Warped Wednesday: Interview with Kevin of Knuckle Puck

The Chicago-natives and Daily Slice faves in Knuckle Puck hit the road for the second summer in a row on Warped Tour this year. We had the chance to take a break from the heat with guitarist Kevin Maida at the Mansfield, MA stop on the tour to catch up with him on the usual Warped Tour happenings, and settle the score on where to get the best pizza in the deep-dish holy land.

The Daily Slice: First would you introduce yourself with your name, what you do in the band, and the best place to get a slice of pizza in your hometown?

Kevin Maida: My name is Kevin, and I play guitar the band Knuckle Puck. And the best place to get pizza is Palermo’s. There’s a couple of locations in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. It’s just the best thin crust pizza in the Chicago area, in my humble opinion. My compadre, Nick, would agree with me as well. I also really like Fox’s. Nick would disagree with me. Fox’s is like an Irish pub, but they also like really good thin-crust pizza for some odd reason. Straight up, Giordano’s isn’t that good. That’s like the big one, the big Chicago one.  

TDS: Isn’t Chicago big on deep dish pizza?

KM: Yeah.

TDS: So you’re not a deep dish guy?

KM: No I am, but if I’m going to have deep dish, ideally I want Gino’s East.

TDS: How’s Warped Tour treating you guys so far?

KM: It’s been good!

TDS: Is there anything surprising about your second go-around on the tour?

KM: Honestly it’s a lot more bands that I would pay to go see, which is a good thing. It’s a lot of bands playing that I would go see when I was like 17 years old, like Less Than Jake, New Found Glory, Four Year Strong, and The Maine and like all these really cool bands. So I think the lineup is way better this year. Last year was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but like this it was like, wow they really amped it up. It’s awesome be a part of it again, you know?

TDS: So here’s a weird what-if scenario for you: If you couldn’t play your set for a day, for whatever reason, who on the tour would you trust to fill in for you?

KM: Oh Dave Knox, from Real Friends, because he’s filled in for me before a bunch.

TDS: Well, you guys are practically neighbors.

KM: Exactly. We all lived by each other at home. I would trust Dave the most because he’s done it before, I’m sure he will do it again at some point. He actually filled in for Ryan for the first like four shows of the tour.

TDS: So are you guys playing this new Pokemon Go game everyone has been talking about?

KM: Joe’s playing a lot, but the rest of us don’t really play. It seems cool, I just don’t have the data or the battery for it.

TDS: I guess when you’re traveling, you don’t really have access to too many wi-fi hotspots. Have you guys been involved with any of the nonprofits or other organizations out on the tour this summer?

KM: Not directly, but we’ll do some stuff with Hope For The Day sometimes. We’ll have Johnny from Hope For The Day talk before our set, and just tell kids and educate them about Hope For The Day and what they do, which is cool. He actually does that with with a lot of bands.

TDS: I wanted to ask you about these Littering Isn’t Chill shirts–is the design in partnership with someone for something, or is this just a personal thing with the band?

KM: We just wanted to promote something positive. None of us like litter and the shirts are kind of funny. So it’s cool, and I hope it stops a lot of people from littering. And it’s apparently especially a problem at Warped.

TDS: What are Knuckle Puck’s plans once Warped wraps up?

KM: We’ll just be home for a little while, and then we’ll hopefully tour some more. And then in between tours, hopefully we start writing some new music here and there and get going on that. Nothing really definite in that field yet but, we want to start just writing new music.

TDS:How did you prepare differently for your second year on Warped compared to last year?

KM: I don’t know that there was anything in particular, but I guess you just know what’s out there, you know how hard the tour is, and a lot of these venues are the same as last year, so it’s kind of nice waking up and knowing I don’t figure everything out I know where everything’s at. Last year, it was exactly that every single day. I was like I don’t know where this is, or that is. But now, it’s nice. You know, you just kind of have it down.

TDS: Is there a must-have item that you know you have to bring on a long tour like this?

KM: Books. I’m trying to read more.

TDS: What are you reading now?

KM: I borrowed a book called The Light That Never Goes Out. It’s the Smith’s biography, it’s apparently the best one that’s out there. I’ve been on the Smiths kick for a couple of months now, so I’m trying to educate myself more on the band. And then, I had a slew of Chicago Mafia books. I’m really big into American Mafia and crime, so I have a book about that as well, which I haven’t touched because I’ve been reading the Smiths book.

TDS: That’s all the questions I had for you, is there anything else you want to say to your fans before we go?

KM: If you’re from Europe, we’re coming to Europe this summer with Real Friends, so we’ll see you there!

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