Interview with Bayside bassist Nick Ghanbarian and drummer Chris Guglielmo
Warped Tour 2007
S&S: Nick, you’ve been going to Warped Tour since it started 13 years ago.
Nick: The cool thing about Warped Tour for me is the first one I ever went to was at Nassau Coliseum. Every year since then, it’s been at Randall’s Island in New York – until last year. So, getting to play Warped Tour for the first time ever this year and having it be at Nassau Coliseum was great.
S&S: What are some of your favorite memories from the tour, past and present?
Nick: Attending it? Definitely the first year with Sick Of It All, Sublime, and No Use For A Name. Those are some of the bands that I saw. It was only two stages – one main stage and one small truck stage. One thing that sticks out to me is the year Green Day played, and they were playing hit after hit. Fat Mike ran across the stage, because I think Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies were playing. He whispered something into Billie Joe’s ear, and Billie Joe was like, “If I don’t play this song, Fat Mike is going to kick my ass.” So, they played “The Grouch.” I’d never seen them play that, and that’s one of my favorite Green Day songs ever. It took Fat Mike threatening Billie Joe on stage to do it, and that made me happy.
S&S: What about you, Chris?
Chris: I hate Warped Tour. I never want to play here again. (laughs) Favorite memory? I know I have one. You put me on the spot, and now I can’t remember. I’ve never been to Warped Tour unless I was playing. So, the first time I went to Warped Tour was 2004. I think one of my favorite things was standing on stage for Anti Flag in Pittsburgh. It was unreal. I think Rock the Vote was on the tour at the time, and they were just preaching their propaganda and whatnot. All the kids were feeding into it. Just the environment of it was really cool. That and finally getting to see NOFX was one of the coolest things for me. Oh, I got one! The Gorge in George, Washington was NOFX’s biggest show. I think it was their 10th anniversary. It was a big day for them. They purposely played every joke song they had. They didn’t play one NOFX up-tempo song. So, that was pretty funny that they were pulling that. I was a little disappointed.
Nick: I think they’re whole vibe is actually to disappoint people.
Chris: And they’re allowed to do it. No one gets mad.
Nick: I love them, and going to see them is very frustrating. They don’t play anything you want to hear.
S&S: What is the funniest thing that has happened on Warped Tour so far, either something that happened to you or something you witnessed?
Nick: In Houston, I saw Alf on a skateboard run into a bunch of cardboard boxes. And I’m talking about Alf, the character. Someone had an Alf costume, and he was on a skateboard. He rode the skateboard into a 10-foot tall pile of cardboard boxes. That was funny.
Chris: When Norma Jean was on the tour maybe two and a half weeks ago, we were all hanging out, and it was getting pretty close to bus call. I’m walking by the buses, and I look to my right. Out of nowhere, they have a baby pool filled with bubbles, and there were a bunch of burly dudes in there drinking beer. Not even joking around but totally lounging out in there. It was funny because apparently, they were doing it all day, and I didn’t even see it.
S&S: How did your interest in playing music begin?
Chris: I remember when I was probably seven years old, my parents got me this cassette tape of The Police. I remember listening to that in my grandma’s basement when I was really young. The Twilight Zone movie was on, not the show. There’s this one song, “Walking on the Moon.” I remember that was playing. You know the part when the rabbit jumps out of the hat? I have a very vivid memory of that happening. So, every time I hear that song now, I think of being in my grandma’s basement in Brooklyn, and it’s just black. The rabbit’s jumping out of the hat, and my dad’s sleeping on the couch. So, I guess when I was around seven, my parents started introducing me to music like The Police, Bryan Adams, and Madonna. I actually sat down and played drums for the first time maybe when I was 12 at my friend’s birthday party. He had a drum set. There was a Smashmouth song playing on the radio, and I just sat down and started playing along with it. I was like, “Hey, you don’t play your drums. Why don’t you give me your drums?” Then, the snowball effect happened.
