Countdown to Warped Tour: Q&A With Alex DeLeon from the Cab
Photo by Chris Martin
Here at the New Times, we've decided to give you a countdown to Warped Tour. Exactly five weeks and one day till 100-plus bands rock out at the Cruzan Amphitheatre in an all-day bash that many bands are classifying as their own personal punk rock summer camp. What better way to know exactly what you're getting yourself into than hearing it all straight from the bands' mouths?
The first band member we got all the deets from is the Cab's lead singer and frontman, Alex DeLeon. He started playing when he was in high school and is slowly transforming the Cab into a band that pretty much falls under all musical genres, often switching it up from arena-rock tempos to Justin Timberlake-like song bridges. New Times caught up with DeLeon recently to talk influences, Ping-Pong, his love of all things Perez Hilton, and our favorite Gossip Girl, Taylor Momsen.
Check out what he had to say after the jump.
New Times: What's it been like for the band with all of the member changes? Do you feel like the band's changed at all, sound- and aesthetic-wise?
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Alex DeLeon: I mean, we definitely have changed. Musically our band has changed, but I definitely don't think it has anything to do with the lineup and member changes. If anything, it has to do with us growing up and kind of figuring out who we want to be and who we are as individual artists and creatively as a whole, like as a band. We definitely miss those guys. We're still friends with Ian, our old guitar player. We saw him a few nights ago and had drinks. We still keep in touch with a few of them. I feel like we're finally really happy. Like we're in a good place where we all get along and we all understand each other, and we all know what the band is doing and what we're going for. So it's like we can worry about the music now and not have to worry about drama or all the other BS that shouldn't have any effect on your music.
I saw a video of one of your current bandmates, Marshall, battling... a Ping-Pong master?
Marshall's a great Ping-Pong player. He has a lot of hidden talents that a lot of people don't know about. Like random things that he's awesome at. Like Marshall's like a champion fisher. He's awesome at fishing. He played baseball in high school. He's awesome at Ping-Pong and racquetball. He has his little off-the-wall talents.
How'd he get involved in that competition, and what inspired you guys to tape it?
Well, we had a camera guy, our friend Joe, following us around for a lot of that tour. So Marshall I think was just hanging out there and the Ping-Pong tournament started and Marshall kind of picked up the paddle and just went for it. He got on one knee, said a prayer, ate a box of weed, then went at it. And he beat him.
I came across your Tumblr account too. It's pretty funny. Do you run it yourself?
Yeah, I do. It's superweird, because a lot of times my songs are a lot simpler than all the stuff... then when I write just to write. When I write songs, I write melodies first. A lot of my songs are fun because music is fun to me, and I want to write about fun times. So a lot of the lyrics are a lot more matter-of-fact and they're simpler. But there is a part of me that's superdeep and is crazy with words. So a lot of times, it's hard for me to put all of that crazy stuff into a song, so my Tumblr is like where I can go and just let it out, whatever I'm going through.
What made you come up with that idea? 'Cause I noticed it's not only deep stuff. I think I saw like an avatar of you and stuff like that also.
Yeah, it's cool. Sometimes I update it every day, and sometimes I go months without updating it. It depends on what mood I'm in. Like my friend made an avatar of me, and I was like, "Aww. This is sweet. I'm gonna post it." And sometimes I'll write; other times I'll give fans sneak peaks of lyrics or songs. It just depends. There aren't rules, which is what's cool about it. It's my Tumblr, so no one is telling me what to do or what to post. It's not about politics or labels. It's just me and me writing.
It's sort of like your Twitter account also, right? I think you can tell a lot about a person by who they follow on Twitter in some cases.
Exactly. Yeah, I thought that too. You follow a person on Twitter for like two weeks and you get a good feel for their sense of humor and what they're into and how they talk. It's pretty awesome. It's pretty crazy.
I poked around a bit and found some unexpected people that you follow on Twitter, like Nick Jonas, Adam Lambert, and Perez Hilton. Are any of those musical influences?
