Eric Live On The Air caught up with the founder of the Warped Tour, Kevin Lyman, and he took the time to talk about Warped past success, the future of Warped, as well his biggest accomplshments. He also gave advice to people who want to get into the business.
Eric- Can you please introduce yourself.
Kevin- Hey, everyone. My name is Kevin Lyman. How’s it going?
E- How did you get started in the industry?
K- I started by booking gigs at school when I was a student at Cal Poly – Pomona and fell in love with producing live shows.
E- What is your favorite project that you have worked on?
K- Vans Warped Tour, of course, and a tour I did in 2002 called Down From The Mountain, which highlighted the soundtrack from the Academy Award nominated film O Brother, Where Art Thou?
E- You’re so accomplished in this business. What do you think is the key to your success?
K- Taking the business seriously, but not taking myself too seriously.
E- If you had to pick one defining moment of your career, what would it be?
K- I actually have three defining moments… The first was when I was asked to stage manage the first Lollapalooza in 1991, the second was receiving the Billboard Touring Awards Humanitarian of the Year award in 2009 and finally being named the MusiCares MAP Fund honoree in 2011 for charitable work in which I am very passionate about.
E- Do you have any projects in the works currently?
K- I am always working on new ideas and projects. Some of them will happen, some won’t, but it definitely keeps things exciting.
E- When you first got into this business, did you expect to be where you are now?
K- No, I never thought I would be doing this for my entire career, but I’m sure glad it worked out that way!
E- What is your ultimate goal in this business?
K- To have people know and remember me as someone with great integrity.
E- After all these years in the music industry, do you still love it as much as in the beginning?
K- Most days, but physically, it is getting more exhausting. I definitely like being home now much more.
E- After all the years, how has Warped changed pros/cons?
K- The days of flying under the radar are over! Everything we do is under the microscope and with the Internet, information, whether bad or good, is instantaneous.
E- 2 years ago you did an interview and said the following, “If it (Warped) was just the “Kevin Lyman Tour,” it’d be Bad Religion, NOFX, Flogging Molly, and the Bouncing Souls all the time.” Is this still true today?
K- Yes, definitely, but I’d add in Rancid and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
E- Where is the weirdest place you were recognized?
K- Just a couple days ago in the Salt Lake City airport; some dude said to me, “Hey, weren’t you in Punk Rock Holocaust?” The answer is yes – just funny that he recognized me from a movie we shot on Warped Tour.
E- What is the most challenging/stressful part of this career?
K- Keeping up with the busy schedule: Travel, work, family – making it all balance is sometimes a challenge.
Kevin Lyman & his family at the 7th Annual MusiCares MAP Fund
E- What is the most rewarding/exciting part of this career?
K- Meeting so many interesting people, listening to music, going to so many shows and now, the charity work I’m involved in.
E- What would be your words of wisdom to someone starting out in this industry?
K- The new jobs in music are the ones waiting to be created. Think about it… 10 years ago, many jobs around today did not even exist!
And now, for some fan questions:
Gerard Ucelli- If you were to make a Mount Rushmore of four musicians that best define warped tour, who would they be and why?
K- Fat Mike (NOFX), Fletcher Dragge (Pennywise), Angelo Moore (Fishbone), Tim McIlrath (Rise Against)
Nick Roschnow- Out of all the tours you have created vans warped tour/rockstar mayhem festival, what would you say are your top 5 choices of bands based upon stage appearance?
K- Rancid, Rob Zombie, Slipknot, Less Than Jake, Pennywise
Brittany Nicole Bair- Kevin, how do you feel the warped tour and the mayhem festival differ pros/cons?
K- Warped Tour is my heart and I’ve been able to use the skills I’ve learned to bring that same spirit to Mayhem. Warped Pro: The show ends earlier than Mayhem; Warped Con: Having to wake up earlier than on Mayhem. Pro/Con of Mayhem would be the reverse of the above.
Dianne Quinby- Do you plan on making any changes to the Warped Tour in the future?
K- We always keep the tour simple, but I try to make small changes. There are several that I hope kids like in 2012. A little sneak peak of what we’re adding this coming summer: The Acoustic Basement, which will feature respected and up-and-coming acoustic artists, and The Silent Disco, which will feature several DJ’s, playing music through a wireless headphone system, so you may be hearing different music than your friends. Makes for a fun and funny time!
Tyler Addison- What do you think are some of the greatest upcoming challenges that the music industry will face in the next few years? How will record labels/management groups/promoters/radio companies, etc adapt to the rapid increase in free music made available and easily accessible by independent artists? Might we be facing a complete re-vamp of what we refer to as the “music industry?”
K- I really think that the artists themselves will become small boutique/cottage industries doing all of the above with a few friends, hiring experts (labels, management, etc.) only on a per need/per project basis.
Zack Fuge- Do you think you will ever have a warped tour reunion by having blink 182, the used or any of those older bands play again in the future?
K- You MAY see one of the two you mentioned this summer. I am always open to and welcome bands back, but usually their financial needs get in the way.
Kimberly Pollard- What is it like knowing how many upcoming bands get their start because of a tour that you started?
K- It’s a humbling honor – At some point I hope to get them all to come back together and do a big charity show.
Gabe Vejar- Do you ever go out into the crowd and mosh/jump with the fans?
K- I used to, but have slowed down. Having a re-built ankle and a destroyed knee keep me away from the pit, cruising around on my bike.
Interviewing Kev at Warped Tour in NJ
Stephanie Kinsel- With all of the amazing bands out there in the country, how do you decide which bands get the honor of going on the Warped tour?
K- After the summer, when Warped ends, I take September and October to listen to music, hang with trusted friends whose musical taste/opinions I value and I look online to see what kids like. Then I go with my gut and hopefully put a bunch of bands together that you would want to see the next summer.
E- Thanks so much for your time Kevin. I appreciate it!
K- Thank you!