The Vans Warped Tour has become known for being a remarkable field of music diversity – with one prime example being the mighty Lionize from Silver Springs, Maryland. These are seasoned performers ready to hard rock and roll your world in a grand and glorious way! Their latest magnum opus Jetpack Soundtrack has been unleashed through Weathermaker Records – a staggering collection of songs that are wondrous to behold. To know the true spirit of Lionize is to witness the band live, because in that setting, they truly ROAR like kings! Here is an interview we conducted with Lionize member Nathan Bergman in the press area at Warped Tour San Diego. Topics of interest include their working with Clutch, being the odd band out on Warped Tour for a second time, their epic new album and a whole lot more! Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Lionize. What’s the most embarrassing song you have on your iPod?
I’m Nathan Bergman, I play guitar and I sing in Lionize. I don’t have any music that I’m embarrassed of on my iPod. If it’s on there it’s because I like it and I listen to it. Something you might not expect that’s on my iPod is Sade. I’m a huge Sade fan.
How has Warped Tour been going so far this year? What have been some of the highlights?
The highlights this year, for us, a bunch of the shows have been way more rad than they were the last time we played it, in 2011. Ventura was incredible, Alburquerque was incredible. Some of the kind of less expected ones were incredible for us, a really good response from the crowd. I definitely think a treat this year has been able to watch k.flay perform everyday. She’s an amazing artist that’s on the tour.
So how is it been in 2011 and now, being the odd band out on the tour?
You know what? That’s where we thrive. We’re the odd band out on every tour that we go on, unless it’s with Clutch. Just, I kind of think it’s sad in a way that rock and roll in general, like straight ahead rock and roll is just kind of lost. It’s kind of… but I feel like there’s a pretty, there’s a lot of strength in bands like The Sword, and Red Fang, and American Sharks, and Mastodon, and Clutch. I mean I still definitely think there’s like good, heavy rock and roll out there. For us it’s always a pleasure to be ourselves and be different. We’re going to get noticed either way. If you like it, and if you don’t, you still saw us play. So…
What are some of the weirder reactions you gotten at Warped Tour?
You know what? People have either been completely bored, completely apathetic about it, or they been over the moon excited about it. And I think that’s always been like that for us. It’s never, no one’s reactions really weird. I saw a girl fall asleep with her head on the barricade the other day, like right in front. I think she ran out of Red Bulls. She had a long night. But that’s the weirdest thing I’ve seen so far, is someone falling asleep.
How did you meet Clutch, and how did they become involved in working with you?
We met Clutch through a mutual friends and music kind of people throughout the Maryland, DC area. And actually a long time ago in very very very early 90s, and late 80s, Neil Fallon the singer worked for my fathers seafood store. Where I was, you know, 6 years old kind of running around, and spending summers there, spending time after school there. So that’s how we kind of initially met. All through a drum teacher in Maryland called Walter Sal, who our drummer Chase knows, and Jake Jon Paul, was taking lessons from him, so there’s a whole kind of Maryland communal music, musician thing happening.
How does this new album Jetpack Soundtrack compare to the previous albums that you’ve done?
I think the newest record that we did is just bigger, and faster, and more more polished, and it’s just a bigger product. It’s way more Deep Purple influenced than anything we’ve done, there’s always been riffs, and there’s always been reggae and funk, and now I think it’s in this sausage maker that’s kind of put everything into one piece. So I think it’s definitely like everything we’ve done before, an amalgamation of that, but on steroids, you know, it’s just bigger and faster, heavier. It’s awesome.
Do you prefer something like the Warped Tour, or club shows, and why?
Club shows, hands down. You know, I think the routine of a club show allows you to be in a way more, having a routine on tour I think is what keeps you mentally and physically kind of on point, and I think Warped Tour can be very chaotic. And I don’t think that’s always the best for consistent performance.
You mentioned k.flay, who are some of the other bands that you like here on Warped Tour?
Bad Rabbits are cool. K.flay, Watsky, Wax, fantastic. A lot of good hip hip. DJ Scout’s real cool. A really cool band on our stage is Bayside, they’re fantastic. Anberlin on the other stage is great. There are a lot of good bands this year, you know? You have to sift, but… that’s everywhere now.
What do you think of all the like metal and screamo bands that are on the tour? Do you like any of them?
I don’t particularly care for it, it’s not my cup of tea. I love heavy music. I love metal. I miss bands being really good at their instruments without relying on anything digital and anything. You know, no tracks. I miss like, you know, a band like Slayer, or a band like High on Fire, or a band like Mastodon. To me that’s what’s exciting about those bands, and maybe that’s why those bands are huge. Because they’re not relying on the digital formats. They’re just, at the core of it, they’re still a band, you know? Very, tight bands.
If Lionize could open for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I think if we were going to play the reality game, I think opening for the Black Crowes would probably be the best band for us to open for. You know, the problem with that question is we’ve opened for a lot of our heroes already, we’ve been on tour with Clutch, we’ve played with the Bad Brains… you know, we played with Steel Pulse, we’ve played with so many awesome bands that we’re fans of. It would have to be the Black Crowes, or Government Mule… you know, just heavy, something heavy, and blues and rock, and rock and roll, and classic, I think that would be great. and if we could go on tour with Robert Plant’s Space Shifters, You know, if Zeppelin ever did a reunion, I’m sure that would, you know? And look, if Sabbath does another record, I think that might be a good line up, too. But you know. We’ll see how the tour goes this year. Let’s get through this one, then we’ll see, then we’ll submit for the Black Sabbath tour.
What’s up next for you guys after Warped Tours all over, any plans?
We have two very big unannounced tours coming up in the States. I can’t really say where they are yet, because they haven’t been announced, there’s a radius clause, all this stuff. After that, then we go to, we return to the UK and that, I can’t announce that yet either, but, things have been amazing over there, so we’re kind of hopping back and fourth.
What is that you would like the listener to remember after hearing your music, or seeing you live here at the Warped Tour for the first time?
The hope, really, is that they fall in love with what we’re doing in the same way that we’re in love with it. You know?
Do you have any messages for your fans? Believe me, they’re here, I saw them, and Ventura.
Thank you for coming out, and supporting us. I know maybe this is not the normal place for Lionize, you know, to perform, and to come see us, but we’re very grateful that anyone’s coming out and supporting us, we’ll continue to play our asses off, and we’ll see you soon.
Chris Brooks – Keys
Henry Upton – Bass
Chase Lapp – Drums
Nate Bergman – Guitar
(Interview and Candid Photo by Ken Morton – Live Photos by Jack Lue)
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