THE TRADITIONAL Say Goodbye - An Interview with ANTHONY MUSIOR
The Traditional have recently announced they have decided to “call it a day” with the band, while members of the Buffalo, NY outfit move on to pursue alternate passions and lives with their young and growing families. It’s a tough spot to be in as someone who owns a record label that has put in SO much passion and energy into a band like The Traditional. Countless hours we all invested, lots of financial investments from both of us as well, literal blood/sweat/and tears… On one hand, I’m sad to see the band go knowing that this is the end of the line working with this band and their music. On the other hand, it’s so amazing to see these guys that I met in their VERY early 20’s grow up to be fathers, husbands, partners, leaders, and even better people.
To bring this chapter of our relationship to a close, I reached out to vocalist/bassist Anthony Musior to dig up the past and future, and ask him some final questions ahead of the band’s SOLD OUT farewell show on April 27th.
Anthony, how are you man!? Congratulations to you and your family on the birth of your son. Welcome to the Dad Club!
- Hey dude! I'm really good! Thank you very much. It's an honor to be here haha.
What have the last 6 months of life been like for you, and what's it like being a parent?
- Man, my son Anthony is 4 months now so my last 6 months have basically been panicking because I'm going to have a son and then once he was born, learning how to be a dad. It has truly been the best thing that has ever happened to me and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. As I write this he's staring at me, fighting sleep.
So, we've seen that you and The Traditional have recently posted that the band will be coming to a close later this month. I'm sure the fans can share in my feelings when I say that we are bummed to see you guys go. The Traditional have been a family to many and have inspired even more through your music. Can you tell us a little more about what contributed to the band's decision to call it a day?
- Well when we started this band, we were young and hungry and willing to do anything to make this thing happen. We toured this band into the ground and it really took a huge toll on us all as people. Our priorities started to change as we got older and some of our hearts were in it more than others. I really wanted to do one more record but when we realized that we weren't all on the same page anymore, we all knew it was time to end it on a positive note and on our own terms. We didn't want to just fade away.
The band first started in 2012, but I didn't hear about The Traditional until around 2013...or so my email history tells me. haha. You guys had played with Heart to Heart who were on the label at the time, and Nick Zoppo told me that I should check you guys out. What are some early memories of yours from wanting to start The Traditional? Were there any intentions set from the beginning in regards to what the band would be about, or did you just "go for it" and figure it out later / let it naturally develop?
- So, when the band Mike and I were in before The Traditional broke up, we kind of knew what we wanted to do. We wanted to write a record we were proud of and get on the road right away. In my eyes this was the only way we were going to get noticed. I owe Mike and Jon a lot for dragging them on the road so much. They really trusted me and let me lead this thing the best that I could. That show we played with Heart to Heart was actually our first out of town date and like our 3rd or 4th show as a band. We really wanted to perfect our live sound before playing out and I think it helped people take us seriously when they saw us for the 1st time.
The Traditional has been pretty good about not rotating members or bringing on new ones to replace old ones. Even when Ryan became a dad, you guys slimmed down to just a three pice for such a long time before Chuck came on board at the end. Can you tell me a little about the members/lineup of The Traditional through the years?
- Mike Bienias has always been the lead guitar player of this band and aside from me he is the only "original" member. He has been putting up with my shit for a long time and theres no one else I would have wanted to take this journey with. We have been through a lot together. Our first drummer who played on "You Can't Rebuild Forever" is James Froese. He was an awesome dude but just as we started trying to get out on the road and play some shows, he got a job offer he couldn't pass up that wouldn't allow him to tour and we had to part ways. I never blamed him for taking it. This struggle ain't for everyone. Once he left Jon Coric, who is our drummer now and was in a band previously with Ryan, joined and stuck by my side through thick and thin. Ryan Bennett was our original rhythm guitar player and he was basically the dad of this band in the early days. He would volunteer to drive on tour so the rest of us could get hammered and he always got us to the next city. While we were out doing dates supporting "How To Live Without Blood", he found out that his now wife was pregnant. Once we got home we knew it would be better for him to step away and be a father and we continued on as a three piece for a while. Our friend Steve Shero filled in for a few tours and then we asked Chuck Rumfola, who had been demoing out "The Queen of Heaven", to join full time and he did. Chuck is awesome and he's currently playing in a great band called Post Prom. Give them a listen.
You guys also toured your asses off throughout most of the band's career. What was your longest drive between shows that you can remember?
- Oh man. There were so many insane drives. Shows would fall through and you'd have no choice but to just drive to where ever the next show was. We drove from Portland, Oregon to Lancaster, California once because we had a show fall through in the bay area. That was like 15 hours.
Was there ever a time riding in the van where you wanted to lose your mind, and thought "no more"? I mean, lack of sleep, riding around with stinky dudes for days on end, being away from family and friends is tough. Or was it always love for you and the guys? I'm definitely a person who needs solid sleep to function, haha, you know it's not for everyone.
