- - Sunday, August 14, 2016

In just a few years, Florida’s A Day to Remember has gone from relative obscurity to selling over 1 million albums — thanks in part to a massive presence on social media. They have garnered 400 million streams on Spotify and 500 million views on YouTube.

The other element that helped catapult the band into the stratosphere is the band’s epic live shows. They play a fast blend of aggressive punk-based pop rock with a deep passion. Maybe that is why ‘90s punk kings Blink-182 handpicked ADTR to be their opening act on their summer tour.

That rockin’ roadshow stops at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Tuesday. Lead singer Jeremy McKinnon spoke about his pre-show rituals, boss battles and their upcoming CD, “Bad Vibrations.”

Question: How did you guys land the tour with Blink-182?

Answer: I think it had a lot to do with [guitarist] Kevin [Skaff], who had a relationship with [Blink 182 drummer] Travis [Barker] because of the whole “Famous” clothing line. Kevin was wearing some of their stuff for a while, and Travis was always involved with stuff we did because of that.

Travis set us up with a dinner one time at his restaurant in L.A. He came by and was hanging out with us. Someone said, “Hey, are you gonna let us open for you on your two shows?” They were doing two small warmup gigs at [Sunset Strip clubs] The Roxy and The Whiskey. Travis said, “Do you guys wanna open that?” We said, “Sure.”

We played the shows, and they went over really great. We were pretty surprised actually with the crossover of the fan base since the shows were pretty much sold out when we were added to the show. It was amazing. Everybody knew all our stuff. I think our two bands kinda clicked on those shows. And here we are today.

Q: Any competition when you play on a bill with other bands?

A: Sometimes. I usually don’t prefer those tours. [laughs] This tour with Blink is perfect. They let us do our production. We have a 45-minute set every night. We’re getting to a place in our career and catalog where we can fill and hour that pretty much the majority of people in the crowd will know. Forty-five minutes is actually kind of hard for us to fit in all the stuff people want to hear.

We come in, play 45 minutes, and then we get to watch Blink-182.

Q: As your catalog of albums and songs has grown, how do you decide what your gonna play live?

A: It’s hard, honestly. There are some songs that get left out. We’ve been getting a little bit of griping from fans. But, you know, we do the best we can in 45 minutes.

A: What is you pre-show ritual?

A: We like to get loose. Have a drink or two. When I put my [earphones] in, I have to have Kevin Skaff clip it because he is the only guy that knows how to clip them to my shirt so they don’t fall off mid-show. He was classically trained in the art of clipping. [laughs] That’s part of the ritual.

Then we all have to fist-bump everybody. But I can’t do it until I have the microphone in my hand.

Q: How do you keep from destroying your voice?

A: It took a few years to get that kind of reeled in. These days I kind of meet in the middle. I can’t go completely balls-to-the-wall with the screaming. If I meet in the middle, I can keep my voice, sound good live and have a good singing voice without ruining it.

Q: What’s one thing you need on the road to stay sane?

A: Two things — my acoustic guitar and my PlayStation 4.

Q: What games are you playing these days?

A: I was playing “Overwatch” when I was at home. But I’m probably not gonna have consistent internet when I’m on the road.

I’m literally at the final boss battle on “Dark Souls 3.” But it keeps kicking my ass. [laughs]

Q: How does social media figure into the band’s success?

A: We worked with a lot of great people like our friend Adam Elmakias. We had him come on tour as a photographer to take photos all day every day. The real reason we wanted to do it was just to have it saved. So if 10 years from now we’re not doing this, we would have these photos to remember that amazing time of our life.

He is so on with social media that he kind of helped us grow our own accounts. That’s kind of what it is today. He gave us this great content in the form of his photos we post on social media. He gave us the rundown. “Do this at this time when the most people are on.” You can see the growth. I had maybe 80,000 followers on Instagram when he came on. Now I’m at almost 400,000. It works if you do it right.

Q: Do you imagine a time when A Day to Remember will call it quits?

A: The goal is no. But you never know. You just take it one day at a time

Q: How was the recording process of the new album “Bad Vibrations” different?

A: We usually have a team of people that we work with every time. And we usually do it at home.

With this album we kind of branched out from that. It was important for us to step out of that comfort zone and do it in the middle of nowhere. Just get in a room together and write a record. That’s what we did. It’s more raw than any A Day to Remember record has been. It’s a totally different vibe sonically.

A Day to Remember plays Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Tuesday with Blink-182.


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