Last week I caught up with Jack Fowler of Sleeping With Sirens, who played a sold out gig at Hammerstein Ballroom last night and are set to hit up the D.C. area to play The Fillmore TONIGHT. We went through Madness (the band’s forthcoming record that’s set to drop on March 17th via Epitaph) track by track with thirteen (out of fifteen) song-themed questions, so read up on all that below, and also be sure to grab tickets to the show tonight // pre-order a copy of the album here. HERE WE GO:
Who’s the biggest prankster in the band?
Me, 100%. Our old tour manager used to sleep all the time, and so we called him a little cat. And then one day we filled his bunk with unopened packets of cat food for him. We just loaded it to the top.
You’re obviously on tour a lot, so what are some survival items you (personally) like to have with you when you’re on the go for your health, your sanity, etc.?
A lot of water, a lot of Pedialyte (for those long nights when you’re with your friends), Chapstick…I think that’s all you really need; you just need to stay hydrated and you’ll be good to go. (Oh, and Easy Mac. You can’t live on the road without Easy Mac.)
If gold medals weren’t just limited to the Olympics and were given out for basically anything and everything, what do you think YOU would get a gold medal for (aside from playing the guitar)?
Being really good at bothering everybody in my band. I think that’s a gold medal. (I like to annoy everybody and keep them on their toes.) So either annoying everyone in my band, or always being the one who’s late for bus call.
Have you had any equipment blow up on you recently? I know that can be an annoying thing that happens, especially when you’re playing overseas.
No, haven’t had anything blow up on me recently. There was a time in the UK where everything just stopped working on us because the power supply blew up, but other than that, everything’s been going fine for us on this tour.
Flying as a band (to me) seems like kind of a nightmare just because of all of the equipment, but I’m not in a band, so it’s hard to say. You ARE in a band, so do you prefer driving to flying or vice versa?
If it was up to me, I’d just take the bus everywhere, because flying’s pretty sketchy now…you know, planes are going down all over the place, and I just hate flying in general. But a few drinks on the plane and I usually forget I’m even up there.
For the most part, bands end up having to cut at least a couple of tracks from the final record lineup; how many did you guys have to cut from this one, if any, and were any especially difficult to let go?
Probably fifteen or sixteen. Overall we did about thirty songs. And then I feel like we all had the same mutual agreement on what songs we really liked and which ones sounded too much like the “old” us. We didn’t want to play it safe with this album, so everything sounds different. (But in a good way.)
Being around other people as much as you are gets to be a lot, I’m sure, so what is your sort of “zen” situation where you get to be by yourself?
In my bunk on the bus. It’s weirdly the only place you can be alone, because as soon as you leave your bunk there’s people in the front or in the back, and then when you walk in the venue there’s even MORE people, so my bunk is definitely my zen spot on tour. Just lying there with the lights off and my eyes closed to chill.
If you see a spider, do you: A. kill it, B. capture it and take it outside unharmed, or C. enlist the help of someone else to deal with the situation?
Most of the time B., because I don’t really mind spiders. But if it’s really big and scary, definitely A. If it’s a cute little spider I’ll pick it up and get it outside. But if it’s a big scary one with lots of hair on it, I’m definitely going to either run or somehow try to kill it.
Are there any songs (apart from your own) that get you especially pumped up as a band when you’re on tour?
Any Andrew WK. “Party Hard” is our day to day anthem, and we always listen to that and jump around the bus, have a few drinks and then go on stage. So either that one, or MY annoying song that I always play, which is the Titanic theme song by Celine Dion. “My Heart Will Go On”.
There are currently no women on American bills (there are COINS, but that’s kind of bullshit, because I don’t know anyone whose go-to payment method is a Susan B. Anthony coin or Sacajawea golden dollar…) so if you could pick a lady that you admire to be the face of the next bill they roll out with, who would you pick?
[Laughs] Scarlett Johansson or Mila Kunis.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?
Wow. I love corn pudding (my family makes it right…southern, tons of sugar in it…so good), and turkey and cranberries together always puts a smile on my face.
What is the most over-the-top thing that a fan has done for you or the band?
They always draw things, and they’re always really good, but one of my favorites is one that a girl did for us where she drew us as South Park characters. They also bake us things like cookies…we just get so much stuff, from food to stuffed animals to letters…tons and tons of things.
If you could replace Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” in John Cusack’s boombox in Say Anything with one of YOUR songs, which one would you choose?
Either “Gold” or one of the love songs called “2 Chord”.