Out of the genre that pairs the catchiness of pop-punk melodies with the heavy undertones and guttural screams of the hardcore scene, comes Florida quintet, A Day To Remember. Six years since their formation, ADTR have continued on a ruthless tour schedule, winning crowds and critics over alike and peaking interest with a solid cover of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone.”
Lead vocalist Jeremy McKinnon and band mates, guitarists Tom Denney and Neil Westfall, bassist Joshua Woodard and drummer Alex Shellnutt, have just finished a short tour overseas. With less than a week to rest before the next stateside tour, McKinnon found a moment to speak about their new album, Homesick, and the sometimes real drama surrounding it.
How are you guys doing after your return? I know Tom broke his wrist on tour.
Yea, we’re doing really well. Tom is going to be going with us on tour. He has his cast off now and it’s all good now. We’re all excited to be back in the States and be playing shows.
You have a small window of down time before the next tour, do you guys ever take a nice, long vacation?
Not really, I mean we had a month or two off and that’s the longest in like two years. We’re pretty much gone the whole year and we’re doing well, so it’ll probably be the same thing for the next two years.
Would you say touring is the most important thing to do for a band starting out over how some bands just promote like crazy online say via MySpace?
For sure, I mean I think MySpace is important— it helps you. I’m not knocking people for being big on MySpace because we’re a pretty big MySpace band ourselves right now. But I’m just saying, a lot of kids nowadays seem like they just put up a bunch of MySpace songs and get on a tour because of how well they do on MySpace, but they don’t know how to play their songs together, they don’t know how to be a band. It’s not something you can learn in a practice space. It’s something you can only learn from being on the road and playing for people. I think people need to walk before they run.
What’s the history behind you guys? How did you come together?
We were all pretty much all in local bands in Ocala and we went out and started playing shows and we started touring and our original drummer left the band and Alex came in, he was like 15 at the time. Josh and Neil found him in this local band, they were just playing around—they were like this fake metal band. They asked him, ‘So you want to be in our band and go on tour?’ and he was like ‘Yeah, sure let me ask my mom.’ I mean they were just joking because what 15-year-old is going to be able to go on tour? But we talked to his mom and we told her what’s going on with us and she was really supportive of him and what we’re doing and that’s how we found Alex and he was the last piece of the puzzle.
How does the creative process go for ADTR?
It’s been different with every CD. With this CD, Tom and I pretty much wrote it and the other guys would come back every now and then. We would have a few things worked out like a song idea or something like that and get their opinions, take that into consideration and just kind of change things if we didn’t like them. Tom and I pretty much wrote it and the other guys oversaw it and then Chad Gilbert produced it. We worked in pre-production with Andrew Wade and Chris Rubey, so a lot of really awesome people worked with us.