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Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 4:00 AM

Vans Warped Tour Part 3 - Herding Cats

The cats were herded, and I joined them...
Ethan on the job.
Ethan's workstation.
Relient K Tent
Moe...who wanted me to let everyone know that he plays Mapex, and that the drums in the pic are the stage's drums that he had to play everyday.
Protest the Hero
Rick Malkin and Rich - PTH's Road Manager, and a friend of Meinl.
Need I say more?
Rick brought these, and I ate way too many of them....
Again, need I say more?
The beginning of all of this Warped Tour madness.
Matt Clark
I wasn't kidding when I said that MATSOD had a good ol' boy thing happening.
...nearing the end of a long day...

Sometime after I ate that gut bomb of a hamburger, the one that made me feel a little "uncertain" for the rest of the afternoon, Rick and I took advantage of a few minutes of down time to rest and re-group.


I had scheduled a group shot of all of the Meinl Cymbal artists on the tour that day to meet Rick and me in the press room by the production offices at 4pm. Rick has been after me for a few years now to make this type of shot happen, but I never really got it together until this year. Well, I'm glad I did, because it was fun hanging out with all of these guys in the same room.


Here in the Sunny South we have an expression..."herding cats." That's what it was like getting a hold of a couple of these guys to make this happen. Now I firmly believe that in their heart of hearts, they wanted to be there. But they just wouldn't be who they are if they were there, on time, ready to go. I think this must be the same thing in their x-factor that makes them an "artist".... Anyway, they certainly aren't uptight and bordering OCD like me, and that's a good thing! :-)


5 out of 7 were on time. One was in an interview with a television station. This took awhile. People in the press room were waiting for us to get out of their way. Rick decided that enough was enough when he heard the television interviewer start to discuss politics with these guys, so he jumped in the middle of the interview and asked if he could "borrow" the drummer for a second. Ha! It worked. We got one of our boys. One more to go.


Well, the other one was a toughie. Not only did he get into his mariachi costume for the shoot, but he had also had a seriously bad prank played on him by his band mates while he was trying to get over to us. This involved a policeman, handcuffs, threats and the poor drummer puking...again...this time from nerves. Poor guy. So he finally made his way to the press room, I had herded all of the cats, and Rick got his beloved group pics. Life was fairly close to perfection at this point.


After a fun hang for the aforementioned shoot, Rick and I set up for pics of Ethan Luck with the band Relient K. What a good band. These guys are just dripping with lush harmonies that ooze warmth and fun. Ethan had been drum teching for them previously. So when the drum chair opened up, he got the gig, not only because he knew the guys already, but also because he's a really solid drummer (he's also one of the guys you want to strangle because he can pick up ANY instrument and play it well in about 5 minutes...). I have to also say that Ethan has been keeping me stocked up on coffee. His wife works at a local Starbucks here in Nashville. Apparently she gets more free java than she knows what to do with. So every time Ethan comes by the office, he brings me a new pound of some choice brew. This has made him my new best friend. :-) So we snapped pics of Ethan playing with Relient K to one of the largest crowds of the day, then made our way to another stage to check out Moe Carlson.


Three words. Moe is awesome. Moe plays with Protest the Hero, a Canadian band whose most recent album debuted at #1 in the Canadian charts until Jack Johnson knocked them off the top rung of the ladder. Not bad...It's even more insane when you listen to these guys. In my mind, they are the new progressive rock music. These guys are doing algebraic back-flips in their minds while they are playing their instruments. I mean, literally it is nuts to listen to and watch these guys. Oddly enough, their music still sounds very human and organic, despite the undercurrent of a mad machine taking out its frustrations on drums, cymbals, guitars, bass and a microphone. Moe is polite, gracious and quite the student of sci-fi. So if you meet him, bring him something reeking of sci-fi and you will probably be on his good side. More pics, more killer rock and then Rick and I are on our way to the last stage of the day to check out our last cymbal artist of the day.


I felt like I had left VANS Warped tour and gone backstage to a Molly Hatchet show with the Charlie Daniels Band opening up. This is what it's like to be around Matt Clark and his band Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. Matt just recently came onboard and this was the first time I was able to see him and his beard in action. Man, these guys all look like grizzled Civil War Confederate veterans that picked up modern day instruments and decided to mix their brand of four on the floor stomp with some current melodies, a little bit of hollering and a whole lot of fun. MATSOD were cool as could be. Matt played like the ghost of Bonzo making a cameo during some Appalachian moonshine party. Strange likening it to that I know, but that's pretty accurate. Groove, swing, accuracy along with an authoritative swagger that says "don't mess with this." Matt was great and it was really enjoyable to see him and his band do their thing.


So that was the end of the day, and from there Rick and I had to make our way back to Nashville, all with a few layers of sweat, sunblock and dust on us. We arrived back in Nashville late that night, but were really glad to have been down in Hotlanta for the fun day that we had just had. Rick is a pro at what he does and I don't think he has ever met anyone that didn't become his friend in 2 minutes or less. That's a quality that most photographers need. Rick has it in spades.


Hope you all enjoyed my babbling on and on about VANS Warped. It was a good line up and a good time. You should check it out.





Chris Brewer

Chris Brewer

Artist Relations Manager for Meinl USA