Perez Hilton is like... I read that stuff every day. I go to like ten websites every day... CNN, ESPN, you gotta go to Perez Hilton 'cause it's funny and he's actually... he actually has pretty good taste in music, so like a lot of times I hear new songs and new artists from Perez Hilton. It's not as much caring about whether Heidi from The Hills got a boob job more than it is checking out new artists and seeing what's going on with those kinds of people.
I've noticed that you're touring with a lot of bands that you've worked with before for the Warped Tour this year.
It's awesome. Two of my best friends are in a band called the Summer Set, and to be on tour with them again... they were on the AP Tour, and they were also on the What Happens in Vegas tour with us. So it's like, just to be on tour... touring is fun as it is, but when you can tour with like your best friends and peep friends that you can listen to their music and enjoy to their music, it definitely helps the cause.
Are there any bands that you haven't worked with that you're looking forward to playing with on the Warped Tour?
I'm excited to play with and to watch Andrew W.K. and All American Rejects are on most of it, so I'm actually excited to watch them. Mike Posner -- I saw him at South by Southwest at a few different showcases, and he's awesome, so. Oh, you know who I'm really excited to watch? The Pretty Reckless with Taylor Momsen. She's got a really unique voice. Like a lot of people who are actresses try to make albums and they all don't have good voices. But her voice is really unique, and it's got this really cool tone and rasp to it, so I'm looking forward to see what she does.
I wonder how she has time between doing all of that and doing Gossip Girl.
I think she's focusing on music right now for the summer. I heard she's doing a U.K. tour after Warped, so she's really focusing on her band.
Have you worked with her before?
No. Never met her. Looking forward to. I hope so.
I feel like every band that I talk to lately always name-drops you guys as an awesome band that they love working with.
Oh really? Oh, awesome. That's great. That's so nice of them.
What's it like to work with so many bands that look up to you guys.
That's awesome. I think it's like we're all in this together. Bands are like... with the economy the way it is, there's like not that many tours, and music's kind of in a weird place. So like the bands that are friends and do make good music, I believe in them banding together and kind of rising up all at the same time. Cobra [Starship] brought us out on our first tour ever, like we didn't have anyone to tour with. And they brought us on their nationwide, sold-out tour. So they really helped us at the beginning. And Versa [Emerge], one of their first tours, they opened for us, so it's kind of like...
So it's kind of like the circle of life in a way.
Yeah, exactly. And now Versa's getting a lot bigger, and I'm sure they're helping out a lot of younger bands. So it's like a community. It's family, so you help them out.
What inspired the new album?
I feel like every single song is its own entity. It's like it's different. We wanted every song to be a different feel, a different vibe, and a different mood. We're people, we have our ups, we have our downs. Sometimes we wanna have fun, sometimes we wanna be serious, sometimes we wanna be intimate. So we can't make an album with 12 of the same songs. It's boring, and that's not how life is. So it's like on our new album, some songs are superserious and some are like party dance kind of songs; then the song after that will be about a relationship and being in love. Every song sounds completely different, and at first we were worried because we wanted to make sure the album had some kind of continuity. We didn't want every song to sound like a different band, but the more we listened, the more we realized that my voice really tied it together and a lot of the guitar elements really pulled it together. So even if the songs and the music and the feel are all completely different, things that make us the Cab still make us the Cab in every song.
Are there any musicians that influenced you while you were writing the songs?
Justin Timberlake is always a huge influence with me vocally. So vocally my vocals sound a lot like his. I really like his harmony and just his vocal structure I've really appreciated a lot. We've been listening to everything from the Black Eyed Peas to Maroon 5 to Muse. We have a widespread taste in music, so one song starts with like this heavy arena rock, and then once you get to the bridge, it turns into like a Justin Timberlake song. And it's like whoa. It's different, but it's cool. And we're definitely taking a lot of risks messing with all kinds of different genres and sounds, but the biggest artists and the most successful people are the ones that take risks and go against the grain. And you either win big or lose big, and I'd rather give it everything I have and do what I want and hope that people catch on than fake something that I'm not. That's not who we are.
So then pretty much each song could probably attract a different audience.
Yeah, exactly. Like we don't wanna play for just one demographic. We want people from all ages and from all backgrounds to really understand us and appreciate us. We want people to have fun when they listen to our music, but we want to be respected. We want to be known for being both good songwriters and musicians.
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