for sixteen years strong. The tour is basically summer camp for bands- there are about 60-70 bands, over 60 tour busses, and close to 80 with the production buses. There are a good 700-800 people on the tour and it is the largest touring festivals out there. Everything on it is mobile, the stages, the tents, the people- set up everyday and tear down every night. Drive a few hundred miles and do it again. How the hell do you prepare for a tour like this? Well, I packed very lightly and only brought what I truly needed. Looking back on this list, it doesn’t look like I packed lightly- but relative to what most people bring- this was light.
I had three different groups of junk to pack- lighting equipment for press shoots, camera gear for everyday walk around shooting, and personal stuff for keeping me alive and staying up to date with my computer work. I also had to think about where I would store everything. It either had to go in the bay (compartment beneath the bus)- or it had to go at the bottom of my bunk, with me. I knew that some days I would be sleeping in the back or front lounge on a couch, so I had to prepare for that as well.
• honeycomb grids
• lens hoods
• 2 pocket wizards
• 2 1/8″ mono miniplug to 1/8″ mono miniplug cables
• 2 Alien Bee 800
• Alien Bee 1600
• 3 Sync cables
• 5 pairs of Underwear
• 4 pairs of socks
• zip ties and bungee ties
• 3 Canon batteries
• soft stand case
• 13-foot heavy duty light stand
• boom arm
• random light stand
• Manfrotto 001b 6ft Stand with Retractable Legs (this thing rules)
• Westscott 43″ inch collapsible umbrella
• foldable large softbox
• foldable large octabox
• grid for large foldable softbox
• 3 power cables
• power splitter
• 1 extension cord
• 2 x 7 inch reflectors
• 100’s of lens bracelets
2. Camera Gear
• Canon EOS 5d
• Canon EF 17 – 40 mm f/4.0 L lens
• Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens
• Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens
• Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM lens(had external case)
• 3 pocket wizard transceivers
• remote shutter
• 1/8″ mono miniplug to 1/8″ mono miniplug cables
• rain cover for camera bag bag
• Canon Speedlite 580EX Flash
• AA batteries
• umbrella swivel
• Manfrotto Clip Clamp
• Westcott Micro Apollo Softbox – 5×8″
• 5 CF cards
• lens cleaning cloth
• a handful lens bracelets and back up business cards
• four Canon batteries
3. Personal Stuff
• bathroom stuff
• flannel long sleeve
• throw away tank tops
• 2x 250 GB hard drives
• USB cables galore
• cf card reader
• screen cleaner
• 2 pairs of shorts
• spare SKB case key
• fanny pack
• black suit
• Ipod shuffle
• ND filter
The Vagabond II – I just put this in the back lounge of whatever bus I was riding on, this way it could charged and not get damaged.
I stored the Pelican and SKB cases inside the bays cause they could take a beating both physically and temperature wise. However my camera bag, vagabond, and computer bag all sat at the foot of my bunk. I slept diagonally. I always had my wallet secured to my body with my S-biner or I would lose it. It’s technically a small Coach purse with a metal ring shoved through it, but it works. I figure it’s harder for me to lose my pants. In addition I had my keys and laminate attached to a keyring on the S-biner, these are the other two things I couldn’t lose. I had my cellphone in a holster attached to my belt. Oh yea, I am that cool.
June 24th, 2010 (day 0)
Home Depot Center
Warped Tour didn’t technically start until the 25th, but all the bands were there the day/ night of the 24th for pre-production. This is an orientation for everyone- laminates are distributed, tour managers get a speaking to from Lyman, crew familiarizes themselves with each other/ stages so on and so forth. It’s the day that the tour as a whole can take as a practice day, and work out as many problems as they can before there are thousands of kids swarming the festival grounds.
I didn’t arrive until about 4:00pm because I had a shoot with There For Tomorrow in LA earlier that day. My girlfriend was with me and we parked her car and walked onto the festival grounds. I hit up Pierce The Veil‘s tour manager, Chris, to find out where everyone was at. The guys were actually at a video shoot until about 3:00am and we would have to wait for them to get back to have a place to chill. Shux, it’s gonna be a long night. The Pierce The Veil guys are really good at not talking about what they have going on later in the day- this is not a bad thing. It is just a hard concept for me to grasp as I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut. For example, when I have a photo shoot or I am doing something interesting with my day I usually share. However, when the guys have something like a video shoot, they just do it, and don’t even think twice about it. I wish I could be that calm about everything in life, but I just get so excited I wanna tell my friends. Ya know? Anyway, that’s sorta how my girlfriend and I ended up half stranded for the day. We quickly found the Breathe Carolina dudes and relaxed on their bus for a little bit. The Breathe Carolina guys and crew have been really kind to me over the past few years, and overall – they are just good human beings. There wasn’t much to do on the grounds because all the crews were busy getting situated and all the bands were busy reuniting with their friends.
My girlfriend – actually, her name is Becky, I would rather refer to her as Becky. Becky and I eventually ended up heading back to the car by about 6:00pmish to go and grab some portable speakers for my suit, and some dinner. We GPS’ed the closest Best Buy and started driving there. After a few minutes of driving a sign that said “Compton 1 mile” popped up. I didn’t take long for this to register and make the sheltered white boy within me shiver. Compton, what do I even know about Compton? I looked at Becky and said “Boyz in The Hood- this is where people get shot, I learned about it in high school”. Regardless, we exited the highway and went into Best Buy. This Best Buy had the majority of their merchandise held down with anti-theft locks and prevention gadgets. I found my speakers, on sale for $9.99 and snagged some AA batteries as well. We walked back to the car and drove to Target, got some random junk food and peaked out. Back to the venue!
It was my 21st birthday that night, I didn’t really tell anyone except for Becky and Tino, maybe a few others. So we partied it up and in all honesty, I don’t remember anything else from that night. Oh wait, I remember weaving someones BMX bike in and out of the buses for awhile and it being really cold. That’s all I got. I also know that I checked into a nearby hotel as we had no where to sleep.
I get asked more than ever how I get my jobs, how to go about getting word, how to make a living, etc. well, here is how nonchalant it can be. After I wrapped my There For Tomorrow shoot earlier in the day I received a forwarded e-mail from Bring Me The Horizon‘s tour manager, Sheep. Here is what the e-mail said:
To clarify and avoid incorrect assumptions… Sheep has nothing against Jews and he is a really nice guy- we just have a few inside jokes that he likes to take to the max. As you can see, getting a job can be very nonchalant. For the most part everyone is pretty laid-back in this industry. Of course there are exceptions to everything, but I do receive jobs in some very peculiar ways.
June 25th, 2010 (day 1)
Home Depot Center
I woke up in a hotel room on a really comfy bed. This is going to be the last time I get to sleep in a comfy bed for awhile.
The first day of Warped Tour is one of the best. We arrived at the venue and parked the car. I unloaded all my gear and walked it over to the Pierce The Veil‘s bus. All the guys were there and I was stoked to see ’em. I live about a mile from Mike and Vic- so I see the guys all the time, but it was nice to be on the road again with my friends. It was toasty outside that day, very toasty. Being on concrete doesn’t help either, it’s like the sun hit’s you twice, once on the way down and another on the way back up as it bounces off the ground.
The first day is the only day of Warped Tour that everyone on the tour is clean (assuming they are clean beings). Showering on Warped Tour happens less than we would all like. Each venue is different and has there own set up for showers- for the most part this is how it went:
• Arena – 2-4 showers and a locker room shower set up
• Desolate open area- van ride to a close by hotel with 8 showers total.
This is average, there could be more or less. On any other regular tour, four showers would be more than enough to give each person on the tour a good scrubbing. But on Warped Tour, we take turns. For the most part you only take one shower every few days, so that everyone gets a chance. Being a guy is even worse, because the showers are usually split up evenly (two guys, two girls) however, how many bands do you know with women in them? Exactly. Waiting in line over thirty minutes for a shower on the road is not something I could ever dig up the patience for, I rather be out shooting everything. This was the last time my skin was going to be cleaner than my sensor this summer.
