Calling all pop punk fans of Australia; if you haven’t heard the news that We The Kings are heading down under, then you’ll be most excited to find out they’re doing an anniversary tour to celebrate ten years of their debut album by playing it in its entirety! If this album was a part of your teenage years, you will be doing yourself a major disservice if you don’t go experience it live; after all, you may never get another chance.
Having last been on our shores early 2016, Travis Clark (Lead Vocals/Guitar/Keyboard), Hunter Thomsen (Guitar/Backing Vocals), Danny Duncan (Drums/Percussion), Charles Trippy (Bass) and Coley O’Toole (Keyboards/Vocals/Guitar) are performing six shows across five states within eight days; Perth and Adelaide are getting included on this tour, so make sure you show your support if these are your capital cities!
OVERDRIVE was fortunate enough to get to speak with Clark about the upcoming anniversary tour; however there was a small personal deviation before the professional conversation that was meant to be taking place.
The interview started out with Clark mentioning how he was enjoying a beautiful evening on the west coast of Florida, which lead to this interviewer instantly asking whether Clark and his family were affected by Hurricane Irma a while back; this touched Clark as he expressed that “I really appreciate you asking; thank you” before explaining how “it actually came straight through where a couple of my houses are; one on the west coast of Florida and one in Orlando. Those houses are totally fine and all my family are okay; it was scary seeing pictures of some of the damage! The worst we suffered was that we did lose power for a little bit, but overall that’s nothing in comparison.”
Moving from the personal side of Clark’s life onto his professional side, this interviewer thanked Clark for taking the time out of his evening to speak about the upcoming tour to Australia for the 10 year anniversary of the self-titled album; Clark couldn’t contain his excitement about the tour so far as he instantly mentioned how “we started doing the tour here and it’s always fun when you try a different type of tour; for this one we’re playing every song from the first album obviously, but you never really know whether it’s going to be something that people will enjoy. However we’ve had such an amazing reaction doing it here in the States that we decided to take it worldwide; I know that a lot of the fans are excited, but the band is really excited to get to come there and do this really cool style of tour for the first time!”
This interviewer was curious how the idea behind doing an anniversary tour came about; Clark was more than happy to give a really deep insight into the workings behind the scenes at We The Kings:
“We want to make every single tour that we’ve ever done different from the next; that’s always something that has always been really important to the band! It all started out with the idea of ‘I bet there’s a fan out there who has never heard his favourite We The Kings song because we have never played it’ when I mentioned how Taking Back Sunday did an anniversary tour for their first album and played it in its entirety. I thought ‘why don’t we do one; it would be so cool.’ as there were multiple songs that we’ve never played live; throw in the fact that we’re getting ready for a sixth album and there’s a high chance that we would have never played them. We did a couple of test shows, just to see how it would go down; they sold out almost immediately and it was just a time in our career were we just knew we had to do this! There were also plenty of people worldwide who were seeing us posting on our social media who were asking ‘wait, they are playing their whole first album live?’; this resulted in a lot of people flying in to come see the tour because of a specific song or the idea of the tour.”
Generally speaking, when most bands get together and start writing music they are talking about getting their break and making it big; this interviewer wanted to know whether the We The Kings band members had ever talked about being around long enough to celebrate a ten year anniversary. Clark mentioned that “it was one of those things that we never really thought about to be honest” before delving into greater detail about what was actually going through their minds:
“When we were first recording albums, we were more excited to have the ability to go into a real studio! We were recording our demos in my parents’ guest room; I would hang a microphone over the ceiling fan, we would all play at once and that’s how we got our demos. When we recorded our first album ten years ago, we were in the same studio that Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco and All American Rejects recorded albums in; we just couldn’t believe that we were in a real studio and this was happening right before our eyes! Now we’ve been a band for so long, do we start to think about if can we continue on for another ten or more years; mind you, our friendships have grown so much not only the last ten years we’ve been together as a band, but also over the last twenty years that we’ve known each other! We really can’t imagine doing anything else, so I think we’ll still be doing it in ten years or more; maybe we’ll be speaking again in another ten years about the 20th anniversary of our self-titled album. I absolutely believe that the band has what it takes. We’re still amazing friends and we haven’t had anything crazy happen to try and tear the band apart. We’re just really grateful to be where we’re at; if we were all to be sitting in the same room and you asked if we were going to be doing this for another ten years, we would be asking if there was any other way to plan to spend the next ten years! It’s just a way of life now, more than it being a career.”