Nick: I definitely always loved music. My family and mostly my cousins always listened to Madonna and stuff like that. I was always around music. It never occurred to me until I was 13 or 14 that I could pick up an instrument. Me and two of my other friends all at the same time [started playing]. My friends picked up the guitar and drums, and I played bass. I was like, “Well, we can learn how to play these, and we’ll be a band when we learn how to play these.” They never really stuck with it, and I definitely did. By the time high school was through, I was in a couple of bands. I definitely feel like I had the passion for it, but if it occurred to me earlier, I would be a lot better with my instrument now. If I was playing bass since I was eight, I would be a hell of a lot better.
S&S: What is your favorite song to perform and why?
Chris: As far as our Warped Tour set…
Nick: “Walking Wounded.” That’s what I would say.
Chris: “Walking Wounded” and “They’re Not Horses, They’re Unicorns.”
Nick: They’re both off the new album. That one is fun to play and “Walking Wounded” is fun to play, too. There is one part where we make the crowd sing the whole bridge of the song. It’s insane. We were at home yesterday, so it was loud. At any Bayside show, we want it to be as loud as possible.
S&S: What song would you love to cover and why?
Chris: Any Police song, because I really like The Police.
Nick: How about the new Starting Line single? That would be a good one.
Chris: That Toto song, “Roseanna,” would be cool.
Nick: We could probably have like a five-disc box set of covers.
S&S: What is your favorite snack?
Chris: I stopped buying food for the bus because when I started doing that, I actually started getting fat. All I would do is just eat. We have ice pops. What are they called? Honor pops? That’s what everyone tells me they’re called. It’s ice in the clear thing. You rip the end off and usually wait for it to get really liquidy. Honor pops, definitely.
Nick: I’ve never heard them called that.
S&S: Me neither!
Nick: That might be the brand of what they’re called. I don’t know what they’re technically called. Flavor ice?
S&S: Have you ever had an embarrassing moment on stage?
Nick: Yesterday, I got hit a couple of times with shrapnel. People were throwing stuff. That’s not really too embarrassing. I embarrass myself when I mess up.
Chris: My friend was watching the other day, and she apparently saw my balls. That’s not that embarrassing.
Nick: Basically, when I’m on stage, I want to play well, and I don’t want to fall. Those are the two things. On Warped Tour, being outside in the rain, sometimes it’s a little slippery when some water gets on the stage. Those are my two main goals. Not messing up and not falling.
S&S: You will be touring Australia in September with Funeral for a Friend. Do you get nervous playing in a country you’ve never traveled to before?
Nick: We get nervous when it’s non-English speaking countries. We go to England, and it’s all right. From Australia, we get tons and tons of Myspace messages, almost comparable to what we get from England. We do fairly well in England. I’m not worried because they’ve been asking for as long as I remember for us to come to Australia.
Chris: If we played Germany, I’d be a little nervous.
Nick: Yeah, I definitely would be nervous to go anywhere like Germany or Japan. Bands go there all the time, but I’m just a freak. If I look at a sign, and it’s not written in English, I’m going to sweat.
S&S: You will have about a month off before hitting the road again in October. Do you love relaxing at home or do you just anticipate going back on tour?
Chris: A week is about the cut off time. I go home, and within the first seven days, I’m like, “This is great!” The seventh day hits, and I’m over it.
Nick: We’ve toured so much that it feels weird to be home, not weird to be on the road. That in itself is weird. When we got home from the Anberlin tour, it took three or four days to make me feel normal, like I was at home. Then I was like, “Oh man, I want to go back out again. It’s way more fun than sitting here.”
Chris: Especially being around so many people on Warped Tour. You’re around thousands of people every day. Whether you’re talking to them or not, it going to affect you mentally. I went home yesterday, and I sat on my couch. My mom was like, “Why don’t you go take a 20-minute shower?” I got in the shower and washed off as fast as I could. I’m so used to rushing so quickly.
Nick: Five-minute shower!
Chris: Things are just completely different.
Nick: It is strange. I don’t even know how we do it. I like it though. You have to like it. You have to like feeling weird at home, or else you can’t be in a band. You have to want to leave.