This Friday is release day for Santa Barbara pop punk / rock outfit Versus The World who’s new album ‘Drink. Sing. Live. Love‘ is available locally via 3Wise Records. This week in The Hotseat we catch up with the band’s singer / guitarist Donald Spence. Expand this post to check out his answers as well as a full stream of the album. If you like what you hear, you can pre-order a copy of it [Here] with free postage.
Name : Donald Spence
Band : Versus the World
Job In Band : singer/guitar player
Website Address : www.versustheworld.com
Hometown : We all live in Santa Barbara, CA. I am from Texas & Bryan, our drummer is from Hawaii.
Hometown is best known for : We’re known for great wine and good music. A lot of bands are from here, Mad Caddies, Devildriver, Snot, Ugly Kid Joe, Captain Geech & The Shrimp Shack Shooters, and of course The Ataris & Lagwagon.
Best venue in your hometown : This is funny, we really only have one rock venue in town, its called The Velvet Jones, and Bryan and myself have run it for years. So were a little biased.
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : We’ve had Against Me & Foo Fighters do secret shows at our little venue. Those were by far the best.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : We played with Lucero and had a blast! We all went out to sushi before the show, then had a great turn out and partied through the night.
How did the band first come to exist? We’ve all played together in different projects actually, we’ve been friends for years. Playing together happened really naturally.
How long has the band been going? We started writing music together in 2005. Put out a record in 06.
Any particular story behind the name? It’s funny, I bought a split record of Armchair Martian and Bad Astronaut. It said Armchair Martian VS Bad Astronaut… War Of The Worlds. I read it as Versus The World and that was that.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… We’re putting a record out on 3wise Records at the start of August called ‘Drink. Sing. Live. Love.’ We’ve been working on it for about 2 years and I can’t wait for it to come out. I think it’s a really good rock record. You can hear all of our different influences on the record. I’m stoked for people to hear it.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? We played our first main stage show. That was special to me. Mike & Chris have done it a number of times in their other projects but this was a first for Versus.
OFF THE STAGE
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? My mother. She raised me on rock & roll. Had me singing in choirs, playing the piano, paid for lessons. She tought me to love music.
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? Guns ‘N Roses – Appetite For Destruction and Metallica – Master Of Puppets were my first rock records. That’s when I knew I wanted to play guitar. But the first time I heard Greenday’s ‘Kerplunk’, that’s when I fell in love with punk rock.
Your first band name, and what style did you play? Oh god, we were called Fifty Cents Short. We were a terrible punk band. I’m still friends with the bass player. We got wasted one night and listen to our old demos on tape a while back. Some things should be left as memories.
Most prized music related item you own? I’m a guitar guy. I have a couple of Les Paul customs that I just love playing. One alpine white, and a 57′ Pelham blue reissue.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? Golfing, or hanging with my dog, or drinking with friends.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… The first show.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… The airport. I hate all the packing, the lost luggage, the stress of getting there always gets me. But when you get to where you are supposed to be and are ready to finally play a show it’s well beyond worth it.
ON THE STAGE
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? Wine & coke. We love mixing them together. It’s called a calimoxto. Best drink ever.
Favourite place you’ve toured… and why? Prague was amazing, Germany was very nice to us, but we all love playing Amsterdam. The crowds are always really responsive, the people, the food, the atmosphere. We try to start and end Euro tours there if at all possible.
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? We played the last Deconstruction Tour in Europe in 06. We were on tour with No Use For a Name and the Lawrence Arms, and we got to the festival and we were left off the bill. We went to catering to talk to the promoter who said there was nothing that could be done. Fat Mike was playing the show with the Gimmies and overheard the conversation and started a sort of lunch room chant. Banging on the table “let them play! Let them play!”. Got us on the bill, thanks Mike.
Got a favourite song to play live? Right now it’s either ‘She Sang The Blues’ or ‘The Kids Are Fucked’.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? Not embarrassing yet, thank god, but Mike is pretty bad about gauging where he is on stage, he’s always knocking shit over and spilling drinks, really giving our tech a run for his money. We played our home town a while back and he hit me with his bass so hard I saw lights. I was bleeding and I couldn’t think about lyrics. That sucked.
Any pre-show rituals? A shot of whiskey. Jameson if you got it.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? It’s always rough leaving your life behind, your dog, or wife or girlfriend or whatever. But we love playing music, we’re lucky that we get to do this. We don’t forget that.
Last song you listened to? Fitz & the Tantrums, we don’t need no love songs.
Last album you acquired? Hot Water Music – ‘Exister’.
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? New HWM, new Bayside, & the new I Am The Avalanche. All so fucking good.
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? Check out our buddies The Royalty. They’re pretty rad, I’m going to go see them tomorrow night. Also check out Audra Mae. Her voice is amazing.
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? The record is about to come out, and then we have to tour our asses off. We’re really proud of the record, so we need to do our best to play in as many different places as possible.
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? Weezer – ‘Pinkerton’. I love the album! I still listen to it all the time, a few times a month at least. Just one of those records that came out at the right time and place for me.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? Not sure… Hard question. If anyone wanted to cover anything we did I’d probably be stoked.
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? Jawbreaker. I’ve seen Blake play in a couple other projects, most recently The Forgetters but I’d love to see Jawbreaker. But with all these bands getting back together… Who knows.
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? The Santa Barbara bowl. It’s our home time. That would be huge.
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? I’ll hop on tour with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes any day. That band just looks like they have a blast every night. They aren’t playing any originals, so that’s way less pressure.
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band. What and were huge? I’ll take The Loved Ones and The Smoking Popes. I’ll know every song they play.
Got any final words? Check out our new record ‘Drink. Sing. Live. Love.’ See you at the show! Cheers.
VERSUS THE WORLD – Drink. Sing. Live. Love
In stores this Friday August 3rd via 3Wise Records / Sony Music
Order your copy online [Here]