ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN LITHIUM MAGAZINE
By: Aaron Binder
Photos: Gary Copeland
“You should really check out our twitter.”
Some would call those strange words coming from a guy that is a self-proclaimed old man on Warped Tour. Mike Weibe of Riverboat Gamblers and I sat down for a brief spell at the Toronto Warped Tour and spoke about many a thing, from growing up and listening to Pennywise on cassette, to touring with X. We covered it all in the most jam-packed 10-minute interview ever.
Mike: Hi, I’m Mike from Riverboat Gamblers.
Aaron: And you guys are from Austin, Texas?
Aaron: And it’s your second time on Warped Tour?
Mike: Yeah, we did it in 2005, but we did it in a van and it almost physically killed me. Seriously, I was a mess, I had to go to a chiropractor and I was so messed up. We have a bus this time which is awesome and I’m having so much more fun.
Aaron: I imagine going across the whole continent in a van is hell.
Mike: We do it all the time on club tours, but every night is pretty much an all-night drive and you have to get there at 7 in the morning, there’s nowhere to go and it’s super crazy humid and hot. You can’t turn on the van, it was really tough, we had to bum a lot…there were a lot of bands that said we could sleep on their bus in the day time and stuff.
Aaron: So in 2005, did you guys think you’d be in a tour bus back on Warped Tour again?
Mike: I don’t know; music is such a weird thing from the business end, what takes off and what doesn’t. I try not to get too wrapped up, at least now, I used to worry about where my career was going, you know, was that a right decision I made, should we have done this tour or that tour, done this with this label or that label. Now, it’s kinda like I try to make the best decision, not that I don’t sweat them out but now I just try to go whatever, it’s in the past.
It’s a weird thing being in a band, unless you’re the Rolling Stones, or I don’t know who right now, Lady Gaga or something, there’s always a band that’s doing better than you and you ask ‘whoa, how do we get to that level?’, I’m trying not to be so negative about that and enjoy where we are right now a little more.
Aaron: Even though you guys are a little more successful, you’re also realizing you can relax a little bit.
Mike: Yeah, and even though we’re more successful there are still plenty of bands that are way more successful financially and with other stuff. We’re kind of a band without much of a genre, as well. We’ve never fit neatly into one genre so it’s kind of a weird deal. Sometimes there’s a band that fits perfectly into a genre at a certain time period and they just explode and it’s easy to look at that and say: “When’s it my turn to explode?” Not that I’m complaining or that we’re doing bad, but I’m really trying to be a little more zen lately and just enjoy where we are and just have a good time on this tour.
Aaron: Yeah, you’re still out there having fun right now. You also mentioned it’s a younger crowd for your band, has the response been different since the last tour?
Mike: A little bit, it’s weird. I’m a vampire; I don’t like the sun or anything so I don’t go to festivals on my own volition too often. So it’s weird to see what’s trending in young music right now. This compared to five years ago…the dance music at Warped Tour is surprising, that’s a new trend. Then the kinda death metal, that’s trending really hard. Those are things that I’m not particularly into, but I’m not angry about it, it’s just a weird thing to sit back and say, “Okay”.
The cool thing is there are a lot of kids that I would think if they like that stuff, they would hate whatever we’re doing but that hasn’t been the case, it’s been pretty cool. They’re into that stuff and it seems so far removed from what we do, they still seem to be pretty open to it. You know, it’s a very young palette you’re playing to here so they’re open to a lot of stuff and they haven’t defined a lot of their tastes yet, I was that way at that age.
Aaron: I think it’s a pretty progressive crowd.
Aaron: So let’s talk about what you’re working on. You put out your newest album a year and a half ago, I’m guessing after Warped you’ll be working on new material?
Mike: We’ve written some stuff that we’re trying to sneak into our set, one new song every day. I like road-testing songs. We try it out, there’s no demos or anything but it kinda helps shape the song. The other cool thing about being on a bus for the first time is that we’re trying to demo, there’s so much work to do every day it’s kinda hard, but we try to demo stuff on the bus. That would be cool to come out the other end of this summer with some new songs and doing the whole tour.
We’re gonna do another Canadian tour too; we just announced that we’re doing another Canadian tour with Pennywise in September. We’ll be hitting here and all the sights in Canada, I’m really excited about that.
Aaron: That’s a really cool connection.
Aaron: How did that come about?
Mike: I think we played Vancouver and Edmonton a few years ago with Rise Against and Pennywise and that’s where we kinda met those guys and just lined up on this tour. I’ve been a fan of them for a real long time. I remember listening to them on cassette, I was driving across the country by myself in a van and I had them on cassette. Some people reading this don’t even know what I speak of when I say that, I’m old; it was a long time ago.
Aaron: I remember doing the exact same thing with those guys, we have a station called CBC in Canada and they play punk shows in the middle of the night on Saturdays so you’d have to stay up til’ like 4 am listening.
Mike: And then you recorded it?
Aaron: Haha, yeah, on cassette.
Mike: And then go skateboard and play it on a cheap jambox?
Aaron: Hahaha, yeah, exactly!
Mike: Wow, same place we’re crossing there.
Aaron: It must be really cool for you guys to be playing with a band you grew up with then.
Mike: Yeah, it’s awesome, we’ve been very fortunate to play with a lot of our idols and people that are significant to us, we’ve been very lucky.
Aaron: Who’s been your favourite band to tour with then?
Mike: Umm, we did a whole tour with X the classic LA punk band; that was insane, I’d get up on stage and sing The World’s a Mess and I’ve been doing that since I was a kid which was crazy.
I mean, being really young there was this movie called The Decline of Western Civilization that was about early LA, it had X, Fear, The Germs. And I remember seeing that as a little kid renting it and it just blew my mind. I wasn’t even into music yet but I was just fascinated with it and literally 18, 19 years later I’m on tour with that band and it’s just so cool.
Aaron: Who would you still like to tour with?
Mike: I would love to tour with The Hives, I’d like to see The Hives every night. I hear Rocket From The Crypt might be doing some reunion tour shows and I’d love to tour with them. It’s cool, we’ve gotten to tour with a lot of our friends and buddies, but those are a couple of bands that are still on the checklist…I don’t know, maybe the Rolling Stones, that would be insane.
Aaron: Awesome, thanks for sitting down, Mike.
Mike: Thanks a lot man.