A lot of bands claim to have overcome adversity to get where they are today. Very few of those bands have come close to what Bayside have had to go through.
Bassist Nick Ghanbarian took some time out from the Warped Tour to have a chat with us…
Interview w/ Nick (bass) of Bayside
By Cameron Chambers
Thanks for doing the interview today mate.
Not a problem man.
For everyone out there in internet land – name, what you do in the band and your favourite way to pass time on the road?
Ha ha. My name is Nick and I play bass in the band Bayside and when we are on the road I spend too much time on the internet. I like to read a lot about hockey and what’s going on in the world.
Who do you follow in the NHL?
I go for the New York Rangers.
Really? Ha ha
Ha ha. Well, we’re all from Long Island but I follow the city team.
Where are you guys calling from?
We’ve got a day off from the Warped Tour today and we’re calling from somewhere in Michigan. We’re playing in St Louis tomorrow so we’re leaving, well our bus leaves in an hour to head to the next show.
Warped starts early each day – we’re talking 7am so we’ve got to get moving nice and early.
I know Bayside has played the Warped Tour previously, how did you find it this time round now that you’re on the main stage?
Well, we’re on 1 of 2 main stages, so we’re not on the biggest stage but it’s still the first time that we’ve been on the whole tour. It’s been leaps and bounds better than anything we’ve ever done!
As a community thing, with the other bands, we’ve been able to meet and great some of our favourite bands and open to them so it’s been great! It’s been cool because some of these bands might not know us as people or our personalities – just as our band – so a lot of new people are learning what we sound like which is great!
We’ve been making so many new friends and it’s been the best summer tour, well any tour actually and playing in front of this many people every day is such a great opportunity! We missed out the last few years because we’ve been doing our own thing, you know? We’ve been doing our own headlining tours, but doing Warped is helping us reach more people – both back of the stage and in the audience.
From what I’ve read you guys seem to be going down really well this year!
Yeah, it’s been great. Everything is in working order. We’re certainly doing our part and I dunno, everyone’s reacting really well and everyone’s been stoked to see us!
For the people who may have had our records for a couple of years but haven’t had the chance to see us, Warped is the time and place where they can do that.
Choosing a 7 song set must’ve been hard considering you’ve got 3 full lengths, an EP and various other songs in your repertoire?
Yeah, it really is. We’re playing 4 new songs, 2 off the last record and 1 off our first record. There’s a contest every day where you can win an extra 10 minutes on your set – but the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus have been winning most of those, ha ha. I think we’ve won 4 of them though! Ha ha
We were a little worried about such a short set but in the heat, 7 songs is a perfect amount. By the end of it you’re so sweaty and tired even though it’s half the length of a normal set. Some days have been so hot – in Phoenix it was about 108 degrees on stage which is extremely tolling on the body. It’s a different kind of heat though because there’s no humidity.
I find it really hard in places like Texas and Florida too because it’s so humid but still 90 degrees. It’s just hard, ha ha.
For anyone that hasn’t heard you guys before, tell us what Bayside is all about.
We’re a very blue collar band. We’re about as “do it yourself” as you can be these days given the internet and all the technology we have. We’re extremely hands on – you can tell in our performances and in our music that we’re not looking for that big hit to blow up and then be gone a year later. The way we want to be perceived is that we want to be taken seriously. We’re just 4 musicians who love to play music and we want to do this for the rest of our lives.
Not to say money isn’t great, ha ha, you need it to stay alive, but we’re not looking for a paycheque and then our chance to cash out. We want to be doing Bayside in 25 or 30 years. We’d rather be Bad Religion than NSYNC, ha ha.
I know “Walking Wounded” has been out since February, but you can tell us a bit about the writing and recording process?
Yep. We spent all of summer – so July and August, writing and doing demos for the album. That gave us a decent amount of time to relax and take it easy for the summer and still write a batch of songs, demo them, and then write another batch and demo them too.
Then we did the “Victory Records” tour in September which was cool because we played a couple of the new songs on the road and watched them come to life. Then we hit the studio late October and we were done by December! We had the same producer as our last record but this time round we had a bit more time and money so the record is a bit more polished. We fixed the things that we didn’t like about the last album.
It was a similar process to our last album though. Anthony brings demos to practice – usually a melody and his acoustic guitar. Lyrics are always the last thing that we put to the songs. We have a general idea of what we know we want to purvey but lyrically, it’s the last thing we touch on.
But um, it’s basically always been Anthony brings a demo to practice, we add all our parts and then we figure out how to make a Bayside song.
As most of our readers would be aware, your drummer John passed away in 2005 as a result of a van accident – is “Walking Wounded” your way of saying to fans that no matter what happens in life, you’ve just got to make the most of what you’ve got?
Yeah, it was the toughest point in any of our lives. We’re always gonna be 4 dudes doing what we love and that was a huge roadblock. Almost immediately we decided that we were gonna move on – probably within 24 hours of the accident happening.
We just felt like we had to make a decision. I mean, I was outta commission for 6 months so Anthony and Jack finished the tour as an acoustic duo and then we had a few friends fill in for myself and John. We just kept going.
