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Andy Black performing at Vans Wraped Tour in Orlando
NEWS

Andy Black Exclusive Warped Tour Interview

Aug 182017

Another year of the Vans Warped Tour is done and dusted. Fun was had by all and fields & parking lots nationwide have been conquered by hords of music fans and bands alike. It’s been hot, it’s been sweaty but most of all it has been an insane whirlwind of fun and excitement. We were lucky enough to join Monster Energy artist Andy Black, and ask him a bunch of personal questions to really get to know the man behind the microphone.

Q&A

What are your hobbies/pastimes outside of music?

I love sports, I’m a huge football fan in-particular. I grew up with my Dad who was heavily interested in rock music and sports so those two things kind of go hand in hand for me. I’m a big football fan, the Cincinnati Bengals are my favorite team despite the constant suffering and woes, but yeah it’s all kind of sports I played sports growing up. I was a competitive level hockey player played up until I was in my late teens, I was a junior Olympic player so sports have always been important to me and I don’t know...I guess I try to be healthy. My hobby is trying to not die. Working hard to try to not die. Maybe I didn’t always do that for so long, but anymore I try to be healthy, work out and eat well.

Do you have any role models outside of music?

Actually, it’s funny we are out here in Vegas, one of my biggest heroes in the world in terms of I always thought he was incredibly entertaining and intelligent. We disagree on a lot of stuff politically but I like his perspective is Penn Jillette from Pen and Teller, obviously they’re in Vegas and I’m a massive fan. My Dad has always been a big inspiration to me, he’s always been someone who’s like a best friend to me. I don’t have so much a direct affinity for individual athletes, so much as the team. I kind of see it like a band in that way you know, some people like their favorite band then one member leaves but the song still exists that’s kind of the way I see a lot of sports teams. My favorite player of all time is Chad Johnson who was a wide receiver.

Can you tell us there’s something not many people know about you?

Uh, there’s probably a lot of stuff! I mean, my poop schedule is one that maybe people don’t necessarily know right away. Uh no…I guess one thing that maybe not a lot of people know about me is that when I was in school growing up, I mean it’s probably well known by a lot of fans but I dropped out of school high school. I didn’t finish school, I performed very poorly in school. I was actually tested by the state for having a learning disability and all this other stuff, and that was really difficulty for me when I was younger. Ultimately when I dropped out of school and moved to LA I became even more obsessed with the idea of finding knowledge and applicable knowledge and things that worked for me so that I can be an adult and carry on a conversation. I guess this is a roundabout way of saying that if the music career doesn’t work out then I have no other options because I have no education what-so-ever, therefore it’s difficult to get a job of any kind. So please, if you’re reading this and you like me please keep liking me cause I’m out of other options (laughs).

Do you have any favorite childhood memories?

I hate to keep bringing it back to sports but so much of my life has been spent going to games with my Dad. Any time I could perform onstage was so rare because where I grew up there wasn’t a lot of performing arts for young kids. Then when I started going from middle school to early high school there was a performing arts school in the city of Cincinnati that I went to briefly. I became a drama major and I was cast as a lead in a school play. For me, it was a real big moment for me to be seeking acceptance from people that were performers or thought of themselves as performers. Then to go to this school where there were all these people and the teachers were really qualified and they thought that I was good at something, It was kind of the first time in my life that I had validation. It was the last time. Since then, no one has said anything positive about me, so it’s been an uphill climb ever since (laughs).

What is your most prized possession?

I mean I guess I don’t want to get too sappy, but, if there’s one thing that I absolutely can’t lose and I have with me all the time; well there’s two things. There’s my wedding ring, which I must have with me at-all-times, and I do take it off to do my hair and everything, and it’s black, so on the bus everyone has a freak-out like almost every day trying to find it like! ‘Where the hell is it?!’ and inevitably it’s gone. So my wedding ring and then my necklace that I’m wearing here is the ashes and thumbprint of my friend Chris Holly who passed away two years ago. The thing that’s interesting about my relationship with him was that it was kind of an incomplete one in the sense that I only knew him for like 5 months. You know when you meet somebody that you immediately hit it off and you go, ‘This guy is gonna be my friend for a long time.’ To have somebody that you are like that with and to lose them so early in your friendship, it’s kind of an odd thing. So his mother gave me this, Ben from Asking Alexandria has on e and a few other people have them who were close to Chris have them so we all kind of carry these with us on tour and everything.

Do you have any nicknames we don’t know about?

When I was a kid, I loved the idea of having a nickname and I was so young or maybe not popular enough where I didn’t have enough friends to give me a nickname, so I came up with one for myself that I then required my parents to call me. The name was ‘Little Johnny Rickfield’, and so I would ask my dad to announce me before I would come into the dinner and say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Little Johnny Rickfield’ and then I would come in skating on Fisher-price skates. That was like, a couple weeks ago (laughs).

How old were you?

