I had the opportunity to speak with Brian Marquis, singer-songwriter but also the man behind the Acoustic Basement Stage at Vans Warped Tour. Tune in for an insightful and informative interview.
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Check out an interview I did with Zack from PropertyOfZack.com discussing more in depth how the Acoustic Basement came to be. Thanks Zack for taking the time to talk with me! Don’t forget - Vans Warped Tour Pre-Sale tickets go on sale March 30th at www.vanswarpedtour.com
The Warped Tour Acoustic Basement took us all by surprise this year, so we thought it’d be a great idea to speak to Brian Marquis, the man behind the stage, for a fantastic new interview. Brian and I discussed all the details behind the new stage, planning for it, and the excitement surrounding it, among so many other things. Check out the interview below and make sure you pick up Warped presale tickets this Friday here!
This Warped Tour Acoustic Basement stage took a lot of fans by major surprise in the best way possible. Can you start out by talking about how it came together, who’s idea it was, and how you ended up doing it?
Yeah. It was back in October. I had just moved out to Los Angeles. I had been living in Boston and then in Connecticut and I needed a big change. The band broke up last year, I moved out to LA, and I have started doing some solo music and put out a solo EP in the fall. I met with Kevin, who I knew from being on Warped Tour in 2009, and wanted to talk to him about some ideas I had. I asked him if he had ever thought of doing a legit acoustic stage. He said, “Yeah, we’ve tried a few different ways and it never really worked too well.” I let him know that there are a lot of guys now, like myself, that have been in bands in the punk scene, indie scene, and hardcore scene that are doing different genre stuff in the same spirit and the same kind of scene as the other stuff. It’s not all of the sudden they’re in the adult-contemporary scene. Still punk rock attitudes in the way they carry themselves and the way they write and put out music. I told him there are lots of guys out there doing this, like Anthony from Bayside, Vinnie Caruana [I Am The Avalanche], and guys like Chuck Ragan. Guys like that are all doing living room tours and they are doing different stuff, but still within our scene. There are a lot of great people doing some great stuff and it would be cool to get them all together and offer something different for everyone’s Warped Tour experience. I’ve been on the tour myself in 2009 and I’ve been to it a ton of times over the years. There was never really a place for that, for indie-folk acoustic punk music. I pitched him my idea and he loved it. I started contacting people that I thought might be interested in the idea. Everybody was really stoked on the idea as well and I went from there. I just started booking people and everybody that is on board so far has been really cool and really stoked on the idea. I think it’s going to be really cool. It will bring something different to Warped Tour but also it’s going to be different vibes for a stage. It’s going to be a large tent stage with three walls where people can hang out and sit down on the ground. They can also get as close to the performers as they want. There is no barricade, no high stage like the other stages at Warped, and it’s going to be a real intimate setting. That’s why I called it the “Acoustic Basement.” It was to get the feeling as much as possible of an intimate basement show.
It is surprising that this hasn’t happened before even though, like you said, Kevin had tried it a few times. Was he hesitant even though he was excited at first?
No, he wasn’t hesitant because I was telling him and reminded him of some guys that he knew from other bands that were doing this kind of stuff; doing acoustic music. I thought right now was as best a time as any. A lot of these guys on the stage, they do acoustic tours in between their full band tours in order to make a living and in order to do something a little more stripped down. It’s a lot easier to travel with just a guitar, a bag, and some merch then it is with five guys, a crew and a band, a trailer, and hotel rooms. So I think with the economy and with the music industry the way it is, he also saw that there is a need for this kind of thing. A lot of musicians prefer to go lighter weight these days.
This year’s lineup has the core Warped Tour fan base more excited than it’s been in a long time. Do you think it was also the perfect year to bring the acoustic stage to life?
Yeah, I think that was a big part of being the right time for it. When I saw what the lineup was going to be after we had decided to do this, I was like, “This year’s going to be amazing.” There are so many great bands from past Warped Tours and so many great bands from the early to mid-2000s that are coming back. It’s a great time for real, honest, raw music. I think there is a lot of that on this year’s Warped Tour. I think it will go well. There are a lot of artists that will appeal to that crowd that are going to be at the Acoustic Basement stage. I’m very excited for it.