Updated: 05/05/03

Watch out when Count The Stars play a venue in your town – they go wild, blood will be spilled and you just may be seeing stars yourself if you get too close to the stage. They’ve been on tour with Madcap and Voodoo Glow Skulls, leaving the crowds amazed. We spoke with drummer Dave Shapiro from the road to find out what insane antics and medical disasters Count The Stars have gotten themselves into lately.

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Count The Stars, and how long the band has been together.
I play drums in Count The Stars and my name is Dave Shapiro. Certain members of the band have been playing together for years. Chris, our singer, and I have been playing together for about eight years. A couple years later our bass player starting playing with us, and then our guitarist came on about two years ago. We seriously started playing as a band called Count The Stars about two years ago.

It says here on the bio that you and Chris started out at the age of 12.
Yeah, Chris and I have been playing together for quite some time.

I was just wondering what kind of gigs two 12 year olds could get.
(Laughs) We basically did stuff at our school. It was pretty funny. We were really bad. We were just awful, but I guess you have to start somewhere.

Where is the band from and what is the music scene like there?
We’re all from Albany, New York, and the music scene there is actually really good. There’s a lot of really good bands from Albany. Not only that, since there’s not much to do. Kids pretty much come out to every show. We always do 500-600 kids every time we play there.

How did you wind up being signed to Victory Records?
Well, we’ve been touring a lot. And through touring, we ended up meeting a couple of people at Warner Brothers. Warner’s got pretty interested in us, and they paid for us to do a demo. We sent it to a bunch of people, (and someone at our soon-to-be booking agency sent it over to Victory), and that’s how they heard about us.

What happened to the Warner Brothers thing?
We really didn’t want to go with a major. We were really looking for a Victory or Drive-Thru or Vagrant – or something of that level. So when we heard from Victory, that was what we were looking for, and we’re pretty excited about it.

How has the tour with Madcap been going and have there been any strange things happening while out on the road?
The tour has been really good. We had better turnouts than we expected. There’s been tons of kids at every show and it’s been great. It’s been pretty funny – we’ve been joking around and calling it the Head Trauma tour – because the first night of the tour, our guitarist Adam swung his guitar and actually hit our singer in the head. He ended up having to get eight stitches right across his forehead. And the very next night, our singer jumped on his amp, put his head on the ceiling and got another big cut right across the top of his head. And that same night, the singer from Madcap walked into this garage door and ended up cutting his face open – he didn’t want stitches so they ended up doing this thing where they use glue. It was just crazy but pretty funny. It was insane.

What so far has been the best and worst part of touring?
Probably the best part is seeing the country and being with my friends and playing every single night. It’s really awesome to be able to meet people at all the shows and see kids come out for us. Especially this tour, because this is the first one we’ve done since Victory started promotion for us, and we’ve seen a lot of new faces at our shows and it’s been really exciting for us. The worst part of touring – you could get frustrated on the road after being away from home for a while – but it’s totally worth it.

I guess the worst part would be being smashed in the face by a crazed guitarist guy.
That’s true. But that didn’t happen to me.

Yeah, you’re behind the drums so your safe.
Totally, I’m all set.

What can we all expect from a live Count The Stars show?
We just try to make it really energetic. We do all sorts of things to get the crowd into it, like our guitarist swings his guitar around his neck. We played a couple weeks ago and there was this wall of speakers – our bass player climbed to the top and jumped off of it. We just try to make it really energetic.

Where did you come up with the title of the album Never Be Taken Alive?
The title comes from the lyrics in Track 5 of the record, which is Taking It All Back. The whole attitude is we’re kind of younger and we’ve been the underdogs for a long time. We did stuff on our own for a long time – booking our own tours and everything. And the title Never Be Taken Alive – we just wanted to say basically to never be put down. We’re never going to give up. We’re just going to keep doing our thing. It’s just the whole attitude of never letting anyone get in the way – just make it happen.

What was it like working with Dave Cobb and what exactly is his connection to Usher?
Working with him was amazing – he’s a really good producer and he knows his shit really well. He’s got a lot of connections. It was very fun – we had a great time with him. He didn’t actually have any connection with Usher – it was the guy who engineered our record – which was Mark Rains. Mark engineered the Usher album that won a Grammy – I don’t know what it’s called or anything. The studio that we recorded the record at is in Atlanta and a lot of big albums have been recorded there. Mark actually worked on a lot of those big albums. It was pretty cool working with him – he’s a great engineer and he’s a musician as well – so he knows how to make things sound the way he and the band wants.

Are you guys going to be on the Warped Tour this year?
Yeah. I know we’re going to be on 14 dates but we might get a few more. The Warped Tour is going to be crazy. We’re doing mostly East Coast, Mid-West and Canadian dates on The Warped Tour. We’re never done Warped Tour before so we’re really, really excited about it. I think I’m more excited to see my favorite bands play everyday than I am to actually play. It’s going to be great to see AFI and Face To Face play everyday.

If you guys were invited to appear on a Heavy Metal tribute, what song would you do and why?
We’d probably do an Iron Maiden song – because our guitarist is obsessed with Iron Maiden. I imagine we’d do one of those songs. Most likely when you see us in LA, he’ll be wearing an Iron Maiden shirt.

What member in your band is most likely to own a Britney Spears record?
That’s probably… me – even though I don’t. Lately I’ve just been getting into the really poppy, guilty pleasure stuff. I’ve been listening to a lot of Avril Lavigne and Pink – and I’m not afraid to admit it – okay?

Sounds good. (Much laughter.) So why should someone run out right now and buy the new Count The Stars CD?
I think a lot of people are going to be surprised. I think the record is fairly diverse as far as the range of songs. There’s a faster straight-ahead pop/punk song and there’s the middle of the road straight up rock song – there’s the slower kind of ballady song. The last song on the record is an acoustic song. So it’s got a large range of stuff and could appeal to a large portion of the music buyers out there. Anyone who is listening to music – I think there’s something on the album for them. And I think that’s a good reason why people should go and check it out. There’s something on it for everyone.

In the end here, do you have any words of wisdom to pass on?
Not really. I’d like to plug our website – We’ll be on tour all year, so anyone who can should definitely come out.


COUNT THE STARS: Their Official Home Page!
VICTORY RECORDS: The Record Label for Count The Stars
THE HIGHWIRE DAZE HOME PAGE: Return to the Main Page!

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