Parris Patton Talks No Room for Rockstars, on DVD May 15th
For 17 years, the Vans Warped Tour has been a punk rock juggernaut, a misfit circus crisscrossing North America every summer as a wandering minstrel show for youth culture. Embracing a powerful, unifying ethic created by its founder Kevin Lyman, the Vans Warped Tour has grown and prospered as the music industry itself imploded and continues to sift through the rubble in search of a new way forward. Along the way, Warped has provided a launching pad for a dizzying array of talent, from Green Day and Blink 182 to Ice-T, Eminem and No Doubt, along with perennial punk legends such as Pennywise, All, Bouncing Souls and Bad Religion.
With more than 300 hours of film shot during the 2010 tour, No Room for Rockstars documents the true stories of modern era rock and roll from every possible angle. From the kids in the van playing parking lots to gain notice, to the veteran stage manager whose life was saved by the tour, to the musician who crosses over to mainstream success while on the road, No Room for Rockstars is cinema vérité story-telling at its finest. A historical retrospective or concert film this is not. No Room for Rockstars is meaningful insight into current state of rock and roll and the zeitgeist of youth culture.
Accompanying the film will be a blazing Greatest Hits compilation of the Vans Warped Tour. The project will also have a significant library of bonus content, some of which will be featured on the No Room for Rockstars mini-site at vans.com/warped and vanswarpedtour.com.
From the team that brought you the highly acclaimed Dogtown & Z-Boys, No Room for Rockstars will resonate beyond tour and punk rock fans to anyone seeking out the true stories of rock and roll. We recently caught up with director Parris Patton to discuss the DVD release, which is in stores starting today, Tuesday, May 15th.
Here is our conversation.
Obvious, stupid question first...Are you related to Mike Patton?
Parris Patton: No. Not at all. I saw a video...I forgot what it was for...But strangely enough, he looks a lot like me. I haven't been following his new projects so much. But, you know, from the old days...Yeah, I'm a fan.
The most compelling aspect of the movie, for me at least, are these kids in this van, who tour alongside the Warped Tour, stopping at every venue to sell their CDs. Can you give us an update on where they're at right now?
Parris Patton: Joe Candelaria and the guys from Forever Came Calling have a new drummer. They signed a little indie deal. They were offered a couple of things because of the film, actually. But they didn't feel they were up to that level. They had a few people approach them about working together. But it felt above their pay scale. They are very humble, and they know where they belong, basically. There was a little indie record label that picked them up. And I think they are going to start touring again in two weeks. They are always touring. They are in the same van. The music is better. They have an album they are releasing, I think, right before they go out on tour. It might be coming out now. I am not 100% sure. I just spoke to Joe last week. He is doing really good. Chillin' at 29 Palms, just getting ready to go back out on the road. There's a lot happening with those guys.
When you say 'same van', did they get that thing fixed?
Parris Patton: Well, you know...They fix it as it breaks. They still don't have any money. Something goes wrong, they fix it up. It hasn't been given a complete overhaul or anything. No.
How did you find those guys?
Parris Patton: I stumbled upon them as you are watching the film. I was already filming when I met them. I was doing fan interviews down the line before we went into cover the bands we were doing. I saw this guy selling CDs in line. I liked him immediately. So I listened to his music. He made me realize that there is this whole subculture of people who do that. They sell CDs in line, trying to make it from one city to the next in hopes of being pulled out of the line and put on stage. His music and his story, and his personality, was appealing to me. So I decided to follow them throughout. I met them in San Francisco, which I think was, maybe, the third stop...Something like that. It was the second or third stop. So I met them the moment the audience meets them.
What do you think they brought that might not have been there had you not done those line interviews?
Parris Patton: What was needed to make this film more than just a concert documentary...And I tried to do this with everybody...Was just to dig into the personal stories of these musicians. It's not what you see on stage. It's not what you think they are going to be, really...But Joe's journey was full of peril. While everyone who is in a band on The Warped Tour...If you get on The Warped Tour, you get a guaranteed, and the bands spend some of that guaranteed getting on a bus. Because the tour is so brutal. Doing it in a van is ridiculous. But obviously, Joe didn't have that. He had to take a pretty brutal journey to accomplish his dream. That is what a great journey is made of. Without that...I think about that often...I don't know what I would have done. I would have had a completely different film. Adding that story gave the film some heart, and a true arc, through his character. That is what Joe brought to this story, and I don't know what I would have done without that.
