A few summers ago, I first discovered Restorations by the luck of a draw, when I saw them open for The Menzingers, Fake Problems and Captain We’re Sinking at the Asbury Lanes.
Every now and then, I’ll come across a band that I will become immediately infatuated with after gaining a first-hand experience of their sound in a live, intimate setting. With a humbling, yet sincere persona that at times heavily drew influence from a variety of acts ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Hot Water Music, Restorations is a group like no other.
Even though this Philadelphia-based indie punk quintet has been around the block for quite some time, it hasn’t been until recently that things have been starting to pick up for the band—especially after releasing their highly anticipated studio effort, LP3, in the fall.
While the group took a break from touring around the holiday season, guitarist and vocalist Jon Loudon confirmed that the band has a lot of exciting plans in the works for the remainder of the year.
Just a few weeks before Restorations embarked on a late-February run of dates with both Chris Farren and Cheap Girls, I had the chance to catch up with Loudon and talk about what the band has been up to since their last tour in the fall supporting LP3.
He also shared with me his excitement to finish out the end of the month, playing side-by-side with The Get Up Kids, as well as his “close-to-home” relationship with playing in the city of Asbury Park, New Jersey.
You have a long run of tour dates coming up during the end of the spring. Some headlining, some in support with the likes of Chris Farren and Cheap Girls. What are some things that you are looking forward to about these tour dates the most?
Umm… it should actually be a pretty good run, I’m really excited about this. We haven’t been out to the West Coast in probably like, maybe two years or something like that. So, it’s kind of overdue. We were just trying to do this trip for the past year, but it never worked out. But it should be great—it’s with people that we’ve known for ages… like, nobody on this tour is under 30 (laughs), and it’s really going to be a unique group of people. And the shows should be really good; I’m excited about it.
So how does it feel to be sharing the stage with The Get Up Kids? Were they a pretty influential band for you personally growing up by any chance?
Yeah, absolutely—The Get Up Kids for me was a huge band. That was a really great email to get. It was like, “Yeah, hey… want to do this string of dates for them?” We were like, “Yeah, absolutely.” (laughs)
I saw them a bunch, even up through like [their fourth studio album], Guilt Show, I would go see them. I don’t know, I still even like On A Wire, and stuff that is maybe more controversial to their fanbase. I always liked that band; they were always interesting to me. But yeah… to be touring with them, it was like a band that we kind of came up on. And then, you got a band like Pup, who we just recently met—obviously, we share a label and all of that, it is such a cool tour. Such a great group of people.
You know, as a longtime fan who grew up on The Get Up Kids as well, I actually dig On A Wire too. I really don’t see what the big deal is.
Yeah, I probably would like to blame the internet back then (laughs).
Now, you guys have frequently played Asbury Park. Since you’ll be coming back to The Stone Pony during your tour with The Get Up Kids, what are some of your favorite memories that come to mind when you’re in the area?
Well, it’s kind of one of those other like, full circle stories for me. Asbury is a place I used to go see shows when I was a kid. And to kind of like, be able to come back and play shows are like… better than a lot of places. Really for us, Asbury has been like, a second home. It’s a really great experience; it’s a really interesting thing that happened (laughs).
We’ve really had some great luck—like, the support shows we’ve done in Asbury are great. Our shows with The Menzingers and The Bouncing Souls [Home For The Holidays] were great. We even played with Boysetsfire at that The Bouncing Souls show, and it was nuts.
We’ve done a couple of headliners there at The Lanes, and everyone there has always treated us very nice. We’re good friends with the people at Russo’s. It’s just a nice, like… somewhat of a vacation spot, you know? (Laughs) Like, it’s not terribly far away, but I love going there—it’s always so nice and the shows are great. Can’t beat it.
How do you think each night of your upcoming tour dates will vary throughout, considering that you will be alternating back and forth between headlining, co-headlining and opening?
Yeah, we kind of mix it up as we go along. It depends on the tour I guess, but generally we like to mix it up every night, and do something a little bit different. Because, we’ve had like, people come to multiple shows on crazy tours like that (laughs). So if I was at the other way around, I would be bummed if the band played like, the same thing every day (laughs). But yeah, we will do something different for the Cheap Girls tour and then for The Get Up Kids run, we will mix things up. Because 30 days in, you kind of get tired of playing the exact same thing every day (laughs), so we’ll try to make things interesting for everyone.
