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The Vans Warped Tour Kickoff Event 2018 Interviews with Shiragirl

Shira Leigh and Leanne Bowes of Shiragirl

The Vans Warped Tour Kickoff Event 2018 Interviews with Shiragirl

The Vans Warped Tour Kickoff Event took place at Vans Headquarters in Costa Mesa right after the announcement of this year’s final lineup.  Previously tagged as the final cross country trek for the iconic tour, founder Kevin Lyman will certainly remain busy with other projects when Warped spins to its final show – including The FEND Movement (Full Energy, No Drugs), which aims to empower youth to take a stand against opioids.

At the Vans Warped Tour Kickoff Event, Highwire Daze Online caught up with Shiragirl members Shira Leigh and Leanne Bowes.  Read on as we discuss what to expect from a live Shiragirl show on the Vans Warped Tour, the Shiragirl Stage then and now, upcoming new music being produced by Tim Armstrong of Rancid, and a whole lot more…

We’re here with Shira and Leanne of Shiragirl. What brings you out here to the final Warped Tour Kick Off Party?
Shira: I couldn’t miss it for the world. It’s been a big part of my life and the last year is history in the making. So I decided to bring back my stage – the Shiragirl Stage – for select dates on the tour. We’re going to be providing a platform for female artists on the tour. We feel like it’s very important to be able to help usher in the next generation of female artists.

In the beginning, there was a little bit of difficulty with being a female artist on the Warped Tour. How has that changed throughout time?
Shira: We’ve gotten a lot more support. We really had to get out there and prove ourselves. When we first showed up, they said “Ah, these chicks aren’t gonna last.” But we did it. We proved ourselves and now we have the support. It’s been a really amazing journey.

What did you think when you first heard that the cross country Warped Tour was coming to end?
Shira: There was definitely sadness, but I feel like all good things must come to an end. With Kevin (Lyman), he puts in so much work – he puts his heart and soul into this tour. I’m excited to see what he does next.

Shira and Leanne with Kevin Lyman and others at the Vans Warped Tour Kickoff Event

Will you become involved with his new project FEND? You are wearing the hat right now…
Shira: Not directly, but I will definitely support FEND. I will rock the gear onstage. I will tell people about the app. I think it’s an important cause.

What have you been up to? Do you have any new music on the way?
Shira: I’m actually in the studio right now. I’m recording a new EP with Tim Armstrong from Rancid and Jon King. So that will be out for the summer. I’m very excited about that. And last year I actually did a one woman show at the Hollywood Fringe. It was a little bit different because it was storytelling, comedy, song and dance. It had music in it, but has a little bit of acting and a little bit of everything – it was more like theater.

Have you done a lot of theater?
Shira: I did growing up – and then I kind of came back to it last year for the show – it was called Hot Dates. It was super fun. Then I actually got invited on the Warped Cruise to perform some comedy – I did some old school Warped stories and some excerpts from my show. So yeah, I’ve been kind of dipping my toe into different pools.

What could one expect from a live Shiragirl show this summer on Warped Tour?
Shira: I’m going to go back to my rock roots – I’m excited about that. We figured to honor the last year of Warped Tour, I’m going to have the band out performing the new material from the new EP. It’s kind of like punk rock meets new wave. I’m calling it “punk wave.”

Select any two Shiragirl songs you might be playing on Warped Tour and what inspired the lyrics.
Shira: I’m writing and recording right now, but I will say that this new song I’m working on right now is called I Must Be Dreaming. It’s like sometimes I just wake up and realize how lucky I am to be in the position I am – to be working with one of my musical influences. Things are going so well and these opportunities to perform on the Warped Tour. I have the moment where, “I must be dreaming. Things are going so good. Is this really my life?” That will be one of them. And I’m sure I’m going to perform some oldies but goodies. And my recent single that I did last year – Resist – will be a part of the set. We shot a music video for the song last year at the Women’s March in L.A. So that will be fun to play too.

What was that experience like shooting a video in the middle of the Women’s March in L.A.?
Shira: It was awesome! It was in Downtown L.A. and 750,000 people came out. It was a little chaotic. But it felt magical to be part of so many women coming together for a great cause – and then to be able to take that and kind of keep in going with the promotion of the video. It was very awesome!

What advice would you give someone going to the Vans Warped Tour for the very first time?
Shira: I’d say it’s going to be hot, so make sure you hydrate. Make sure you see as many bands as you can – and be open to discovering new bands. You just walk around, and of course you have the bands that you want to see – but also on the way from one stage to another, you may just stumble onto a gem – so be open-minded.

And Leanne, tell me what you do in Shiragirl…
Leanne: I play bass, and I met Shiragirl on Warped Tour about three years ago. And I just kind of happened to move to L.A. right when she was looking for a bass player, so it worked out really well.

Shira: Yes, it was perfect! I just texted her – I did a tour with The Gonads – which is a legendary Oi! punk band from the U.K. And I had a bassist – the bassist got sick and I thought of her – and I remembered that she had posted on Facebook that she was moving to L.A. soon. I literally went to Facebook and she still hadn’t changed her location yet. So I was like, “Oh, she’s still in New York” so I didn’t hit her up. And then she text me and it was meant to be. She was like “Hey I just got to L.A.!” And I was like, “Oh my god, do you want to come on tour with me?” And she was like, “Okay, I’m in!” It was cool.

Leanne, what is your music background, and what other projects were you in prior to Shiragirl?
Leanne: I was in a band called Hunter Valentine for a while. That was four years for me of my career, and they went on hiatus in 2016. That’s been a good opportunity for me to sort of explore other artists and do other projects. But that’s been my main touring gig for most of my musical career. So pop punk roots at the beginning of my career, and now it’s been kind of everything…

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)

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