The Casualties

The Casualties - Jake Casualty

  • Juen 25th, 2010
  • Carson, California

The Casualties are one of those veteran punk bands that have been around forever. Formed in 1990 in the streets of New York, the band has seen it all and lived through it all over the past two decades. 2010 saw them returning to the Vans Warped Tour for yet another ride on the punk rock summer camp. I sat down with guitarist Jake Casualty on the first day of the tour to see what he was looking forward to over the next 51 days.


Bobby: Starting with the basics, you guys are starting the 2010 Vans Warped Tour and you guys are playing the entire tour. Are you excited for that?

Jake: Yeah, very excited. It’s good to be back. I always feel like if you’re not doing the whole tour – what’s the point? You might as well be on the whole thing, the whole time.

Bobby: It is a very gruelling tour. 43 cities in 51 days, it’s hot, the days are long, the drives are longer, no showers – what do you do to mentally prepare yourself for it and do you bring anything special that you wouldn’t bring on a normal tour?

The CasualtiesJake: A bottle of vodka.

Bobby: It makes all the problems go away.

Jake: [laughs] absolutely. There’s no way to prepare for Warped. You’re never truly ready to go on tour. You can try to get all your shit ready and everything together but you’re never truly ready.

Bobby: You’ve been on quite a few Warped Tours. I saw you back in 2004 in my first Warped Tour and then a few ago back in ’07 I think. Do you have any advice for bands who are playing Warped Tour for the first time?

Jake: Not really, just go and half fun man. It’s a fun tour to be on. The drives are a little long but it’s a good tour to be on and I would just say play it as hard as you can. You can’t really give any advice based on the experience.

Bobby: Last year they kind of changed the setup for the main stage bands where it was only one main stage and they played forty minutes. This kind of made it so people had to walk around and explore the side stages a bit more and not only sit in front of the main stages. Are you glad they did that? Do you think it’s beneficial for the tour?

Jake: I think it’s good because it gives a lot more bands a lot more chances to play in front of more people. It’s good that it’s just not the main stages. There’s a lot of people who don’t like the main stages and they want to go see the side, smaller bands.

Bobby: Every day there’s sixty to eighty bands playing depending on what city you’re playing. Everybody from GBH to Alkaline Trio, Andrew WK to Call The Cops. Is there any band you’re really excited to see?

Jake: Yeah, today would be GBH. Also, I would like to see Alkaline Trio; I think that would be interesting. I don’t know who else. Bouncing Souls, you know. Those are the bands I’m looking forward to.

Bobby: In an interview you did with Warped Tour right before this, you mentioned how GBH was a massive influence on you. Is it kind of cool to be able to see them and playing on the same tour?

Jake: Yeah, it’s great. It’s wonderful to share the stage with your heroes.

Bobby: With so many bands, there’s a lot of different styles and genres playing which Warped Tour kind of received some flack about over the past few years. What’s your whole take on the “Warped Tour should only be punk bands” debate?

Jake: I think it’s good that it’s a mix because how else are you going to get new kids exposed to the harder stuff if they don’t come to see the weaker stuff? So you get the main kids into Warped Tour and they’re watching these boring bands and you can introduce them to some of the more hardcore punk bands and you can make our scene a little bit bigger.

Bobby: It enables them to see and discover new bands which is kind of the point of Warped Tour – to just walk around and hear a band you’ve never heard of before. Has there been any band that you’ve discovered on Warped Tour that has made you stop and go “wow”?

Jake: Yeah. A few years ago there was this band called Wanted Dead and I really liked them, I was like “wow, this is awesome.” So I’m sure there will be a band or two on this year that will do that.

Bobby:  You’ve played Warped Tour quite a few years now. Have you noticed any changes in the way it runs or the way it sounds? Or is it just Warped Tour as its always been?

Jake: To me, it sounds the same. Yeah there’s a little differences here and there. There’s a lot of new bands but some of the same style. I just view it as Warped Tour, it doesn’t change to me too much.

Bobby: With so many bands playing all in one day, their set times overlap which makes bands have to go out and fight for an audience. Hand out flyers, meet the fans and convince them to come watch them. Do you think that kind of reinvigorates the DIY ethic of old punk? Having to self promote yourself?

Jake: Yeah, I think it does a little bit. I think you have to work for it. If you want to be a band, if you’re a newer band, you have to get their attention somehow. Most importantly, you have to be a good live band.

Bobby: It can also separates the bands based on their work ethic, because if you’re not out there promoting yourself and being lazy, then you’ll be playing for a lot less people.

Jake: Yes. That’s absolutely true but that’s also true with anything in life. It all comes down to the work ethic. It doesn’t come without hard work.

