The start of the summer music festival season is here and Miss May I are no strangers to touring all summer, in a van or a bus. We met up with Levi Benton and Ryan Neff at The Rockin Derby in New York, and right before they headed to Europe for a tour. They also had stops at Rock On the Range, this weekend’s Amnesia Rock Fest, Chicago Open Air, and many more. We asked the guys how they survive the grind of the road in an interview with Ghost Cult.
Levi: For me, it’s been the front man, and trying to direct the crowd. Festival crowds are the easiest to direct. It’s a blast to have them do crazy, insane stuff that they can’t do at a venue. That’s my favorite.
Being touring veterans like you guys are, I’d love to ask the question what is your survival kit like? What do you need to take on tour for the summer, five things, a bag of things, specifically what is it that makes your touring experience bearable?
Ryan: We’re about to try and do the U.K. without suitcases, which is not normal for us. Normally, the tour is so long that you’ve got to have one. We’re about to do it backpack wise. I think it comes down to … You’re going to get soap everywhere, that sort of thing, you need a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and a phone charger.
Levi: Phone charger. A phone charger that works in the U.K.
Ryan: If things work … Yes, yes. If things work out for you there, then you’re going to be in good shape. You’ll probably get good luck. You find soap. You find all that sorts of stuff. I shave my head every couple of days, so maybe some razors for me, but you really don’t need that much because you’re going to run into … the venues are usually really generous to you, especially on the festivals, they’re sort you out with anything you need. A good attitude would probably be … if you can buy a good attitude, that would get you through a lot of tours.
Since the band has a big following already in the USA, we asked what they look forward to most when touring Europe. What is the bigger draw: sight seeing or the food?
Levi: Yes, the food.
Ryan: They’ve got different food than we do.
Levi: I’m trying to think. Food, big thing. There are other things … I love the shopping there.
Levi: The stores they have. It’s really weird, like the Nike store, or anywhere else there, it’s different stuff than you see in the U.S. It’s awesome because it doesn’t cost any different, but you get that there, and then you come home, and everyone is like “Where did you get that?” You just giggle because you know they can’t get it. It’s pretty … I love the shopping over there.
Ryan: Yeah. Man, the Wagamamas and Nandos, two of my absolute favorite foods.
Levi: Two more days!
Ryan: Yeah. We’ve been counting down. There’s only two Nandos in the entire country, I’m pretty sure, here in America, and you go over there, and you find them every five minutes.
Levi: They have Wok To Wok will be everywhere.
Ryan: Wok To Wok. That’s another one. Loads of them.
We next asked about essential tour bus music:
Ryan: We are very eclectic. We are very eclectic as a group. Different guys like different things, like I go CD obsession. I don’t go song obsession. I go CD obsession until the CD is just so played out that I can’t even stand it.
Levi: I think Jared, our drummer, is the DJ of the bus.
Ryan: Yeah. He always, he finds goofy songs or like happy songs, like he just … The most outrageous things, and he always will grab the chord. No matter where we’re at, if he hears something playing that’s ridiculous, he’s over there giggling with his iPhone playing it.
Ryan: I don’t know if you’ve heard of … Group X is one.
Levi: Group X. Turquoise Jeep.
Ryan: Turquoise Jeep is one.
Levi: That’s a band with these two like rapper dudes.
Ryan: A lot of goofy stuff.
Levi: Talk about fertilizing some eggs. Yeah, so that’s the stuff we listen to.
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