Dan O'Connor (guitar, vocals), Alan Day (guitar, vocals), Joe Weiss (bass), Jackson "Jake" Massucco (drums), Josh Lyford (Synth/Backing Vocals)
The heavy pop punk quintet known as Four Year Strong have been storming stages since as early as 2001. The band is currently on tour promoting their record Rise or Die Trying out on I Surrender Records. The band was picked by legendary Kevin Lyman to be a part of the Taste of Chaos 2009 lineup. Alan Day, guitarist and vocalist, and Josh Lovell, the band's merch guy, answered a few questions at the Philadelphia tour stop.
What is the meaning of the band's name?
Day: There is no meaning. We even tried to come up with cool reasons for the name. The real story is that there is a Get Up Kids song with the lyrics 'five years strong' and we changed it to 'four' so that we weren't stealing it completely.
How are the new demos you have been working on different from the other records?
Day: We have been working on some new demos in the back of the bus. Nothing is really finished yet but it is coming along pretty nicely. It is a lot like our last album, the heavy pop punk stuff, but we wanted to take it a step further and do the same kind of thing with a sense of progression and maturity. We don't want to do anything crazy that the kids wouldn't like, for sure.
Which do you enjoy more; recording or touring?
Day: Well we are kind of doing both right now with recording in the back of our bus. They are two totally different things. For recording you are in one place the entire time not like being on tour. The similarity is that there is a schedule involved with specific things to do. On tour, every day we are in a new city but our schedule is always the same. We show up to the venue, we load in, and do the same stuff at every venue. When we record it's the same thing. We show up, we start tracking, and are in the same place all day. I don't know which one I like better though.
Lovell: You like touring because you get to have me on the road with you guys.
Day: I may actually like touring better because when we are recording we don't have our merch guy Josh with us. Also with touring we get to see different places and get to see all the fans. We don't really get any cool presents from fans but Josh does.
Lovell: Yeah I get stuff like Doctor Pepper and Sweetish Fish all the time.
Day: When we were in California we played the Chain Reaction and a few fans brought us cupcakes that had our faces as the cupcakes so there were five cupcakes in total. That was cool. I ate me, I was delicious.
Why did you choose 'Love Song' by Sara Bareilles for your pop cover for Punk Goes Pop 2?
Lovell: Because Alan sings that song all the time. Every time it comes on he sings it.
Day: It's true. It is a good, catchy song. I am a sucker for a catchy pop song.
Lovell: When they had to decide what song to do it came up and Alan was stoked about doing it.
Day: When I originally looked at the list I wasn't sure about it. A lot of the boys wanted to do Backstreet Boys.
Lovell: They gave us a long, long list of songs that people haven't covered yet on those things. It was a long list with songs from the 90's to whenever. They don't want you to do some song that no one has ever heard of like a b-side track because then no one would get it.
Day: We ended up picking that one because it was a catchy track for sure. We aren't going to play it live at any of the shows on this tour but maybe in the future. Definitely not this tour because we practice before each tour. We play the same set each night because we practiced and rehearsed it. It would be weird of us to throw in a new song in the set that we have never practiced playing onstage. We never actually played it as a full band. We all arranged and recorded our own parts. We never played it live so I would be hard to just throw it into the set.
I know you had the beard contest. Do you guys have any contests/bets going around with the band or any of the other bands on the tour?
Day: No we don't really have any bets going on for this tour but we do play games when we all go out to eat where we see how many times we can touch the waitress without her noticing that we are touching her. Not in a dirty, sexual kind of way. We tried to play touch the cab driver the other night but Dan (O'Connor) ruined it because he was all 'Hey lets play touch the cab driver' with the cab driver right in front of us and he obviously knew that now every time we touched him it was on purpose. How this works is when we are out to eat and when the waitress hands you stuff you touch her hand while taking it from her. We count how many times each of us can do stuff like that. It can also work for waiter. We just say waitress because it all started with a waitress.
Has there been any serious tour injuries?
Day: The worst tour injury I had was when we were on our first US tour ever. I was holding a 40 bottle for a friend of mine and he was going to hop a fence so he handed it to me. It was dark out and I thought I saw an opening in the fence so I ran over to the opening of the fence but I didn't realize that there was a bench in my path of running. I flew right over it and smashed my hand on the 40 bottle. I had to get a bunch of stitches and all of that stuff. I didn't have any nerve damage so I think my hand is alright. Another story is before going on a tour I was at my house and I was on my way to the van to leave when I had to step over the a-frame holding the trailer to the van. I was walking over the a-frame and I slipped and fell forward but my leg got caught under the bar of the a-frame so I hyper extended my knee. That sucked and it was pretty bad.
Why did you pick www.fucktheguywhoownsfouryearstrong.com instead of maybe fouryearstrong.net or something?
Day: We did it to prove a point. Some guy had his eye out on us and he bought fouryearstrong.com and tried to sell to us for thousands of dollars. We were like 'fuck that guy' so that is how the new site came to be.
What reality show would you go on if u had to pick?
Day: Bromance! That is the stupidest name ever and such a funny show or Tool Academy. Josh would be on that for sure.
Lovell: How about the pimp one with the guy that teaches you how to be a pimp. Uhh I can't remember the show name but something with the guy Mystery.
Day: The Pickup Artist! That was the name. That was a good one.
Lovell: I would so be on that one too. I would wear a magician's hat and call myself Mysterious.
Day: Rock of Love was pretty funny. There is a rumor that Glenn Danzing from the Misfits is going to be on that next instead of Bret Michaels and at the end the girl marries Satan or something. It's fucked up. They are probably doing sacrifices and stuff.
Story by Kristin Biskup ©2008