The most popular alternative shower method was the solar shower- which is essentially a bag that you fill with water and then let lose on yourself. The solar comes into play when heating the water up- you fill the bag with water, leave it on the concrete and cook it in the sun. Once it’s warm you rig it to your trailer, rear view mirror, or have a strong bored person hold it- whatever works. Then you let the water run. Now you have your own portable warm shower. They work surprisingly well, relative to a bird bath in a sink or something along those lines.
I strolled around with my camera bag slung over my shoulder and my 5d in hand. It was exhilarating, it had been almost three months since my last tour and I was ready to snap away, all day and every day.
Remember that blog I was telling you about earlier (every two days)? Well I started shooting for that come day one. I decided to make the first blog more of an intro/ get stoked to see Pierce The Veil live this summer kind of blog. I slowly found each crew and band member and photographed them. I tried getting some “big” looking crowd/ live shots that go *pow pow* as they travel through your pupil. If you would like to view all the images I shot for the blogs every day, they are located as thumbnails at the end of each day’s recap throughout this blog. Just click them to view an enlarge image in a new window.
Pierce The Veil had/has one of the most legit crews with them on tour. I had toured with most of the guys before, but there were a few new faces as well. Either way, I was stoked, it was like being with my family, only half my family was Mexican and the other half was my age.
Chris Miller! Chris was our tour manager (TM)/ front of house (FoH). That multi-talented motha-fucka. Tour managing consists of doing all the day to day junk for the guys, handling their money, and booking hotels. Front of house means that he is the guy who makes Pierce The Veil sound good on stage. Chris used to work for The Maine, but Pierce The Veil stole him and I am hoping they keep him, cause I like Chris and he does the best musician impersonations/ song covers I have ever seen or heard. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Chris Miller.
Andrew Unden was out for a few weeks of the tour, mostly to cover for Casey while he had to go home for a bit. I met Andrew while I was out with Scary Kids Scaring Kids last year as well, he is the Mr. Fix It. He has this box he carries with him that contains various tools and gadgets in it that he uses to repair just about anything. I am pretty sure he is the mastermind behind turning the back of Pierce The Veil‘s RV into four bunks, but I am not 100% sure. Andrew used to work for A Day To Remember, and is currently working for The Devil Wears Prada. Andrew also used to play keyboards/ back up vocals for Pierce The Veil back in the day, but now he does tech work and such. Andrew and Johnny combined together make an unstoppable fix-it-up force.
Towards the afternoon a guy from The Casualties (I don’t know his name) approached me to compliment my Ace Ventura tattoo. This kind of thing happens a lot with my Ace tattoo, but this was by far my favorite “Ace” spotter. I just google image searched “Ace Ventura tattoo” and there are a few other people with him tattooed on their shoulder- but I am in the third row of the results. That should count for something? Thank you unknown Casualties member, you made my day.
This is Fro, he has nothing to do with Pierce The Veil– but how awesome is his hair?
I hopped off the bus with Tony, his girlfriend Steph, and a friend of the band, Cara. We walked through the the bus area and in the front entrance. We were headed to the Bring Me The Horizon set. My suit absorbs the sun incredibly well , which in turn basically cooks my body. I eventually climbs about seven feet up to the stage by their guitar tech Dean and showed him my laminate (they have your face and name on it) so he knew who I was. I watched the band for a bit and then looked back. Everyone I was with was gone. All my friends were gone? Oh well, I started walking back to the bus. I didn’t get more than twenty feet from the stage when one of the two cops about 10 feet away pointed at me called “Hey You!” , she said it the same way you would say “Hey You!” to a kid robbing your grocery store.
I looked at her and thought, ahh shit, I should probably turn off Bieber and get out my credentials. She got closer and put her hand on my shoulder. She looked at my hand reaching in my fanny pack and with a bit confusion ask “What are you getting at?” I said “my laminate,” she responded “I want a picture with you though”. Ahh, why the hell didn’t I think of that? Cops are people too, and I do look ridiculous. My friends I originally walked up with were a good thirty feet away, walking my direction. They eventually got up next to us and asked her what the problem was, I explained the situation and they laughed it off. They said they were worried as well that I had gotten in trouble.
The cop was also black, like me, so she had a slew of jokes about how I was darker than her, I had a laugh. She had her partner, was a big buff tough looking guy, snap the photo. After fumbling with the camera for a few moments, he eventually got a shot of us and handed the camera back to his partner. Before I could even say thanks and walk away, the male officer said with excitement “now my turn” and next thing I know, my forehead was shoved in this beast of a dude’s armpit. Snap snap, done shooting, and I walked away with my friends.
A little bit later I ran into Matt, the drummer of Bring Me The Horizon and Tom, their drum tech, while they were cruising around on a badass golf cart. They didn’t realize it was me at first until I told them. They both have some sort of English accents, so keep that in mind when reading their dialogue.
Matt: “Jackson, what the fuck are you doing?
Me: “Having fun, where you guys headed?”
Matt (still stuck on what I was wearing) : “fucking weirdo Jackson”
Tom: “The venue”
Me,” Lemme get a lift”
Matt “Cheers Jackson, hop on back”
We were off! A nice feature of the suit is that it breathes really well, so as we sped up, I cooled down in a matter of seconds. We cruised into the venue where everyone was wrapping up for the day. It was getting a little bit chilly outside, but I hung around with the guys for a little bit. A few kids gave me dirty looks and I got too cold so I sprinted back to the bus.
I morphed back into my human form.
The sun had set and the parking lot lights turned on. Time to walk around by myself and chat with randoms- I am used to being alone/ shooting alone, and I prefer it. I have taken an assistant with me once for a long distance shoot, but for all the other shoots my assistants just meet me there. All the buses were parked in a fenced in lot behind the venue. I strolled around and searched for familiar faces, old friends, and just tried to meet people on the tour. I can’t really remember many specifics on who I ran into, but I do remember walking by the Bring Me The Horizon guys and seeing them cruising around on these little ass motorcycles. They had to get into some kind of frog like/ knees by your ears position to ride them. I can’t see them being useful for anything other than trying not to fall and inevitably ending up wrecking them when you did, so that’s what they did. I stood back and watched them racing back and forth in a good 500 foot spread of parking lot. It was intense, popping a wheelie on those things was a meticulous art. I asked their Sheep where they got them, and he responded China, for $150 bucks a pop. Good deal, as long as they don’t kill you.
I eventually stumbled onto the bus late that night and got situated in my bunk. The bunk area of a bus has twelve bunks traditionally (six bunks on each side, three rows high, two columns long). Sometimes people have what are called “condo” bunks, which basically means they have two bunks per column, where there used to be three, so the bunk is half a bunk taller. I am a small guy, so coffin sized works for me. I got the top bunk, I can really sleep wherever, but top bunk is definitely the hardest. It is so far from the ground that when you drive it sways a lot. It was wild at first, but I became used to it after a few minutes. Eventually the bus rocked me to sleep and I slept like a baby.
June 26th, 2010 (day 2)
Mountain View, California
I woke up at about the same time the morning crew woke up, 8:30amish. There was some kind of traffic jam with the buses that morning. All the guys hopped off the bus early and skated down to the stage.
I shot Pierce The Veil‘s set , trying to capture the crowd and make it look as large as possible.
I brought the Manfrotto 5001B light stand with me so that I could set my 580ex up on the fly, but in addition I would screw my camera onto the top of it so that I could raise it up into the air and get images from above the drums, above the crowd, and any other areas that I might not usually be able to photograph. Here are some images of Bring Me The Horizon from back of the stage.
You can see me on the left of the drums towards the start of the video shooting with my stand. I suggest muting your computer, the sound on this video is terrible.
I honestly have no recollection of how the rest of my day went. I went to sleep eventually.
