Shut Up And Deal: A Warped Summer of Rock

One of few unsigned bands on this year’s edition of the Vans Warped Tour, Shut Up And Deal are trekking their way across the county, making countless new fans in the process. With a rock solid live show and a self-released EP in hand that was produced by Paul Leavitt (All Time Low, Senses Fail), Shut Up And Deal are definitely having a Warped summer of rock and sharing it with each and every person who ambles by the Kevin Says stage to check them out. We caught up with two of the members at the Ventura date to find out more about this up and coming band you’re sure to hear a whole lot more from in the summer of 2011 and beyond…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in the band, and what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your IPOD?
John: My name is John. I sing and play guitar in Shut Up And Deal, and if I had to think about the most embarrassing song I currently have on my IPOD – I’m not really ashamed of it, but I think it’s embarrassing by default – that Miley Cyrus song Party In The USA I believe its called.

Jonathan: My name is Jonathan. I play guitar and sing in Shut Up And Deal. And I don’t have an IPOD, but I have my Iphone, and I would have to say that I don’t really have actually embarrassing songs on there, because I don’t have many songs on it at all. If I had the ability to put my guilty pleasures on my Iphone – the Miley Cyrus song is a jam. Or the songs that Tevin Campbell did for The Goofy Movie as Powerline are the jam. We love that shit actually.

So where are you guys from and what is your music scene like there?
John: Well originally the band is from Connecticut. Currently after a couple of years of being together and some lineup changes, only one member is actually from Connecticut still – and that is our lead singer Joe. I’m from Idaho. Some of the new guys are from Salt Lake City, Utah. The scene in Idaho, as far as I’m concerned, is kind of non-existent – it kind of stinks. The scene in Connecticut is good for hardcore and not really a whole lot else. And I’ve noticed that the scene in Salt Lake City, Utah is actually pretty cool. I enjoy spending time there, and we actually played a few shows there recently.

With everybody everywhere, how do you guys rehearse?
Jonathan: It’s a little tricky. Me and our drummer have a house in Salt Lake City, so we have an area where we can kind of play. We’ve done that for weeks at a time. We’ve done the whole studio rental thing. Just whenever the other members can come into town, we all just stay at my house and play rock music. These guys sleep on my couches. We pretty much just do it whenever we can. We had to rehearse a lot to get ready for Warped and get the set tight. But so far, that’s how we’ve been doing it. But we’ve been making it happen. It’s been a good time.

How does an unsigned band get on the Warped Tour?
John: They usually don’t. We just kind of met the right people. We worked our asses off. We volunteered for a lot of stuff that we technically didn’t have to – but we saw it as a good thing to do. A lot of people out here can use help on a daily basis, and we just try to be as helpful as we could. We met some of the right people and they thought we were a hard working band – they thought we were a good band and they gave us the opportunity of a lifetime to come out here and play the entire tour.

How have you guys been handling the heat so far? It’s been pretty terrible, except for today here in Ventura.
Jonathan: Actually today and yesterday have been amazing. We were at Mountain View up in Northern California. It was gorgeous! You pretty much just gotta deal with it. : Lots of really high SPF sun block – lots of hydration fluids. You kind of just have to escape it wherever you can. When you’re a band like us who’s traveling in a van – we don’t have an air-conditioned bus to go hide out in during the day during the hottest parts. You kind of escape when you can and just deal with it – just man up and suck it up.

John: You get used to it. It’s super hot, but each day is a little different. Like when we were in Houston, Texas, it was like over 60 percent humidity. And that’s just something I don’t think anyone is used to, and you just gotta deal with it. I don’t know – I’m actually getting really tanned, so the sun isn’t bothering me as much anymore. I’ve got kind of base coat to protect me.

Jonathan: Yeah, I got a good weeks worth of base tan going.

What could one expect from a live Shut Up And Deal show?
Jonathan: High energy. A lot of crowd involvement. We like to get everybody engaged. I think that’s one of the things we really love about playing live the most is the connection between us and our fans. We just try to do vocally everything that we do on the record as well – that’s another one of things we try to put a lot of effort into. So yeah – a good time and involvement.

John: We try to hold it down with our musicianship as well. We don’t use any backing tracks or synthesizers or anything like that. It’s pretty much just two guitars, bass, drums, and some vocals. We just try to play everything as tight as we can. We have a lot of three part harmonies and stuff floating around that we just try to nail. We don’t want to skimp on the harmonies for live purposes, because people like to hear the same stuff that’s on the record. We just try to do the best we can at every show and it seems to be working out.

What is the name of your EP and is there any story behind the title?
John: The EP is called This One’s For Me – and since we are just a DIY band, we’re completed unsigned, unmanaged and stuff like that. We actually called it that because we wrote these seven songs and recorded this album all on our own dollar to be what we wanted to do. It wasn’t what a label was telling us we should put out. It was the music that we came together and wrote. We like the songs – we worked with them for a while and we just tried to put out the best EP that we could at the time. And I think we did just that – and I think a lot of people actually respect the fact that it wasn’t co-written or co-produced by any big names or anything like that. We recorded with Paul Leavitt whose an awesome producer – he did an amazing job and it sounds great! But he really encouraged us to work with our own material. He didn’t just sit down and write the record for us. I think it’s really cool and I think a lot of people like it.

Do you have messages for people reading this who might want to check your band out?
Jonathan: Yeah! Hit us up and Facebook and “Like” us at and follow us on Twitter at shutupanddeal. And those of you who have not gone to Warped Tour yet this summer, be sure to follow us because we’re doing contests everyday. We’re giving away CD’s and shirts to anybody who follows us on Twitter. We’ll have fun little contests like that. So yeah, keep in touch – check out our music.

Are you doing the entire tour?
John: Yeah, we’re playing every date…

Shut Up And Deal is Joe Heafy on vocals, John Vieira on guitar and vocals, Burt Hoagland on drums, Pat Kish on bass, and Jonathan Olivares on guitar and vocals.

(Interview and Photos by Kenneth Morton)

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