August Burns Red lead guitarist JB Brubaker spoke with me recently about the band’s new CD/DVD live effort, Home. This release captures the group playing to a home town crowd in a Pennsylvania church gymnasium. ABR brought in their own staging crew and transformed the gym into a temporary venue, big enough to hold their friends and family. On the day Brubaker answered my questions for PureGrainAudio, the band was preparing to head over to Europe for a series of dates. Here’s how it went.
Your brand new CD, Home, is set for release on September 28th. Now that it is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
JB: Yes, I’m very satisfied with it. I was initially pretty nervous about recording/filming a live show. You want to play the best show of your life because it’s going to be remembered for the unforeseeable future because of the CD/DVD release. Once we got up there and got into it, we just had fun and remembered that even though it was being filmed and recorded, we were doing the same thing we aim to do every night so we shouldn’t be nervous. I’m pretty pumped on how everything came together.
Where was this recorded at? How did you choose the venue? Was it one complete show or is it more of a compilation of shows?
JB: We recorded the show in Manheim, PA which is a small town of about 6,000 people 25 minutes away from Lancaster, PA. Most of the band was born and raised in Manheim. It seemed fitting to do this sort of thing in our own backyards. The venue we chose was the gymnasium of a local church called Manheim BIC. They have been doing shows in a club they built in their facility called Warehouse 54. We wanted to get as many people into the show as we could so we decided the gym would be more fitting. We brought in our own staging and lighting and it looked pretty sick. The live DVD is not a compilation of shows. It’s the entire show from that night back in June.
I know you have been busy touring, but are there any plans for a new studio album any time soon?
JB: There are plans for a new studio album, but we won’t really get cracking on that full time until we’re done touring for the Fall. I’ve been writing a lot but we haven’t brought much together as a band at this point. Look for something early summer 2011.
All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?
JB: I try to keep myself in decent physical shape so that all those hot sweaty shows don’t take as much of a toll on me. When I’m at home I try to work out fairly regularly and eat much better than I do on tour. We eat a lot of junk and tend to not get adequate sleep on the road, so off time is recover time. Usually I’m a little sore after the first three shows of a tour, but after that I sort of find my rhythm.
Are the rigors of touring taking more of a toll on you as you get older?
JB: The rigors of touring aren’t really taking a toll on me physically as I am only in my mid-twenties (ask me again in 10 years), but I suppose they can put some strain on your relationships with people you’re away from. I must admit that being on tour and trying to make a relationship work with a significant other can make touring a lot more difficult. I have done tours with a girlfriend and tours without, and the tours without tend to be a lot less stressful. At this point I feel like I’ve been through most of the common scenarios life on the road will throw at you, and I’m pretty good at knowing what to expect and rolling with the punches.
What kind of music are you listening to? Do you keep abreast of new music?
JB: I’ve been listening to variety of things. The new Arcade Fire record has been a Summer favorite for me. I’ve also really gotten into the Mumford and Sons record, and this young band on Nosleep Records called Balance & Composure. On the heavier side I’ve been listening to Defeater, the new Comback Kid and The Hope Conspiracy. I’m not sure I do a very good job at keeping up with new music. I keep up with the bands I know and love, but as far as hearing about a new band, I usually rely on friend recommendations. I’m fortunate to have a fair amount of music loving friends with great taste.
How do you relax when you have a day off or in between tours?
JB: Days off on tour are generally spent sitting down for a nice dinner, and maybe going to a movie. Sometimes we’ll just shack up in a couple hotel rooms and just watch TV and hang out. If we’re feeling ambitious we might try to go see something or visit an amusement park, but that usually doesn’t happen more than once a tour.
How is the current economic slump affecting your band?
JB: It forces us to be very careful when choosing what tour to do, what size rooms to go into when headlining, and to count our blessings often. While we certainly recognize that things aren’t so hot with the economy, we have had good fortune when choosing our tours and haven’t been overly ambitious when routing headlining tours. We’re also lucky to be a growing band in tough economic times because even when money is tight, people will still go out and pay for entertainment every so often. You just need to cross your fingers and hope that whatever tour you’re doing is attractive enough to be one of those “special nights out” for those who are interested in coming.
I know you are about to head over to Europe. What kind of touring plans do you have after that?
JB: After Europe we come home and jump right into co-headlining the AP Fall Tour with Bring Me the Horizon. That tour will be out until the end of November, then we go home for a week to catch our breath before visiting New Zealand and Australia for a week of shows as part of the No Sleep Til… tour. I’m really looking forward to all three of these tours. We haven’t done a headlining tour in Europe since 2008, the AP Tour looks like it should be pretty huge and the Aussie/NZ tour is with NOFX, The Descendents and a lot of other great bands. This fall should be a lot of fun!
Any closing words?
JB: Our live CD/DVD Home is officially out on Tuesday, September 28th, so it’d be sweet if everyone would check that out. We’re going to be all over the place this Fall so if you care to come see us play we should be coming to a nearby city at some point! All our dates and what not are up on our site. Thanks for the interview and for caring enough to read this! [ END ]