June 27th, 2010 (day 3)
I woke up at 8:00am and was so stoked to get out of bed and go dance the line in my suit. First I made a trip to the showers to get all kinds of clean. I ran into some of the Call The Cops guys while waiting in line to shower. I had a shoot with them for Electric Zombie a few weeks earlier in San Diego, so it was nice to see them again. We talked about how tour was for the first few days and how this shower was going to rule. I didn’t have a towel so I took a trip to the bathrooms close by to grab some paper towels. One of the guys from Call The Cops was towel-less as well. I offered him a paper towel and he said that sounded great. I brought pack a another arm full of paper. Man, that wasn’t very green of me, but sometimes you just gotta do it, and I did. I showered and headed back over to the bus. I remember ducking out of the way of a filming crew as they were following Travis from We The Kings. People are always getting filmed on Warped Tour, and I always feel like I am in the way, or in the shot. Mike was awake and I told him I was doing my suit. He said “yes, can I come on my bike and sell CDs?” Fun. I was down.
Set times for the day were announced every morning at around 9:00am Warped Tour. This meant that everyday we had to wait until 9:00am to change our sign and head out into the line to advertise it. Mike changed the time on the sign while I suited up. I had to have someone else zip the back of the suit up each time. “Mike, zip me up”. Buckled on my fanny pack with it’s speakers and off the bus we headed. It was pretty hot, but we were right on the ocean so the breeze kept us alive. Usually When I am in my suit, I don’t speak at all, it keeps it mysterious you know? Less to hate, more to love. But for this particular event, I had to speak in order to sell CDs. Mike followed me on his bike while I walked around with the sign yelling at the thousands of kids in line “CDs, 10 bucks, Pierce The Veil, new cd out now”, ” buy a cd, and you can take a picture with their drummer, I will even let you touch his thigh”, “Pierce The Veil 2:00 at the Altec Stage”. My range of sight in the suit is very limited, very very limited. I can see people as blurry figures all the way up until about 10 feet away from me, and anything after that is just a blurred background. It is the same as squinting your eyes almost all the way shut and trying to read this blog on your screen right now- doable, but very challenging.
People would yell at me, and for the most part it was something along the lines of “aren’t you hot in there? “, “what the fuck?” and “hey look it’s green man, but he’s black”. People tried to get original with it, but after about the first one thousand kids, I think they had similar things to say. I would get occasional signs of approval, such as a high five or a “that guys got ball’s”. High fives are cool, and yes I have balls. People would also want to take pictures with me, which was cool- I just felt really bad for them. My suit was saturated with sweat, and if you couldn’t feel the sweat, there was no escaping the smell. It was bad, but I didn’t care- and most of the people headed to Warped were in such a good mood that they didn’t care either. Mike also took a bunch of photos with fans. The Pierce The Veil guys are pretty recognizable so it didn’t take much for the kids to make the connection and say “Mikey whiskey hands (that’s his nickname) let me take a picture with you”. It was a lot of fun.
Tony, the guy in the front, looking’ all fly and such, he is my most painful subject to photograph. Painful you say Adam? Yes painful, and I mean that in the most literal interpretation possible. It’s not that his face just doesn’t look good once it appears on my screen or something like that. It’s because once in awhile I get within five feet of him to take a picture, he smacks me in the balls. It’s not even that hard, but it’s a quick flick and then for the next few minutes I just want to lay down and groan. I wish I could see it coming but my camera kills my peripheral and I never see him getting in punch position. I am a really flinchy creature so I can understand the amusement of smacking me in the balls and watching me squirm. But at the same time, I have a couple thousand dollars in my hands and I am cheaper than a sunday night parking meter. Less pictures of Mr. Perry, more of everyone else.
Before the tour started I picked up this Westcott Micro soft box that I wanted to try out. The soft box attached to the front of my 580ex and is about the size of my hand. I used in in the daytime combined with my N.D. filter so that I could shoot at low apertures, get motion blur, and still have a catchlight in their eyes. I like to think of myself as a tiny skinny little flexible dude, that can fit into any crevice on stage. The soft box was a little too bulky and wasn’t really enabling me to move around as much as I wanted to. I ended up using it from time to time.
During Pierce The Veil‘s set, I met a Warped security guard by the name of Chris. He introduced himself to me and mentioned that he wanted to snag some of the photos I had been taking of him. I told him I could hook him up however I still need to get his e-mail, if anybody knows Chris Warped Tour security guard – please send me an e-mail with his contact info.
I attended nevershoutnever‘s set that afternoon and grabbed a few images of them before they went on stage. I wanted to shoot from stage but it was packed, I let them do their thing and decided it would be better to grab shots of them a different day.
Once the sun went down Warped Tour turned into a big meet and greet, social, party, hang out in front of your bus and do crazy shit with friends fest. I had a drink or two, nothing too crazy, but enough to get me little more social than usual. I was walking by a group of guys when I heard them chanting “Tit’s! Tit’s! Tit’s!”, now me being me, a guy, I was very intrigued. I wiggled my shoulders in between two larger guys and the circle opened up and sure enough in the center was a girl with pink hair about to flash her breasts. The curious guy in me was stoked, but the respectful human in me was disappointed. I don’t even want to get into these types of girls backstage at shows/ concerts- it’s too depressing. Maybe some other time, moving on.
At some point throughout the night I ran into Daniel Bray. I didn’t know who he was at first but he introduced himself and turns out he was a photographer from Canada. He was out on the tour shooting and riding with Emarosa. I forget the exact story of how he came to be on the tour, but he is a friend of Johnny’s from back home and so Johnny said he should come on tour, so he did. Mitchell Wojcik was around that night because he lives in the LA area. He works for No Sleep Records now and he gave me an awesome free shirt. Mitch rules, meet him if you ever have the chance. The rest of my night consisted of sitting on the bus and partying around on other buses, then I passed out.
June 28th, 2010 (day 4)
Ahhh Arizona, where the pools feel amazing and the concrete hurts my feet. I woke up to a parking lot outside of my window, and a hotel about 20 feet from our front door. Chris walked up to the bus, room keys in hand. First thought “Is there a pool?” I love pools in Arizona, because they are always the perfect temperature- even during the night, I can’t handle pools that are too cold. I asked Chris if there was a pool, he said yes and handed me a room key. Score, I was stoked. I took off my hardcore kid basketball shorts, took off my underwear, took off my shirt, and put my hardcore kid basketball shorts back on. I’m ready for the pool.
I took my computer and bathroom gear into the hotel room with me. I had a to finish off all the The Devil Wears Prada edit’s throughout the day , so I set up an editing camp on the hotel desk and took a quick shower to wash my hair. I did some editing for about 20 minutes, but by then a good group of people had crowded into the room and it was time to get to work. Usually, swimming is something you do in your free time, so editing would win by priority. But, when I am on tour, my job is to take pictures of people doing everything, and that includes swimming. Off to the pool for me, with my camera. I contemplated bringing my underwater inclosure for the tour (which looking back, would have been bad ass), but due to space I couldn’t really cram it anywhere and I didn’t want it to risk breaking it.
We were in a rather desolate area right outside of Phoenix. We contemplated calling a cab but it was going to take 20 minutes just to get to the hotel, and we wanted food within the next ten. Taco Bell was about a block away so off we went. I don’t remember what I ordered, I just know that I felt hungry again less than an hour later. I shouldn’t eat at Taco Bell, it’s not filling! Next stop, a Goodwill across the street.
The sun was hitting me twice again and it had to be something like 112°F out, at least it was dry heat or I probably would’ve hid out in the bus. I wandered back into the hotel room to work on the images for a few hours, until we had to head off for a charity bowling gig a few miles from the hotel.
We all piled on the bus for a quick few minutes, and hopped off at the bowling alley. We were one of the first bands to arrive and upon entry they directed us all to sign this big banner that they would later auction off. I kindly declined as my signature is so bad it would probably decrease the value of the banner, and I wasn’t in the band. I didn’t realize the bus wasn’t staying at the bowling alley until about ten minutes after we were there. Time to find the guy who makes everything right, Chris.
