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INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN LYMAN – VANS WARPED TOUR

After 24 years the VANS WARPED TOUR is finally coming to an end with a stop in Ventura on JUNE 24th at the fairgrounds. Kevin Lyman and his crew are bringing : REEL BIG FISH, SIMPLE PLAN,ALL TIME LOW, FOUR YEAR STRONG, 3OH!3, LESS THAN JAKE, UNDEROATH,WE THE KINGS, THE USED, TONIGHT ALIVE and many more bands to our little town.
And to keep it local NO COVER is stepping in and we are going to have our own stage too with local bands like IDECLINE, AGRESSION, The GRIM, , ILL REPUTE, SIX PICK OF DOOM, THROW LOGIC and many more. Definitely an event you do not want to miss! Tim Amoroso met up with Kevin Lyman to talk about the end of an area and what the never resting Kevin Lyman is going to do next….

“You never want to close your door completely – but that part of the touring site of actually packing up almost a thousand people and moving it from one city to another – is coming to an end.” – Kevin Lyman

INTERVIEW BY TIM AMOROSO/WRITTEN BY SILVIE MIETZEKATZE

TIM AMOROSO: How are you man?
KEVIN LYMAN: I’m doing good just suffering a little jetlag after the Warped Japan Shows we just did.
TIM AMOROSO: How did those go?
KEVIN LYMAN: That was super fun, it’s always good to go over to Japan because we had some of the bands like PENNYWISE and SUICIDAL TENDENCIES you know. I was also able to see some of the bands you don’t see on a Warped Tour in the US, like LIMP BIZKIT, KORN, PROPHETS OF RAGE….. So we had a good time and it was a nice little vacation with the kids too and now we are back here cranking it up for the summer.

TIM AMOROSO: How long does it take you to get back to west coast time?
KEVIN LYMAN: well… I just turned 57 yesterday so …
TIM AMOROSO: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
KEVIN LYMAN: Yeah thanks.. haha…well my daughter who flew home early on Friday went straight to COACHELLA with no problem– and that’s how I used to be but now it takes a few days…

TIM AMOROSO: You created the WARPED TOUR and it’s been monumental for a lot of peoples childhoods, including myself and it’s a way to get the local communities together and to celebrate music. What was the infant idea behind the Warped Tour?
KEVIN LYMAN:I worked in LA it was not like I woke up one day and thought about it, I worked for 12 years for GOLDEN VOICE and I was running up to 320 shows a year as a production manager and then, I got the lucky chance by building relationships and working on that in 1991 to go out and work on Lollapalooza – Perry Farrell put that one together – I worked a lot with bands like JANES ADDICTION…. We were blending in skateboarding and music. Or music and snowboarding. A lot of the shows became benefits for things like breast cancer awareness. I remember then hearing about the X Games being formed and I thought to myself this is just going to go on for one summer. The idea of the Warped Tour was born and then I was going to go out and do something with some friends and build a skateboard ramp and bring some bands – and then these bands turned into big bands like NO DOUBT and SUBLIME, L7, No Use for a name.
As you know this lasted more than just one summer and now 24 years later we are going to do it for the last time – that part of the WARPED TOUR is going to be ending – we are doing our LAST cross country tour.

TIM AMOROSO: What does that mean?
KEVIN LYMAN: We are keeping it a little vague. I think the WARPED spirit will stay in some ways, we are working on some things like the 25th anniversary – one of them will include the ROCK N ROLL HALL OF FAME and some events around it…. WE keep it loose – cause we have things like the WARPED TOUR CRUISE this year and WARPED JAPAN – there might be options to do some stuff. You never want to close your door completely – but that part of the touring site of actually packing up almost a thousand people and moving it from one city to another – is coming to an end.

