We have a new guest column here at the Raw Music blog: Listen, Friends. (Almost) every Friday, I ask one of the musicians, filmmakers, activists, geniuses, bums or general music obsessives I’ve met in my travels to share what they’re listening to.
Matt Schmitz (vocalist of now-defunct Iowa legends Former Thieves) is the ultimate Road Dawg. He's been playing in punk bands since we were kids. He's traveled across this country more times than Mitt Romney. He's played garages and basements and starved on big European tours. He can make friends with anyone. He can, and will, live off cheez doodlez and Gatorade. Once I watched him lose his mind while driving through a light tunnel in DC at the asscrack of dawn. His voice is husky from late nights and smokes. My mom thinks he's a great guy but worries all that screaming will have lasting repercussions. He's probably slept on your friend's floor. Matt Schmitz is the ultimate Road Dawg.
This summer, Road Dawg took on the biggest challenge of his young career -- selling merch for some band he'd never met on the Warped Tour.
Before he left, Matt explained this odd move: "Once a year, 50+ bands pile into vans, buses, and bandwagons and make their way across the country playing on the black top parking lots of major sporting arenas to the enjoyment of the ultimate corporate target -- 13 -25 year olds. I don't feel completely invested in something that is not my own baby. But in this day and age you have to follow the trail of money, and that has led me to my current scenario of packing my bags to endure 2 months on the Vans Warped Tour..."
This is what he jammed in beer stained parking lots across America...
Pennywise - Bro Hymn
On the twentieth anniversary of a festival born on punk rock and extreme sports there was something almost sad and humbling watching all the people that have been apart of this festival for the majority of it's existence get drunk after a long days work and singing their hearts out to this anthem. You can almost say you could see a glimmer of punks past.
Falling in Reverse - Rolling Stone
The reverse of the last song is this one. The biggest punch line to this entire festival was this band. I saw them every day for almost two months straight and found myself singing along to every word of this uncomfortably catchy tune. I found myself in the good company of unlikely fans of this controversial band. Turns out, you can be a complete joke and still write a pretty catchy song.
Less Than Jake - All My Best Friends Are Metalheads
This year Less Than Jake played their 365th show on Warped Tour. Think about that for a minute. Seriously.
Bad Rabbits - Stick Up Kid
This is the most underrated band on the tour and truly the most talented. Say what you want, but if your band doesn't sound like Morris Day and the Time having sex with Michael Jackson, I'm not interested.
Teenage Bottlerocket - Freakout
Punk rock lives! This Ramones loving quartet from Wyoming kept it interesting all summer long. Playing fast and catchy punk songs and challenging the crowd to a contest of "whoever gave them the middle finger the longest during their set got a free Kia Soul full of blow and beer". Finally, on the second to last day, someone complained to the festival organizers that they didn't get their free car for fingering the band the whole set. There's always gotta be a party pooper.