This special Thanksgiving Day interview is with the guys from Hollywood Ending. You’ll see why I’m posting on a special day near the end.
Watching them perform, it’s hard to believe the five guys in Hollywood Ending have only been performing together a few months. On stage, they’re in synch with each other in a way some bands that have been together for 10 years don’t manage. And they obviously enjoy performing and touring. Tyler Wilson sings lead with Cameron Byrd, who also plays guitar. Mike Montalbano is on drums, Chris Bourne is on the bass and backing vocals, and Dan Geraghty is on guitar and backing vocals.
I interviewed the band before the final concert on Action Item’s The Stronger The Love Tour. The venue is crowded and a total of eight bands were playing, so space was at a premium. I ended up interviewing the guys in their tour van and using my brand new digital recorder. As you’ll see, it was an hysterical experience. I’d gladly interview these guys again, any time.
Anthony: I do all my interviews by email so hopefully this thing is going to work. I’m just going to try to hold it flat. So the first question I wanted to ask you is one you probably always get…
Mike: Is the heater going to mess with the recorder?
Anthony: Oh, yeah, it might. I didn’t think of that. Thanks, Mike.
[Dan attempts to turn the heater off, but can’t find the right knob.]
TYLER, CAMERON, MIKE, CHRIS: No, to the left! The left! THE LEFT! Your other left! The other knob!
Anthony [pointing]: This one over here. [Dan turns a different knob and the heat goes off.] Okay, that one works too. [Everyone laughs] This is going to be fun to listen back to tomorrow, and be like ‘what was all of that?’
Dan: Sooooo stupid.
Anthony: Well, you didn’t manage to lock yourself into the front of the van, or out of the van, so we’re okay with that. Although I have to say, MY most embarrassing moment on tour … well, not on tour, but I travel for work … leaving the wireless microphone on when I went to the bathroom.
Anthony: Yeah, in front of like 60 people. Coworker came running in while I was at the urinal to tell me it was on. So Dan, I’ve out-done you.
Cameron: So one day one of us will top that.
Anthony: And then you’ll have to make sure you tell me about it. Okay, since I know we’re tight on time: You guys have been together for how many months now?
Band [almost in unison]: Four.
Anthony: How did the band come together? You’ve probably answered this question like ninety million times.
Tyler and Mike: [laughing] Yeah…
Cameron: Well, basically, we all knew each other from other bands and then our manager set us up with Chris here.
Chris: Through Skype.
Anthony: Through Skype? Cool.
Cameron: and it kind of started from there, and then NBT started…
Tyler: We got a slot on NBT and we decided that it was amazing exposure and it had to be, it had to work out. We all got along really well, we’re brothers, and it just really worked out really perfectly. A lot of luck.
Anthony: So: first time on tour for … any of you?
Tyler: Me and Cameron.
Chris: My first time on tour.
Dan: Mike and I have toured before.
Anthony: So what’s the toughest part about being on tour, for you guys who are new to it.
Cameron: Being sick.
Chris: Trying to sleep. Sleeping on tour is hard.
Tyler: I wish I could eat better, but there’s just a lot … you know, it’s tough.
Cameron: [coughs] I got sick after two weeks, and I’m still sick. So I’ve been sick for almost two weeks.
Mike: It’s all the things that you think would be hard.
Anthony: Yeah, the same stuff I have traveling around the country for my company, it’s just being in the van you’re in a tighter space dealing with it. So NBT, you’ve made it through to…
Mike: Third round right now.
Anthony: When does the voting end?
Everyone: Tomorrow [which was Monday, November 21st]
Anthony: Alright, good, because I did just tweet right before the interview, “you’ve got to make sure you vote for these guys,” not that I have a huge number of followers…
Dan: Thanks so much!
Tyler: Every little bit helps.
Anthony: I’d like to see you guys go through. Okay, the songs. Who are the song-writers in the group? Is it everybody?
Tyler: Everyone really writes.
Cameron: Everyone has their own thoughts on it.
Dan: Yeah, everyone really contributes.
Cameron: Like someone will come up with an idea then we’ll build off of it and we’ll all throw in our opinions so it’s like a big song-writing session.
Chris: Most songwriting sessions like sometimes Tyler and Dan will pair off and then me and Cameron will pair off and then Mike comes and checks out what’s going on and gives his input.
