Like the rest of us late-night champions, the pop-rock road warriors of Walk the Moon know how to work the hustle. Criss-crossing the US and Canada enough times over this past year to make their van’s odometer look like a high score in Angry Birds, these guys have become MVPs at mastering life on the road and what it takes to survive a wild night.
We recently caught up with the band - Nicholas Petricca (vocals, keys), Kevin Ray (bass, vocals), Sean Waugaman (drums, vocals) and Eli Maiman (guitar, vocals) - in Boston on the first stop of their latest tour in hopes of stealing some pearls of wisdom. Among the knowledge dropped: the perils of haunted Canadian hotels, how to play competitive billiards sans pool cue, the restorative powers of chasing multivitamins with beer, and some song candidates for the ultimate after hours playlist. Let's get started…
In all your touring experience so far, what's been the craziest night you recall…or maybe have trouble recalling? Anything jump out when you think about it?
Eli: At the end of one evening in Montreal I apparently got talked out of a box of 20 Tim Horton’s Timbits; it’s supposed to feed a family of five. So that was a good one.
Nicholas: The first drive into French Canada was pretty nuts. We finished a show in Ottawa and drove straight to Montreal, and as soon as we crossed the border it was a whiteout blizzard. We ended up in this hotel at two in the morning and we were the only people there; we took turns going upstairs, which looked like a scene from a horror movie with all these cherubs on every piece of furniture staring at you and a portrait of a girl that looked straight out of The Ring. We had just had this life or death drive and so it was a tough way to end the night.
Kevin: Our party nights basically turn into hellish drives.
How do you unwind? Do you guys play foosball, darts or anything like that? Any ringers or all-stars within the band?
Nicholas: Ultimate pool is a game we play pretty seriously when we get a chance. It’s a learn-by-doing game. You get rid of the sticks and all the balls except for the cue ball and eight ball and it’s a sport really, it requires a lot of running and people bumping into each other and you never stop moving. It’s like knock-out in that you have to knock out the next person, like in basketball. (Ed note: We watched this clip and still don’t know what it is.)
Is the ultimate goal to sink the eight ball?
Nicholas: The ultimate goal is to sink the eight ball and screw the next person. It’s really fun.
Kevin: It’s very intense.
So who’s the best ultimate pool player?
Kevin: Well he’s got the most experience (pointing to Nicholas).
Nicholas: It might be an old Ohio college game, because we’ve shown up at different places in Ohio and people are like, “Oh yeah, Goo-Ball!” or “Dork-Ball!”
OK, say you could challenge any other band to Goo-Ball or Dork-Ball, who would it be?
Nicholas: (pause) Foster the People.
Eli: Well, they’re good Ohio boys. They’d probably destroy us.
If you were to make a playlist for your ultimate night out with friends, what would be some of the songs on it?
(a collaborative answer…)
Any sort of rituals you have on the road?
Nicholas: A beer and a vitamin after each show is something we do, part of keeping healthy with the nightlife.
Give us a piece of wisdom for surviving a wild night out…
Kevin: The key is, don’t hit every single night, save it up for a really big night.
Sean: Drink plenty of water.
Eli: Stay loose and smile, because everyone looks better when they smile. And wear PUMAs.
Nicholas: Know thyself. Have as much fun as possible, but remember it.
Well said. Catch the face-painted frenzy of Walk the Moon firsthand on any of their upcoming tour dates, and check out their debut album when it drops in May (and check back here for some nice giveaway goods too…hint hint).
Want to nominate your own After Hours All-Star? Let us know!