Interview – Kevin Devine

Touring Canada is a defining moment for musicians regardless where they’re from. While back in Toronto yet again, Kevin Devine was able to talk about supporting The Get Up Kids, his latest record and driving north of the border.

Kevin Devine1Photos Cred: Jeff Parsons

How has the tour with The Get Up Kids been going so far?

So far it’s been really good. It’s been a week since we left so we’ve got another three or so. But so far so good! As you can imagine, pretty well attended and we’ve been well received. So no major incidents to report!
Were you a fan of The Get Up Kids?

Yeah, I mean I grew up with their music to some extent. When I was in junior and senior year of high school specifically. It led into so many different artists, you know? Like The Promise Ring, Jimmy Eat World and Braid. But now I’ve come back to it on this tour and am still able to relate to it and appreciate it differently. It’s really great to see how well the crowd responds to a band like The Get Up Kids. There is a strong attachment between them and the fans.
What influenced you while writing your new album Brother’s Blood? What were you going for with this new release?

I think that there was a conscious decision with the new record to make something that was a bit more expansive stylistically. We wanted to honor each song for what they were and not worry so much about having an overarching cohesive sound. This album is very broad stylistically and I think we were able to come up with a group of songs that fit in together comfortably, at least I hope we did!

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Who produced Brother’s Blood?

Chris Bracco and Mike Skinner who play bass and drums respectively on the album. I’ve had a lot of experience with the two, especially with recording earlier demos and recording a past release, Split The Country, Split The Street with Mike. I really think the players and producers came together on this album for amazing results.
What about The Goddamn Band? What’s your touring schedule like with them?

We are now doing a bit more touring with the band which is a cool shift for me because I mean, up until recently I never toured with a band except in 2002 and 2004 in Europe which was great. A lot of it is financial because I pay a lot of the band out of my own pocket and without tour support to bring the band out with me, it can be difficult. And it depends on the show, the tour, the venue, booking agents, and other factors. Some stuff works better solo while at other times a full band is needed.

It’s a pretty flexible system we’ve got going. I mean, one tour I could be playing a simple three piece with a bass player and drummer, or I could have just two female backup vocalists, or the full band! I don’t know how it is for marketing our music but it’s working out well. In fact I don’t think we’ve ever done a tour with the same exact members…ever. It’s always the same basic pool of people which I’m pulling from for the tour so it’s never like me playing with four strangers.
What have you been up to since the release of Brother’s Blood?

We did a full U.S. tour including a Toronto show from April to June. Spent the summer in England for a couple of tours with Manchester Orchestra and one with Brand New. Came home, did a solo acoustic tour that was like a request oriented set list. After that I had two months off before this tour I’m currently on, and on the 28th of November I’m playing at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York with Brand New, Glassjaw, Thrice, and Manchester Orchestra. And then I’m home for the holidays!
What are your feelings and thoughts towards Canada?

I really love coming here. Two of the first tours I ever did were through Canada. Your country is scary to drive through sometimes, but the month I spent here in early summer 2001 was some of the most beautiful stuff I’ve ever seen in my life nature and landscape wise. The people have usually been really kind. I’d like to be able to do a full Canadian tour, east to west at some point soon. The kids are always awesome, the response is great. We get treated really well here.

Kevin Devine3

Anything else you want people to know?

I guess just that I’m grateful that I have great associations with Canada and its independent music scene. I’m hopeful for that full Canadian tour so I’ll be able to see more of this country.


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