To a city near you!

I am doing a portrait series of individuals within the music industry, whether they are a musician in a band, a roadie, an industry person, a fan, or the merch guy, I want to take their picture! Along with each portrait, the individuals have answered a few questions. My goal is to do a gallery show and/or book of the portraits with the person's handwritten answers to the questions next to the photos. So if you like what you see, spread the word so I can get more shots done! I am doing a portrait series of individuals within the music industry, whether they are a musician in a band, a roadie, an industry person, a fan, or the merch guy, I want to take their picture! Along with each portrait, the individuals have answered a few questions. My goal is to do a gallery show and/or book of the portraits with the person's handwritten answers to the questions next to the photos. So if you like what you see, spread the word so I can get more shots done!

Legendary Warped Tour stops in Cinci

By Alan Sculley

Photo: Kevin Lyman, Warped Tour founder and organizer

This year’s Warped Tour lineup is decidedly rock centric, with a lineup leaning metalcore, hardcore and indie rock.

For a festival tour that started out in the mid-’90s for punk and ska, it’s quite a shift.

But Warped founder and organizer Kevin Lyman says there’s a simple reason why metalcore and other rock genres have taken a lead role in the lineup.

“Those bands speak to the kids the same way Bad Religion or Dead Kennedys spoke to me,” says Lyman, 54, who became a fan of punk as he headed from his teenage years into adulthood, working punk shows along the way.

He founded the Warped Tour in 1995 after working for three years with the original Lollapalooza tour (owned then by Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell) and, early on, gave punk and alternative rock bands a platform for reaching thousands of kids at each tour stop in an era when radio airplay was out of reach for all but a few of the most accessible pop-punk bands (think Green Day and, a bit later, Blink-182).

It’s notable that the lineup for the first Warped Tour included No Doubt, a band that, at the time, had released a largely ignored self-titled debut album, and Sublime, the band that pioneered today’s hugely popular reggae/punk genre. That group’s promising run was cut short in May 1996 with the death of singer Bradley Nowell, just as its single, “What I Got,” was breaking through radio and turning “Sublime” into a major name in the music scene. To this day, Sublime enjoys legendary status in the punk/alternative rock world.

The second year of Warped featured three other acts that would soon become household names: Blink-182, Beck and 311. By the time year two of Warped was over, the tour (which Lyman originally wasn’t sure would even do well enough to return for a second year) was established as the punk rock event of the summer—now on its way to a 21-year unbroken run of annual outings.

Lyman has shown a special knack for booking bands on Warped that not long after their stints on the tour break through into the mainstream and become large venue headliners.  And he considers the development of new talent one of the missions of the Warped Tour.

The list of acts that played Warped early in their careers is long and includes Avenged Sevenfold, the Black Eyed Peas, Deftones, Fall Out Boy, Incubus and Staind.

Whether any acts on this year’s Warped Tour will break out and become major stars in the near future is anyone’s guess. Lyman has also moved away from booking established headlining-type acts and has focused on bands and solo artists that have yet to make a big impact commercially.

About the closest thing to what one might consider “name acts” in the 2015 Warped lineup are Black Veil Brides, Pierce The Veil and Asking Alexandria, three bands whose hard rock styles draw from metal and punk. Some 25 bands that fall under the metal, metalcore or hardcore banner are booked, including August Burns Red, blessthefall, Memphis May Fire and Miss May I.

Pop, pop punk and alternative/indie are also well-represented, with 40 or so acts in the lineup, including Never Shout Never, The Wonder Years and Family Force Five. Meanwhile there is only a smattering of punk (with none of the ’90s-era bands that were once staples of Warped in the lineup), or hip-hop and electronic—two genres that are major parts of today’s music scene.

Lyman, though, feels he has enough acts that fall outside of the core rock styles to give fans musical variety and the musical surprises he likes to build into the tour.

“You’ll have some fused rock with some of these electronic influences,” he says. “I think one of the leaders (in that style) was Breathe Carolina last year and now you’re seeing more bands with that type of thing, but they’re still rock bands, drum and guitar heavy. I think it’s also a fun lineup. I want to throw some twists in there. Like [dance-pop duo] Koo Koo Kanga Roo I put in there. It makes no sense, but it does make sense. I like when you’re walking around Warped, you’re going to be thrown for a loop by someone.

“A couple of years ago, I think it was Wallpaper,” Lyman says. “When Wallpaper would play, when they started the tour, no one really knew who they were. But all of a sudden [kids] were like, ‘Oh my God, I just wandered into this band,’ and by the end of the summer, they had some massive crowds because people just wanted that twist, that fun twist, into the show. That’s what we were trying to achieve.”

The Vans Warped Tour hits Cincinnati Thursday, July 16 at Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave. Doors open at 10 a.m. For tickets and a full schedule, please visit riverbend.org or vanswarpedtour.com.

 

Reach DCP freelance writer Alan Sculley at AlanSculley@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Alan Sculley
Reach DCP freelance writer Alan Sculley at AlanSculley@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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