Rock and roll is more than merely a sly euphemism of old for having sex or a type of music best played loudly: it is also a way of life and the way of life for The Unlikely Candidates. Straight outta Fort Worth, TX, Kyle Morris (vox), Cole Male (guitar), Brenton Carney (lead guitar), Jared Hornbeek (bass), and Kevin Goddard (drums) set themselves on a mission to be music makers – not just for themselves – but for the masses.
TUC are a live wire band: rowdy, rambunctious, physical (Kyle will put his body on the line in order to entertain you), and the stage is very much their playground but let that not distract you from the fact that they are also talented as fuck. Their Follow My Feet and Bed Of Liars EPs rip with gems like “Howl,” “Follow My Feet,” “Violence,” “Ringer” and “Your Love Could Start a War”: songs that are equal parts ear worm and thoughtful dialogue which makes them another fine score for their label, Another Century Records.
Our interview took place in April while on tour with fellow Another Century artists, The Fame Riot, and was for a feature that we call #TourHappens where we chat with a band or artist about the art of touring: the good, the bad, and the lessons as wisdom truly only comes with experience. This feature usually gets a sectioned into quotes treatment, but TUC’s downright brotherly conversation deserves to be experienced in its natural form with as little editing as possible. Plus, a common theme runs throughout this conversation; see if you can spot it because tour happens…
High Voltage: We’re going to talk about the art of touring. You said this tour’s been going on for about two months.
HV: And you’re touring with another Another Century band: You and The Fame Riot. What have you liked about this tour? Is there a difference between a regular tour like you’ve done in he past versus a label tour?
Kyle: It’s cool because it’s like a family thing. These are people that we know we’re gonna be building a more long-term relationship with. So that’s kind of cool. There is more of like a family feel to it. I think that that kind of…
Jared: Some comradery.
Kyle: …yeah. It builds that up, for sure. Fame Riot, in specific, is wonderful to tour with because they are amazing, flipping glamorous fellows, and we love them very much.
Kyle: And their androgyny is…
Kyle: …spreading to all of us.
HV: Mm-hmm. So it’s rubbing off on you.
HV: I see. So, any particularly memorable moments about this tour?
Jared: Tough one.
HV: Location? Shows?
Jared: Athens, Georgia. We played at the rooftop bar. We ended up being the after-party for this comedian…like as soon as his comedy act got out, all the crowd came upstairs to have drinks. So we started playing. But one thing led to another that night and drinks were consumed, and we ended up getting on stage with Fame Riot and doing the ridiculous cover of…
Cole: …The Darkness.
Jared: …of The Darkness.
Cole: …”I Believe in a Thing Called Love.”
Jared: …”I Believe in a Thing Called Love.”
HV: Of course you did.
Jared: Yeah, that got pretty ridiculous. Kyle was – at one point – on top of Shazam shoving whiskey down his throat while Shazam was, like, humping him.
Kevin: It’s all on video. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever been on video-wise.
Jared: That was definitely a highlight so far.
Kevin: That was a good highlight.
Kyle: That was 2013.
HV: I always wonder what the first tour felt like.
Brenton: Oh, it was great.
HV: How long was that tour? Do you remember?
Jared: We just kept going for almost a year.
Kyle: On and off, yeah.
Kevin: I think we were all very naive. At the end of the first tour, you’re just now kind of getting through some things, in a sense. First day we thought we were the shit. Drinking bottles on stage…probably wasn’t that great.
Brenton: Probably was a terrible show.
Kyle: I thought it was amazing. I’ve seen videos and it’s still good.
Kevin: Then you figured it out…
Cole: It’s a good show!
Kyle: It’s a jam, you know, we’re trying to write music to get to the next level, the next songs you’d like to live for however long, six, ten months to a year, you know.
Cole: We live this, we live through rock and roll.
Kyle: We lived our rock and roll dreams for about a year and, you know, just did it exactly in the way that all of our idols did for an entire year, and it was awesome, and a lot of fun. Yeah, we did it. We had earned that, to go crazy and have a really good time. It led to a lot of ridiculous circumstances and stories that we’ll never forget, and that are awesome. But when we got off tour I had like a three-month hangover because we never stopped drinking.
Jared: I’m surprised that we made it across the country as well as we did, because you know, we didn’t have tour manager, we were all kind of like, “Okay, who is driving?”, “I guess I’ll drive, I haven’t drunk as much.” So yeah, and there was like a point in that tour, too, like the managers and like people called us, “You guys have to stop drinking, you guys are…”
Kevin: …bad reputation.
Jared: We pretty much were like, “Sure, we’ll stop drinking.” And Cole never stopped drinking.
Cole: Still drinking.
Kyle: …til this day.
HV: This is something each of you has to answer. Between the first tour and this tour, a lesson that you’ve learned about touring. What have you learned about touring?
Jared: It’s better to have a little bit of help with tour managers; someone there to babysit everyone because if we don’t have that person, I’m doing it.