So much time has passed since you shot this to right now, today. What do you think about the progress in that span of time, that these guys we are watching, have made?
Parris Patton: Yeah, you know...I haven't kept up with Mark Posner. I saw Chris Drew at one of our in-store parties. He seems to be doing the same thing he was doing. He just has a million fans, and he is touring all the time. Mitch from Suicide Silence, I have seen him a couple of times. They are doing exactly what they are doing in the film in a lot of ways. Just trying to figure out how to reach more people, and touring. That is what it's all about. I don't know if Posner is sitting in s studio somewhere, reaping the benefits of his radio success. For the most part, it's still a grind for these guys. Obviously, they love it. But it is just so hard to get to that level where you don't need to be on the road. It takes a long time and a massive amount of fans, obviously. It seems like most of them are doing what they were doing, just with a lot more fans. Because they have been out there longer.
You end the film with Pennywise, right?
Parris Patton: They are in there. I don't think they are the actual end of the film. The actual last word goes to The Exposed. They were like a catering band. It was one of the stories that didn't really make it into the film. But I thought he summed it up nicely, like, when how you get off the road you see your girlfriend, your pets, your family, and then within a week, you are itching to get back on the road. But Pennywise is in there. And Fletcher has great interview. He gave us the title to the film. It was great having access to those guys.
You don't focus too much on some of these bigger bands, who've been touring with The Warped Tour since it started. I'm forty years old, and I didn't know most of these guys that get the majority of the spotlight here.
Parris Patton: Me neither. You know, it kind of worked out this way. Andrew W.K. was the headliner, and we did get a lot of great interviews with him. And some great performances. We got them from everybody. But they just didn't fit into the film. It felt like the film was more wanting to be about kids on the rise, and how The Warped Tour helps to accommodate that. It felt like the film wanted to go that way. I'm trying to think of who else...The Casualties were there. But only on the last bit of the tour. Some of the biggest bands were only there for the last few days. Like the Dropkick Murphys, the Casualties, even Pennywise. I don't know that they did the entire tour. They may have, but we didn't catch up with them until the end. It was like that. This is where the film wanted to go. I think a lot of people were expecting to see more of a punk rock retrospective type thing. The truth is, most of the bands on the Warped Tour, for the most part, are new. Kevin Lyman is always looking to see who is going to be big in the following year. What are the kids listening to now? Not what do 40 year olds want to see that they saw twenty years ago...Well, it was seventeen years ago...A lot of it has to do with Kevin Lyman looking ahead. We would give Kevin Lyman CDs for his daughter to listen to. He was choosing bands for the tour that way. That shows you were he thinks the audience is, to keep the show going.
That's where it needs to be. I'm not going to the Warped Tour anytime soon, I don't care who is playing. It's a kids demographic.
Parris Patton: Yeah.
How did you mix the interviews with the behind-the-scenes footage to build the narrative arc you were after?
Parris Patton: I wanted the film to be as verite as possible. I really wanted to plant the audience on the tour, so it felt like they were experiencing it. A lot of the B roll photography, watching the crews set up, and stuff like that...It had to do with giving a sense of what it's like to be out there...With the interviews, they were more about the personal stories. You can try for fifteen and a half months to film a certain event, like a stage dive, or some fantastic thing that happens on the tour to make the film remarkable...Chances are, something like that...If it does happen, you're not going to get it...What you can do is go back to the stories about the people, and how they are feeling about the whole thing. That was the mentality going in. By interviewing Kevin Lyman, and the crewmembers that set it all up...That gives audiences a sense of the family that really makes this thing run. I tried not to say that, I just wanted people to experience that. So I added as little commentary as possible. That's why there is no voice over in the film. We just try to let it play out as naturally as possible.
I've only seen the theatrical release. What can we expect to see on the DVD in terms of extra content?
Parris Patton: I was really happy to have a ton of footage. I shot nearly three hundred hours of footage. When it came to doing the DVD extras, all the bands that I, unfortunately, couldn't put into the film...I was able to put together a nice little piece on each one of them. There are about ten eight-to-twelve minute pieces on the bands that I followed, that didn't make the film. You get some of the bigger names, like Bring Me The Horizon, The Casualties, and Pennywise. Then there were the smaller guys I followed quite a bit. They just didn't make it into the film. I am really happy with the bonus pack. I hope people check it out. I think it adds quite a bit. I think we wound up with great bonus material just by virtue of having so much stuff.