Updated: 07/02/02

Midtown always seem to be on tour, whether it's here in the States or overseas. They have opened for Blink 182 and Face To Face as well as headlined their own shows. Their second album on the Drive Thru label is entitled Living Well Is The Best Revenge, and it's filled with potential hits. After several years of hard work and dedication, Midtown are finally beginning to live well themselves and are beginning to realize their rock and roll dream. I recently interviewed vocalist Gabe Saporta prior to their Face To Face show at The House Of Blues in Hollywood.

Highwire Daze: How has the tour been going with Face To Face?

Gabe Saporta: It's been amazing. Face To Face are really nice. All of the opening bands; us, Thrice, and The Movielife - we all get along really well. There's been times on this tour where we're having the best time of our lives. It's our first time on a tour bus, and we're sharing a bus with The Movielife. We're just hanging out, having good times and not having to worry about driving. One of the biggest stresses on tour is all the driving and having to drive at night. Now we have a tour bus and we don't have to do any driving - so we can hang out and really enjoy ourselves on tour, which is amazing.

HD: So all these others times have been driving all across the country in a little vanů

Gabe: Yeah, totally. We did that for three years.

HD: What to you is the best and worst part about touring?

Gabe: The best part, without a doubt, is the 45 minutes that you're onstage and you're just rocking out and playing your songs and having kids sing along, and your having this crazy interaction with your music - that's like the most amazing thing. Something that you create song wise can influence other people, and you can re-create it live. The playing of your music is definitely the best part of touring. Second to that is the people that you meet on tour and hanging out, experiencing different stuff and travelling - that's also really great. The worst part is being away from home for so long and having no sense of normalcy anymore - moving so fast through life, it gets a little surreal and it can even of bring you down sometimes. You feel so removed from everything.

HD: It seems like you guys are always touring. You never really get to spend any time at home.

Gabe: Yeah, totally, it's depressing sometimes. We definitely appreciate the times that we're home and we definitely appreciate the friends we have. I have very few close friends, but those friends I do have, I keep them really close and they help keep me grounded when I'm on tour.

HD: Where did you get the idea for the CD title Living Well Is The Best Revenge?

Gabe: I found it on an old echogram on a pillow. Like how some of the pillows are suppose to say "Home Sweet Home" or something. I just saw one that said, "Living Well Is The Best Revenge" - and I thought it was so great. When the band first started, we made tee shirts out of it, when we were printing our shirts ourselves. And we had 100 of those tee shirts. When we were thinking about a title for this album, it came to us - we thought that was a good thing we use to have, so we decided to bring it back. It's perfect for the timing that we're in right now. We have gone through some problems of people that we've dealt with. We had some betrayals - and instead of us going and trying to get revenge on those people, we decided to focus our energies on our band and make our lives more positive. And that really is the best revenge at the end of the day.

HD: Where do you get your ideas when you write lyrics?

Gabe: Sometimes things just flow out of me and it'll spark an idea - and other times I'll have an idea of something I write to write about in a song, and I'll try to express that as best as I can. All ideas come from personal experiences I've had. And a lot of songs deal with observations I've made about the world and about the way people are. These songs really try and help me reconcile that and also sometimes serve as a catharsis for problems that I've had and situations that were difficult. Playing and writing the songs helps me move on. Music has been one of the greatest creative outlets I think.

HD: How do you think this new album compares to the previous one and the EP that you put out?

Gabe: Well, the EP we put out when we were a band for two months - I don't even think about that in terms of anything in retrospect - it was just a demo that we made. But compared to the first album - I think we've become better songwriters. Our melodies are more interesting. The lyrics are definitely in the same vein. We've become better musicians and know how to play better with each other. So I think the performance overall is better on the new album, but I still think we stay true to the style on the first album and just expand on it a little better. I think also on the first album, we were trying to find our sound. We recorded that first album when we were a band for less than a year. We were still experimenting with different things and borrowing from a lot of different influences. I think on this new album, we focus in on which of those influences we wanted to expand on and really work with. We kind of defined our sound a little more.

HD: Describe what a live Midtown show is like for people who haven't seen you yet.

Gabe: When will play live, it's all about interaction. We feed off the energy of the crowd and visa-versa. We have this exchange going on throughout the whole set and it just leaves us exhausted at the end. But it's amazing - we put everything into it and we just play our songs. Playing live is a catharsis - a release of all this energy for us - and we put everything into it. The best shows are when we have our fans in the audience singing along and feeling the same thing we are. The worst thing for us is playing a show to people that have never heard of us, and they are just standing there and aren't interested in our band. Not because I want everyone to like our band - I want to be playing for people that like our band - not for people that don't like it. We jump around a lot, break stuff and go crazy. It's a lot of fun. A lot of bands also, when they record they do lots of harmonies and stuff and then they don't do them live. We do all of our harmonies live, because we have three people singing and there's a lot of interchange back and forth.

HD: What was it like touring with the Blink 182 guys?

Gabe: The Blink guys are awesome. They are just totally down to earth. They would come watch us play almost every night - we'd hang out. They were just like normal people. We didn't realize how big rock stars they are - they have personal security guards. We went out one time to go record shopping at a store, and they are getting swarmed by people. And people stalk them at their houses and stuff. It's so weird to think about, because they are just the nicest people and totally down to earth. And the shows were just huge - like 13 thousand people a night. I remember the first time we walked onstage; we were losing our shit looking all around us. It was just spinning. The people on the top and on the lawn were little specks - I couldn't even see their faces. So it was just crazy and very surreal.

HD: On both your albums you mention your support for animal rights. Is everyone in your band vegan?

Gabe: Everyone is vegetarian and Tyler is vegan. We eat like dairy and eggs, but Tyler doesn't.

HD: Have you ever done any shows for animal rights?

Gabe: Yeah, we have. And we also hand out literature at our shows about animal rights. Sometime the PETA people come to our shows and hand out literature and their people have said a couple of words at our shows in the past. Since we have people's attention, we do what we can to try and spread a little bit of what we consider to be a positive message. Inherently, we have a responsibility to use music first for a kind of good purpose than just fun. I mean, fun is great and we definitely need to have that. That's the whole thing about punk rock is that there is something underneath there - and there sound be something underneath there for us. These are one of the issues that we want to show forth.

HD: Whose dog is that in the Living Well photo shoot?

Gabe: That's my friend RJ's girlfriend's dog. He told me she had just got a dog. We were doing the photo shoot and he was helping out. He told me that she had just gotten a puppy, and I said when she comes, make sure she brings the puppy so we can put it in the shot. It's the cutest dog. A little smelly, but really cute.

HD: And then who are the girls of the cover?

Gabe: Just friends of ours. Everyone is friends and just hanging out. That was kind of the thing with Living Well Is The Best Revenge - we figured how could we incorporate that in the album cover artwork? We worked with the art director and he said, "Why don't we have a scene of people your age hanging out and having a good time and forgetting their worries and the negative stuff?" And we figured that was the best way to illustrate that.

HD: Do you have any messages for Midtown town or for people who might be interested in checking out your music?

Gabe: We definitely invite everyone to check out our music. What we offer is music that we do with a lot of heart and a lot of passion - I think that's important to have honesty and sincerity in music. I think that everyone who listens to us already; what I want them to take out of knowing our band is that anyone can accomplish anything as long as they put their minds to it. We started out as the band in college just for fun and now we're doing it a lot and get to travel all over the world. I was never like a great musician or songwriter, but I really loved it and wanted to do it and it worked out. So if you love something, definitely follow your dreams. And check out our website


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