Warped Tour Interview: Valient Himself of Valient Thorr

D: First of all, I watched your set, it was awesome.  It was my first time seeing you guys.

V: Oh awesome! Thank you very much man, thank you.

D: You guys are the most straightforward rock ‘n’ roll band on Warped Tour, without a doubt, how’s the reception been to that? Not just today, but throughout the whole tour.

V: Today was weird

D: Really? How was it weird?

V: Well there was nobody there. I don’t know if it was the time, I looked up who we were up against and I couldn’t tell what the deal was. We’re sort of in a weird spot today too, but I mean people found their way to the stage for other things though. Um, I don’t know what it is. We do well in Saint Louis, but is our Saint Louis crowd a bunch of drunk old people who don’t come to this? I don’t know.

D: That could very well be it

V: But um, you know, I really don’t know if today was really different than normal. We don’t have a big young crowd push right now cause we don’t have anybody really working for us. Our label, I don’t think they really give a shit about us, so it’s neat when you come out here, you’re looking for a younger crowd, cause you wanna grab them and catch them. You also have people who say “I saw you twelve years ago! in 2005 with my dad and here’s my son!” That’s literally a story that happens like every other show.  So you know, if you catch ’em while they’re young, they become fans for life, you know? As long as you don’t end up being some kind of fucking weirdo (laughs).  If you have longevity and are not just some pop band that disappears next year, which, we’re not going anywhere, you can really do some damage out here.


D: Yeah, I mean it makes sense, and you guys have had that longevity. How’s touring changed for you guys from early on to what you’re doing now?

V: It’s almost like we burn ourselves out.  I noticed today, now check this out, today is our 1,426th show. I just know that because I was working on our tour history. Now, that’s official shows, that’s not like when over the 17 years we’ve played 2 shows in a day type stuff or we’re playing after parties. So, we’re probably over 1500 now, but I’m going with official. The way it’s changed though is that we’re older. We were doing 300 something shows a year, 270 shows a year back in ’05 but at the 15 year mark, somewhere about a little over 2 yrs ago, everybody in the band, within a year, had a crazy thing happen. Two of our fathers passed away, three of us had babies and two of those had gotten married. So, all life stuff happened. Which happens at a certain time in your life. We all put it off, all that stuff for as long as we could, nobody can help deaths and stuff, but real life shit is put off for a long time and that sort of caught up with us.  We have to tour around those kinds of things now, but that’s the difference. Our perspective has changed. The tour is the same, our perspective has changed. We’re older, and, not just perspective, but perception. Our perception of how the world works was different in our mid 20’s as to like, pushing 40.  We try to look at the positive anyway, like in the old days, I might say, “this band fucking sucks” or some shit like that about some other band, but now I’m trying to be positive.  If they’re having a good effect on everybody, then what are they doing right? you know, what can we learn from them? That’s just the way I try to look at things cause the world’s so gnarly right now you have to take the good where you can get it. I don’t want to be a guy who contributes to the bad..unless it’s my shit cause then I will fuck ’em back, cause fuck ’em (laughs).

D: I mean that’s what it is. I think about that kind of thing in day to day life, because the more you resist stuff and what others do, the more it drains your energy.

V: You don’t ever learn, it drains you and they’re still gonna do that thing that they’re doing.

D: So how is playing festivals versus playing a club tour, what are some of the major differences?

V: Well, a club tour you’re built in crowd is like, over 21 or 18, at least of a certain age where they’re gonna understand more of the political things you talk about. They’re going to be drinking so they’re going to have less money to spend on merch. Then, they’re also going to be older, because they get off work and can come… a lot of the actual fans that we’ve already made over our fucking 17 year career are at work right now and have to get off, it’s different if you’ve got a kid and you can take them here, cause parents can get in free at Warped Tour, so that’s radical, but, its neat to pick them up where you can, catch as catch can, as David Lee Roth would say.

D: Now, at Damnation, we’ve recently started covering professional wrestling, and I understand you’re a wrestling fan?

V: I’m a big wrestling fan.

D: My first question regarding that is, if you could pit one legend in their prime against one current guy, what would your dream match be?

V: If we could get Baron Corbin, current guy who won money in the bank, if we could get him up against somebody like, um, I would have liked to have seen him against a guy like Sid Vicious. Sid Justice or whatever  you want to call him because they’ve got the same kind of build. I believe they could push Barron Corbin to be an Undertaker type guy. cause hes a big tall guy, you know?

