Woe, Is Me has been through a lot over the last year – including a well publicized exodus of over half the band members which has resulted in a “feud” of near epic proportions. The overall theme is definitely a stunning sense of perseverance, which is vividly felt throughout their latest magnum opus for Rise Records. Entitled Genesi(s), the revamped Woe, Is Me lineup unleash their latest tunes with an all-out sense of passion and conviction.
While on their first headlining tour, Woe, Is Me made a stop at the world famous Roxy Theater on the Sunset Strip to perform an special afternoon show to a packed house. Prior to their set, Highwire Daze caught up with drummer Austin Thornton and vocalist Hance Alligood to discuss the changes within the band, the current tour, their thoughts on Issues / ex-band members, and other topics of interest. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Woe, Is Me, and how long you’ve been in the band.
Hance: I’m Hance – I’m the singer. I’ve been with the band for little over a year now.
Austin: And I’m Austin – I’m the drummer – and I’ve been with the band since the beginning.
Hance, how did you become involved with the band?
Hance: Basically what happened with that right after Warped Tour, the band went into the studio and lost their singer. I had known a couple of the guys prior to me being in the band. So really it was just me communicating back and forth with them and sending them some videos of auditions and stuff. And they showed Austin and after awhile he got interested. And I came down to the studio and we worked a little more for a couple of days – and that was it. We recorded a single called Vengeance and the rest was history.
You were in a band called Oh Manhattan before then. Are there still around?
Hance: That was my old band. And I don’t think so. Maybe? I have no idea man!
How has this tour been going so far and what have been some of the highlights?
Hance: The tour’s been great so far. This is our first headliner. I’d say one of the highlights for me was actually playing in our hometown the first night. It was crazy! Texas is always pretty crazy – San Antonio.
Austin: California has been great so far. We’ve done a lot of shows out in Cali on all of our tours and they’ve all been great. But this tour has been – all the kids that are there – they just seem there to want to watch and enjoy us – they know all the songs. It’s really an awesome feeling to look out and see literally every single kid in a sold out room singing all the words. It’s awesome to have that – being a headlining band for the first time.
Now you’re doing an afternoon set here in Hollywood, which is kind of weird…
Hance: It is kind of weird. We’ve had a couple of music festivals here and there – we played kind of early in the day. But this is definitely a little bit different than a normal show on this tour. But it’s pretty cool. I think after the show is done, we’ll have a chance to hang out in LA.
Austin: …and do California things.
Sounds good. Now let’s talk about the new album Genesi(s). First of all, is there any story or concept behind the title?
Austin: Basically Woe, Is Me – the name of the band – either comes from the Bible or it comes from Shakespearian terms. It’s just a matter of which way you want to look at it. We’re not a Christian band, but a lot of us have strong faith. We all believe that we do this for a reason – we’re all really lucky and blessed to do what we’re doing. And as far as Genesi(s) goes, we’ve gone through so many changes and so many ups and downs as a band – Genesi(s) being the beginning is what that means anyway in the Bible. We thought it was only fitting for us to have a name that represented that this is the start of what “we” considered as a band to be Woe, Is Me – and what we feel is a definition of what our music is and what we stand for. And that’s where Genesi(s) came from – the beginning of our story.
Hance: A clean slate!
Pick two songs from Genesi(s) and tell me what inspired the lyrics.
Hance: Let’s start with A Story To Tell. Basically the main premise behind that is self-perseverance – sticking up for yourself no matter what. The entire world could be against you and you have a reason – you have something to live for – you have a story to tell. Everyone literally has their own story to tell. The lyrics are “You don’t have the backbone that everyone believes you do, so talk your shit, I’ll give you a reason to.” A lot of people think that that was directed towards like a particular group of people or a certain person – but really there was a certain point in the band where everyone was just like, “Okay, I’m done with this band.” Just so much hate, so much negativity over nothing. So it’s like “you wanna keep talking? I’ll give you a reason.” So yeah, self-perseverance, dedication – sticking up for yourself really through everything, whether the world is with you or against you. Be strong! Stick up for yourself for sure!