Probably like 3 or 4. I love the idea of always having a nickname. Like I wish that someone would call me something! There was a guy in a band once we were on tour with who gave me the shittiest nickname of all time, and I was happy to have a nickname but bummed about what it was because it was just ‘And’. My name is Andy, and he was like, ‘what’s up And’; that’s not a fucking nickname, you’re just lazy! It’s just one more syllable! So, my only nickname I’ve ever received from someone else was ‘And’. Please don’t call me that.

Q&A

Do you have any favorite TV shows, movies or games you keep up with on tour?

There’s a lot of great shows, it’s kind of the golden age of television right now where there’s so much! I’m trying to catch up on The Handmaiden’s Tale, that’s the show I’m watching right now, and of course everybody loves Game of Thrones, excited for the new season there. I keep bringing it back to sports but the one thing we always have on tour is Madden on Xbox. We play constantly on tour and I just beat somebody by 83 points, which is not my record but I’m very happy about that.

We know that a lot of bands love to play FIFA on tour, do you think you could get those bands to convert to Madden?

It’s always been our goal to try to assimilate UK bands into Madden, which at the very least on the surface-level they’re interested in it, but invariably terrible. But that’s okay because they don’t know it. That’s okay because it’s a sport that doesn’t exist to them. I don’t like FIFA because it’s so small, like, the guys are tiny, it’s not that much fun, you’re like, looking at ants running around! Plus, the most scoring you can do is like 1 to 2, that’s not great. I like basketball games because you can score the whole time. I really just like scoring in games, that’s it.

What’s your favorite food to eat on tour?

Well, alright. So I have two different things; I used to, in my “more unhealthy days” have one specific thing when like I came home from every tour which was an egg-drop pizza, which is a full pizza with like a pound of scrambled eggs on top of it and then I would eat it in its entirety and lay on the couch for like 3 hours. I don’t do that so much anymore, but it was delicious. But I do like pizza, that’s my guilty thing, so being that I eat vegetarian and vegan and don’t eat dairy, I eat a vegan pizza, but there’s some great places. I live in Los Angeles so there’s a lot of options!

What is the best thing about being on tour?

The best thing about being on tour is the shows, and I know that kinda sounds like an obvious answer. The truth is, and I don’t think that people that don’t tour know this: obviously like there’s the drudgery of the sameness every day can be both great because you get into the rhythm, but also very agonizing after you’ve been doing it for a long time because every day is Groundhog day. You have this sameness that exists, this bubble of things being different from the real world. Particularly when I was younger I’d get so lost in that, because I didn’t have a whole lot of life experience. I was like in this bubble of everything being the same and everything being available all the time or whatever. I think ultimately when I was younger the shows became less and less exciting for me because it was always this rush of doing this thing that I do for 9 months every year. Then the last year and a half I really rediscovered the love for the fact it’s really cool that professionally I get to sing songs that I wrote and people come listen to me do that. It’s one of the coolest things in the world’s the best thing is the shows, being able to connect with people be on stage and have this moment, almost like a church like where everybody is feeling good. You’re happy to be there, they’re happy to that you’re there and it’s a good energy. Even the shitty shows are better than not doing a show.

What’s the worst thing about being on the road?

When I’m gone too long I miss my home, I miss my wife, I miss my dog, I miss all that stuff. Truthfully the thing that probably grinds the most is just a lack of perspective when you’re in a foreign place. Even if you’ve been there a million times, things are still just a little too different. I would say that being on tour for like 9 months if you’re an American in Europe is like, if there’s 7 things you love every day, you get 5 of them every day. Then those 2 things that you don’t get will start to annoy you a little bit after a long time and so even though it seems small, just the difference can be a little grinding.

Do you have any kind of schedule or routine whilst on tour?

Well with Warped Tour in particular, it’s completely regiment based because you have to get up at 9:00 AM, the schedule comes out, you don’t know when you’re going to play, and you kind of have to prepare yourself whether you play at 12:30 or 9:30 or whenever. I look like a cartoon character because I wear the same thing every single day on warped tour but I have 5 of the same vest and pants and shoes. My closet looks like “Doug” or something, when you open it it’s just all the same thing. The routine is just getting up every day; I exercise in the morning, I try to eat something that’s not going to make me feel like shit if I have to play early, you know, poop in a bag, (laughs). It’s an important part of my day! No but truly, Vans Warped Tour is incredibly routine for me.

What is the one thing you couldn’t live without on tour?

Pants. It’d be very hard to be on stage, legally, without any sort of pants. Once, when we were in the state of Utah, we were playing a show in a club, in like 2009 or 2010, and obviously small club and stage. I used to wear tight spandex with a belt, and you could just pull those right down, so a kid reached up and just pulled my spandex pants off, and a mother called the police for indecent exposure, and then I was told I could never play in Utah again. We never listened to that and there was no police report filed, they just sort of strong-armed me because I didn’t take my pants. The point is, I learned that day that we can’t go on tour without pants that will stay up. I can’t get the pants that I wanna wear from Walmart.

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