Kevin: I would say, be more diligent with your time. Like, you have a lot of downtime, but the big thing is hurry up and wait.
Brenton: Lesson I’ve learned…I’m pretty young and I’ve just started drinking, so I still have a lot of lessons to be learned. I pretty much learn from all their mistakes.
Cole: That was good.
Jared: That was good.
Cole: Drink less before you go on stage. It might feel better on stage but…
Brenton: Have you learned that lesson, though?
Cole: I have.
Brenton: Have you, though?
Cole: I have. I remember shows now, that’s good.
Jared: Do you remember Athens?
Cole: Athens was…that was an exception.
Brenton: Nobody remembers Athens.
Cole: You just play better. Alcohol does not make you play better, for sure.
Kyle: My thing was like, I used to get like a little bit of anxiety from city to city, ’cause I always felt like I was waiting for something, like I was waiting to get to the next venue, to get to the next sound check, to get to the next show, to get to the next like, you know, end of the night. I got caught up in waiting for the next thing and I kind of had to teach myself to stop waiting and kind of literally just be wherever you are. I know, it’s kind of cheesy and whatever, but that waiting can really wear on you. You kind of just have to accept that wherever you are that’s where you should be content, and live in that moment. Stop looking forward to the next thing. Just enjoy what you’re doing.
Kyle: Nine hours is not bad.
Kevin: We get really funny.
Jared: There’s like 24 hour drives sometimes when we’re just like we have one-off show in New York and we’re like, “All right, let’s leave the night before and we’ll make it in time for load-in.” so we’re literally driving like 24 hours straight. Stopping at gas stations real quick…but in the last like four hours, we’re literally losing our minds. We’re all like laughing at nothing, cooking a hot dog on the stove for no reason, just to throw it out the window ’cause no one is gonna eat it.
HV: Is that a thing?
Jared: It was a thing once.
Kevin: I honestly like driving a lot, it’s fun to drive on the highway and…
Brenton: ….and Kevin’s insane.
Kevin: I like it a lot, I think it’s fun.
HV: Yeah, you have a built-in driver.
Brenton: Kevin really likes sunsets, like if you ever see a picture on our Instagram that’s like a landscape portrait or something like…
Kyle: If you follow him on Snapchat, it’s 45 sunsets. That’s his story.
Brenton: …minute two of the sunsets. Minute five of the sunsets.
HV: All right. Tour do’s, tour don’ts.
Kyle: Um, bring your charger with you if you’re thinking about getting drunk and separating from the band, because one time we lost Cole…we lost him. Like he was gone until we just accidentally bumped into him at 6 o’clock in the morning.
Cole: It wasn’t “accidentally,” it was at the hotel.
Kyle: I mean, you had no idea where we were going to be, we weren’t even staying at that hotel.
Cole: Yeah, I know.
Kyle: We weren’t staying at that hotel.
Brenton: We found you at a hotel, you didn’t even know we were gonna be in that hotel!
Kyle: Bring your charger.
Brenton: Bring your chargers.
HV: Bring your chargers.
Brenton: Yeah, that’s a good one.
Kyle: Tour don’t: Don’t talk shit. Don’t talk shit. Always be gracious and even if you’re pissed off, just fucking bury it down and deal with it later, ’cause talking shit only builds…
Kevin: Proper English, man.
Kyle: …if you’re gonna talk shit, talk shit and you gotta be behind closed doors. You can handle your own emotions in a safe place.
Cole: Tour do: Call home more away from these guys, ’cause it’s always good to get away from them and talk to other people besides these guys.
Kevin: That’s a good one.
Cole: Tour don’t…we’ve covered quite a few of them already. Don’t separate from the group. I like to have a buddy.
Brenton: Buddy sitter.
Cole: Buddy sitter.
HV: That’s a good one.
Cole: Especially if you don’t bring your charger, Kyle.
Brenton: Tour do: Change your strings.
Kyle: Oh, that’s a good one.
Brenton: Tour don’t: Don’t have more than ten drinks before you go on stage.
Kevin: Tour do: Bring a pair of flip flops with you ’cause you never know when you’re gonna stay in a dirty RV. Dollar flip flops at Walmart, two dollar.
Jared: Do and don’t: Do make sure you…
Kevin: …bring extra underwear?
Jared: Yeah, that’s a one thing.
Kevin: …and socks.
Kyle: Because why, Jared?
Kyle: Because why, Jared?
Jared: Because sometimes you have acid in your pants and you know, it’s…
Kevin: …sometimes you have acid.
Jared: Don’t be too messy in the RV, it pisses everyone off. You have to sleep on the floor sometimes.
Kevin: Yeah, that’s why you wear flip flops.
Jared: So what do we get from this? We’ve got a dirty RV…
Kevin: We drink too much…
HV: You drink too much.
Cole: It’s pretty close to the truth, you know.
HV: And, ladies and gentlemen, that’s the sound of The Unlikely Candidates.