Bobby: A lot of bands release a new CD just in time for the Warped Tour. You guys released a CD on SideOneDummy last year, We Are All We Hate. How important do you think Warped Tour is to promoting a new album?

Jake: Very important because like I said before, you get in front of so many new people. They get turned onto you and if they like you, they go to the merch booth and they get the newest record.

Bobby: You guys formed in 1990, which was twenty years ago and you’ve released a lot of CDs. With only thirty minutes, forty minutes to play, how do you balance out the new stuff that you want to promote and the old classics that fans want to hear?

Jake: We do probably about seventy percent classics and thirty percent of the new record.

Bobby: I also gotta ask, one of my favourite songs of you guys is Punx Unite and when ever I hear it I also think of the Sham 69 song, When The Kids Are United. Did you have that in mind when you wrote it or what?

The CasualtiesJake: Yeah, we pulled that little section of it on purpose. It’s paying tribute to them. It’s just like a thing where we were just paying tribute to a band that we liked a lot.

Bobby: With the whole punk united thing, that is a bit of the theme of the Warped Tour. It’s a very familiar affair, there is a lot of downtime for the bands where you hang out in the parking lot, do barbecues and stuff like that. Do you think having all this time to hang out with bands can strengthen the punk rock community and build friendships?

Jake: Yeah, absolutely. It’s the kind of thing where a band will be playing and you won’t like the music but you’ll meet some of the guys in the band because they’ll be hanging at the barbecue or down here when we’re eating and stuff like that. You meet people and you’re like “oh wow, that guy’s really cool. I’m not into his band but he’s a good dude.” Stuff like that. There’s a unique type of camaraderie on the Warped Tour.

Bobby: It kind of builds a strong community.

Jake: Yeah, we’re all here for the same thing: playing music.

Bobby: Also, with all these friendships being developed, there always ends up being some really cool collaborations on the tour where people jump on stage, sing songs with one another, stuff like that. Is there any collaboration that you would love to see or take part in on this year’s Warped Tour?

Jake: I don’t know. That’s a good question. I don’t really have an answer to that. I’ll have to think about that.

Bobby: Hopefully you’ll discover one.

Jake: [laughs] Yeah, maybe.

Bobby: This is a music festival first and foremost, but there’s a unique atmosphere to it. There’s a skate ramp in the middle, there’s a midget show this year; how would you describe the atmosphere and the energy of this year’s Warped Tour?

Jake: Just like this awesome connection with music, of youth culture and a gathering of people. I also think there are a lot of like-minded individuals and it’s cool that there’s skateboarding and motocross and stuff – the sports that were looked down upon in the beginning that only punk people would do and is now kind of a main stream thing. It’s cool that there are people that are still with it.

Bobby: At the same time, the focus of the Warped Tour is still the music. At some festivals, that sometimes becomes secondary to the partying, the drinking, the camping out. How do you think Warped tour has been able to keep the focus on the music?

Jake: I think by low ticket prices and having good people on the Warped Tour team – like good people, not just industry people. It’s people that actually care about the music like Kevin Lyman and stuff like that. So they know what bands are going to pull kids and they also know what bands are going to be cool to have on here, that are real bands that have been working hard.

Bobby: Kevin Lyman has also always said that he wants Warped Tour to be a safe place for kids to come for their first concert or punk concert. While this may not be their first concert, there’s always kids coming to Warped Tour for the first time – do you have any advice for kids coming to their very first Warped Tour?

Jake: Just bring some sun block and an open mind and that’s pretty much what it is. If you like a band, support them – buy a shirt or something.

Bobby: One thing I’ve always found interesting about you guys is that you did On The Front Line in 2004 and then I think in 2005 or 2006 you did En La Linea Del Fronte, the same CD but in Spanish. What made you decide to do that?

Jake: Because Jorge is Spanish and we wanted to do that and release it down in South America and Central America which is where we ended up going on tour; so we had this Spanish CD that those kids would like.

Bobby: One last question, this is the sixteenth year of Warped Tour; you have been on it many times and I’m assuming you’ve gone to it before too. What are some of your fondest memories of Warped Tours long gone?

Jake: Just partying with the Wanted Dead. They were a really fun band to hang out with. We had a lot of parties and they were the barbecue band that year and all kinds of stuff. Drunken, moronic food fights – just silly stuff. It was a good time hanging out with those guys. They were a real band and a good time; and that’s something that I’ll always remember.

Bobby: Awesome, thanks a lot. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to add?

Jake: Nah, I mean I’ll plug my tattoo shop if you’re ever in New York City or Jersey City area – come check out Jersey City Tattoo Company. The website is JerseyCityTattoo.com.