Me: “I didn’t grab my camera gear of lap top off the bus, how long until it’s back”
Chris: “It’s picking us up at the end of the night”
Me: “I need it now”
Chris: “Okay I’ll have Curtis do a drive by, go wait in the by the street.”
On my way outside a few Taxi’s dropped off the Hey Monday guys (and girl), I waived, and jogged out to the curb. I waited there for a bit. Curtis eventually drove the bus up to the side of the road, I jumped on, snagged my belongings and ran back inside. It felt like I was quick, I am not even sure if the bus even came to a complete stop. Thanks Curtis, you are the man.
The bowling tournament worked like this, there are 22ish different teams all bowling at the same time. Each team is made up of 6 people, 5 band/crew and 1 guest bowler. Each guest was a winner of a different eBay bidding contest to go bowling with their favorite band. Pretty cool ay? All of the proceeds are then donated to the T.J. Martell Foundation.
I set up shop at a table in the corner of the bowling alley so that I could get the rest of my editing done. For the first 30 minutes I could stay focused. But by the time all 20 bands had gotten swarmed the lanes, there was so much to watch, the last thing I wanted to do was stare at my computer screen, I can do this at home! I was also sitting next to this very large mother whose daughter was one of the winning bidders. This mother was the stereotypical “I love the band even more than my daughter” kind of mother. She wouldn’t leave her daughter alone while she was bowling with the band. Kept calling her over to talk to her about random unimportant things. At one point she summoned her kid to go get her a bottle of water from the vending machine. Bad form lady! Let your kid enjoy herself, chances are her mom paid a couple hundred bucks for her daughter to be here, so I understand her listening to her mother, but regardless, a little bizarre. She tried to start up a conversation with me and I gave her one worded answers and hoped that she could take a hint. I know I know that is a little bit rude of me, but I had to get my work done so I could move on to shooting the night. I eventually wrapped up and got my camera ready with the small soft box on it.
Casey had the best taunts, the only one I can recall was ” I have seen better arms on a snake!” I wish I could remember more. After the first round was over, the numbers were narrowed down to 11 bands or so. Pierce The Veil placd 3rd for the first round, which meant we were moved down to the 3rd lane. We were right next to Face To Face. The dudes were pumped to be next to one of the bands they grew up listening to. The Face To Face guys were really nice, they were also really good bowlers. We arranged to do a group photo with them and they were all in, good fun people.
Back to the bowling, the guys were looking bummed. They didn’t bowl too great of a round and were hesitant to get into the next one. But, they did. They were the lowest scoring band to advance, but there was still one more round. I haven’t seen the guys so committed to a game like this ever. Trex and Casey were cheering on everyone, going around and rubbing their shoulders, whispering in their ears. Code names were being called left and right , high fives every few minutes and victory dances. Bowling with a bunch of friends, raising more money for a charity, making some fans dreams a reality, and beating other bands at bowling in the middle Arizona. Good times.
They finished bowling before everyone else did, I think AM taxi was announced slowest bowlers of the night, they finished a whole twenty minutes after everyone else. I was walking around taking pictures of random junk when I came across the score keeper tallying scores on a table. I hung out by his shoulder and read the scores. Apparently the scoring was cumulative, so each round was added together for a grand total of a four digit number. That was good news for PTV because they did pretty well on the last round, but they were still pessimistic about winning. He wrote down the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place team. Pierce The Veil placed 2nd or 3rd, I can’t remember which- and they wouldn’t care, as long as they placed.
The score keeper grabbed his mic and told everyone to come crowd around him as he announced the final scores. It was helpful knowing who won, this way I could be prepared to shoot. As soon as he said “Pierce The Veil” the guys flipped out. Jumping, hugging, high fives galore. It was like midnight on New Year’s.
I met Motion City Soundtrack‘s merch girl about eight months prior on the All Time Low tour. At the time she was working for Hey Monday, and now she was with Motion City Soundtrack. Anyway, there is this game that has a row of LED lights sliding from side to side and you have to press a button at the right time so that they stack up on each other and slowly build a tower. Each level the lights get faster and faster thus the game gets progressively more difficult. Well, Jen completed the game on her second or third try and for some reason the game didn’t register her win. Maybe it was because people seldom won, or because they didn’t want to give away the prizes. Either way, she summoned the owner to the game and he didn’t believe her. It took a few of us to convince him she wasn’t lying and he eventually unlocked the games glass cover and handed her a prize of her choice. She choose a $250 gift certificate to Best Buy. She’s got skills! I wish I had Jen’s reflexes.
I headed outside to find that the only bands still waiting to get picked up were Bring Me The Horizon, Motion City Soundtrack, and us. I hung around outside for a few minutes and talked, but our bus pulled up pretty quickly. We all hopped on and were ready to leave when Chris asked “Are we a bus?” Everyone looked around, no Mike. I looked out the front window for him, for some reason he was beating the shit out of some big ass desert dwelling plant. It looked like he had a sword in his hand, but I think he was just, using his hand. Someone yelled at him to get on the bus. I can still see it in my head- as soon as he registered that we were calling him, he turned his head to the side and put this big ass grin on his face. Yep, Mike had been drinking. He jogged over to the bus and sat down next to me. The grin hadn’t left his face yet. I laughed, he was so stoked, over beating up a plant, what a lizard.
We stopped by Wal-Mart on the way back to the hotel. Everyone went in to grab some food and basic items. I purchased some disposable tank tops, ten apples, two packs of cheddar cheese, bread, bag of walnuts, bananas, blue berries, honey, and some Kashi cereal. By the time I got in line Tony was a few people in front of me, but I was definitely the last person from out group in the line. I know Tony was only a few people in front of me, but by the time I got to the register he had went back to the bus and it seemed like twenty minutes had gone. Maybe I was tired, or maybe twenty minutes had passed, I am not quite sure. Either way I texted Chris to let him know I was almost done. Actually I just looked it up in my phone, here is our text conversation, word for word- timestamps and all…
Me: 6/29/2010 @ 1:06am Sorry, 3 more minutes
Chris: 6/29/2010 @ 1:06am No prob, turning around
At this point I sorta thought to myself, what the hell? Turning around? What does that mean. I put my phone in my pocket, grabbed my purchased goods and walked outside to the parking lot.
Chris: 6/29/2010 @ 1:07am Haha My fault! I was napping and when I woke up we were moving.. First question “Do we have everyone?” “Um I think so?”
I Looked around, no bus. Left behind, at Wal-Mart. All I could do was laugh out loud in the middle of the empty parking lot. It was nice out, Arizona nights are pretty warm. I was just hopping that for the few minutes I had to wait there I wasn’t gonna get shot up by some bored loaner with a glock.
Me: 6/29/2010 @ 1:09am I was literally 2 minuites behind tony I can’t spell in text messages
Me: 6/29/2010 @ 1:09am Sorry I took so long, long check out line, my bad I’m in street
Chris: 6/29/2010 @ 1:10am Haha it’s not your fault dude don’t worry about it
I was only in the lot for about five minutes, they must not have gotten very far. I walked up the stairs and onto a bus that was already half asleep. A few people were still up because they had to grab items from the hotel before we left. I walked into the back lounge where Casey and Tony were sitting, they started laughing. “haha, we left you at Wal-Mart”. I didn’t really mind, as long as they picked me back up all was good! Not to mention it makes for a great #tourstory. I grabbed a seat and went to town on my apples and cheese. I was starving. The food I purchased could be mixed and matched in so many different ways, here are the meals I eventually made with everything I purchased.
2. apples and cheddar cheese
3. cheese and bread heated up in the microwave
4. apples with honey
5. blue berries plain, so good
6. bananas plain, of course!
