Aaron R. Gillespie of Underoath

Aaron R. Gillespie of Underoath drummer blogWe’re currently about a week into the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, and it’s hot, sweaty, and fun. I was a bit nervous going into this tour, as the crowd at this festival is really, really different from any crowd we’ve played for in the US. For the last three years, every summer we’ve done the Vans Warped Tour and have become extremely comfortable there with our audience, the environment, and the people who work the fest. We decided that we needed a bit of a shift this summer–not abandoning our crowd, but just trying out a different one. So thanks so much to Kevin Lyman and John Reese, here we are at the end of the first week of the flagship Mayhem summer festival.

The first week has been awesome. We’re playing to a ton a people who have never heard of Underoath, as well as some amazing fans. There are so many great things about this tour–like every night you get to watch Slipknot and their big metal craziness production. We’ve known some of the production staff for years because of Warped tour, the food is great, and everyone is nice, which I think for us is really cool because Underoath has never really been in the straight-up metal scene, so in a sense this tour feels like starting over a bit, which is fun.

With every outdoor tour there comes the inevitable minuses, too, though, such as the portable plastic steamy porta potties. The extremely interesting thing about a porta–and I think it’s the only plus in the plastic poo-hut world–is that when you go inside it’s about twenty-five degrees hotter than it is outside, so when you come out it feels amazing!!! It’s like a free air conditioner until your sweat dries!! Sweet, right? Advertisement

As for playing on the tour, I got new drums on day one, which was awesome. Truth custom drums just launched a vintage series that has mahogany shells, with maple reinforcement rings with actual round-over edges. Geoff Barrios (owner of Truth) brought me this kit, and it truly, truly sounds like a ’60s-era Slingerland. I can’t get over it. You guys should definitely check out as they are really doing some amazing things with wood.

As for playing drums outside, I think my tech and I have it figured out. He built me this fan cyclone thingy. It is comprised of two fans pointed in just the right way, where I sit right in the middle. It really does keep me cool and dry; if you’ve ever played outside then you know what I’m saying. Outdoor tours are interesting: When you’re there you hate the heat and the bathroom situation–and when you’re not there, you wanna be. Oh, the throes of a summer tour. Bye bye.

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Photo by Dave Tobin