98° Jeff Timmons Talks About The Groups 2018 Holiday Tour

Photo credit: Elias Tahan

Jeff Timmons is a founding member of the pop group 98°. Together with Justin Jeffre and brother’s Nick and Drew Lachey the group has sold over 10 million albums worldwide since their debut release in 1997. The group is currently out on a Holiday Tour which runs through December 22nd and Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Jeff about the tour, the possibility of new music, and what’s at the top of his wish list this year.

Adam Lawton: Tell us about the decision to bring back the holiday tour for a second year?

Jeff Timmons: It gives us a chance to get back out there and perform. Prior to the last holiday run we had done some summer touring and it was a pretty grueling schedule. Three of us have families so to be away from them is hard. This tour allows us to go out and perform while our kids are still in school and then when we are done be home with them for the holidays. This is really something different because there are not a lot of pop groups doing holiday tours. We have a real blast doing this and helping get everyone in the holiday spirit. Last year’s response was great and this year has been even better. This is something I see us doing for as long as we can.

AL: Was there anything you guys wanted to change from last year’s performance to help bring something different to the show?

JT: I think you always want to tweak things in an effort to make the show better for the fans and for things to move smoother. The overall format from last year is basically what we are going with. We have two albums worth of Christmas material that we do and of course we have to throw in our hits or it wouldn’t be fair to the fans. We don’t take each other too seriously so there is quite a bit of comedy going on. We are playing in smaller venues which allows for a more intimate setting and it gives us a chance to be a bit more theatrical with our performances. These shows are much different than a typical concert and that was really our plan.

AL: How much pre-production and planning go in to a tour like this?

JT: We do a lot of stuff via email. We know basically what songs we are going to pull from each album but then we also throw ideas back and forth of personal favorites that we might want to add to the list as well. From there we can figure out how long the show is going to be and we can start rehearsals. Being that we are all super busy we don’t have as much time as we would like to rehearse together. We generally have about seven to ten days to get everything together before that first show so each of us has to come in ready to go. Fortunately we have been together so long that we know each other very well and that defiantly helps.

AL: You have added a few more stop to this year’s run. How do you guys select which stops you want to add?

JT: A lot of it has to do with routing. We work with an agency that looks at all the logistics which go in to a tour and then things go from there. It never is really up to us. We always want to include each of our home towns and we really campaigned to include the Mid-West and a few other areas this time out. We missed some fans last year and we got a lot of responses about that so we are trying to make sure we hit those spots. We certainly are covering more area this year and we feel very positive about all the stops.

AL: Has there been any talks of new material and possibly more touring in the coming year?

JT: There have been some talks about recording some new songs. We are not sure if it’s going to be an album or an EP. With today’s technology you can be more single driven and stream it all over so we will have to see. As far as more touring goes with everything each of us has going on we have to see how we can balance all of that while being on the road. When we first started dipping our toes in the water to see if people still wanted to see us we weren’t sure what we were going to be able to do. With the reception having been and continues to be so great that presents a lot more possibilities so we just have to see what we can make work. What I can tell you is that we enjoy doing music together and there are going to be some new things on the horizon.

AL: Being the holidays are right around the corner is there anything special you have at the top of your wish list?

JT: This is going to sound corny but I just want to be able to home for Christmas. It’s a grind out here on the road and we miss our families. Fortunately we are able to build in some off days so we do get to see them but when you’re out there getting everyone excited for the season it makes you miss them more. The tour wraps up on December 22nd so we will get to be home and just enjoy our time with one another. I think that will be the best gift.

For up to date info on 98° you can check out their Instagram at @98degrees

The Interrupters Kevin Bivona talks about being a part of this years Vans Warped Tour

Kevin Bivona is the guitarist/keyboardist of the ska/punk band The Interrupters. The L.A. based band just released their second full length album titled “Say It Out Loud” via Hellcat Records and are currently out on the Vans Warped tour in support of the release. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Kevin prior to the bands set in Syracuse, NY about the group’s background, their new album and their relationship with Rancid front man Tim Armstrong.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background info on the band?

Kevin Bivona: The Interrupters are from Los Angeles, and are sound is kind of a mixture of ska and punk. We started the band at the end of 2011 and release our first record in 2014 in Hellcat Records. Our second album “Say It Out Loud” just came out in June and we have been touring pretty solid since the release of the first album. This is our first summer out on Warped tour and so far we are having a really great time.

AL: What was that appealed to the band about doing a tour like Warped tour as opposed to a traditional headlining tour?

KB: We had actually planned on doing our own headlining tour. The band has been very fortunate in that we have been able to open for a lot of great bands who have amazing fan bases. We have been out on tour with Rancid, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Less Than Jake to name just a few. Through opening for all those bands we felt we had developed a solid enough fan base to go out and do our own headlining tour. We then got the offer to join the Warped tour which was taking place the same time as our newest record was scheduled to come out. We wanted to take that huge opportunity to expand our fan base even more before going out on our own. We were really lucky to get the offer. There is so much variety on this tour and you get to play for people who might not otherwise check out your band so this was just the perfect thing for us as a band.

AL: With Warped tour being one of the few remaining touring festivals in the U.S. What do you feel attributes to the shows staying power?

KB: Warped tour has a very loyal fan base. As that fan base evolves sound does the line up from year to year. If you look back 20 years ago when bands like Bad Religion, Nofx and Rancid were playing it and who could still play it today as they are the godfathers of the tour off of them sprouted all these sub-genres of music who have found a home here on the Warped tour. I think the fact that Warped tour stays current with what’s going on in the various scenes and fans know this that’s why more and more people come out to see the shows each summer. What I am seeing a lot of this summer is parents who bring their kids to the shows who have their own set of bands they want see which is just really cool. Having a multi-generational appeal like Warped tour has is something very rare.

AL: With the band being on the tour all summer who are some of the bands you like to check out each day?

KB: There are so many. I like to see Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish; Masked Intruder is amazing and really fun to watch. Teenage Bottlerocket and Pepper are a couple others I like as well. I found out about this band Ballyhoo! while being out here and there are great as well.

AL: How did your relationship with Tim Armstrong and Hellcat Records come about and what is it like working with him?

KB: I first met Tim in 2005 after getting the job as the touring keyboard player in The Transplants. While we were out on Warped tour that year Tim had a studio on the bus so him I started working together. Pretty much any project he has going on I try and get on in one way or another be it playing or working behind the console. I have worked on all sorts of projects with Tim from his Tim Timebomb solo stuff to the Jimmy Cliff record. It’s just a lot of working with Tim and he is always down to check out what I have going on as well which is really cool. With The Interrupters I think we definitely have a sound that fits the Hellcat sound and all of us individually and collectively had worked with him before so when we started the band he jumped on board as a producer/collaborator. Tim was super helpful while we nailed down the band’s sound and vibe. Making our second record with him was a lot different than our previous as we had more time together and some shows under our belts. That first record is sort of an introduction to who we are as a band. We had a solid and defined vision of who we are with this second album so it made things much easier I think when it came time to write and record.

AL: You mentioned a headlining tour was in the works after Warped tour wraps up. Can you tell us anymore about that?

KB: We are trying to put all of that together right now. We have never done a headlining tour in the states before so that’s going to be something new. Right now we are focusing all of our energy on these Warped tour shows and then once we wrap up with that in mid August we should have some more concrete plans for the band and the rest of 2016. We want to play as many places as we can in support of this new record.

For more info on The Interrupters you can check out http://www.wearetheinterrupters.com/