The Young Guns – Rock ‘N’ Roll Tour of the Year – The Aquarian

For our first-ever digital cover, we thought it was fitting to go all out by showcasing not one, but two of today’s most outstanding rock outfits ahead of not one, but two of their release dates. local tours. (Webster Hall tonight and Starland Ballroom on Wednesday.)

No one is born a rockstar. Even if they were born to parents of musical legends or predisposed to the work of the Beatles and the Stones, they are not a rockstar. A person can certainly have rock star qualities at a young age, but they are not a full-fledged rock ‘n’ roll musician until they put in the work to find themselves and their sound. . For some, it takes months or years. For others, decades. For Wolfgang Van Halen, it was a mixture of both. The singer-songwriter grew up on and around the stages. He’s been playing and writing, recording and riffing for as long as he can remember. However, just days before turning 31, he told us how rewarding it was to finally be his own artist – the rockstar he worked diligently to become.

The age at which an artist comes into its own doesn’t make a big difference, but it can play a role in how you’re perceived. A band like Dirty Honey is a great example of this, because no matter how fresh their sound, they will always be equated with the bands that came along long before they formed in 2017. Even the most open-minded music lover would struggle to associate authentic, local blues rock to the modern music industry. Yet here is Dirty Honey, in all their groovy glory, with their name on the map and an ever-growing discography to keep them there. Lead singer Marc Labelle is 30 himself and knows better than anyone that music knows no age, having grown up with Aerosmith’s sexy swagger (and now emulating him as a frontman).

This cross-country rock and roll trek, aptly named Young Guns Tour, is a joint venture from start to finish. Each act holds their ground without holding back, relying on courage and bravery as if their remarkable skill wasn’t enough to conquer the whole world… which it is, in case you aren’t already one of the many people who contributed to the millions of online streams of Dirty Honey and Mammoth WVH. Together they make up this tour, but each group is stylistically their own with their own experiences under their critically acclaimed belts.

Dirty Honey are one of the biggest and most successful indie bands of our time, and as a rock band, it’s no small feat where anyone can hop on Garageband and kick off some power chords. . They are so much more than that and the way they are climbing the charts is just one example of that. Another would be their intense and devoted fan base – a base that Marc LaBelle can’t help but show his appreciation for and gush about in our conversation. “They’re open-minded listeners,” he says with a smile evident in his voice.

Their fans and Mammoth WVH fans fit together beautifully too, jamming every set from every band every night of this tour. “Our fans are like crossing the line to appreciate the other band that maybe they didn’t know before the show started. For me, that’s a plus, obviously, for the state of rock and roll. I am really impressed with the love from our fans but we’re also all music fans Dirty Honey is a huge fan of Wolfgang and everything he does so I’m more than happy to raise the flag for him , to carry that torch and support him. We really want the best for him and his set on every show – authentically. I feel like there aren’t many bands that I can really say that these days, you know? I’m really excited about all that he does and what we can do alongside him on these stages and on this tour.

Wolfgang Van Halen, a proud fan of all kinds of music, understands this wholeheartedly, telling us how much he’s a fan of the Foo Fighters (whom he’s up against for Best Rock Song at this year’s Grammy Awards) as he is. ‘It’s LaBelle’s band. “It’s a really good time to see Dirty Honey being rockstars. They’re all great. It’s also a fun music night because although we’re rock bands, we’re both very different in our sounds .It’s not some kind of boring single note party.You will definitely be entertained easily by both [Mammoth and Dirty Honey].”

Speaking of Grammys, Aquarius had to ask Wolfgang Van Halen about his nomination and how thrilled one must be to find out. “My manager called me and woke me up,” WVH begins with a laugh. “My team – I call them the trusted humans – is me, my manager, my uncle and my business partner. We’re sort of the decision-making brains when it comes to the band. My manager m ‘ called the morning of the announcements and told me to call one and he was going to call the other and put us on a conference call. Then he said it and I was kind of like, ‘Holy shit, Am I still dreaming? Or did I really wake up? It’s really, really crazy.

These two bands know what it’s like to balance a setlist and a stage with another band and other sounds, because as great as they are headlining, they’ve recently cut their teeth with bands equally roaring and noteworthy, like a big tour with Gun ‘N Roses for Mammoth WVH, whose audiences may or may not know the five-star Van Halen legacy solo band.

“That’s the big difference between the two: when you’re opening for someone great, it’s always an amazing opportunity, but at the same time, you’re kind of auditioning to get their attention. Because, really, they are not there you. Normally you see times when, at the end of your set, you’ve kind of won over the people who came to see the headliner. As for this recent tour, however, it’s straight up a good time. People are ready to see you and they’re going crazy so it’s been a really fun time so far because it’s crazy volume to see all these different people singing the lyrics that I wrote. That’s a brand new thing for me, you know? I’ve been touring for 15 years, but it feels like it’s my first time with Mammoth because I have a lot more personal interest with all the music we play.

LaBelle echoed the sentiment regarding Dirty Honey after a series of dates with The Black Crows, explaining the notable differences between being an opener and a co-headliner. “More than anything, it was just great to walk into a room with your fans and people who are excited to see you rather than the headliner and who just happen to find out about you through them. Fans know that. more about us at this point and they know the material, so it became a more exciting environment for Dirty Honey and them.

“When you pull out the mic to get people singing on an opening set, it’s not an overly active response, but when you do it on your own headlining show, everyone’s happy to sing us we try to help create a fun environment and find that sense of community because everyone is there to see an artist that they all love so they have to be there but we have to be really present.

No matter who they come out on this run for, fans are treated to a variety show that’s rooted in musicality and the instrumentation is intricate and gorgeous, yet a whole lot of fun. The camaraderie between the bands on and off stage is palpable, teetering on the verge of becoming a rock and roll family. “[Mammoth] and Dirty Honey definitely rock, but there are different flavors that people can be exposed to and find common ground,” comments Marc LaBelle.

We can’t help but stress how important community building is during a live broadcast, especially in a semi-post-pandemic time. Becoming a unit as your rock out, jam and mosh to hit songs and deep cuts adds to the worthwhile and appreciated aspect of a gig. Tri-State knows how to do it better than most, hosting bands like these two and putting on shows like the ones we hope you’ll head to at Webster Hall and Starland Ballroom.

“It’s one of the places where we started and found our place – New Jersey,” the Dirty Honey frontman said. “Asbury Park at The Saint, actually. It was one of our first real shows on the east coast. To the point of seeing the public become even more interested in the music and seeing the fanbase grow, it’s just gotten exponentially bigger in that area since we started, so it feels like we have to be on the right track.

When asked what he would take away from the Young Guns tour, local tour dates or otherwise, the “Distance” singer explains how having “more seat time” works to his advantage – or that of n any group. “It’s the 10,000 hour rule: the more you invest in your craft, the better you become. I noticed, at least personally, that I became a better leader. I’m better at talking to the public and getting the most out of the crowd, kind of getting reactions out of it way better than I was on the Guns ‘N Roses tour…or even the headlines in between. and the [G’N’R] to visit. You spend more time in the seat, you get better and you build energy.

Wolfgang Van Halen touches people with his profession, which he still works in today, as a headliner. His nod to the Grammys (a first for him) is one thing, but the way he transcends generations with his approach to hard rock is another, and his ability to connect with audiences? It’s more out of the park than ever today. “This is all so crazy. I could never have seen the answer to that and the music, for it to reach what it had been. I’m very grateful.”