Prior to their upcoming New Zealand show in January. I spoke to front-man George Pettit of the post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. We talked about the upcoming tour, future plans and The Ramones. Check it out!
Jesse: How’s it going man? Are you talking to me in Canada?
George: Yeah man, I’m in my bedroom right now actually! Not to turn this into a sexual thing… I just realized right after I said that how sexual that sounds!
J: Haha I won’t ask what you’re wearing then! Tell me about the tour!
G: It all came about a little while ago, we were all kind of not really doing anything. Alexis had nothing really on our schedule, we were kind of in the depths of our own lives, not really thinking about the band. I sent out an email to the guys because I miss the guys! We don’t see each other enough when we’re home really, you run into one another at the odd event. So then I asked, “how do feel about going to Australia and New Zealand sometime when all our schedules align?”, and then the next day an email came in from our manager who said an offer has come in for an Australian festival. We’re going to put some dates in around that as well. So it seemed all the stars aligned! It was kind of funny how it all came together after all.
J: Have you got any plans while you’re over here?
G: It’s been about 10 years since I was last in New Zealand. I’m bringing my family, like my wife and my son. So this will be fun going out seeing things from a tourist perspective. So I’m hoping to take the little guy around and show him some sights I guess.
J: Maybe go and see some Hobbits?
G: *Laughs* Or some dragons. Don’t you guys get sick of that? “Let’s go and see some sheep.” I’m sure my wife will put some sort of itinerary together.
J: What can fans expect from this tour?
G: I’m not one to boast, but the last time we played and we were playing shows, we practiced maybe two or three times as a full band, and I thought we played better than we’ve ever played, so I’m kind of counting on that. For some reason coming back to it, it’s not like we’re in the middle of an album cycle, we’re not touring constantly. We’re just five guys who are excited to be on the stage with one another. And I think that’s something that’s really going to come across big time. And it came across a lot the last few times we’ve played. And I think that’s beneficial for the band. There is no pressure, we’re doing this purely for the motivations of fun and friendship.
J: You have a band coming on tour with you as support, called The Dirty Nil, what can you tell me about them?
G: They’re a Hamilton band, they’re great, they’re really cool. A three piece band, I really think they’re great. If you want to show up to the show just for us, you’re going to be missing out, because The Dirty Nil are spectacular. They have videos online, so make sure you check them out, and they’re local boys! One time the singer [Luke] came over to my house, and brought me bacon because he works at a butcher. So I made him some coffee and he gave me some bacon, so that’s it! If you want to get on tour with Alexisonfire, you gotta bring me some sort of pork or it’s not gonna happen!
J: So what’re your favourite songs to play live?
G: Maybe Old Crows or Dog’s Blood. I don’t know! Some of the groovy songs just gel really well live. You get a really big crowd response or get something designed within the song for the crowd and that’s a really big pay off. I feel like the further we wrote in the band, the more we thought about how the crowd was going to react to them. So some of our later records, they were made to be played live and they play that way. So anything off the last couple of records.
J: What’s the craziest thing that’s happened on tour to you?
G: That’s a mind blowing question sometimes, because that’s twelve years of crazy things happening. One time I had the singer from Pantera sing me happy birthday backstage, I was really drunk.
J: Are there any future plans with the band?
G: Nothing right now really, in the down time between doing stuff, we’re all wrapped up in our own kind of things. We’re not necessarily thinking about Alexis right now. When we get into a room together or on a plane and the gears start moving that’s when we can all discuss it. We have our own lives outside together, but nothing’s planned as of now.
J: Cool! Do you guys have any pre-rituals before a show?
G: I don’t know if it’s necessarily a ritual, but we generally cut each up and belittle on another. And that’s half of the joy, you get around these guys and I can assure you I’m gonna laugh till it hurts.
J: A question from my dad – what’s your favorite Ramones song?
G: I think maybe Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World. That’s a BIG question! But I feel like right now that’s the answer. There are a lot of different reasons to talk about Ramones songs from different records. I feel like the first few records, are so flawless!
J: How do you feel about people wearing Ramones shirts and not knowing any of their songs?
G: OH MY GOD! Yeah! It feels like they’re so iconic, it feels like there was a moment there where you would go down town and everyone would be wearing a Ramones shirt. You shouldn’t throw the baby out with the water, just because they have an iconic t-shirt shop look. They are also probably one of the most important bands, one of the top 5 most important bands of all time! The Ramones are spectacular!
J: Cool man! Is there anything you would like to say before I let you go?
G: Come out to the show! I’m looking forward to seeing you all, it’s been far too long for me personally. I think it’s gonna be a fucking ripper!
ALEXISONFIRE is coming together to perform at the The Powerstation in Auckland on Monday January 23, 2017, the band’s first New Zealand headline show in 10 years. You can get your tickets here.
Alexisonfire will hold no prisoners upon touching down in New Zealand next year, delivering their trademark explosive sets to fans and once again demonstrating exactly why they’re one of the most important bands to emerge from the 2000s. Put this one in the diary and get in quickly, as tickets are sure to be snapped up fast!