Tell us about your tour vehicle.
Well for many years I was very fortunate to be able to tour in a bus with Yellowcard. We had a van and trailer from 2000-2002 and then we did about a year in a rented RV. Last year in November/December I did my first tour in a van since then in Europe/UK and I really loved it. It had been so long since I’d been able to see the places we were going as we drove that way.
Now that I am starting to make my way as a solo artist I will be hopping back in a van again for tours, but I will likely stick to renting one for now.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
It honestly depends on the situation. I certainly try to eat as healthily as I can, but there are always those shows where you finish up at midnight and there is just nothing around but pizza. The best thing to do is stock up at the grocery store on a day off, or ask for healthy items on the hospitality rider. Also that is much easier on a bus since you have room for storage and a refrigerator/freezer.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
I very rarely break strings on stage. I would say two a year is a high estimate. I get amazing support from my friends at Ernie Ball, so most of my gear needs when it comes to strings, straps, and tools, they are kind enough to keep hooking me up after all these years.
Where do you rehearse?
I don’t really have one set space. With Yellowcard we would always rehearse at rental spaces in Nashville or Los Angeles. The coolest part about that was always the potential to be rehearsing in a room next to some other legendary artist or band. We were in at the same time as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chris Cornell, and tons of others throughout the years.
These days it is just me and an acoustic guitar so I can rehearse at home which is nice.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
I have no idea haha. I probably wrote my first song in 1993 which was quite a long time ago. My first band, however, I do remember well. We were a 3 piece. We met in middle school in Jacksonville, FL and this was right at the beginning of the 90’s grunge and rock revolution. We were called Backwash, and while we thought we were awesome, I’m sure listening to it now would be a good laugh for us all.
Describe your first gig.
We played our first show in 1994 at Cypress Recording Studios in Jacksonville Beach, FL. I don’t remember a lot of specifics, but I know there is a recording of the show somewhere likely lost forever. We just invited all of our friends and family and it was probably the coolest night of our young lives to that point.
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
My last day job was running audio for a night club in Hollywood called Drai’s in 2009-10. When Yellowcard went on hiatus in 2008, that was the job I got that brought me back out to LA when we decided to start recording together again.
I don’t think that I’ve had a favorite day job which is why I worked so hard to try and never have one again.
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
Music related income is a series of peaks and valleys. Some years are amazing, some years can be really scary. I have learned over the years how to better prepare for the valleys, but not without some major mistakes along the way. It is hard to say what it will look like that far out. I certainly have a goal in mind, but you never know what is going to happen in this business.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
I wish I had been smarter with my finances back when Yellowcard was really gaining huge success. I can’t say I regret anything because I had some incredible experiences traveling all over the world, but I didn’t prepare for the future properly and could likely be much more financially secure now. I have no complaints though. I have learned a lot along the way, and I still have the opportunity to write and record music that keeps me touring full time. I’m a lucky dude.