D: He’s got that potential, yeah.

V: Other ones I think about, I think about a guy like, a cruiser weight like Austin Aries, I think it would have been sick to have seen him, because the way he works; similar with Neville, but i just think Austin Aries, the way he works a ring is similar to a guy like Dean Malenko. I don’t know if you remember but Dean Malenko and a lot of those old guys were real tech guys, I feel like that would have been incredible to have seen them wrestle each other.  That’s off the top of my head with two guys that I really like now.  Lemme think of one more…Oh! Perfect one!  I would have liked to have seen Mojo Rawley go against Nikita Koloff because they are both exactly the same build and they look alike, and I even told Mojo when I saw him in Florida on this tour, we went to something after and he was there, and I told him that he reminded me so much of Nikita Koloff.  He said he gets it all the time.

D: Wow, does he really?

V: Yep

D: That’s cool man, I wouldn’t expect him to get that all the time. 


V: I grew up with NWA, so anyone that came thru the Charlotte area, that type of stuff in the 80’s, that’s my shit.

D: Do you get to keep up with the current stuff while you’re on tour?

V: I do now more, because I’ve got a lot of friends who are in wrestling, a lot of the pro guys now are buddies of mine, which is nuts cause it wasn’t like I was like hanging out and they’re just fans of our band or something, I just knew them before they got into the wrestling. And then through some wrestling stuff and through, you know, all different ways, but also, since I go to a lot of the events they’re in, and they just give you tickets.  All my friends are fans now cause I take my friends. Like last night in Richmond where I live, Smackdown was there, and I had to get all my buddies tickets and they’ve gotten accustomed to being front row, because every time I go I get front row tickets, and they’re going “you know, I would buy a ticket” and I’m like “I know you would buy a ticket, but you’d rather have a front row free one.” Of course, you know? You’re full of shit if you act like you wouldn’t.

D: Speaking of Smackdown, we’ve got Shinsuke vs John Cena coming up. Which is crazy to even imagine. 

V: You know what my prediction is?

D: What’s that?

V: That’s not for a title is it?

D: No, it’s to see who faces Jinder Mahal at Summerslam. So it’s a number one contenders match.

V: I don’t have any inside information, but in my head I was going to say that if it was for title, and it was Shinsuke vs Cena, I was gonna say Baron was going to pull out his Money in the Bank briefcase and try to win it.  I’d love to see Baron vs Cena. That would be good because I hate John Cena. But, I did like him when he was fighting the Miz a few months back, because I really hate the Miz. I think he fucking sucks. He plays a perfect heel. He’s the fucking worst, ever. Such a kook. Such a fake kook. Makes you wanna kill him. I always feel like I want to get in there and fight him. The best heels make you want to fight them.

D: Yeah, and we dont get a lot of those anymore, because everyone cheers the heels. You get to like them, for example, I love Kevin Owens.

V: I don’t like Kevin Owens either. Lots of people do, but yeah, they’re good at making you want to fight them. I always have gone like “man I know I could kill him. He’s not even tough.” Everybody likes AJ Styles too but I feel like I could kill AJ Styles.

D: So do you lean towards the bigger powerhouse kind of guys nowadays?

V: So, I got back into it only to find out that there wasn’t any guys really that I liked. Now it’s different cause I like Braun Strowman and not because hes a giant guy, but just because.  Everybody back home, they heard that I know a guy who’s a main guy now, and they assume it’s him cause he literally is from my hometown. I don’t know him, but he is from my hometown but I never had school spirit or any kind of shit like that. I’ll tell you who always comes out and drinks when they’re in Richmond and who’s a real nice guy is Bray Wyatt. The Usos are really cool dudes too, even Heath Slater. He was super nice. I like a lot of the NXT guys that are about to come up even more though.

D: I agree

V: There are so many good dudes. Bobby Roode, even though he’s basically a cross between Arn Anderson and Ric Flair

D: Just have Arn Anderson borrow Flair’s robe

V: Pretty much.  Also, No way Jose is really cool and what are those two guys who dont speak English and just yell at everybody? The Authors of Pain, I like those guys. It’s just mean. There are not a whole lot of people who are just mean anymore.

D: Yeah, I would walk to the other side of the street if I saw those dudes coming.

