'It's the most fun I will have in my life'
Remember when heavy metal glam dominated the music charts, with bands like Warrant, Firehouse, Cinderella and Poison churning out hit after hit?
This coming weekend's Bash on the Beach will take a step back into that era of screaming guitars and teased-up hair, and fans can expect to hear favorites like "Cherry Pie," "Heaven" and "Uncle Tom's Cabin" when headliners Warrant take to the Detroit Lakes City Beach stage — but they might just hear a new song or two as well.
"Since I've been with the band we've released two new records... one of them came out last year," says Robert Mason, who became Warrant's front man in 2008. "We throw a few of those new songs in there, but our set is always loaded with the songs that put the band on the map.
"There's a nostalgia aspect to our shows, and there's the aspect of having a new song to listen to that we hope the audience will embrace, which they usually do. Our fans are great! They are really receptive to hearing a few new songs — and when you write a song, put out a new record, you want to hear it played live and you want the world to hear it too. So hopefully they'll embrace (the new songs) when we play them in between 'Cherry Pie' and 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.'"
Mason adds that fans at Saturday's concert may even get an extra special treat: Warrant and Firehouse band members playing a song or two together.
"We have the same booking agency, so we have ended up on the same bill with them several times," he said, adding that the bands also used to tour together years ago. "We each do our own sets, but we usually drag them (Firehouse members) up on stage with us if they want to stick around for our show. We're all friends, so that happens pretty often. It's both a good idea (for the fans), and it's fun for us."
Mason, who will celebrate his 10-year anniversary with the band this September, says that touring has taken on a different meaning since Warrant's early days, when the band would most often travel from gig to gig by motorcoach, often spending months on the road at a time.
"I was a fan and peripheral friend of the band back then," he said. "Today, touring is a different animal. We are, in one sense, perpetually on tour — but touring now means getting on mostly commercial airplanes, flying out and doing a few shows in a row, then coming back home and spending a few days doing whatever you want.
"There's very few tour buses, and a lot more airports, airplanes and hotels," Mason added, "but that also allows us to be home in our own beds a few days a week."
That, in turn, cuts down on travel fatigue and allows the band members to enjoy the time they have together.
"We live in three different states but yes we do spend a lot of time together," he said. "It's a nice balance. When we all get together there's definitely still that 'guys in a band' camaraderie — but you're not forced together for months at a time, in confined spaces (i.e., on a tour bus). We'd probably drive each other nuts if we still had to do that."
At the same time, Mason added, touring does have an appeal all its own.
"It's not exactly the same, and yeah, if you miss home you're not far away for long, but you still get to enjoy the traveling circus for a few days at a time," he said. "It's the new mode of touring."
Of course, the highlight of touring is, as always, the chance to get out on stage and perform for a live audience.
"It's not just a way to pay the bills," he said. "We've figured out a way to keep doing something we absolutely love, with a group of people who feel exactly the same way. It's the most fun I will have in my life, when I'm on my side of the microphone."
For more information about Warrant, including upcoming tour dates, the band's discography, and more, please visit www.warrantrocks.com.