Suburban Living Premiere ‘Lovely Times,’ Survive Frat House
The road is not a pretty place. Tour Is Hell collects your favorite bands' war stories, some of which make Cormac McCarthy look like Dr. Seuss. Today, we get in the van Wesley Bunch, singer / guitarist of Philly-based bedroom dream-poppers Suburban Living. Check out an exclusive stream of brand new track "Lovely Times" below, from sophomore album Almost Paradise, dropping October 7 on 6131 Records.
What album can everyone agree on in the van? What’s the most divisive?
Almost always any Taking Back Sunday or some type of early 2000s “emo” rock stuff. Also Thin Lizzy. Always Thin Lizzy. The band gets pretty torn whenever I put Pavement on, which kinda sucks 'cause I love Pavement.
What’s the strangest gig you’ve ever played?
A few years ago, we were on tour with a day off on Labor Day, but some awesome friends were able to get us on a house show in New Jersey last-minute. It turned out to be a really strange fundraiser show for a pretty aggressive frat. We played our set, and when we refused to let the next band use our drum set (keep in mind the aggro frat part of this story), they almost fought us. One of them called me a “Rick Moranis-looking motherfucker”. We grabbed our gear and hightailed it. It was awesome.
Tell us about your biggest onstage clusterfuck.
When the band first started doing live shows back in 2012, we played our first CMJ show. As anyone who has played the festival before knows, it can be hella stressful. We got on stage and all of the backline equipment broke. Kick pedal, bass amp, cymbal stands, you name it — all of it broke. I learned pretty quick to be skeptical of any backline equipment. Oh well.
Describe your craziest afterparty.
We played with Mac DeMarco back in 2013. It was this tiny pizza shop in Virginia, and afterwards we all partied at some college kid’s house. Mac was touring in this small Volvo at the time, and shit got weird. I won’t go into it completely, but there was a lot of shots and I just remember chain-smoking the entire time.
How do you deal with going days or even weeks without a shower?
You know what's funny? I don’t. In my years of touring, I haven’t gone longer than a couple days without showering. I have no idea why, but I somehow find time and space to get that done. Traveling dirty sucks and throws off my vibe, so I usually wake up early in the hotel or beg whoever is kind enough to host us for a shower in the morning.
Be it an accident, crazy fan or place to crash, what’s your scariest experience on the road?
I’ve told a lot of my friends this story, but here it is finally out in the world: We played in Raleigh, N.C. a few years ago and had nowhere to stay after the show. A friend of a friend who wasn’t at the show offered her place, but the catch was everyone would already be asleep, and we had to be quiet when we got there and go straight to bed. I had only met this person once, so I didn’t know where they lived. I plugged in the address to the GPS, and when we got to the house, everything fit her description: porch light was on and the door was unlocked. We walked in, tried to be as quiet as we could, curled into our sleeping bags and went to sleep. I was woken up at 7 a.m. with some college kid over top of me who yelled, “Who are you and what are you doing in my house?” When I tried to explain that our friend Katie told us we could stay there, he told us Katie didn’t live there and to basically get the fuck out. We grabbed our stuff as quick as we could and hustled outside. Totally in a daze, I checked my GPS and realized I typed in the wrong address. We stayed in a complete stranger’s house. Literally could have been killed.
What’s your universal must-go restaurant or road stop?
Chipotle, Wawa or Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel usually has awesome bathrooms.
Who drives the most and least, and why?
I drive the most because I enjoy it. Our guitar player Chris [Radwanski] drives the least 'cause he drives slow (which is safe and awesome. and we love him for that, but … you know).
What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without sleep?
About 24 hours coming back from a festival in Tokyo. We didn’t fly back into our hometown, so I had to drive a few hours after 20-plus hours of traveling via plane. I almost slept for an entire day when I got home.
How do you try to stay healthy on the road?
Yogurt, multivitamins and Pedialyte.
How do you amuse yourself on long stretches with nothing to do?
We rip through so many podcasts. Sword and Scale is a favorite, but we had to cut down on it. True crime podcasts aren’t the best thing to listen to before you have to load in and play a fun show for people.
What do you argue about the most?
We don’t argue about much, but I’ve recently gotten sassy when the band asks questions involving anything that is in the advance for a show. Load-in time, backline info, guarantee, etc. I send them the advance for all shows to them containing that info weeks in advance, so when they ask questions, I just tell them to check the email in the van.