Photo Credit: Jonathan Weiner
Philadelphia dreamboats The Wonder Years are coming to Athens for the first time ever on Nov. 27. The band is touring in support of its latest album, Sister Cities, a punk treatise on the importance of empathy in a non-empathetic time. Flagpole’s teen-beat reporter caught up with lead stud Dan Campbell ahead of the show to find out what it’s like living life as a rock star!
Flagpole: When did you first start playing music?
Dan Campbell: Eighth grade. I joined a band with my friend Rob—we were called Loser. He wanted to sound like Nirvana. I wanted to sound like Blink-182. I still think of some of the weird songs we wrote, 20 years later.
FP: Where did the name The Wonder Years come from?
DC: It was just kind of the first thing out of anyone’s mouth. We weren’t planning on being a band—we just wrote a song because we were bored one day. But then we were like, “we should put it on MySpace,” and we had to have a band name to upload it, so someone blurted out “THE WONDER YEARS,” and that was it.
FP: What’s your favorite part about being in a band?
DC: A really good night onstage is, like, the happiest I can be. I don’t do a lot of fun stuff. A lot of stuff people find fun, I find anxiety-inducing. I’m a really boring person. I don’t drink, I don’t do any drugs, I don’t like parties, or roller coasters, or scary movies. But I really like playing music in front of people.
FP: Do you have anything to say about playing in Athens?
WY: We announced the show, and several people said, “Holy shit. You’re playing in Athens, GA? That’s gonna be crazy.” My only thought is, “Is it gonna be crazy in a good way or a bad way?” I hope and think it’s gonna be a good way, and I’m excited.
FP: I WONDER, how many YEARS old are you?
DC: I’m 32.
FP: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
DC: Probably not using your turn signal when you switch lanes.
FP: What’s your favorite thing about winter?
DC: When it’s over. I get crazy depressed all winter, because it gets dark too soon. My wife realized I get sad around that time, so she brings me to the mall. There, it’s daylight bright, and we just walk around to keep our spirits up.
FP: What’s the perfect brunch?
DC: They key to a perfect brunch is ordering a round of “table cakes” for the table. Just get some crazy flavored pancakes off the menu so no one has to take on the burden of consuming an insane sugar bomb on their own, and everyone gets some. Table cakes—I’m an advocate.
FP: What’s the ultimate pizza topping?
DC: Uh. Cheese?
FP: Have you ever had a celebrity crush?
DC: When I was a kid, I loved the yellow Power Ranger.
FP: What vegetable do you hate the most?
DC: Brussels sprouts. The smell of reheated brussels sprouts upsets me.
FP: Do you have any pets?
DC: I have a dog named George. I adopted him when he was 3, so I don’t know his breed, but he looks like a cross between a chihuahua and a Shiba Inu. I actually have a picture of him on the wall of the bus, so I’m staring at him right now.
FP: What’s your favorite sport to play?
DC: I like playing flag football a lot. We haven’t played much recently, because you need to get a minimum of eight people together to play and find a field. So, when I’m not on tour, I usually just take a basketball to the court by myself and shoot a bunch of free throws, looking like an idiot.
FP: How can kids make the world a better place?
DC: Just by being kind to everyone. I think younger people have the opportunity to create a ripple effect throughout the lives of others with their kindness. So, I think if we go from generation to generation being kinder and kinder, we can become better.
THE WONDER YEARS Acclaimed, energetic pop-punk band from Pennsylvania.
HAVE MERCY Emo and post-hardcore outfit from Baltimore, MD.
OSO OSO Emo-tinged indie-rock project from Long Beach, NY.
SHORTLY Dream-pop alter ego of Detroit singer-songwriter Alexandria Maniak.