Vangough Talks Pain of Salvation Tour, Kickstarter, and ProgPower USA
Band Photo: Vangough (?)
A month ahead of the start of a North American tour with Pain of Salvation (sponsored by MetalUnderground.com), the Oklahoma-based prog metal foursome Vangough is in heavy rehearsal mode. With a few videos making their way to the band’s YouTube, an eager and locked-in beast is emerging and preparing to hit the ProgPower USA debut hard. Finding success through their ’Touring The Madness’ Kickstarter, which doesn’t end until the 21st of August, Vangough hope to be able to capitalize on the momentum and push for stretch goals. Lead guitarist/vocalist Clay Withrow caught up with MetalUndergroud.com after hitting the $3,000 band Kickstarter goal to talk about the band.
Frank Serafine (Progressivity_In_All): How did the tour with Pain of Salvation materialize?
Clay Withrow: It’s something that I had been gunning for ever since touring became an option. In fact, we had tried to get on a Pain of Salvation show in Europe back in 2011, but it never materialized because we weren’t on a label or a European band. So, two strikes against us! But I didn’t stand down and had to think of a way to beat the system since nobody was doing us any favors. So I was able to get onto the 2013 American PoS tour as a merch manager, which, as it turns out, I’m not very good at. But it helped me gain a bit of perspective on touring and what it takes to be on the road.
Frank: How many ProgPower USA festival years have you and each of your bandmates been to?
Clay: Counting the 2010 performance and our trip in 2012 to do the ill-fated acoustic thing, this upcoming one will be our third. Also, we have a very good support group to get us to the right place this time. It’s a combination of GPS, tour managers and me knowing that it happened once before so it could happen again!
Frank: Which band are you most excited to see at ProgPower this year?
Clay: Pain of Salvation and Leprous. I’m not too familiar with the other bands aside from Overkill, who I also plan to check out. I’m just excited to see Pain of Salvation do ‘Remedy Lane.’ I’m curious how a few of the songs will come off live, like “Fandango” and my personal favorite, “Rope Ends.”
Frank: How did the Kickstarter come together for you guys?
Clay: I think it turned out really well. We knew it would be a challenge because we’re still an unknown band that’s unsigned and has never been on a tour ever. But, to be honest, with all of that said, we still hit the goal! All thanks to our amazing fans.
Frank: Are you surprised by the level of support shown on your Kickstarter?
Clay: I was, yes. I know that there are way more established acts in our genre that have asked for way more but I have to keep telling myself they’ve been doing it longer, are signed, and have been on several big tours. We’ve only existed as an album band so far. And to have our small, but dedicated, army of fans rise up and purchase $100 or more in rewards is amazing. We have people flying in from other countries to see us! That’s just amazing to me. I’ve been told by several coming to Atlanta that we’re the reason they are coming to the festival.
By the way, we’re still trying to get a bit more support, so if you’re able please check it out and pledge before it’s over! You don’t want to miss out on the CD or DVD! (’Touring The Madness’ Kickstarter)
Frank: How many extra donuts can you afford to buy Jeren (Martin, bassist) now that it's funded?
Clay: What is a box going for at Walmart? Like $5? Maybe that many! This time it’s all about Independence Day on DVD. Jeren and I decided we’re going to watch it on tour every day. After each show. I think the Pain of Salvation guys will appreciate it. Hearing that same ominous theme song play repeatedly. It stars Will Smith and a bunch of man-made monuments get blown to bits. What’s not to love?
Frank: Which is your favorite song out of the new crop of "Between The Madness" songs to play live?
Clay: ‘Infestation’ is a favorite of mine. It’s got that rocking middle section with Jay’s killer [guitar] solo. I also really like ‘Corporatocracy.’ It’s just very jammy and loose. Very fun to play.
Frank: What cities are you most excited to play on this tour?
Clay: Obviously all of them, since we’ve never gotten to do this! But since I had the opportunity to go out with Pain last time, I really enjoyed the New York, Toronto, and Chicago shows a lot. Really great crowds and lots of energy! On this tour, specifically, I’m really looking forward to the Whittier show in LA. I think that one will be really great. Everyone should go ahead and get their tickets ASAP. We have links to buy tickets on our website along the right side of the page at http://www.officialvangough.com.
Frank: Are you pulling double-duty, playing guitar for Pain of Salvation on this tour, too?
Clay: Not this one! I’m 99% certain they are bringing Ragnar [Zolberg, guitarist], which is great because honestly I would not look forward to learning all the 'Remedy Lane' stuff from scratch.
Frank: What's one experience that you shared with the Pain of Salvation guys while you were playing for them that you'd never forget?
There were a lot. On the US tour I think the first show I played was very memorable. It was the show in Pittsburg. I think it was called Rosfest. And, man, for my very first show on the tour it was a lot to swallow. On top of that, the audience at Rosfest was totally different than the typical Pain fans. They were all sitting, arms crossed listening. It was a bit unnerving. Normally I like fans to fucking go apeshit. But they were very much into the “listening” part -- Hopefully not listening for fuck ups! Oh and the cherry on top? I didn’t have my guitar cable in all the way for the first part of the opening song. It has a really tight clamp that you have to push pretty hard. So I was playing with no sound for the first few seconds! Very memorable. But it was a huge rush.
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