7. cereal with just honey and walnuts
I think that is pretty much it, either way, I had so many meals! I eat a lot, so I buy a lot. I had to keep the cheese and blueberries in the fridge, but everything else slept in between my shoes and vagabond at the foot of bunk. At some point during our drive from Wal-Mart and the hotel, Tony and I decided to go for another swim when we arrived back at the hotel. By the time we got there it was something like 1:30am, and the pool was closed. The pool was designed in a way that one of the walls was pretty low, we scaled it and hopped in. It was perfect, I love Arizona pools at night, they are still really warm. We swam a few laps and cooled off for a good fifteen minutes. We headed back inside to our room and each took a quick shower to rinse off, packed up our stuff, did one last dummy check in the hotel room, and strolled back out to the bus.
Shoes off, shorts with laminate/wallet attached to them under my pillow, I passed out pretty quick.
June 29th, 2010 (day 5)
Holy hell it was going to be a hot one. Dry heat like I have never felt before. I think it was something like 110°F. I had plans on doing my black suit, but man, this weather was discouraging. I walked to the back of the bus in search of my sign. Walking between buses is the worst in warm weather. You see, when buses park, they open the bay door that houses the generator so that it doesn’t overheat. On some of them they even pull it out a few feet. Point being, when you walk past, you get warm air blown all over your face and body. In 110°F weather it is hard enough to keep yourself comfortable, and a burst of hot air is just enough to put you over the edge.
But you don’t have a choice, because buses park about 6 feet away from each other, if that. So no matter how you walk in between them, you are gonna get hot air blown on you. Just thinking about that feeling makes me cringe.
I got my black suit on, and put two cans of water in my fanny pack, grabbed my sign and headed towards the venue. Warped Tour is sponsored by Monster, and they provide all the bands with water everyday. The water comes in cans that look exactly like Monster energy drink, with the exception of a small label that says “tour water”. The causes all the kids think that their favorite bands they look up to all love Monster. It didn’t take me longer than two minutes to start sweating. When you enter a venue or an all access area on Warped Tour, you have to show them your laminate.
I walked back to the bus and on the way back, a girl stopped me and whispered in my ear “well you are just all niggerd out, aren’t ya”. Now, I don’t talk in my suit, so I just shook my head and walked away. But man, that was fucked up. The girl had to be no older than sixteen years old. I don’t know, I was just in shock, how to you even respond to that?
I headed over to the press area to talk to Bethany, she was basically in charge of scheduling all the interviews everyday, and making sure all photographers for the day signed in. For those of you who are not familiar with how press at festivals works, – or even more specifically, how press at Warped Tour works… here’s a basic outline:
2) wait your turn in line outside venue behind all the photographers/interviewers that woke up before you
3) enter the venue
4) check in with Bethany and grab a schedule for the day
5) walk around to one of seven stages and shoot a band for first three songs from the pit (repeat this step until day is over)
Well, I was able skip steps one through three just go to Bethany every day. The past year they didn’t do this and was a hassle getting press passes every morning. Luckily Bethany knew the the Pierce The Veil guys well and agreed to let me come to her as long as I ran it by her and the company running Warped Tour press, MSO publicity.
I have been asked a lot by fellow photographers and evan Pierce The Veil while I was on tour with them- “How come you need a press pass, don’t you have an all access laminate?” Yes, I have an all access laminate however all access does not get you into the photo pit – you must have a press pass to shoot from the pit area- So overkill can’t hurt, now I have them both.
I decided to try shoot some shots for that Blunt Magazine article that I was assigned on the first day. Snagged a schedule for the day from Bethany, and made out a list of who I was going to shoot. I usually only shoot from stage for bands that’s I know really well- or at least know their crew well. I don’t want to piss off the band or crew prior to even knowing them. First I headed over to the Altec stage to photograph Four Year Strong– I hadn’t met/seen these dudes in over two years and decided it would be best to shoot from the pit. Pierce The Veil was on right after their set, so I stuck around.
Pierce The Veil did a team warm up chant before each set. I think they started doing it earlier this year while I was on tour with them, but I’m not exactly sure. Either way, their routine is from Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. There’s a part where Harold and Kumar get stuck in the woods and get picked up by this really gross old dude named Freakshow- he has blisters and boils covering his face. At one point he gets out of his truck and claps and sings this song to himself. “Hey Randy, what? The devil! The devil is everywhere.”
Here’s a video of it just in case you don’t know what I’m referring to.
Jaime, Mike and Tony say -” hey Vic?”
Vic says “what”
Jaime, Mike and Tony say “the devil”
Vic “the devil is everywhere”
Then it would continue to the next person, until everyone had a chance to be the lone singer. They ended it by cheering “P! T! V! Wooooo!”
It was s a really hot day and everyone was suffering, I remember walking into the backstage semi and Mike was standing in front of the fan and Tony passed out leaning against the wall.
The venue handled the heat pretty well. They had guys with water tanks on their back going around with hoses and filling up the security guards water. The also had a fire truck parked right outside of the venue and it would spray water from it’s hose all over the kids.
I met Alex Lopez that day, drummer of Suicide Silence. He and I were familiar with each other from a quick shoot we had a few months back but we had never really hung out. We had some random small talk and I eventually asked him if that was alright if I snagged a portrait of him, he was down.
Andrew WK has the most ridiculous merchandise I have ever seen. Take a look for yourself, words can’t even describe how amazing this merchandise is. He’s a talented man.
It was almost too hot to think and I didn’t really feel like talking to anyone so I started to walk back to the bus. Then I remembered that Pierce The Veil was playing an acoustic set at the Altec tent- I had no idea where it was. Bad form. Luckily I ran into Mai and we found the tent after asking a few people. I had to weasel my way through the crowd and then behind the guys to grab a few images.
The sun had almost set and it was cooler outside. I was getting a better mood and I could slowly think again. Parkway Drive was playing second to last on the Altec stage so I headed that way. I didn’t know their tour manager, his name is “Webbs”, that well. I had e-mailed him prior to Warped Tour to set up some photo shoots that I had arranged through their label. In addition I also worked with him when I had a shoot with Parkway Drive about eight months ago. I introduced myself in person in reference to those two occasions and then asked him if I could go on stage during their set. He said yes. At some point during their set Webbs asked if I wanted to do the shoot with them the next day, I said yes. Parkway Drive is from Australia, and so was Blunt Magazine– the magazine I was shooting for. One of the members from the band was doing an interview for the text portion of the article so it was important I snapped a good selection of images from them.
On stage these guys were so big that they made their instruments look like toys. It wasn’t just that they were built, it was how they handled the instruments themselves. They made them look weightless,and the crowd was going insane. Snapped a few shots of them from stage, and then hopped off, walked around the barricade, and weaseled myself into the center of the mosh pit. I photographed the kids doing their whatever you want to call them dances. There was a 10-year-old kid and the was awesome. If someone would have hit him he he would probably fly 40 ft, the kid was tiny.
After their set I stuck around and watched You Me At Six for a little while and once the sun went down I headed back to the bus. The nice thing about Arizona’s that once the sun sets, the temperature outside becomes perfect. As the day turns to night the bus world slowly changes into a big party. Everyone brings out chairs, tables, drinks and games- and then they party. So even though I may not say that is what happens every night- that is what happens. There are a few days here and there that people didn’t party- but it was because our drives were so long that night that bus call was too early for anything to really go down.
June 30th, 2010 (day 6)
NMSU Practice Field
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Woke up and stepped off the bus to see that we were surrounded by a fence, and the fence was surrounded by a very long line of kids. I was stoked because this meant really easy access from a black suit. I slipped my suit on. “Mike can you zip me up”. Mike: “got it” *zip* Vic: “I love when you do the suit”. After I was all zipped up, put my fanny pack on, turned my speakers on, plugged my iPod shuffle in, and grabbed my sign. I headed off the bus and walked through a few security guards that were working the bus world entrance and exit. They gave me some funny looks.
