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Interview: Tony Lovato from ‘Mest’

Mest Promo Shot

The wait is finally over! Chicago punk legends Mest are hitting our shores to co-headline the ‘Two Headed MonsTour’ with Emo power-pop icons Hawthorne Heights. Also along for the ride is Mest frontman Tony Lovato’s new punk band London Falling. The shows promise to be jam-packed with high energy, nostalgic moments and rockified tunes. We caught up with the man behind two bands to talk about the tour, London Falling,and everything punk.

We’re excited to have you return to Australia! What are you most looking forward to about this tour?  

Honestly, the only other countries I like touring besides America is Australia and Japan. I like Australia because it’s very americanised to me but I think the people are nicer than they are in America. People like to have a good time down there.

What’s been your favourite highlight in the past years you’ve come down here to visit? 

We did this show on a boat once, which was a lot of fun. We played on the harbour while the boat was cruising around. We’d never done it before, and it was a fun thing to hang out on a fucking boat, past the Opera House. 

When did your first meet the boys from Hawthorne Heights? 

We took them on a tour in 2004. That was 12 years ago. It’s good because we get along with them really well. 

Are there any particular places you hope to visit?

There’s nothing in particular. I just generally like touring Australia but it’s going to be cool to come down and see some friends of mine that live there.

I hear this is London Falling’s first international tour. Is it strange to be playing in two bands for the live shows? 

Some would think! My booking agent from Mest didn’t really want me doing it but I was like, “hey man, this is my career and my band. This is what I want to do”. I’m not worried about how it makes me look to be the headliner and to be opening up as well. I don’t give a f*ck. I like playing music and I don’t have an ego. I’m playing new songs and people don’t know them. When bands are starting out they open up, it’s what they f*cking do. I love being a support band on tour because you’re earning fans that come to the live shows. When you’re up there you’re like, “okay, this is awkward but everyone’s observing it”. They’re listening to songs they’ve never heard before. It’s a cool thing to put myself back in that position because it also makes me appreciate where Mest is at.

How did London Falling first come about?

When the original line-up of Mest got back together we started doing selective shows here and there. I was talking to the guys about possibly doing more. It’s hard because they work normal jobs. I pretty much figured there was not going to be much touring involved with Mest, that a new record would be pointless. So I was writing more songs, not knowing what I was going to do with them. I guess it could have been a Mest record if things worked out and we were able to actually go out and promote it enough. But I’m not going to put out a Mest record and then play nine shows a year. It would be a waste and people wouldn’t even fucking know about it because we’re not touring even whether there’s a record or not.

At that point I was just like f*ck it, I want to start a new band. Being in the business as long as I have, it only took a couple of phone calls to a couple of different guys. That’s the way it came about. Knowing a lot of friends is pretty easy to get another band going. It’s exciting because we released one song yesterday in the States. 

Do you have any rituals or warm-ups before your shows? 

No, not really. We just f*cking hang out and drink a couple of beers. Pretty simple. 

What is essentially the heart of punk rock for you?

For me it’s doing whatever you want to do, doing whatever you’re comfortable with and not caring what others say. In America we have fraternities and sororities, so when they go off to college kids join these f*cking offensive nerdy white gangs. You have to earn your way in and all that shit, but with the punk rock community, it’s always about excepting people no matter who they are.

But now you’ve got these f*cking Internet warriors who go on line and tell you what’s punk and what’s not. I always thought that’s the least punk rock thing you could ever do – to tell somebody else they’re not punk rock. I mean I’m 35-years-old and my f*cking hair’s blue and I’m still going around the f*cking world playing music. I’ve got a little boy at home and I f*cking love him. I’m a dad and I do this. To me that seems pretty punk rock!

How do you go about mentoring and giving new fans insight to punk rock?

There’s a whole new generation of pop punk coming out now. It’s about letting them know the bands that have influenced me the same way the bands I grew up listening to bands talked about who influenced them. I think it’s one way to let people know the roots of everything.

When you’re on the road and bands are newer, you just give them as much advice as you can. I’ve been in the business for so long and I self manage myself so I can give out the knowledge they need to know once they’re entering the industry, because there’s a lot of snakey people in the business. There wasn’t anybody there for me when I was younger so I try to tell them what to look out for in every situation, with who they’re working with, the managers, the record label. I try to hand out my knowledge and experience. 

Who are your greatest musical influences? 

I think I was eleven years old when I listened to Social Distortion. I would grab my dad’s guitar and jump around in my room pretending I was (frontman) Mike Ness. I didn’t even know punk rock was a thing when I was that young. It was just a band all the other kids in the neighbourhood listened to and I liked them.

What does the next few years hold for you?

At this point I’m going to dive into the London Falling world – another record and tour, hopefully. Even though London Falling is essentially another punk pop band, I would like to be able to balance a world of both Mest and London Falling stuff, but focus more on London Falling because it’s just starting. It takes more time and dedication. I’ve also been producing and co-writing with a lot of bands lately. I just like to f*cking keep busy with anything I can. I was the producer, music composer, and music supervisor in a movie in America called ‘Highway to Havasu.’ As soon as we end the Australian tour, I go home and the following weekend I have a movie premiere in the town I live in. I just like to be busy, so work, work, and more work. The more money daddy makes the more toys my son London gets.

Hawthorne Heights & Mest ‘The Two Headed Mons’ Tour Dates

HQ, Perth
Amplify, Perth
Black Market, Adelaide
Bang, Melbourne
Bald Faced Stag, Sydney
The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
University of Wollongong
The Brightside, Brisbane

Get Tickets HERE

Two Headed Mons Tour Poster