Cameron: And then we’ll go back in the end and we’ll edit stuff, so we all usually help.
Anthony: So it’s really a group effort, not like some groups that have just one or two members that write all the songs and everybody else just fills in with their instruments.
Cameron: And everybody is different, different approaches to writing, too, like everyone has their own ideas.
Mike: And everyone brings it together.
Anthony: A real group collaboration, that’s awesome. You’ve got the two singles out on itunes now, right?
Tyler: Yeah. “You Got Me” and “I’m So Over You.”
Anthony: More music coming soon?
Cameron: We’ve got a couple of songs that were recorded and are being recorded soon. We are very busy with tour as you can see, and we’re about to go on another one with All-Star Weekend soon. It’s hard on the road you don’t have the time to write or obviously record but as soon as that’s over with… Until then, we hope to write and record new songs.
Anthony: Those are the usual questions I think you guys probably get asked all the time.
Everyone: [laughing] Yeah.
Anthony: So I’m going to ask the one that I end my email interviews with and you can take a minute to think about it: because I’m a writer, I always ask everyone what your favorite book is, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?
Dan: “HOP ON POP!”
Anthony: How did I know you were going to come up with a Dr. Suess book? I don’t even know you and I somehow knew you’d be the one to answer Dr. Suess.
Dan: Dr. Suess is a legend! Oh, “Green Eggs And Ham,” too!
Mike: Do you know the book “Hi, My Name Is David and I’m an Alcoholic?”
Mike: That book is great, I dunno, I read it in like 9th grade…
Anthony: And it stuck with you.
Anthony: So there you go.
Cameron: A book I’ve always loved, and the reason why I would tell people to read it is because I’m not a huge reader, I’ve never been a big reader, but I’ve always loved “Holes.” I’ve been able to read it like four or five times, and even when I was younger and I hated reading … I like reading now but I don’t do it that much, but when I was younger I hated it, but I would still read “Holes” over and over, so…
Tyler: I’m a huge, huge “Harry Potter” fan, and I think most people have read “Harry Potter,” but if you haven’t, please go do that because it’s an amazing book.
Anthony: I always love it when Potter gets the shout-out. All three Burnham brothers named the Potter series, too.
Chris: I’m kind of in the same boat as Cameron, I don’t really read, but I’ve made the effort to read some biographies of famous people that I’m really inspired by. Michael Jackson, titled “Moonwalker,” it’s a great biography, I’ve read that, incredible insight into his life, you know, and yeah, it’s just a great book.
Anthony: Yeah, you know, it’s funny, I ask that question and a lot of people will say, ‘well, I don’t really read any fiction so I don’t think I can answer the question,” and I’m like ‘no, it doesn’t matter if it’s biography, fiction, whatever … you’re reading.
Everyone: Yeah, true, right.
Anthony: Alright, well, I think that’s all the questions. I knew you guys were going to be strapped for time, so I didn’t come up with a million questions to ask, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few of the ones I wanted to ask.
Cameron: Well, thanks a lot man.
Chris: Yeah, thanks.
Anthony: You know what, let’s just make sure this worked… [plays back interview] Yep! Great. Alright, well, I’m coming into the show to see how you guys do, and to visit with the Burnham family.
Mike: Really, cool!
Tyler: Thanks for sticking around.
Anthony: I’m sure a lot of interviewers don’t. I’ll be near the back, though. Let all the screaming teenage girls get up close.
Dan: [laughs] You mean you’re not going to be screaming?
Anthony: I will clap and yell, but I’ll cut down on the screaming. Thanks again, guys! I’d say break a leg, but the last time I said that to my nephews, they took me seriously. One broke his arm running after his sister, and the other did it during football practice.
Dan: How … ironic.
Anthony: I get the feeling Dan always gets the last word!
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One of the several things I forgot to ask the guys during the interview was about an upcoming benefit concert they’re playing in NJ. So here’s the details: in association with School of Rock, Hollywood Ending will be performing at the Rockin’ Strong for #34 benefit on November 28th, 2011 at Saddle Brook High School. Doors open at 7:00pm and tickets are $10.00. Tickets can be purchased at the Saddle Brook or Waldwick NJ School of Rock locations. All proceeds go to help Tyler Vitiello, a Saddle River HS football player who suffered a severe neck injury during his team’s last regular season game in early November.