The Starting Line - 08.16.07

Interviewed by
The Starting Line - 08.16.07Thanks to Kenny for answering these questions and to Michelle Sandoval for setting this interview up!

Can you please state your name and what you do in The Starting Line?
Kenny Vasoli. Lead singer and bassist.

Feelings about how the new album was received?
I feel really good about it. Iím glad itís getting as good of a response as it is. People are taking notice of our band again. The greatest thing for me about the response to the new record is that most of the musicians who we really value their opinions Ė all of our colleagues Ė they really enjoy the record. Thatís been the greatest thing for me.

What song are you most proud of on this album?
Iím most proud of ďSomething Left to Give,Ē ďNeed to Love,Ē ďBirds,Ē and ďDirectionĒ. But Iím really proud of pretty much all of them.

Your records have had drastic changes after every one, in the lyrics, and music, and such. Was there any particular reasoning for this? Changes in your life, etc.?
I think just kind of getting older, and always searching for something new to write about and always trying to keep our music interesting. Itís kind of what inspires us. People ask us a lot why we change so much from album to album, and I always answer that [by saying that] we always try to act our age musically. We donít try to revert back to things that we used to do, just because it would make listeners more comfortable. We always try to take the next step, and take the natural progression.

Lyrics in songs like "Direction", "Way With Words", "I Could Be Wrong", "Somebody's Gonna Miss Us", and "What You Want" seem to in some way or another relate to your relationship with your fans and their reactions to Based On A True Story and how the album wasn't fully embraced. Is this an accurate assessment? Did negative publicity of BOATS strongly affect the lyrics in Direction? Have you come to terms with past criticisms or is this still a bitter subject?
I mean, I wouldnít blame it directly on Based On A True Story. And itís not to fans, but people in the music industry, and criticsÖand the scene as a whole. I always try to confront that face-on and let people know what my intentions are for making music, and that itís not in any way a stunt to get people to talk good or bad about a band. We are always just trying to stay true to ourselves. Thatís what I kinda try to get across.

Why didnít Tom play drums on 3 of the songs? The insert on the CD said that he doesnít play on 21, What You Want, or Island.
That wasnít really a decision that was made by the band, but it happened. Itís still a decision that I didnít back up, I got kind of overruled by the rest of the band and the label. It was after we were totally done tracking, and mixing was about to happen, apparently Kenny Aranof and [producer] Howard Benson, they were talking about the songs. Supposedly just spontaneously they started re-tracking a couple of the drums. I wasnít happy about it when it happened. Iím still not totally happy, but it got so ridiculous as far as compromising with people, and [deciding] which version was the better version. I had to just swallow my pride and realize that the songs are still the songs that we wrote. They have really subtle differences. If you heard the original versions, theyíre really not that far off.

The Starting Line has a lot of b-sides and demos that haven't made albums. Will they ever be re-recorded/mastered and made available on an album or downloadable to the public?
I canít see many getting re-recorded, because theyíre usually kind of the throwaway songs from the album, but I could definitely see some kind of compilation getting put together with all the B-sides, because we have a lot of them.

Are there any other B-Sides to Direction other than "Pictures"?
Thereís another song called ďTime to Run,Ē that I think is available either at Best Buy or iTunes.

What is a typical day of you writing lyrics for a new record? Any particular inspirations and is there a specific place you prefer to write?
I try to find a quiet spot, and sit down with an acoustic guitar. I usually start off with the initial melody idea that I have, and hum along with it. Usually Iíll start to sing a couple of words, where the consonants and syllables all work in the phrase, and then Iíll take that phrase and think about how that corresponds to something thatís happening in my life. Thatís usually how I come up with the concept of the song. Thatís usually my toughest hurdle, coming up with a concept for a song.

What is your least favorite song that you have put out on an album?
The cover song on the EP, ďNothingís Gonna Stop Us Now.Ē I didnít even like the original version, and I really donít like the version that we did. Kids still ask us to play it, but I donít know if weíve ever played it. Itís no big deal: it doesnít keep me up at night or anything. If I could have done it again, I probably wouldnít have done it.

What specifically about say it like you mean it makes you not want to make that kind of album again?
Thereís nothing in particular. Itís not to say that Iím not proud of that record, because I am, and Iím happy that so many people go back to that CD and still listen to it. To me, listening to the CD, I sound like Iím 18 years oldÖbecause I was. I donít so much sound like Iím 18 when Iím 23 years old, and I donít respect bands that are 25 and try to sound 16. Thatís how Iíve always lived my life: I always try to act my age and make the kind of music that will be taken seriously. I couldnít see people taking me seriously if I just went back to writing that exact style.

Do you watch any bands on Warped? If so, which ones do you most frequently watch?
I love Circa Survive, Iím a huge fan of them. Iím an enormous fan of Hot Rod Circuit. I love the Matches. I really like Paramore. I love New Found Glory. Bad Religion is bringing back some pretty serious memories for me. Itís a dream come true.

You are scheduled to go on tour with four year strong. Do you see them blowing up? And what kind of advice would you give them while on tour, to make it in this scene.
Hell yeah. They definitely donít need any advice, music-wise, because they definitely got something going on that people are going to respond to, and already are. Iíd just to say to be smart about your decisions and stay humble. It seems like they have such an underground, almost Elkís Lodge, VFW-style punk-rock, but itís done so well that kids love going off to it. Just keep that frame of mind, and whatever shows you play, pretend like you are playing the VFW, where the kids are right up on the microphone.

