Punk Rock Tour Tales #5: Pat from The Decline

Pat from Australia’s best skate-punk exports The Decline shares his memories of gigging, in jokes, and on-the-road antics.

Punk Rock Tour Tales is a new Shout Louder feature, where we interview bands about their tour stories. Read them all here.

The Decline are a high-energy straight up skate-punk band from Perth, Australia. Unfortunately, their UK/Euro tour has been scrapped to due to whole pandemic malarkey, but we still had a chat with them about their past touring experiences.

They’ve recently released a rad album: Flash Gordon Ramsay Street on Pee Records (with international collab from Bird Attack, Disconnect Disconnect, Bells On, Cargo and Oxford Records). It fits right in the vein of Frenzal Rhomb, NoFX and Lagwagon. Questions were answered by guitarist / vocalist Pat, who first up said that they ‘love touring, drinking beers and playing legend of Zelda’.

Of the touring you’ve done, what’s been your favourite so far?

It’s very hard to say! Maybe Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia? Maybe South America with Much The Same and The Fullblast. Maybe Australia or Mexico with A Wilhelm Scream. It’s usually the people you’re touring with or the people you meet who make it the best, rather than the actual place… maybe the USA with MakeWar.

What’s the furthest you’ve ever driven to play a 30 minute set?

Maybe 12 hours from Nantes to Milan? One time we played Nuremberg and drove all of the next day to play in Zagreb, and the next day we drove all day back to Augsburg to play. That was the first time we met Fair Do’s, we played with them in Nuremberg and Augsburg and they thought we were crazy, both for all the driving and for letting them headline.

Have you ever looked around on tour and thought ‘what the fuck is happening’?

All the time. One example I can think of was in Sydney about 5 years ago, it was the first time the crowd sang our lyrics back to us in a quiet part of the song and I didn’t have to sing. That’s become my favourite thing that happens at our shows.

When was the first / last time that you had a ‘fuck, this isn’t worth it’ moment?

Awwww, we are lucky enough not to have too many of those and it’s all really a blur so I can’t think of firsts and lasts… but there was one time an airline tried to make us pay like $2500 for having too much luggage, another time we got caught in traffic for six hours and missed our spot at a festival, and one or two times we accidentally left borrowed or rented gear in another city hours away and didn’t realise until the next gig.

How did you overcome it?

Asked very nicely, drove all night to London and apologised and bought someone a carton of beer. In my experience doing these three things can solve a lot of problems.

What are your tips for surviving a tour?

Make sure you always have a bottle of water and a snack. Make sure you have an iPod full of songs and ways to entertain yourself. Make sure you always have painkillers. Text your friends at home. Make up fun tour van jokes with your mates. Have a shower every morning. Hug your friends and high five them every day. To be honest I’m pretty uptight, you could probably do half that stuff and have a beer and be fine.

Do you have a long-serving tour vehicle? What are its quirks?

We don’t! We live in a very isolated city so we usually just fly somewhere and then rent a tour van! But we have been lucky enough to spend time in other band’s vans, which has been magic.

What’s your soundtrack in the van?

Usually CDs by bands we play with along the way!

Do you have a luxury item you take with you?

I take a shower every morning, I think that’s my one special thing.

Are there any van in-jokes that are safe to share with us?

We have loads of those. Particularly with other bands that we do shows with along the way. We were with Teenage Bottlerocket once and I think someone at the show was being a bit intense with us and things got a bit heated and I said something like, “Bloody hell you better settle down mate,” and for the rest of eternity whenever we see Teenage Bottlerocket they put on their best deliberately exaggerated Australian accents and make fun of me for it. “Awww, you better settle down mate! Bloody hell!”

If you could choose any band alive, which band would you most like to tour with?

Descendents are my favourite band, so probably them. We’ve played with them a couple of times though which has been ridiculously cool.

Check out The Decline’s fourth full-length studio album Flash Gordon Ramsay Street on Bandcamp or Spotify. Follow the band on Facebook, to be the first to find out when they’re back on the road!

Punk Rock Tour Tales is a new Shout Louder feature, where we interview bands about their tour stories. Read them all here.

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