TIM AMOROSO: When you are in the heart of things, and when you’re phone rings do you go “ what happens now”?
KEVIN LYMAN: No I’m out there every day. I have been doing this for 37 years. I have been very involved in the shows. I used to load the trucks and I used to build some of the very first barricades that we ever used for some of the first shows – and I’m sorry cause I do not like barricades but I saw a lot of people getting hurt and when insurance issues came up we had to do something. I am 57, and it’s harder than before, and that is why you don’t see most of the old punk bands anymore at the WARPED TOUR – it is too hard on them. But then you have people like the ADOLESCENTS they just did a whole WARPED TOUR in a their van and didn’t seem to mind.
I always want to have fun and the last couple of summers have not been so much fun physically and mentally – the world has kind of changed. The advent of social media and watching bands tearing each other apart online, is not good. WARPED TOUR is about a community and right now I do not see that community anymore amongst bands. And I understand bands, they do not sell CD’s the way they used to and they have to tour all the time, but music has to get back to that community – especially independent music….

TIM AMOROSO: You are right, it is important that we all support each other. Whatever is out on social media and going to local shows…that’s what we are trying to do with NO COVER and the RED LIGHT DISTRICT RADIO SHOW here in Ventura.
KEVIN LYMAN: Oh yes Ventura. We helped with that fire benefit show…. We are also going to do a big clean up day the day after the WARPED TOUR, where we are going to clean up the river from trash. That’s what we do we come and clean up and I always found that the Ventura community is pretty solid –
TIM AMOROSO: We have the best music community here in my opinion…
KEVIN LYMAN: You are right, it is a town that supports each other.
That is not usual. You get out there and bands start tearing each other down. I have done some interviews where bands were saying it is going to be great when the WARPED TOUR is going to go away… and I don’t get it…but if things get better when we are going away than – that is great…now if that would mean that local bands are starting to support each other more…now THAT would be fantastic …than I have done my job. We were only supposed to be here one year. A quarter century later we are still out here doing this. And it is interesting tickets sales are on fire , but we do face challenges like the younger generation, that likes to stay home, watches Netflix and snapchats – instead of going out and supporting music.
TIM AMOROSO: That’s why we play only local music on our radio show.
KEVIN LYMAN: That’s great! I had to progress in maybe not so much in my personal music taste cause if you look in my house you will find RANCID on vinyl, NOFX etc. I understood that the bands that we bring on the WARPED TOUR now… sing the same way passionately to the young people as those bands sang to me back then…and all that WARPED TOUR was, was this platform….I did not forget the old punk bands though and do occasionally things like last year when I did the IT’S NOT DEAD FEST.
But I am excited about the future We have done so many things and right now I’ve been working on this thing called FEND ( FREE ENERGY, NO DRUGS) a campaign to educate and to fight the opioid epidemic –where we even created an app – we had over 40 thousand people download it in over a month.
So Warped Tour has always provided the education site – like the food drive we do. Maybe I have the energy to actually encourages some of these bands, to do the things that we do on the WARPED TOUR in their every day lives and I know some of them are. We used to do a lot of benefit concerts when I started out, like pro choice with bands like THE RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS or the BEASTY BOYS. ..

TIM AMOROSO: What do you think is the main difference with music right now and back then?
KEVIN LYMAN: It’s hard to make a living in music, to be honest.
That is probably a big one and of course you get connected with bands from back then. But this last WARPED TOUR will be with people I really want to tour with. We are selling tickets to people that remember the good time in their lives they had there and come back and enjoy it one more time.

TIM AMOROSO: Talk with me a little bit more about FENT…
KEVIN LYMAN: A lot of the non profits that we got involved with…like the blood drive – was after I had heard there is a shortage of blood donations. The can food drive happened because the food banks, do not have enough food in the summer, so we let people skip the line when they brought in three cans of food. We were able to put 2500 to 3000 pounds of food a day into those food banks when we come to town. Punk rock was known something negative…and then look what happened we were leaving the towns better than before. So now the attention goes a lot towards the opioid crisis and what we can do about it…warped tour is about education so we got this app out and we had games on there to educate the people, because a lot of young people are easier reached through that. They can learn stuff and win rewards that they get at the WARPED TOUR. A lot of doctors prescribe stuff and a lot of people do not know , how addictive these prescription are because they just trust their doctors and nobody does it explains it to them. Just take my daughter for example, when she had her wisdom teeth pulled out, the doctor gave her some meds and she said they were wonderful but she also said because we educated her so well she knew she couldn’t just keep taking them. I am hoping that at some point this will not only be about prevention but maybe I can bring this to the recovering community as well. …

