Photo Credit: Adam Elmakias
As the only act on this fall’s AP Tour without a drummer—or electric guitars—This Wild Life are sure to stand out on a bill otherwise loaded with hooky pop-punk and pop-rock. But singer/guitarist Kevin Jordan and guitarist Anthony Del Grosso are fine being the odd men out: In the past year, the acoustic duo have supported everyone from New Found Glory to Sleeping With Sirens to Pierce the Veil, proving that truly great songs can transcend genre lines. They also have the power to change lives, as evidenced by the duo’s No More Bad Days benefit, a concert on Oct. 7 in Anaheim, California, hoping to raise $10,000 for breast cancer charities. Before he left on the AP Tour, we caught up with Jordan to chat about the No Bad Days benefit, new music and why touring isn’t necessarily the best way to see the world.
How did the No More Bad Days benefit show come together?
Anthony actually came up with the idea for doing a benefit show six months ago. We have a song called “No More Bad Days” on our record [Clouded] that I wrote for my mom, who years ago went a year of chemotherapy. I wrote her a song reflecting on that time period and trying to lift someone’s spirits up. That song has connected with so many people.
I always write songs selfishly, songs about my own personal experiences. That’s pretty much the only song on the record that’s a really positive song written for someone else, and it really connected with people more than I ever expected it to. People would always come up to us asking about that song or actually asking me to write down lyrics so they can get them tattooed. It’s just this really special song I never expected to resonate the way it did. We wanted to have a show themed around that subject and find some way to give back rather than just selling T-shirts.
In addition, you’ve had time off between Warped Tour and the start of the AP Tour. Have you guys been writing new material?
I was just in the studio last night. Things are going really well. With Clouded, we basically went into it with 11 songs, so this time we’re just trying to write a lot more songs and really just pick the best ones. The next record is really important for us and the longevity of our band, so we’re going to put everything we’ve got into it. It’s been tough; we’re definitely putting a lot of pressure on ourselves.
Does it feel like a continuation of Clouded?
Hmm… I guess it does. What usually happens is I’ll try something that I feel is really different and feel intimidated for people to hear it. Then I’ll show someone a demo, and it’ll be like, “Oh, this really isn’t that different. It feels like a logical step for you guys.” I don’t think we’re turning things on their head. We still love playing the songs we’re playing. But you also have to remember you’re going to be playing new songs and old songs live. You can’t do something super-challenging—well, maybe over the course of like five records it’ll make sense. But we’re not going to go out there and do something completely different.
Do you think any of the new songs will make an appearance on the AP Tour?
We could go out there and play new songs and really enjoy it, but every time I see a band I love, I want to see them play songs from the records I love. When they play new stuff, it’s like, “What do you want me to do?” I think we’re going to change up the setlist we’ve been playing the last six months, but I think playing new songs would bum people out. Maybe a month before the record drops, but our record is realistically coming out next year. It’s too soon.
You’ve certainly crossed the country a few times over the past couple of years. Do you have any favorite sightseeing spots?
We’re not huge sightseers. It depends on the tour; usually the headlining band is in a bus, so the drives are usually pretty long. When I was doing DIY tour, you’d have to be really conservative with gas and how far you’re going. You’d only book shows two to six hours apart, but some of the drives we’re doing these days are eight to 12 hours. It’s hard to make time to see a lot. I tell people: “If you want to see the world, don’t be in a band. Get a job and go on vacation once a year.” [Laughs.] If you want to go to New York City, spend a week in New York City. If you’re in a band, you’re going to look for parking for four hours, play your show and then have to leave. You don’t have the time to see anything or the money to do it. If your aspirations are to be a world traveler, get a job. [Laughs.]
Man, the St. Louis arch looked great from inside the van.
Yeah, exactly—the world is beautiful through windows. It’s a lot of Chipotles and gas stations.
We’d love to do some collaborations with them, people coming out and singing on other people’s songs. Both of those bands are close friends of ours. As it Is are really exciting to me; they’re in the middle of the new world of YouTubers doing covers, which we’ve done our share of, but Patty [Walters] is that next level of it. He’s really in tune with these younger kids doing stuff on YouTube. They’re not up there playing Blink-182 covers all night. They’re a real band.
Real Friends will be playing a cool set. They’ve been touring a ton, and they’re in our position, where at this point you have to pull out some new stuff and try some different things to keep people coming back to see you on tour. People have heard theses songs a bunch of times. I think both of us will be challenging each other to pull out all the stops and put together a cool setlist that will excite our fans.
I think pyro and lasers would do the trick.
Yeah, I think that goes hand in hand with how intense This Wild Life sets will be every night.
You guys opened the first leg of the Sleeping With Sirens/Pierce The Veil co-headlining tour. Talk about production.
Yeah, that was crazy. Both of those bands go absolutely over the top. You know, they spend a lot of money on production and make it a really cool thing for the fans. If they wanted, they could go out there with no production and just grab all the money—a ridiculous amount of money. But they look at it in the long term of keeping people coming back and spend the money to make the show worth it for the fans and justify the ticket price.
Anthony and I saw City And Colour at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles last year. It was a 6,000-cap, sold-out show and [Dallas Green] had zero production whatsoever—no backdrop that said his name, nothing. We’re like, “This guy has it good. He probably flew out here with a carry-on guitar and just walked onstage and absolutely killed it.” But the cool thing is we didn’t feel like we got ripped off. It was a totally different experience than going to a big rock show with lights and fog and CO2. To see that many people go see one guy play his guitar was really inspiring for us all. alt.