Definitely a universal theme. So pick another song…
Austin: I think as far as the heavy side of things go – a song with no singing in it like our first song F.Y.I. on the record. When I wrote that song – a lot of lyrics like “don’t give in to the lies that they feed you and everything they say about me just to deceive you.” Our vocalist Doriano – myself in particular – and even us in the band as individuals – a lot of people speak a lot of shit. And instead of going back and back lashing on social networks or getting into physical fights or whatever – we really just wanted our music to speak for ourselves. When we’re onstage saying those things and sticking behind what we’re saying, it’s really just don’t give in to all the bullshit everyone feeds you. Those lies are just going to cover up the truth about who we really are. And if you really want to get to know us, find out for yourself. And so it’s one of those things where we’re going to stand up for ourselves – and that was the best way that we could say it.
Now you lost most of the band except for yourself and the rhythm guitarist Kevin Hanson. How difficult was it to pick up and basically start all over again?
Austin: It really wasn’t difficult at all musically. Kevin and I wrote 95 percent of music for all the records and all the singles that we worked on as a band. Our original guitarist Tim Sherrill of course helped with Number(s) as far as the delay and the ambient fills. But as far as everything else, it was written with Kevin and myself. So musically it was very easy for us. We kept the same writing pattern we’ve always had. We kept the same creativity flow we’ve always had. And we all just kind of came together with a band that was finally on the same page and all wanted to go in the same direction – and we were able to do the music that we’ve always wanted to do. As far as vocals and stuff goes, that’s where Hance and Doriano came in – and they added exactly what we could have only imagined being put on top of the new music that we had written.
What did you think of the rivalry that has been all over the social networks when it comes to your band and Issues? How do you react when you read stuff like that on the Internet?
Hance: You know, at first everyone made it like into this big deal or whatever – and that is what it is. But at the end of the day, I think we’re just ready to do “us,” and forget about the past and forget about everything else. Take all the non-factors out of our lives and just push forward. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, you know.
Austin: Some of us still communicate with members that have already left their band that were a part of our band prior. I’m speaking of Cory Ferris and Ben Ferris – we talk to them, we hang out. I miss those guys from time to time. We crack jokes – we go out and get lunch – like a lot of kids really don’t understand it. A lot of kids want to think that it’s more than it really is. Some of our vendettas are more so personal as opposed to being towards the whole group. But like Hance said, the past is the past – and if anybody wants to bring it up, we’ll have the answers for them – and if not, then we’re just going to leave it at that and go forward.
Do you think there’s any way that you guys could or would reconcile?
Austin: I don’t really have any want for any kind of coming to terms. Like I said, we’re not going to go out of our way to cause any mischief or get into any kind of fights or anything. They do their thing, we’ll do ours – and that’s just the way it needs to be.
What’s up for you guys when the New Year comes around?
Austin: A lot of international stuff. A lot of overseas things that we’re really excited for. Asian countries and Australia. Some talk made about Indonesia. We can’t really announce it yet, but it’s going to be in the works and we’re super excited for it.
Hance: The only thing we could really talk about is Soundwave in Australia – that’s the only thing that’s been announced to the public. And then a couple of dates in Tokyo with Of Mice & Men. But it’s kind of all still under wraps.
Austin: We have a tour in January and February. Some people know about it and some people don’t. For the people that know about it – it’s real – and we’ll leave it at that.
Do you have any messages for your fans out here in the Los Angeles / Orange County area?
Hance: Thank you for everything! Every time we come to the Orange County / LA area, you guys have been nothing but supportive. You guys come out and have fun with us – singing the words. I don’t think we could ask for a better fan base.
Austin: I mean, just thank you for giving a fuck about a band that’s from all the way across the country – and caring to even stick with us and stand through it and sell out these shows that you’ve done for us. It’s unbelievable! After everything, people still line up, get turned away, and wait and wait just to see us – even if they don’t get to see a show. And that means a lot – that means more than anything! We appreciate it. We see it. We see every inch of it.
(Interview and Photos by Kenneth Morton)
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