I eventually worked my way into a sort of choreographed dance for Bieber’s “Baby”. The dance I did most often consisted of a sideways shuffle, and a hand point. It was basically these two positions over and over. It was rather efficient and fit the beat perfectly. I danced up and down the line for a good 20 minutes until I had covered almost everyone and then I made my way inside the venue. I tried to hide out in the areas where the bands weren’t playing but occasionally I would stumble in front of the stage or right behind one and try to squeeze my way into the pit. I had to get up close to people in order to pass them in large crowds. This would sometimes catch them off guard and scare them- and I didn’t want to get hit. I did this a few months back at a festival with Pierce The Veil. It was dark inside and I startled a bigger guy, he grabbed me by the neck, choked me, and threw me about six feet back to the ground. Man did that hour,, not to mention I had no idea what was happening cause I couldn’t really see. I figured it was less likely because I was doing it during the daytime, but you never know.
Drinking water through my suit looks badass as the water disappears into a man of nothingness. It baffled people’s minds- how does he do it? Well, if I can breathe through the suit, I can most definitely drink through it! A few people stopped and took some pictures of me and some others yelled at me, I had a blast. I was walking by a Versaemerges set, and in between one of their songs, their singer, Sierra gave me a shout out. It was something along the lines of “look at that guy in the black suit, he’s got balls”. It was getting more closer to lunchtime and decided it was time to head back to the bus. I did one last farewell dance for the beginning of the line all the way back to my bus. Got on the bus, de-suited, gathered my weapons and I was off to shoot people.
I walked through the venue to Pierce The Veil‘s stage to photograph them. I arrived a little bit early to get them before they went on stage- but today I would be doing something a little different. Actually, from this point on I would be doing their intro for them. Casey had done it the past few days but he was just too busy to squeeze it in every day. I like dressing up in costumes and dancing around, so this was right down my alley. However, I am not a very coordinated person. Casey gave me the rundown on the gestures to make and when to make them. He was a lot better at this than me, but I gave it a go. In order to truly understand the intro you have to see it for yourself.
The guys had a signing and failed to grab catering in time- so I grabbed it for them and sort of picked up whatever they didn’t really feel like eating. I didn’t have catering everyday, and it cost about 12-15 dollars a meal to purchase. I couldn’t afford to spend that much money, so I did what I could and made use of the leftovers. It was pretty easy because Mike and Vic ate very simple straightforward stuff like chicken, bread, and potatoes. I like vegetables, fruit’s, and the junk that they really don’t like – so we made a good team. Except for maybe corn, for some reason Mike had a weird obsession with baby corn and I couldn’t quite grasp the reasoning behind it – but whatever it was, he literally ate bowls full of baby corn.
Over lunch I mentioned to Mike I was going to go scout for my Parkway Drive shoot I had in a few hours. He offered to let me his bike so that I could get around quicker and find locations that weren’t exactly walking distance from the venue. Worked out perfect. I biked a little over one mile away and found some locations under and next to the highway. I snapped some shots of the area and rode back to the venue.
I had arranged to meet up with Webbs behind the stage, but I was late and missed him. He texted me and told me he was at catering so I met up with there instead. I ran locations by him and one of the dudes in Parkway Drive and they approved. We agreed to getting it shot around 5:30 or 6:00. I mentioned that the location was about a little over one mile away and he said that’s fine, they all have scooters or bikes so we could all bike/scooter together. Perfect, I have always wanted to be in a bike gang.
I still had Mike’s bike so I cruised around bus world for a little bit and eventually stumbled upon a group of crew/band playing soccer. Among the group was, of course, Jaime. Grabbed a few shots and then started the ride back to the bus. On my way back I crossed paths with the Closure In Moscow guys sitting outside of their van. They were sitting on their van seat by their trailer, great guys to chill with.
I laid all my gear out in front of the bus and separated the gear that I would be using from the stuff I was leaving behind. I decided to take a boom stand, heavy duty stand, small stand, large octabox, Alien Bee 800, Alien Bee 1600, three pocket wizards, vagabond and my camera bag full of goodies! I went out in search for their bus and eventually ran into one of the guys. He said a few the guys are out back and you can go on the bus to get the rest of the band. They all had Australian accents, of course, and I made it all the more fun to talk to them. Don’t think I could ever picture an Australian person mad, because the accent just sounds so happy. It would be like the Pillsbury doughboy getting mad at you, even if he was angry it would still be hilarious. I wrangled the guys on the bus and they went out back and grabbed a mixture of scooters and bicycles and we cruised on over to my bus. Everyone pitched in and carried a piece of gear- that is what I liked about these guys, they were team players and were not afraid to help out. Bike crew, here we go.
Once we got to the location I told the guys to hang out for five or ten minutes while I set up the lights.
One of the images ended up being published as a magazine cover
I returned to the bus to a plate of food with my name on it. What? So stoked! Mai had grabbed me a plate of catering and I devoured it, I was starving. I hung out with Mike and some of the Breathe Carolina guys for fifteen minutes but then we had to head out earlier than everyone else. We had a 7:00pm bus call because Pierce The Veil had a radio show to play the next day at 6:00am or something.
Jaime injured himself playing soccer barefoot. He said everyone else was doing it, so he couldn’t be the only guy wearing shoes. This resulted in him having a huge blister on the bottom of his foot. He poured some kind of disinfectant on it and said it was one of the worst pains he had ever felt. Understandable, although my sympathy for him was limited, he did it to himself!
And we were off! I watched a few movies with everyone while working on my Parkway Drive images. I had to send client gallery off to their manager so that he could look through them and choose his favorites.
July 1st, 2010 (day 7)
San Antonio, Texas
Woke up to a very gloomy, windy, and wet fairgrounds. We were parked next to Taylor Momsen and her band. Taylor Momsen is a young actress that played Lucy in How The Grinch Stole Christmas . Her most recent role is as Jenny Humphrey in the CW television show- Gossip Girl . She started he own band,”The Pretty Reckless” and they were on Warped Tour all summer. The awkward part about it was that her hire on band was full of very talented, and overqualified 40 some year old men. I am assuming she made a good chunk of change, so the level of musicians made sense, it was just odd to me that she hung out with them all the time. I don’t really know their back story, so I am doing this all based on judgement. But imagine seeing a 17 year old “goth” girl in heels and heavy eyeliner strutting around as four old guy rocker dudes followed her. It was quite the sight. I should have grabbed a picture, but I didn’t want to invade her/their privacy.
It was so nasty out- rain, wind and humidity all at once. I woke up and walked around the fairgrounds, saying hey to some friends and grabbing as many shots as I could before it started pouring. I headed back to the bus and threw on my suit. Time to dance.
I lodged my sign in this little side pocket of my fanny pack, and picketed the crowd that was waiting by the entrance.
I walked around outside for a while as soon as the raining stopped and then headed back to the tour bus. Got out my camera and headed inside the main stage. Ian was backstage setting up We The Kings gear, hung around with him for a little bit got some shots and moved on.
I headed over to the outside stage as Pierce The Veil was playing soon.
It was raining for the most part during the day. With the exception of going to Pierce The Veil‘s signing, I camped out on the bus for the whole day and got a lot of computer work done. Toward the end of the day the sky cleared up. Parkway Drive was on last so I headed over to the Altec stage again to watch them. I didn’t even bring my camera, I just wanted to watch. Such good music, the crowd was brutal.
I headed back to the bus and ran into Johnny and Casey on my way back. They mentioned that they were heading to the showers and asked if I wanted to go with them. Definitely, I was very dirty. I hopped on the bus and got my bathroom bag and a new pair of underwear. Next mission – find the showers. We followed all the signs the best that we could, but we had to ask people for assistance a few times as well. Around the corner, through the double door, take left, down the elevator, to the left, down the hall past the lockers- it on your right. We walked in the room and there was long line. I didn’t want to wait, I wanted to get clean! Someone said that the locker room showers around the corner, but they were locked. We headed down a few doors and sure enough the door was open, that liar. We were the first three in the locker room showers, good. Locker room showers meant no privacy which I had no problem with. I stripped down and started scrubbing. The only problem was I didn’t really bring a towel. So I dried myself off with my old tank top and trashed it after I was done.