A lot of our music has progressed from being lyrically negative and dwelling on things – like our last 2 records – whereas now it’s like, life is always gonna hand you crap and you’ve got to deal with it and make something of it. It’s really evident on this record that, you know, life will always throw you curveballs but you do what you can with it.
Our overall message is that we’re never gonna say things are fine and dandy, but that you need to deal with it and make the best of it. “Walking Wounded” has meant that to us, and it’s helped us move on and move forward.
We want to be that kind of band for people. We want to be a concept for people. There’s a lot of people out there who aren’t in touch with reality and might not know the difference between right and wrong, you know? There’s people who think what they see on TV is reality. We want to show people that there’s this whole other life out there.
I know that when I was 12 or 13 and found punk and hardcore and this whole different subculture – I might’ve only been a young person but I knew that I didn’t want to watch MTV my whole life, ha ha. It felt good to find something that I could fit into my whole life – and it was there the whole time! We want to be that band for people, to show the other side of life and that you can power on.
You suffered a pretty serious injury in the accident as well – was there ever a time when you questioned if you’d be able to keep playing in Bayside?
I don’t think so. Maybe there was a short period of time where I didn’t know if I could physically do it. I broke my back so that required immediate surgery but the doctors assured me that it would heal. I basically spent 3 months at home doing nothing and then had a couple of months of physical therapy and then I was ok to go.
I’m still not completely healed. I still have my good and bad days but I knew almost immediately that it wasn’t going to take me outta commission for my whole life. I’ve been dealing with it since then but this is what I do. If it was taken from me I wouldn’t know what to do with my life so I’m lucky. That’s all I know.
Bayside have a pretty die hard fan base – your website address even refers to your band as a cult – what do you think it is about you guys that makes people so passionate about your band?
I think we really want to differentiate ourselves from other bands. We take as much solace and pride in our music as we can. It’s as therapeutic for us as other people. I think that in itself separates us and makes us more real to people.
It makes us more than just a song or a catchy tune. I think it gives us another level as opposed to just being a band that hear or see on TV. The industry has changed in the last 5 years and if you’re not accessible as a band then you’re disposable.
If you’re waiting for that song – and there’s always going to be a place for bands like that – I dunno. There would be no greater pleasure for me than in 20 years recognizing someone who’s been singing along at our shows, ha ha.
I interviewed “Funeral For A Friend” last week and they’re pretty excited about touring Australia with you guys – what are you looking forward to on your maiden voyage down under?
We’re all so tight which is great. When it comes to this international thing, I don’t know why, but we’re so slow in taking off, ha ha. It’s long overdue that we’re coming down there!
I know “Funeral…” have been there at least twice before so we’re excited that we’ve got someone who’s been there before and can show us the ropes. We’re so slow with getting international stuff organized, ha ha. We actually get as many emails and MySpace messages from Australia as we do from England but we still haven’t been down there yet! I don’t even know if we’ve got record distro down there, ha ha.
Well, if it helps, your records definitely have distro down here, ha ha.
Ha ha, good to hear man. We just can’t believe how many Australian fans we’ve heard from even though we’ve never been there. We can’t wait to see your reaction!
What can fans expect from a Bayside show?
That’s a good question, ha ha. A lot of people don’t know what to expect. Down there in Australia – or even in the parts of the US that we haven’t played yet – people don’t know how to react.
We’re extremely energetic. I don’t know if that comes off in our CD’s but we put our heart and soul into our set. I think if you watched us with the mute button on you’d think we’re a hardcore band by the way we move, ha ha. It’s just lots of energy! We want the crowd singing as loud as us so be warned Australia… we expect a lot from our crowds!
Who are some bands you’ve seen over the last few years that people should be checking out (if they aren’t already)?
Hmmmm, ha ha. The least popular band that I’ve come across, and we actually toured with them in England would be “Attack In Black”. They’re kind of like “Against Me!” but more folky and they’re just great. They’ve had an album come out recently too.
Since the “Say Anything” record came out I’ve been really liking them too. That’s just a ground breaking record. “Bad Religion” are my all time favourite band so as long as they’re still touring they’re making my life great.
“The Starting Line” is another band. I didn’t really dig their first record but the last 2 albums have been great. They’re growing into one of my favourite bands and I see a lot of similarities between them and Bayside. Not necessarily in the way we sound but in the way they carry themselves as a band. We get along with them!
If you could assemble your dream tour – with bands past or present – who would you have – with Bayside headlining of course?
Well, I dunno if I’d be comfortable bringing “Bad Religion” on tour, ha ha. “Bouncing Souls” are another favourite band of mine. We’d probably take giant bands like “Weezer” or “Screeching Weasel” who are another band from my youth who I loved and never got to see!
“Say Anything” as well. We’ve met them and seen them play a bunch but we’ve never played a show with them. I think it would be a huge therapy session if we played together. The whole crowd would feel better about their lives, ha ha.
That’s about it mate, any parting words?
Well, we don’t really have a website, but you can check out our MySpace which is http://www.myspace.com/bayside. Learn our songs coz we need them to be sung as loudly as possible when we do come down there and um, that’s about it! We’re extremely excited to come down there and it’s long overdue!
Well, thanks very much for your time and enjoy the rest of the warped tour!
For more info on Bayside go to: