Before Tsunami Bomb hit the stage at the Warped Tour kick-off party for one of their best performances to date; lead singer Agent M chatted with us about touring, cereal and punk rock. Read on for details..
Last time I talked to you was at Warped Tour last summer. Can you kind of describe the insanity that has ensued since then?
Oh man, it has been crazy! Since last summer, let’s see, what did we do? After Warped Tour we went to Canada, we toured Canada with a Canadian band called Down Way. We came back, had our cd release show, one in LA and one in Petaluma which is our home town, which was awesome, both of them were awesome. Then, we filmed a video for “Take the Reins“, which is the first track on our album. We immediately took off on tour; we did an entire U.S. tour with Avenged Seven Fold through the South. Then on the East Coast we met up with The Damned and Tiger Army, did that. Then we met up with The Vandals and did the West Coast, and after that we took off immediately with The Vandals for the U.K. And on a personal note, I stayed extra time and went to Ireland.
Oh wow, how was that?
It was awesome, it was so wonderful, it was so great! I stayed there for ten days, it was really awesome.
No, with my boyfriend. I know, my story is really long. Then it was the holidays, we had a little bit of time off, like three weeks off. Then, we took off for Europe with the Vandals.
Again. Well, the first one was just the U.K., just England and Ireland and Scotland. And the second one we went to nine different countries in Europe. And directly after that we got on tour back in the U.S. with Hot Rod Circuit, and this is the last show of the tour.
Do you feel the band has changed at all since the release of The Ultimate Escape, and touring so much? Are you guys any closer?
Well, you know it is often a crazy whirlwind of experiences and I think we have learned a lot of stuff individually going to all those different countries. I mean, none of us had ever been out of the country before, besides Canada. But yeah, we learned a lot about culture and stuff like that.
What places are the most frequent food stops when you’re touring?
Taco Bell, and unfortunately McDonalds. What happens is, Gabe, our drummer, drives the most and he loves McDonalds. So we’ll be like “Oh Gabe, will you stop because we want to eat,” and he’ll be like “Hey, there’s a McDonalds!” and he’ll pull over at McDonalds. All of us are like “No, not McDonalds again”, but he’s driving so he’s pretty much in charge of that. Oh, and when we can Dunkin Donut’s, have you been there?
No, I don’t think so. I don’t think they have them here. I’ve heard of it though.
It’s pretty much only on the East Coast and like the Mid-West. It’s GOOD, it’s really good. It’s way better than Krispy Kreme.
I don’t really like those, they are kind of like cotton candy, it’s kind of gross.
Neither do I. I know it’s gross.
Do you have any wild/funny/crazy/scary tour stories?
Well, one thing that was crazy recently was that we were in Albuquerque and there was a peace protest, like a war protest. Ok, war not peace protest. It just happened that the club we were playing was on the same street and it was in the afternoon and the entire street was full of cops. There were so many cops and swat teams with riot shields and night sticks and pellet guns and all kinds of stuff. It was sooooo crazy. And the swat team had on these black like Darth Vader mask type things and helmets.
Did you see anybody get beat down?
No, no, fortunately we didn’t but, it was really scary just to see that much police force all in one place.
When do you guys leave for Japan?
Umm, May, mid-May, like May 14th I think.
Do you guys have a fan base that you know of over there, or are you just going to try to introduce yourselves?
We have never been over there before, but our cd is selling over there. So we are assuming that we have at least some fans.
Is music something you have always been into your whole life, or was there a specific moment when you said to yourself “this is what I want to do”?
There was a while in my life when I couldn’t decide what kind of music I liked. I went through this whole phase of like I don’t know if I like country or like R&B or rock. I think that’s actually the order. No, it went R&B, country, and rock. And then when I heard Green Day, when I was about 14-years-old, I fell in love with punk. I went out and bought Operation Ivy and Rancid and NOFX and all those. And ever since I was about 14 I’ve been really, really passionate about punk music.
Did you have a crush on Billie Joe?
I did too.
Yeah, he’s one of my idols that I have not gotten to meet yet. I met Mike Dirnt though and I was pretty excited about that.