- At first for me it was all love. I looked forward to getting away and playing our songs for new people in new cities and I loved the lifestyle. I could tell Mike and Jon started to get burned out long before I did but towards the end all of those things really started to hit me. Literally everything you mentioned Haha. DIY touring is just a really tough gig. Even when our tours started to get better towards the end, we were already beat down by the grind. Once my brother passed away, touring was out of the question for me for a while. I just was never in the right mindset and that mindset never really came back. For a long time I really lost my love for music.
Favorite tour The Traditional ever did and why?
- Of Fortune and Fame 50 day full US hands down. When I think back on this band, I will always think about this tour. We piled 9 dudes into one van that, unbeknownst to us at the time, barely ran and headed across the country. We went through every emotion know to man together and I think everyone on that tour really found themselves due to the experience. I love those dudes more than anything.
Dream tour, if you could line up with any four bands?
- This is always such a tough one. If it could be ANY bands I would say, Us, Of Fortune and Fame, The Menzingers and PUP but thats just because thats all I've been listening to and I would just love to do another tour with Of Fortune and Fame. If you asked me the same question in 2 weeks, I'd probably have another answer haha.
Fair enough. Funniest or funnest tour memory?
- The thing about this stuff is that when you've been out with the same dudes for so long, the things that are the most funny to you are absolutely ridiculous to other people. I remember we spent one tour only pronouncing the C's in words that had CH in them. No CH sounds. To us it was like the funniest thing that ever happened but anyone who heard us thought we were idiots, I'm sure. I will always remember on one of our very early tours, we brought out Andy Deluca who is currently a touring photographer, most recently with 5 Seconds of Summer, and he went into a waterpark/hotel and told them he was managing a band looking for a deal on some rooms and passes. Sure as shit this hotel hooked him all the way up and we got a huge suite with passes to the waterpark for next to nothing. We filled the sink in our room with ice and beer and partied super hard in some random waterpark outside of Chicago. I still have a picture around somewhere of Mike laying butt naked face down on the hotel floor.
HAHA, that really does sound amazing and super funny. It’s those types of things with the “CH” that my brother and I always goof on too. Totally get it.
Some of my favorite things about The Traditional (and there are many) is how diverse you guys all are as musicians individually, but together it all collides and makes sense. Jon is a killer drummer, Mike with the shredding lead guitar, Ryan slays on guitar as well, and your vocals are truly unique! It was always hard to compare you guys with other bands when people asked what The Traditional sounded like. But, thats what makes you guys so great. It was really just something all it's own. Any comments or thoughts on this and everyone's musicianship?
-I appreciate the kind words! I've always loved this about us in the writing process. I could always come to the guys with the most simple idea and they could always turn it into something I couldn't of dreamed up if I tried. Mike always has this way of adding a lead, or solo, or part that is just so far beyond my talent level but really gives the song life that it didn't have before. Jon has a really great, high singing voice that has always added so much to our live performances and recordings. I've always loved how we could do our harmonies live. I think it really adds to the band.
One of the other things I have to mention about how great The Traditional was, is actually how awesome your fans are! This is something I noticed right away. The amount of love and support your friends, family, and fans showed The Traditional was absolutely amazing!! Can you elaborate on this and share your thoughts?
-I am still amazed by how many people truly care about this band. The amount of people who stuck with us all of this time is nuts and the amount of people who reached out when we announced we were calling it quits was crazy. I hope they all know how much that meant and always will mean to all of us. Without the support we had, we wouldn't have been able to do half of the things we did and we really appreciate that.
Your final show is slated for later this month on April 27th, and as I’m adding this to the blog, it’s been announced that the show is now SOLD OUT. What can we expect for a final performance from The Traditional?
-We will be playing a TON of songs from all of our releases. It's really been fun to play some of these songs that we haven't played in years. It's going to wild and emotional. The line up is absolutely stacked and we can't wait.
Will we see any special appearances?
-It is definitely possible and we hope so. We are trying to make some things happen.
Has it been emotional prepping for this show?
-It has and it hasn't. It's been great to play together again and play some songs we haven't played in a very long time but I think we all knew it was time to put this thing to rest. I think once the day of the show comes and we play our last chord and it really hits us, it might get a little emotional, but as for now it has mostly just been fun to play these songs again.
After all the dust settles, what do you hope people take away from The Traditional?
-Man, I really just hope people see how much this thing meant to us while it lasted. I put everything I had into this band and I really hope it shows. I hope when people go back and listen to these songs, they not only remember us for what we were, but I hope they remember the good memories from the shows we played with all of the amazing bands we've had the opportunity to play with and the way the shows made them feel. I always loved that about music. I could listen to a song and remember seeing that band in a club somewhere and how free it made me feel to be in a room full of like minded people, screaming song lyrics at a band on stage. I hope people get those feelings from our records too.