V: Yeah, I saw NXT before Shinsuke Nakamura made the jump, he came out, everybody singing his song; he seriously looked like the dude from Akira dressed up like Michael Jackson coming out dancing. When he fell back and the whole crowd was singing his song I was like “man, this motherfucker is one of the baddest performers I’ve ever seen.” he really had such style. And that’s what it’s all about. Ric Flair said in 82, “if you ain’t stylin’ and profilin’, go home Jack cause you dont have what it takes.”

D: Shinsuke’s got it, thats for sure.

V: For sure

D: On the NXT roster I’m big on Aliester Black, I really like him. 

V: Is he the one that they count down the numbers or whatever?

D: He’s the metal guy who wears the vest with the satanic symbols.

V: There’s some guy that really had the crowd over, he’s like a perfect 10 or whatever?

D: Oh, Tye Dillenger

V: Yeah, that’s him

D: They brought him to Smackdown and he’s not really doing anything. 

V: He isn’t really even wrestling, is he?

D: Barely

V: That’s very strange.

D: Yeah. you never know. I mean, they have so many guys that its hard to fit everyone in, I guess…

V: I think its because they had to split the shows to make two different rosters, but back when it was actual competition between WWE and and WCW it was a lot better because they would really strive to bring in older guys and really surprise fans and stuff.  A lot of people say that it didn’t give a lot of room for people to come up, but there’s so many good wrestlers now, they should actually have a different program cause TNA doesn’t cut it.

D: Yeah, TNA or Impact has been hiring a lot of cool people, but they’ve got a long way to go before they really are competition. Do you get to watch any independent stuff?

V: Not a whole lot, but I go to a lot of it. For my birthday I drove down to Raleigh to Dorton arena. I like to do the ones that the tickets support kids gymnasiums and stuff. Big Time Wrestling goes down there a lot, and it’ll be like, Sting, even though he can’t wrestle, he’ll come out and announce. There will be a lot of guys like Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and George South. Lets see, they had Buff Bagwell, which was awesome to see, and Badass Billy Gunn came out, so it was a really nice birthday.

D: That’s awesome.  There’s a lot of promotions around Saint Louis that are running a lot of cool shows, but we don’t get anyone bringing in those old school guys.

V: They do that all over the east coast, it might be an east coast thing, but look up Big Time Wrestling, because I’m sure they come out this way. Its a thing started by older wrestlers to help kids, I’m sure they get a big cut of it as well, but they also save a lot of money for high school and middle school gyms. To fix up their gymnasiums and stuff.

D: I had no idea. Ill definitely look that up. because, like I said, I get to see a lot of the up and coming dudes, but I don’t get to see Buff Bagwell come through which is pretty awesome. I’m glad I got to talk wrestling, it’s been all day and I have no one to talk wrestling with. I’ve been asking other bands who their favorite wrestlers are, and I’ve gotten some interesting answers. But, lets finish this off, is there anything coming up for the band that you want to promote or anything else you want to talk about?

V: Just like, by the end of the tour in ’05 and ’06, even though we weren’t the big crowd favorite, we were what they called a band’s band, so we made so many friends even with bands that we didn’t know and there’s talk of stuff with CKY. Sick of it All definitely wants us to go on a boat tour in New York, some kind of weird boat thing, and then there’s also even maybe a Hatebreed thing, and maybe an Anti Flag thing. I’m getting married at the end of the tour, so it all has to work around that stuff. It’s a lot to figure out.

D: Congratulations, it’s all the Adult stuff, dude. the stuff you put off but that’s cool and hopefully some of those tours work out. Because those are pretty serious

V: All of them are people that we never even had on our list.

D: Those are some heavy hitters too, you’ll get some big crowds

V: Yeah, they’ve all been super fun. You wouldn’t think of us going out with Hatebreed, but, you also wouldn’t think of every single dude in Hatebreed being in the Kiss Army. And we had such a fun BBQ the other night, hanging out with them, getting to know them, also, Florida Frank, he’s the biggest Devo fan and that’s like my favorite band ever and he’s got a giant Devo tattoo, and we just basically hung out in front of his bus the other night and just listened to Devo and drank whiskey. It was like the perfect night before bus call.

D: Can’t really argue with that. Well, hopefully that will work out and good luck with everything going forward, thanks for talking to us and talking wrestling with me, it was awesome

V: Yeah, no problem, you guys have a good one. It was nice to talk about something different for a change.

 

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For more info regarding Vans Warped Tour check the following links:

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Interview Conducted by Sean Cantor (Twitter, Instagram)

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