Definitely. Especially now that you just put out a new record [LP3] last fall, you’ll probably have more opportunities to play either more material or stuff you normally don’t play live.
Absolutely—and it’s kind of nice too that you don’t have like… a time restriction, and in a headliner you can kind of mess with the newer stuff a little bit more than you can do when you just have a 25- or 30-minute set. So yeah, it’s a really fun stretch—I am actually am kind of looking forward to the most of it. We have a couple of support shows that are really tight and focused and some headliner shows are just like… do whatever we want. I really like mixing it up like that, good variety.
Speaking of the new album, considering the anticipation leading up to this record’s release, how does this record stand out in comparison to any material that you’ve released prior from a personal and a musical standpoint?
Yeah, it’s been great. I mean, the shows have been nuts (laughs). Those last couple of shows we did in the fall, we kind of took a little winter break, but the fall shows we did, just I mean… those were as good as we’ve ever had, pretty much every single one of them.
It’s just great, man; it’s just been really positive. Everybody’s been really cool… I don’t know, it was sort of nice to play these range of shows where people give a shit (laughs). We’ve been doing this for so long, and it’s only been recently good for us, so we’re really enjoying it.
Throughout the writing process, was there a lot of substantial pressure to surpass any of your previous work from a musical standpoint? Or was there a lot of room to grow naturally during the writing process of LP3?
Umm… this one was a little bit easier; overall, a little bit more fun kind of. I think everybody felt like they’ve found what they’ve wanted to get out of the band (laughs), and what we’re good at. Writing it was a lot of fun, and getting into the studio with [producer] Jon Low again. He did everything so, simple; it was just so easy. Like, everybody knew… it was a lot more confident, I think, overall, which made it more fun, you know, because it was less of a struggle.
The whole cycle of it has been great. Like I said, writing it, recording it, touring on it was such a good, positive thing for everybody.
You’ve probably mentioned it before since you said a lot of the shows that you played last fall supporting the record were pretty nuts, but what were some crazy and wild moments from touring with Self Defense Family?
There’s a couple of really great shows on that run. Definitely Asbury, D.C., Chicago… D.C. was really special because D.C. has always been an outlier town for us. We never really had great shows there, but we did a show with Self Defense, and it was probably [better] than any other show we played (laughs). I don’t know, it was just wild shows—like, really, really high crowd enthusiasm; and I felt like we played well and it was fun.
But it felt good to play at places where we didn’t used to draw in at all, and then having a shit ton of people showed up (laughs). Chicago was kind of the same way. Like, Chicago for us recently has been so warm—so good. The Fest set was really fun; we played a huge venue in Gainesville as part of The Fest that’s, you know, as big as a venue as we’ve played pretty much anywhere. And to have that packed out, and was so responsive, was really, really great. Yeah, those sorts of things I guess, you know?
We kind of gotten a taste of it when we went out to the West Coast last time, but as far as touring in the East Coast, it’s been pretty good. We did Europe last year—and having such a positive, warm response over there in Europe and the U.K., and to come back and play these shows in the U.S., is pretty overwhelming.
Earlier you said that you’ve taken a little break for a while. What have you been up to since then?
Yeah, I mean… we did a bit in the fall when the record came out and we sort of decided that we wanted to lay low and hang out with families and stuff for the holidays. You know, we’re all a lot older, so it’s usual. So, I think we wanted to take off during the cold months, and sort of chill out and not have to worry about snow cancelations and driving through ice and whatever.
But yeah, (laughs) actually Cheap Girls wanted to play a bunch of shows, so we’re hitting the road anyway. It’s been nice like that, where it’s just like, you know, maybe we’ll hang out for a little bit, and then we’ll get an offer for something cool. And we’re like, “Oh, let’s go do it. It will be fine.”
With that being said, what are some other plans that Restorations have in the works for the remainder of 2015?
(Laughs) Well, there’s nothing I can talk about too publically yet, but we have a ton of stuff planned, and we’re going to be hitting the road a lot. Yeah, I am really excited; we got some cool stuff coming up. We’re writing, we’re playing some more shows, and kind of just enjoy it while we got it.
Any final words you would like add?
No man, but thanks for interviewing me. You know, I grew up reading The Aquarian Weekly, so it’s really cool to be in it.
Restorations are playing The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ on March 27, The Paramount in Huntington, NY on March 28 and Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia, PA on April 3. LP3 is out now on SideOneDummy Records. For more information, go to restorations.tumblr.com.