Interview with Bayside Guitarist Jack O’Shea at the Warped Tour
For Bayside guitarist, Jack O’Shea, the world is not enough. He sees the opportunity in everything, from teaching kids guitar before their set, to playing at a Warped Tour after party. “It’s all about getting the Bayside name out there,” the soon-to-be-newlywed tells me at Pomona Warped Tour. As his new family life is quickly approaching, it’s clear he wants to be doing this for a long time.
Jack, how has your Warped Tour been thus far?
It’s going really well. We had a bit of a rough start. He had bus issues and we ended up playing catch up, but we are catching stride and the four of us are staying real busy now. Anthony is doing a solo acoustic set, of course the Bayside set, Chris and I are both giving instrument lessons, Nick has his clothing company out here, and we’re doing the after party at Goodnight Bar. We’re hustling this summer, but it’s good to get our names out there and increase Bayside awareness.
Are all of those activities carrying throughout the entire tour?
Yeah. It’s something to be on the tour and take it easy and have a good time, but our band has traditionally tried to do a little bit more than what is expected. When we were planning the tour we were talking about stuff we could do to stay busy and work as much as possible. More than anything this is a huge opportunity. When we’re playing our own tour, you know, those people came to see us specifically. At Warped, who knows how many people haven’t even heard your name or seen your logo? We’re just out there trying to work it.
I think Bayside is among the bigger names on the bill this year.
Possibly, but we’re just trying to get it up there.
You’re underselling yourself, Jack.
We’ve never made advertising a major priority. I feel like a majority of the recognition we got is just us continuing to do what we do. There is no point in letting up now.
What are your plans after the tour?
After the tour we plan to start writing again. Killing time has been out for a year and a half now, so it’s about time to get something else out. We will decompress after the tour and… well, I’m getting married like a week after I get home.
Thanks. Actually, I met my fiancé at Warped Tour Pomona in 2007. She was working for Skull Candy and I met her right over there. [He point to an empty length of asphalt 15 feet away.]
That’s crazy! I was at that show, too.
Yeah, it’s really weird. I’ve been on the phone with her all day and I’m like, “Hey I’m at Pomona Warped Tour.” Crazy. So, I get home, get married, then we buckle down and get a new record together. Hopefully early 2012.
Do you have anything written for the new album yet?
It’s in the beginning stages. I’ve been playing some stuff and we have some ideas. It’s just about getting stuff together that we believe in, then we’ll start really working on it as a group. I have a feeling that even as the tour progresses, we’ll start to get into it more. Right now it’s themes and ideas as we try to find a direction for the album and what we want to do. It’s fun because it’s the brainstorming part.
Do you have a motif in mind for the next album?
Not really. We want to stay true to the band. I don’t think you’ll ever get a left field record from Bayside. Which is why Anthony does his solo stuff because we felt that a lot of that doesn’t fit into a Bayside record. I think more than anything else we want to put out a great Bayside record and not just a collection of songs. The theme will be Bayside.
A self-themed record, I can dig it. How many Warped Tours has Bayside been a part of?
This will be our third full Warped Tour. I joined in 2003. Bayside did two and a half weeks in 2002 and I did a week and a half in 2004. I guess technically this will be tour fifth time here. I love it. Just with the history of Warped; having been here with bands like Bad Religion and NOFX and to be able to hang out and really know those guys. Now being one of the older bands on the tour, it’s cool to be a part of that.
Who is your all time favorite Warped Tour band?
I’m a 36 year old guy and I’ve always been huge NOFX fan. So to be able to tour with a band like that and to get to know them a bit, it’s very cool. In 2009 when we did Warped Tour, they let us open their set. I think we were at the Gorge. They heard we cover a lot of their songs and asked us to go up with their gear and play a couple of songs and see who notices. So, we rolled onto stage and played “Linoleum” and no one knew the difference. But them and Bad Religion I would watch every day on Warped Tour. This year I am stoked, too, because there is Taking Back Sunday, good friends of ours who I really respect a lot and love hanging out with. Also New Found Glory, who we’ve toured with a lot. It’s just a great opportunity to hang out. Usually going on tour with a band like New Found Glory means that there would be no other bands like that on the tour, so it’s nice to see a bunch of bands like that around us for the entire summer. We can have sweet old dude hangs.
Are you doing any NOFX songs for Warped?
No, like I was saying about opportunities, we are definitely a more recognized band and bigger name, which is great, but we’re still out there fighting for new fans so we’ll keep our stuff true to strong Bayside songs. That way the fans who came to see us will be happy and people who might have never heard of us will be like, “They’re pretty badass. I would like to check that band out.” But I guarantee this summer, at some point, we will pull out the NOFX songs at some point. Once the tour starts to get a little chummier and we get a little loose, we’ll pull some of those out.
I love NOFX, but those dudes fuck around too much on stage.
Their show is like a standup comedy act. The jokes just go on for five minutes at a time and it’s just them complaining and joking. If you get a really good NOFX set, if you show up and expect them to play all of these songs and they actually play them, that is a dream come true. But they are more like, let’s fuck with them and play all of the joke songs. It can be disappointing, but at the same time it’s really funny. As far as what I consider to be punk rock, they are the standard. They work on their own terms, completely. I would be bummed out if I paid a bunch of money to see a NOFX show and didn’t hear any of the songs I like.
They will play three songs and tell jokes the rest of the time. Still, between song banter can be a delicate art form.
When you’re playing a two minute song and there is two minutes of banter. [laughs]
Thanks for talking to us and we really appreciate all of the activities you guys are doing here at Warped.
Thanks! Come check us out. We’re always around and we’re not intimidating, so come up and say hi.
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