News Reading & Leeds Festival 2009: Broadway Calls

Having released their first record through Billie Joe Armstrong’s Adeline label and with their latest effort ‘Good Views, Bad News’ being produced by a member of the Descendents, Broadway Calls seem to be the new bearers of the punk rock torch. As they hit Reading and Leeds this weekend, DIY caught up with guitarist and vocalist Ty Vaughn to discuss festivals, famous fans and their fight against American military policy.

Hey Ty. Congratulations on the new album. DIY is giving you the platform to do a sales pitch, so in 1 minute, tell us why our readers should be playing this record this summer.
Thanks! I really hope that this record reaches a group of people that need something sincere to sing along to. These lyrics were kind of difficult to write, but once I finally got them out, a few people I really trust told me they were the right lyrics for these songs. The record has the best melodies and music we’ve ever created, and I guess this is all we have to offer at the moment. Ha. I’m not a salesman.

Does the record have a storyline?
Not a storyline, but it definitely has a theme. GOOD VIEWS, BAD NEWS is about dealing with the trouble life throws at you on a daily basis. You can choose to let it destroy you, or you can fight through it. It’s all about choices we have, with a few suggestions on how to make them.

The lead single is “Be All That You Can’t Be”, seems like an anti-war message for it contains the line, ”The truth is you see troops, not children”. Why do you feel the need to sing a song about war? Is it resonating still in 2009?
Yes, of course. A song like this is still relevant. I have dear friends that are in Afghanistan right now, whose lives are in danger every day… But this isn’t really an anti war song. It’s anti military recruitment. The fact that the leaders of our country, military, and schools find it appropriate to pick kids out of high school to target for enlistment in the military is very disturbing. That’s what the song is about. And as long as that’s still a problem, I’ll continue to sing about it.

The album was produced by Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore. What do you feel they added to the record?
So much!! Those guys have been our dream team to make a record with for years, and it was amazing. They helped us make the songs we had into a record we’re all very proud of. I’d work with them again in a heartbeat.

You guys hail from Oregon and even have a song called ‘Back To Oregon’. Portland is known for indie bands like The Shins and Decemberists, but what was the city like as a stomping ground for more punk, alternative artists like Broadway Calls?
It’s decent. It’s getting better for sure. It definitely used to be amazing for punk and hardcore. That kind of slowed down in this past decade, but Portland is a very musical city. There are so many bands and venues. I love it. Every kind of music has its own little venue that’s known for catering to a certain genre or two. We have our own little crowd there. We love it.

You were originally signed to Billie Joe Armstrong’s record label Adeline Records. How has he personally supported your music? I hear he’s a fan…
Ha. Really? You heard that? Green Day is THE band for me. I wouldn’t be the same person if they hadn’t come along at a certain time in my life. So he’s supported us by just creating the music he does, and by starting Adeline Records, which re-released our first record. But yeah he’s definitely a hero of mine.

Interestingly, Broadway may be calling Green Day, as they soon open the musical version of American Idiot in California. What do you think about the worlds of ‘punk rock’ and ‘theatre’ colliding? In your experience, has ‘punk’ been a restrictive label?
No. Not at all. I mean we’ve toured with a ton of diverse bands, from Ruiner to Cobra Starship. There’s so many different types of punk, that we really haven’t felt backed into a corner of a certain type. Theatrical punk is already extremely successful. Bands like Green Day, My Chemical Romance, and pioneers like The Who and Pink Floyd have proved decades ago that it works.

You’re playing the Reading and Leeds festivals this summer, after supporting The Offspring on 25 August in London. That’s an exciting, busy summer. Where do you get the energy for such a pumping live show?
Sleep is the key. Ha. And short set times. I think if we had to play longer than 40 minutes, we’d feel pretty dead in the morning. Plus, who wants to see any band play longer than that?

Good luck with the festival guys. Since your mates in Gaslight Anthem managed to bag Bruce Springsteen for Glastonbury, if Broadway Calls could call on any fantasy musician to join them onstage for Reading and Leeds, who would it be?
Billie Joe would obviously be huge, but I think it would be cool just to be joined on stage by some good friends. Maybe the Polar Bear Club guys, or Set Your Goals. That would just make us feel more ‘in our element’. I don’t think we’re playing the same day as them though.

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