Once Johnny and Casey were done we all headed back to the bus. I walked shirtless back to the bus and tossed a new tank top on asap.I had to stretch them out them out as soon as I put them on, because they came so god damn tight. I wasn’t trying look like a muscle man here, just trying to keep it simple and cheap.
It was getting late and they had started the BBQ up by now. The line was short so I purchased a burger, it was awful. I’m not sure what they made it with that day or what they did differently but the hamburger tasted terrible. To the Tiki bar for two mixed drinks. I forget exactly what they were- I told him to make me something strong that also tasted delicious. I can’t stand the taste of alcohol, that’s why I barely drink it. I like Sierra Nevada, but that’s about it.
After my two drinks I was pretty drunk and couldn’t really handle myself so I stumbled back to my bus. Another reason why I don’t like drinking, because then my nights end so early. On the way back to my bus has somehow ended up on The Cab‘s bus for a little bit. Then I stopped and nevershoutnever‘s bus. A piece of bread by someones bare foot caught my eye and I convinced myself that it needed to be photographed. Why? I guess my brain had been drowned in pools of booze and wasn’t processing the world correctly. I went back to the bus, got my camera, ran back to the bread, took the “artsy” photo and sprinted back to the bus. Terrible photo. Yes, time to call it a night.
July 2nd, 2010 (day 8)
Show grounds at Sam Houston Race Park
I woke up to another overcast day. Man, nothing puts you in a not so happy mood like an overcast day. Rain I can do, rain is happy. There just has to be some simultaneous sunnin’ baby. Hopped off the bus and scoped the area. I found the catering area and grabbed some breakfast. Gotta get some food in my tummy. It was still clear enough out for me to throw my suit on. So I did. Suit up.
“Hey Vic, Zip me up?”
“Of course Adam”
I scribbled on some set times and put Bieber on repeat. Here we go again! The lack of sun made it difficult to see through my suit, it was going to be a challenging adventure. Imagine going outside at night with your sun glasses on, that’s what this was like. There were puddles all over and the ground was mushy in some areas. My suit kills my peripheral vision so I had to look down at the ground almost constantly to avoid stepping in mud or tripping over something. I made my way to line and squeezed through the fence. I always confused security when I was wearing my suit- for the most part they just laughed, I was down. I walked through the line a little bit, but overall it was too muddy for me to get around- it was like an obstacle course I couldn’t win.
The sky started to get taken over by a solid deep gray mass. Soon enough the darkness had engulfed more than 50% of the sky and decided it was time to head back to the bus. Not even a minute after I started heading to the bus- it started pouring. Like never before! Raining so hard I could barely see. I unzipped my suit and slipped off the part that covered my head so I could sees better. I ran out of the gate, around some puddles and to the busses. I couldn’t find my bus… number #64, number #64 where you at #64. I used my sign as an umbrella but it wasn’t very efficient. I ran a few laps before I found the bus. I was drenched, head to toe. Sweet. I took off my suit and was immediately cooled down by the AC of the bus. Not a good feeling. I put on a pair of cut off jeans and that was it. No way was I wearing my shoes in this weather. I didn’t bother putting on my shirt either. I grabbed my camera bag and threw the rain cover on it. I was now water proof! I could get as soaked as possible and nothing would get damaged.
I was on the prowl for some lunch. Someone let me have their catering barcode and in-turn I made a lunch run for four people. On my way to catering a small window on someones slide out opened up. The slide out on a bus is the part that slides out from the rest to make the area inside larger. It was Vegan, bassist of Bring Me The Horizon. What did he have to say? Nothing, he just shot me with a squirt gun, while it was pouring out, and laughed. Nice one Vegan. I love his sense of humor.
Anyway, got some lunch, loaded up on salad bar. I love vegetables, they had beets available almost everyday- so good.
I went to the stage with the guys when it was time for them to play and photographed people from cover I could find. I could shoot from underneath the tents that covered the gear backstage, from inside the semi, and while they were playing their set I shot from behind the amps where it was 100% dry. Some people on the tour embraced the rain, others hid from it like it was the plague. One thing was for sure though, the fans didn’t give a fuck, they were devoted and I think that rules.
They played well and dealt with the rain the best they could. All of their gear had to be covered with plastic and they couldn’t go jumping off their amps as usual. The crowd was still crazy as ever.
I walked to the guys signing with them. On the way there I trekked through ankle deep puddles of dirt and stone that sucked on my bare feet. It didn’t feel so good. Almost like spiky quick sand.
I got to the signing and hid under their tent. I half played photographer, half telling kids to buzz off that wanted to sneak in behind the band and get a moment to talk to them.
We headed back to the bus, watched movies and relaxed. Can’t really risk getting sick in the rain, so we had to play it safe as much as we could. I made a dinner run for everyone. I didn’t really mind getting wet and I wanted to get some food. I stood in this really long line, it was so long that the end of it was not even covered by the catering tent. The ground wasn’t even solid anymore, just mushy dirt, nothing fun. I got four peoples food in all. It was a rough one trying to juggle four plates as different servers put food on the plates. While I was walking back to the buses a nice lady asked if she could help me. I didn’t know who she was and I still don’t- but she saved my ass. I would have dropped the food for sure if she didn’t help me out.
I made it out for Bring Me The Horizon– they played last.
A surprising amount of kids were still around even though it was dark out. Warped Tour is supposed to have random set times for every band, every day. However I think Bring Me Played last 90% of the time…no way that was a coincidence. It might have to do with the fact that half the attendees left after they saw Bring Me, and if they didn’t play last…well bad news for everyone else.
That night we went to Wal-Mart. I don’t remember who was there, but there were a lot of bands. Wal-Mart takeover. According to my receipt, this is what I purchased.
▪ Kashi cereal
▪ peanut butter
▪ sharp cheddar x3
I was trying to shop healthy, and buy items that I could mix and match- and make a bunch of meals! got keep it interesting. Here are my possible meals with what I purchased.
2. Apples and honey
3. Blueberries, cereal, apples and honey
4. Bread and cheese- nuked
5. Bread, honey and peanut butter
I think that is pretty much it, and other than the honey and peanut butter, I could eat everything alone.
July 3rd, 2010 (day 9)
I got up early, that was one of my goals- not to sleep in and make the most of these long summer days. They were full of opportunities and I did my best to take advantage of them. I realize that I may not be able to do this next year, I might get shot, or I might break my legs, or I might not know anyone on the tour, I could develop schizophrenia, my hand could break- there are a lot of possibilities. I know you can’t tell my tone while you read this, but I am being 100% serious, these things cross my mind every night. I always knew I was going to die in some freak accident, I just have a feeling, I just don’t know when it will be. I found a porta potty. You can’t number 2 on a bus, so morning routine involve searching for the nearest blue box.
Every Time I Die was on first.
nevershoutnever always had big crowds. It was hot as ever out, and very humid.
I hung around at the merch table with Mai for awhile. Sean was working Hopeless merch he asked me to cover for him for a bit. I hung out under this big yellow tent for awhile and sold a few All Time Low CDs. Doing work! Once he got back I returned to Pierce The Veil‘s tent and waited for them to arrive. They were doing their signing at their tent today.
Their line was huge, there had to be at least 300 kids waiting to see them. They only signed for a total of about forty five minutes, so once they arrived- I had to cut the line. I had to walk up and hand this sign to a mom, it read “this is the end of the line”. Everyone behind her had to disperse, as they were not going to meet Pierce The Veil, there wasn’t enough time. A dad got really mad at me and started yelling. I understand, they had been there waiting for awhile, but there wasn’t anything I could really do. I ignored him and walked away. Sorry if it was your dad yelling at me, and you are now reading this, just doing what needs to be done.