TIM AMOROSO: Have you guys ever had problems with artists on tour with this particular problem?
KEVIN LYMAN: We have a lot of bands, so you have a lot of things that come up but we also have counselors with us when we tour. And we have meetings every night backstage. We have been doing this for 8 or 10 years now I think that way and I learned this on the road. I truly wish I knew all this back in the day. You know we had BRAD NOWELL ( ORIGINAL SINGER OF SUBLIME WHO DIED FROM AN HEROIN OVERDOSE IN 1996) with us in 1995 on tour and he suffered from addiction, but back then I didn’t have the tools to help him. I wasn’t trained in this kind of thing and I had to learn. It’s the microcosm of society ….

TIM AMOROSO: What drives you? What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind when you die?
KEVIN LYMAN: Well…That I utilized my time on earth well….what drives me? You know people, who went out of their way to raise me and help me, have adopted me. I feel like they taught me that my need to help out. But when you do that, it makes you a target. People have to realize that it is okay to step out and in this world of social media not everyone is going to be your friend and not everyone is going to like you and you are going to be attacked. YOU cannot stand for something and not be attacked anymore.

TIM AMOROSO: So on your journey with the WARPED TOUR and you being a father at the same time, is it hard to keep your relation ship strong with your family?
KEVIN LYMAN: You know it wasn’t easy, but that is what kept me going. And when I first started WARPED TOUR – those bands were my friends we we were even having children together. BRAD NOWELL’s son is 16 days older than my daughter and BRAD died and didn’t get that chance to see his son grow up. But the last or 5 or 6 years – have changed a little. I have been either a mentor or a disciplinarian. … I have been able to bring my kids the show with me and guess what? They do not get any favors just because they are my children – they work hard like everyone else. … It’s been a family thing, but I have been on the road for 27 summers since Lollapalooza. So I actually owe my wife a trip to the Canadian Rocky’s because I want to enjoy the outdoors with her there.

TIM AMOROSO: Are you spiritual?
KEVIN LYMAN: I believe to treat people right is the way to go. I don’t understand why we have so many problems, just to treat people right and respecting other people. That’s what got me through it, cause when I started of in my career, I was the one respecting the guy in the parking lot , I knew I had to respect the guy at the back door …These guys are doing their job and I have been watching people treating the security guards bad. …Things come back in life to you so treat people right no matter who they are….. We are alienating each other through the media and social media and people have to step up. How are we bringing people back together? That the question. For me that means, to talk to people with different opinions. And I get attacked for having and listening to different opinions…. The best example was what we did on the WARPED TOUR we had SPAM and we had PETA !! – we need these opposites and opinions so we can form our own right opinion. Unless you listen you cannot do this. That’s why I watch Fox news and CNN – I read 20 websites and then I can come up with my own truth…..

TIM AMOROSO: What makes your heart pump? When you need to be kevin and be selfish what do you do?
KEVIN LYMAN: Well when it comes to that…it is fishing, gardening, and cooking. My wife says cooking is my selfish site, because there is only two of us in the house and I cook for 8 every day. …. I got to fish on the amazon last year. I fished all over the world. I am enjoying something I never thought I would get into when I was little
And on a last note…I love what I have accomplished. I can sit down with my wife and just feel happy. I was guy that used to load the trucks at shows…so that shows you if I can do it than anyone can make it.

For the complete interview go to RED LIGHT DISTRIC SHOW YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Check out the VANS WARPED TOUR – save the date VENTURA June 24th
www.vanswarpedtour.com
For more information on the opiod crisis
www.wearefend.org

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