Had anyone told me a few years ago that one of Symphony X‘s virtuosi would give me an interview one day, I’d have exclaimed in disbelief: “Give me a break, no way!” Still, here I am today, interviewing Mike LePond, bass player for Symphony X, while currently on tour with the band!
And it gets even better: this is the only interview Mike has agreed to do while touring! Somebody pinch me!!
Part 1. Symphony X On Tour 2015
Hi there Mike! So good to have you on board! How does it feel to be on tour again? How long is it since you did this, 2012?
The last time we toured was the beginning of 2012, so I am so excited to be on the road again.
How do you decide on the track listing for your gigs? Do you all get together and decide what you want to play, or do the ideas and suggestions come mainly from your management?
The band always decides the set list. We just start trying different set lists every time we practice until we find one that works.
What is the best thing about touring?
The best thing about touring is meeting new people, discovering new cultures and, of course, playing on stage.
It must be amazing to be on stage and see all those fans who have gathered there especially for you. I can’t even begin to imagine what that feels like, can you try to describe it?
Seeing a huge gathering of people going crazy and singing our songs back to us is almost surreal. It almost feels like you are watching a movie. It is the greatest feeling on earth.
The programme of the tour is really intense and ambitious, how do you guys cope? Is it humanly possible to play pretty much every day for two months? You must be super humans, admit it!!
Touring is a grueling and tough business. It beats up your body and you never get enough sleep. But after a while you just kind of get used to it, so it’s ok.
What feels most difficult about being on tour? Is it the physical exhaustion? Or perhaps missing friends and family? Or neither of these, as you are super humans? 🙂
For me personally, nothing is bad about touring. I was made to be a road dog, but the other guys are married with kids, so they struggle with being away from them.
What are your strategies for coping: physically, mentally and emotionally?
I just make sure I eat right and get enough sleep.
What do you do to relax while touring, how do you recharge your batteries? Apart from sleeping on the bus while travelling to your next destination, of course!
To recharge my batteries, I just talk to my friends on Facebook and things like that.
This tour celebrates the release of Symphony X’s new album, “Underworld”.
For a review of this amazing CD, click here.
It has been a while since Symphony X released their last CD (“Iconoclast”, 2011). Was it exciting to embark upon a new album, or perhaps a bit scary?
We are always excited to create new music. There is a little pressure to create a great record, but we like the challenge.
Do you ever wonder if your fans will still buy your work? Or are you totally confident that we will be your fans forever and ever? (For the record: I am from the latter category, OK!!)
Our fans are so incredibly loyal, but we never take them for granted. We always work hard to deliver the best music possible.
You guys seem totally amazing and down-to-earth. You look totally approachable and friendly. How do you manage to not let fame get to your heads?
I never forget where I came from. I still record and play gigs with local bands just like I used to before I joined Symphony X.
Does it sometimes strike you: “Hell, I am one of Symphony X!!” As in, “Hell, I am a genius” – said with no sarcasm whatsoever, as this is the ultimate truth!
From time to time I still have to pinch myself to know that I’m not dreaming. Playing in Symphony X is the greatest thing that has happened to me.
And, as unoriginal as this question is, I am still curious, what do you prefer: working in studio, or touring?
Touring is the best. I could tour every day of my life.