Clark then delivered this small snippet of pure wisdom to conclude his answer:
“Mind you, it’s not about whether the fans still like the band; it’s more whether the band members still like each other enough to get back out on the road!”
Moving back to a more personal perspective, this interviewer wanted to know which song(s) Clark enjoyed performing most off the band’s debut album, expecting to hear a single that was released; the answer that Clark delivered was a most pleasant curveball:
“There was one song that we had never played, that just went over so well that it was hard to believe. The song in question was Headlines Read Out and I remember that I originally wasn’t too sure where I wanted it; did I want it to be after a big song, or did I want it to be before a big song so that if people don’t like it they forget about it (laughs) When you’re writing a set list these things are tricky, as you want the set to flow really well; you want it to seem like only ten minutes have passed instead of an hour, because people are having so much fun that they forgot what the time was! We ended up putting it smack dab in the middle of the set; even during rehearsal we were thinking that it felt pretty awesome and couldn’t believe that we never played it before. Then when we played it for the fans, people went nuts and they had never heard it live! It must have been one of those songs that fans wanted to hear live that flew under our radar; then when the years went on and we wrote more albums, it became harder and harder to play different songs and singles from each record.”
Finding out that songs from the self-titled album were being placed throughout the set instead of being played in track order, this interviewer sought clarification that he heard correctly before picking Clark’s brain to find out why the decision was made to do it that way; thankfully Clark was more than willing to give another insightful answer:
“So yes, we are playing the album in its entirety but the sequencing is going to be different; not only that, but it will be different to the shows that we did here in the States! I think one of the best things about going to a show is the mystery of what it is; if you’ve already seen what people are doing before you go to a show, then you have this level of expectation that’s hard to beat. Our very first song is Check Yes Juliet, but that is a tip of the hat to the fans as we don’t want to keep them around for two hours and then finally play that song! As that track is track three on the album, we realized that if we played it first we couldn’t play the album in its sequence; since we all have extreme ADD, staying in line and in order is almost impossible for us. So we just decided to play the ADD version of the album and pick which songs go where, as well as allow things to flow into each other and make it into a really cool thing instead of just doing song one, song two etc; I know that some of the other bands who have done nostalgic tours for albums have done it in that style; that’s all good and fine, but we just wanted to do something a little different. I’m a big fan of music as well who loves going to a show and not knowing what they’re going to play next; right when that intro guitar riff, vocals or drums kick in and I know what song it is, I lose my mind. If you know what’s coming and can expect it, I find that it makes it less exciting; plus I just like the idea of fans knowing that we are going to play every song on the album but not knowing when it’s going to be coming!”
Considering We The Kings have been down on Australian shores multiple times, they’ve obviously crossed off all the most common tourist things to do whilst here; was there anything else that We The Kings want to get to do whilst in Australia that isn’t so common? “You know what; I was just talking about this with Danny our drummer!” was the first statement to come out of Clark’s mouth, before he gave greater detail:
“We’re both dads now and we were discussing what we want to do; we’ve already done the tourist stuff, like going to Bondi whilst in Sydney for example. Now I think we’re looking at talking to local fans that come out and asking them what they do for fun; I live in Orlando and I’d never tell anyone to go to Disneyworld (laughs) Unfortunately when people come to the part of Orlando that I live in, a lot of them stay down near the theme parks and the resorts but there’s so much more to do; so when we come down, we want to speak to fans to find out what beaches they go to or what restaurants they go to, whilst hoping that they just don’t send us to the tourist-y ones! It’s true that the locals know best; actually a few years ago when we were in Adelaide, we had a fan come up to us and tell us that her father does a great white shark excursion. We did it in Hawaii with other shark types and it has been my absolute dream to be face to face with a great white; I think that’s one of the things we’re going to get to do, as we have a couple of off days around Adelaide.”
IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY PURCHASED TICKETS TO WE THE KINGS, YOU CAN DO SO HERE!
OVERDRIVE can’t forget to credit Lee Cherry for the amazing band photo as well!