Sami Marshall had the pleasure of chatting with American Authors’ vocalist Zachary Barnett when this year’s Vans Warped Tour made a stop in Orlando.
The two talked about the band’s first Warped experience, celebrity pals, and how to stand out with your online dating profile.
You can check out the full exclusive interview after the jump!
American Authors will be playing Warped Tour all summer long. To see them live, you can purchase concert tickets here.
Infectious Magazine: How are you and how has Warped Tour been?
Zachary Barnett: I’m doing well, thank you! How are you?
IM: I’m fantastic!
ZB: Good! Warped Tour’s been fun. It’s a hot one today! To quote the late and great Rob Thomas, “Yeah, it’s a hot one.”
IM: Nice! Is this your guys’ first Warped Tour?
ZB: Yeah, it’s our first time doing the tour. We did a couple dates last year, but I call this our first time.
IM: So how has it been treating you? Any unexpected happenings?
ZB: You know, it’s been way easier than I thought. We were all super excited! Warped Tour sounds amazing, let’s totally do it! Then we were like a week out from it, and we were all like, “Oh no, it’s gonna be so hot!” But it’s turned out to be way easier, more enjoyable, smooth. It’s been really cool and positive. Everyone is super nice.
IM: Warped Tour is known to be a new experience each day for bands. Do you enjoy not knowing things, like when you’re going to play every day?
ZB: No, I hate it.
IM: It’s just more stressful?
ZB: It’s terrible! I understand why they do it though. For the bands, it would be nice to know at like 10 pm the night before. But I understand, with social media and all that goodness, why they do it like that. So it’s fine. It’s not that big of a deal. We’ve got a wonderful crew who looks out for us and helps us get to where we need to be.
IM: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve learned so far on this tour?
ZB: I don’t know. No one’s given me any advice. We’ve already done so many tours, this one isn’t that weird of a tour. I don’t know, I guess just drink a lot of water? It’s so easy! It’s honestly one of the easiest tours we’ve ever done. We only play a half hour set and all the press and promo is on the grounds. We have an amazing assistant with us who goes with us to catering. We’re kind of spoiled. We have a shower on the bus and we get hotel rooms. It’s pretty chill, you know?
IM: This year, Kevin Lyman took the tour back to its roots with the lineup. How do you feel about the lineup as a whole?
ZB: It’s cool. I think it’s really great. There’s a lot of really sweet people and a lot of really nice bands. It’s been great meeting everyone.
IM: Are there any bands on your must-see list for the summer?
ZB: I saw GWAR, which was great. I don’t really know a lot of the bands, and that’s been the best thing. Getting to meet all these bands and being exposed to their music. It’s great because I’ve kind of been removed from this scene for a long time. I haven’t really kept up with what’s been going on with it. So it’s really cool to see these bands out here and doing something so different from what I’m used to, and seeing that it’s still a really active market.
IM: Every year on Warped recently, they’ve done the Think TEI workshops. Is there any class you would take if you had the chance?
ZB: Oh man! I just got a fidget spinner, so I would take a class on tips and tricks for those.
IM: Very useful.
ZB: Yeah. If someone like Dr. Dre were doing any sort of class, I would go for sure. Maybe, oh yo! I’d go to a Guy Fieri cooking class!
IM: That would be amazing!
ZB: I’d do that! Guy Fieri is a homie. He’s a really good guy. We had a couple days in Vegas just partying and hanging out with him.
IM: What?! Let’s talk about that!
ZB: Yeah! He took us all to his restaurant. We raged our faces off. I had like a million shots.
IM: How do you get hooked up with Guy Fieri, of all people?
ZB: We were doing the NASCAR awards in December. NASCAR loves American Authors for some reason.
IM: This story just keeps getting weirder.
ZB: Guy was there announcing. He did the pre-party and we were all there hanging out. We partied that day and became friends. He hooked up at his restaurant and we partied with him the next night.
IM: That’s sick!
ZB: Yeah, we have these really great friends. It’s great to be in Orlando because we’re buddies with Chris Kirkpatrick from NSYNC.
ZB: He’s a really good friend of ours so we’ll always hit him up. Chris always hooks us up at the roadside amusement park with the Slingshot. We get the royal Orlando treatment. I’ll shoot him a text, maybe he’s back today.
IM: Tell him to come here!
ZB: I know, right?! He came to one of our last shows in Orlando.
ZB: Oh yeah! He comes out. He hangs.
IM: Oh my gosh! Ok, this is pertinent information!
ZB: Yeah, you need to know this stuff. The next time you come to an American Authors’ show you can look out for major celebrities such as Chris Kirkpatrick or Guy Fieri.
IM: This is true. Guy just opened something in Disney Springs, so he may be around.
ZB: Guy did? Guy! What a guy!
IM: I know, right?
ZB: I like him!
IM: Now, to get sort of back on track, if you could teach one of those Think TEI classes, what would you want to teach?
ZB: Man, you know, I could teach a lot of things. I could teach how to skate a mini ramp. I could teach you how to buy a mini ramp on Craigslist and take it apart and put it back together. I could teach you how to surf… I’m a horrible teacher, that’s the thing. I could teach you how to…
IM: Make celebrity friends.
ZB: Yeah! I could teach you how to be a decent enough human to get drunk with Guy Fieri. That’s a good one, that’s a really solid one.
IM: I’d take that class.
ZB: Yeah, that would be the best selling class. I could also teach you how to get your online dating profile in order.
IM: Oooh, that’s one a lot of people need. I haven’t had success with it myself.
ZB: Really? That’s a bummer. It’s a game to play. It’s all about that order of pictures.
IM: That must be where I’m going wrong.
ZB: Good angles. Fun times. Friends. And you need an animal picture.
IM: Oh, see, I don’t have that last one.
ZB: You need that!
IM: Ok, I’m going to go home, take a picture with my dog, and post it immediately!
ZB: My god! Why haven’t you?
IM: I’m going to get all the dates and I’ll have you to thank for that. You’ll be invited to my wedding, for sure!
ZB: Please do.
IM: After Warped Tour, what’s next for you guys?
ZB: We’ve got some shows here and there. But mainly, we’re just working on new music. We’ve got some new songs coming out this summer and then we’ll just continue writing and performing forever.
IM: Forever, huh?
ZB: (singing) Forever and ever!
IM: Do you have any final comments or info you’d like to send out to our readers?
ZB: Well, readers, if you ever need advice in the online dating world, make sure to slide into my DMs on the Instagram and I will give you all the free Think T-E-H-I… What are they called?
ZB: TEI classes you could ever want!