What is it that you feel makes your band original, or stand out from the crowd?
I think that, well first of all, having a female singer. I say probably, maybe five percent of bands have female singers. So that instantly makes us stand out from all the bands that we play with. We hardly ever play with another female-fronted band besides theSTART and a couple others. We played with The Islanders, and some others. But besides that I don’t know. I was going to say we just try to write what we feel, but there are a lot of bands that do that so.
How excited are you to finally be playing the main stage at Warped Tour, because I know I’ve been waiting for it. I thought it was going to happen last year.
I am really excited, I was really surprised actually that we got main stage this year. Since last year we only got two weeks on the side stage it’s like, I mean it seems like the natural progression would be to be at the full Warped Tour but on the side stage still. So when they told us we were on the main stage I was just shocked, I can’t believe it. I know we are one of the smallest bands on the main stage so we’ll probably, I mean I don’t mind but we’ll probably be playing early you know. So hopefully all of our fans will get to see us.
Do you guys have anything special planned?
We are actually bringing out a couple songs that we’ve never played before off our album. We’ve decided that if we do have any new songs done by then that we might do one brand new song. But that would probably be it; we don’t want to overplay our new stuff.
What bands are you looking forward to seeing on Warped Tour?
Definitely Thrice, AFI, Rancid, and a couple others, but those are the main ones.
Are you guys pretty good friends with AFI, didn’t they help “discover” you or something?
Umm, yeah, definitely, Hunter, the bass player, helped us out (background noise interrupts).
How has being on Kung Fu been?
It’s been really good; they have been really good to us. They help us with any projects we want to do, like the video, and everyone that works there is really awesome.
Do you guys have any plans for another album yet?
You mean as far as when it’s coming out or?
Well, have you started writing or recording?
Yeah, we started writing and we’ve done like four instrumentals. I haven’t done anything yet (laughing).
Was the release of The Ultimate Escape everything you expected it to be? Was it more? Was it less?
It was way more! I forget what the sales were in the first week. But it was something like, it was close to 1,000 in the first week, which was totally way more than we had expected it to be, it was awesome.
You guys don’t seem to be much of a politically-minded band. Is there a particular reason, or are you just more about the music?
No, we aren’t. I think it’s just that we are more into music, plus we all have completely different views on pretty much everything, so we’re not really unified on very many opinions.
Ok, now for some fun ones. I know you like cereal, what is your favorite one?
Oooh, that’s a hard one. I think I’d have to say Toasted Oatmeal Squares. Have you had them?
No, who makes those?
It’s Quaker. They are in between sugary and plain. They are like lightly sugared but not crazy sugar, but also not like the icky plain shredded wheat.
If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Oooh, that’s tough. I think right now I would say Morrissey, and he’s still alive. I just read a book about The Smiths, like a really in depth book, and he is fascinating. Even though I’d be really intimidated and kind of scared, it would be awesome.
What is the best live show you have ever attended?
I’d have to say the Green Day show that I went to. It was the first real, big show that I ever went to and it was in 1995 I think.
Where was that?
It was in Oakland at the Henry J, Keiser and it was them and Pansy Division and that was the best ever. I mean, Green Day influenced me so much, and I could not believe I was actually seeing them play, it was so awesome. And it was my first big show so I got crowd surfed on. I was in the front row; I got there at like noon so I could get to the front row. So, we got to the front and I got kicked, bruised, pushed, I thought my ribs were going to be broken, people screaming in my face, umm, but it was so awesome.
What does success mean to you?
Um, as far as being in this band?
Um, let me think about that really quick. I think being in the band it comes.. um, that’s a tough question. It comes in two forms. First of all, the goal is to be able to do this as a career, which we are pretty much almost there. We’re not really living comfortably, AT ALL. We are living really uncomfortably actually, but we’re living, so. We are making a really, really poor living off of it. And the second one, which really means a lot to me, is when bands that I admire and people who write songs that I admire and other vocalists, like what we’re doing. That is EXTREMELY fulfilling to me, it makes me so happy and proud of myself.
Well, that’s all I’ve got. Thanks you so much for your time.