After my tour ended with Blood, I flew to South Carolina to spend a few days with my family. Every summer all my family gets together and hangs out, and this was the last year everyone would be able to attend, so I flew in and spent a few days with them. I helped my parents make the drive back to Tampa, then that next morning I flew to Cleveland to attend the Alternative Press Music Awards.
The APMAS is still to this day the biggest event I’ve gotten to be apart of. It was funny how last minute it went from me attending, to me filming and working with AP. I was filming for them that night. Long story short, Blackstar Amps was a huge sponsor for the event, and with that sponsorship came 30 labeled videos backstage with the artists who were preforming and presenting the awards that night. So, my job? Film and edit all of the backstage interviews that night. That included everyone from Fall Out Boy, Machine Gun Kelly, Twenty-One Pilots, John Jett, Slash, and so many more. And the best part of it all, I had Julliett Simms, Jason Aalon, and Keith Buckly conducting the interviews. So many new friends were made, people were met, and the night was incredible. You can check out all those videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOsyflpUac0kZT8GbAusZI2-nHxTzhShx
I flew in a day early to check out the grounds and check out some rehearsals. My hotel was a mile from the grounds, so I walked back and forth throughout the day. Watched All Time Low rehearse with Yellowcard and Vic Fuentes, saw Haley Williams playing with her amazingly beautiful dog (and guess who didn’t say hello. Me, I didn’t.) It was pretty surreal to see everything set up, and be there.
The entire night was absolutely incredible. Since I pretty much had a "get anywhere" pass, I took advantage and shot some of the red carpet event, walked around the grounds and ran into artists everywhere. As soon as the actual event started, I was backstage starting interviews, which took the entire night up until Fall Out Boy closed out the show. So the awards show went great. Interviews went great, and I went back to my hotel. I stayed the next week in Cleveland, editing up all my interviews. It just so happens Brewer (BOTDF) lives in Cleveland, and was coming home the next day. His girlfriend, Jenny, came and picked me up from the hotel, I crashed at their house for the week and went to the Alternative Press offices every day to do editing and rundowns for the event.
So after my long week off in Cleveland, I was ready to get back on the road. Lionfight, a Chicago based band had asked me to go on the last leg of “The Rock And Rebel” summer tour, and it just so happened to be coming to Kent, Ohio (30 min from Cleveland), so Brewer drove me to meet up with the guys, which was awesome in itself because the guys in lionfight and Farewell, My Love have toured with Blood in the past, so it was time for a reunion, haha.
Little background on my friendship with lionfight, they opened for Blood in December of 2013 on the last leg of the “Bad Blood Tour”. I loved their music so I shot their set a few nights, got to know them over the week or so, and we kept in touch after that. When I went to South By So What?! with Famous Last Words, AP had asked me to shoot a gallery for the site of Day 3. Well, Famous was slated to play Day 2, and St. Louis the next day. Luckily enough, lionfight played Day 2, was staying for Day 3, had a hotel, and asked if I needed somewhere to stay. So I got to know them pretty well after that, and they ended up driving me to St. Louis on their way home to Chicago. Since it was going to work out that easy, I was more than excited to hop on with them and finish out the tour.
Akash, Nick, Peter, Bryan, better known as “lionfight” are some of the most down to earth, humble, and hilarious people I’ve ever met. There is no fighting, no arguments, nothing serious. Everyone is like family. Its so great, and so much fun to tour with them. Their new TM, Jake, became one of my best friends on that tour. Together it was like a big family, and I’ve never really gotten that before with everyone in the ground. Usually someone feels indifferent towards someone else, or yatta yatta, but I can honestly say that I love each and every one of these guys 100%. Not to mention, we had free chipotle 12/16 days I was out with them. Haha.
These guys on stage, are so energetic, and put everything into their performance, and that makes my job so much fun! I had free range to do whatever I wanted, so I would shoot video for half the set and shoot photos the other half. And they only play for 20min so I had to get my shots, or else wait till the next show. Plus, all the other bands on that tour ended up being such good people. The tour was awesome, and usually its awkward joining a tour halfway in, but everyone was so welcoming and it was just a great time. The only thing that wasn’t great about this tour was that I joined with only two weeks left to go.
I was very genuinely sad about leaving everyone. But, the tour ended in California, and it just so happens my buds in Famous Last Words were in Arizona, on tour with Hawthorne Heights, and they needed someone to do merch and photos. So I said goodbye to the lionfight guys, stayed in Hollywood for the night, then hopped in the with dudes in Farewell, My Love, drove Pheonix, got dropped off at Joes Grotto and met up with the band.
Huge Huge thanks to Farewell for taking me to Phoenix, All the new friends I met on this tour that put us up, took care of us, or anything like that. Thank you so much. I will be out with lionfight again, so be on the lookout.