I was doing Pierce The Veil‘s intro for them again. This meant getting to the stage early. It was looking like it was going to pour right before we got on stage. In preparation I hung my camera bag from a drumstick hook on the side of the semi truck and took my shoes off as well. I put on the suit and waited for my cue to get on stage. My cue was the third time the keys sounded huge on the track that played during my entrance. I am not sure how to describe the sound. Anyway, I walked up the ramp, and as soon as I laid my foot on the stage, it started pouring, I think someone in the sky was targeting me. The wind was blowing in such a way that all the rain was going under the stage cover and right onto me. I was soaked within the first and only 30 seconds I was on stage. I walked stage, shed my outfit, grabbed my camera bag, and walked right back on stage. I shot from behind the amps again so that I could keep my gear dry.
view on Flickr
By the end of their set the pouring rain had turned into a light drizzle. I kept my shoes off and walked over to the Ernie Ball stage to catch Closure In Moscow. I had yet to see them on tour and I was in for a surprise.
What the fuck? I love these dudes, they were weird as ever. Their singer was wearing blue eye shadow, tight black pants, and red lipstick. He moved in the oddest of ways and I was very entertained. They kill it live also, sounded better than the record.
I walked back over to the Altec stage to watch Suicide Silence. I enjoyed watching this band, good stage presence. I had known these guys off and on for about four years. I say off and on because the first three times I met them, it was nothing memorable. This is the first shot I took of them- back in mid 2006 at a Midwest festival known as Robot Mosh Fest. They put it on their MySpace and it made me more stoked than ever back in the day. I was originally going to provide screen shots of MySpace for all these old images. But the new MySpace design is so terrible, almost as bad as their new logo- almost.
I met up with Toad and he took me side stage for The All-American Rejects‘ set. It was fun to watch, again their front man said some of the most ridiculous stuff I have ever heard. I can’t even quote him, but it was a good laugh.
Every year Lyman cooks all day in preparation for the 4th of July BBQ that he has that night. We don’t have Warped Tour on the 4th of July, so the night of the 3rd will have to do. I went to the BBQ stoked as ever, good food, and affordable. Well, it used to be. The BBQ was great, you tipped a few bucks and snagged a reasonable amount of food. But for some reason, this year, everyone running the BBQ would hassle you. I usually tipped three dollars and grabbed a hamburger. This meal was a little more intense so I decided to do five. I gave them a 10 and asked for change. This guy working the tip jar started hassling me, saying I should tip more and joking around with me. I told him no, and to give me my five bucks- if I wanted to tip more, I would. If you wanted a specific amount, then don’t ask for a tip, ask for a certain amount. Either way I found it annoying to get hassled for more money every time I just wanted to snag a burger at the end of the night.
I got my five bucks back and grabbed some ribs and chicken. This food was heaven on Warped Tour, like a home cooked meal, so good.. Lyman is an amazing cook. If he ever stops doing Warped Tour he should open a restaurant and just serve BBQ buffet style, I would go.
I headed back to the buses to hang out with everyone. I eventually found my way to the bunk and couldn’t fall asleep because the sound of that tazer would click and make me jump. Please Tony, please just no more tasers on the bus.
July 4th, 2010 (day 10)
Meth Head Hotel
I woke up and we were parked at a truck stop, I was hoping we would be at our hotel for the off day- not quite yet. I can’t remember if it was a Flying J or what, but we were right outside of Joplin Missouri , in line to get our bus washed. I got off the bus in my basketball shorts and tank top. My hair hadn’t moved since I lifted it from the pillow and it was frozen from all the dirt and oil in it, the look slightly resembled Goku’s hairdo, post super saiyan. I walked inside and did a few rounds, nothing I felt like eating or drinking so I walked back to the bus. There were toss seasonal fireworks tents all over, turns out it’s legal to light off fireworks in Missouri. This is gonna be a fun one.
After our bus was clean we headed over to the hotel. The Mayday Parade guys were staying right next to us, so we met up with their tour manager and some guys who worked for Glamour Kills and made our way to Olive Garden across the street. I was starving. We told them we needed a table for twelveish or so. They told us it was going to be a bit, but we could wait at the bar. Casey and Mike were somehow already there, celebrating the fact you could smoke inside- with a cigarette and 3 wise men shots.
Back to the hotel for laundry, I never do laundry, I just throw my clothes away when they are dirty and put on new ones. But, almost everyone else had laundry to do.We were parked in the parking lot of the hotel and a Starbucks drive through was about 100 feet away. Some girls saw Mike from their van window while they were in line for the drive-thru at Starbucks. They ditched their mom to come and talk to interesting looking Mike. They had not heard of the band and interrogated Mike which eventually led to him giving them a free cd. Free cd from a dude in a band? Those girls would probably be fans of the band for life, good form. I caught up on some computer work and headed over to Starbucks with Chris. I got something with chocolate in it so I could wake the heck up and do work. Then I got invited to the mall, work will have to wait.
We called a cab and had to wait a good 30 minutes for it to come. I was hanging around outside when a middle aged dude road up on his and said “take picture of me in front of the bus”. All I could think was, who the fuck let hawaii into Joplin? I was told Joplin was the meth capital of the world so I figured that would be contributing to these guys actions, or maybe he was just a wild guy, but he was all kinds of unordinary.
I wanted to take a picture of him, but not cause he asked me to, because he was a character. I asked him what he was doing riding his bike around here, I swear, that’s all I asked him. His response was one really long run-on sentence, he spat the words like a machine gun.
“hey want a good place to do a photo shoot right down the road about two miles I have a place I watch to make sure meth heads to make homes there it’s okay if people come and check it out but I watch the land for the owner here come look (signals for me to come close to the road so I can see down the street, I followed) it’s only about a mile down the way and there are a bunch of cool stones and stuff there I am not homeless I just live outside that’s how I like it I love nature but really come do a photo shoot” The whole time he was flailing his arms around trying to help explain what he was describing better but he just looked belligerent. I told him no thank you nicely a few times until he biked off in the direction of his land.
Vic, Mai, Johnny, Forest, and I all hopped in the cab. The mall ended up being closed so we went to the movie theater instead. Everyone but Mai went to see A-Team , Mai went to see Twilight. A-team ruled. I didn’t need to see Twilight to know it sucked, but Mai loves that series, so I can understand her being really stoked on seeing it. After we got out of the movie we had to wait a bit for Mai’s vampire love to finish up. I made my way to the arcade and rocked some big buck hunting. Shotguns feel so good when you shoot them, I need to fire one in real life, I bet they pack some gnarly recoil. Mai got out of her movie sooner than expected so I headed outside to wait for the cab with everyone.
We headed back to the hotel. I went inside and packed up all my stuff and grabbed my camera. I went around back where the party had clearly started without us. All of Mayday Parade, Whitechapel, Pierce The Veil and their crew members were already back there. In total, there were about thirty people hanging in the back lot of the hotel firing off fireworks, plus the ten or so we just showed up with. Fireworks were legal on public property in Joplin. We were on public property, just barely. They had over three hundred dollars in fireworks, most of which were mortars- the ones that are a downsized version of what you see at a firework show.
This was fun to shoot! Holding my shutter open was a must so I could catch the fireworks, and combined with a flash to freeze the participants, everything came out great.
After awhile people started to get bored with just lighting off fireworks, so they began stacking them on top of each other and firing off ten at once. I am not quite sure how no one was injured, but we were teasing death. A few of the fireworks didn’t launch, due to the fact they were lodged underneath other fireworks- this led to ground level explosions. Beautiful.
Eventually Ace showed up, woohoo! I was so stoked, Ace rules, he’s the nicest guy ever. I talked with him about the world. The guy from the front desk of the hotel kept coming out and telling us to stop. We told him no, we weren’t stopping yet. Eventually a police officer came and requested we stop by 11:00pm, and we did. We had plans of stopping by 11:00 already, as that was when it turned into an illegal activity, but the cop was just making sure.