How did you feel/think about the whole Cartel "bubble" situation?
(Laughs) They told me about that, and I was like ďreally?Ē My first question was, ďhow is that going to sound? Is it going to affect your record, sonic-wise? It doesnít seem like you are going to get real good acoustics in a bubble,Ē and they were like, ďNo, weíre only doing a little bit of the record in it.Ē Apparently they only did a quarter of the record in itÖthatís what they claim.
The record sounds really good. It doesnít sound like it was recorded in a bubble. Thatís what really matters. Would I have done it? No way. That band probably made some fans from it. Theyíre good enough guys and theyíre in [the music industry] for the right reasons enough that their fans will stick with them.

How do you guys feel about Drive Thru Records now? Do you still have any resentment or anything against them still?
There was really never any resentment, we never parted ways with ill feelings, we got up drafted to MCA, and it was pretty much out of both of our control. Weíve always kept a really close relationship with Rich and Stephanie. Weíve had little arguments along the way, but nothing compared to the other bands. Theyíre super-great and actually I still owe Stephanie a call because she called me and congratulated me on the album.

What did you have to give up/details on Geffen letting you out of the contract?
I donít think we really had to give up anything. We kind of forfeited rights to the recordings of Based On A True Story. We might run into trouble if we ever try to re-record that stuff, but besides that we got away scot-free.

Are there any long-term plans for Person L? I.e. Album/E.P. release, tour, etc.
Yeah, Iím actually recording a bit of the record out here on Warped Tour. I convinced Casey from Hot Rod to do some pedal steel, which heís going to work on today. As soon as I get home Iím going to try to crank out as much as I can. Hopefully Iíll have nine songs finished by the time I leave for the Paramore tour, and then get a release as early next year as I can. Iím going to tour on it as well, but I gotta wait for things to die down a little bit with the Starting Line. But I really want to, and itís going to happen.

What guitar set-up are you using (pedals, amp) in Person L to get those tones on the recordings???
Iíve been pretty much just using Orange Rockerverb head. Iíve been recording with 2X12 Orange Cabinet. Live Iíve been using 4X10 Mesa Cab with Rockaverb head. Usually I play with the Kelly Deluxe re-issue. I have a reverb pedal called the Holy Grail thatís pretty much my only pedal.

What inspires you to change your hair for every album?
Itís not really on purpose. Itís just that Iím always feeling like I look ridiculous, and try easing into the most natural hair that I could possibly have. Right now I really just donít do anything with my hair. I just cut it long enough until it Ďfrosí up a little bit, and then I wake up. Thatís how I roll now. I go through all kinds of stages. Iím sure if people look at back at their yearbooks at what kind of hair they had in high school or college, it might be different to the style they had when they got out. But yeah, itís not on purpose, so hopefully there wonít be a new one on the next album.

Other than playing on stage, do you guys exercise while on the road?
Yeah. I actually just got back from the fitness room. I ran 3 miles there. When Iím home, I have a park right across the street that I do laps in all the time.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 57
02:45 PM on 08/20/07
bippity boppity
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Praetor's Avatar
Good interview.
03:49 PM on 08/20/07
Knicks 2017 World Champions!
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Pretty good interview
03:50 PM on 08/20/07
Knicks 2017 World Champions!
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Where's that other b side. I bought my album at best buy and there was no b side
04:31 PM on 08/20/07
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thatwasamoment's Avatar
Good ol Kenny.
04:45 PM on 08/20/07
Highly inappropriate, but funny.
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Lirr168's Avatar
Nicely done, good variety of questions. I really want that other b-side now...
07:08 PM on 08/20/07
Registered User
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areinus's Avatar
Lyrics in songs like "Direction", "Way With Words", "I Could Be Wrong", "Somebody's Gonna Miss Us", and "What You Want" seem to in some way or another relate to your relationship with your fans and their reactions to Based On A True Story and how the album wasn't fully embraced. Is this an accurate assessment? Did negative publicity of BOATS strongly affect the lyrics in Direction? Have you come to terms with past criticisms or is this still a bitter subject?

That was my question! Thanks for asking it!
08:37 PM on 08/20/07
bobby runs
I dunno
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bobby runs's Avatar
hah he runs and hes in the starting line....
09:35 PM on 08/20/07
National Champions
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ESundy36's Avatar
Great interview, I was curious about the insert and Tom not playing on the 3 songs.
10:13 PM on 08/20/07
the ransom
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firewater's Avatar
wow, he seems like a normal dude, I really respect how he just says it like it is, and really doesn't care if people are put off that their new albums don't sound the same as their old ones. Hopefully i'll catch them on the paramore tour, whenever it comes.
11:09 PM on 08/20/07
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falloutboy.'s Avatar
when is the starting line going to 'die' down enough for him to tour as person l? things are/should only get better since the release of the record..?
07:45 AM on 08/21/07
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jantelis's Avatar
Kenny Aronoffa http://kennyaronoff.com/discography/ is a top session ace im not surprised at all, but the rest of the album sounds fine drum wise with tom playing, so its odd but hey, ill listen to kenny aronoff play drums anyday. Check out his site for his discog and albums hes played on.
10:48 AM on 08/21/07
Died from an accident.
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blimpcityhero11's Avatar
Thanks for asking my question about Person L... Good interview!
11:25 AM on 08/21/07
Registered User
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SJms1026's Avatar
Great interview.
11:29 AM on 08/21/07
bass ampss
is all about that low end theory.
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bass ampss's Avatar
Where that B-Side is!!!!????

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