John Reese Tells how "Uproar" is like "Scarface"
Tue, 14 Sep 2010 09:17:04
John Reese knows to have a kickass summer.
Reese is the architect behind the gargantuan Rockstar Mayhem Festival, which decimated amphitheaters during July and August with Korn and Rob Zombie putting on some of the best shows of their respective careers. Now, Reese's latest creation, Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival, is ravaging the countryside with Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, Halestorm, HELLYEAH and many more keeping the summer alive. Uproar may be on its inaugural jaunt, but it's got the elements that all legendary festivals are made of, and Reese couldn't be more proud.
He keeps it simple though. Reese divulges, "With both tours, we're trying to bring two big co-headlining shows that really give people their money's worth."
This is only the beginning too…
John Reese sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about building Uproar, Scarface and so much more.
How did you go about assembling the lineup for Uproar?
I also own Mayhem, so I've got a lot of relationships that I've cultivated throughout the years with all of these different bands. When we made the decision to just keep Taste of Chaos an international tour, I met with Rockstar and we talked about trying to figure out a way to replace it. I knew the Active Rock environment would never go away. I built Taste of Chaos on the back of screamo—that whole scene with The Used, My Chemical Romance and Thrice. Somebody just kind of turned a switch off. Rather than trying to beat a dead horse with the screamo movement, I thought if we did a melodic hard rock festival with radio support we'd build something that would have legs for a long period of time. That was the theory behind Uproar. Disturbed's manager Jeff Battaglia and Larry Jacobson, Avenged Sevenfold's manager, are good friends of mine, and they trust the marketing skills we have. They felt that if we partnered together, we'd have a significant advantage in selling tickets through the synergy of it.
Between Stone Sour, Disturbed and Avenged Sevenfold, there are three different strains of hard rock on the stage. It's a very diverse bill.
Absolutely! I think we've got six singles in the Top 20 right now, and we've got four singles in the Top 5 at Active Rock. My whole goal to begin with was to basically put a tour out there that could almost be construed as an Active Rock radio show. That way, radio and the fans really get behind it. Also we were successful in tying the launch of the tour to the release of these bands' albums. We launched with Avenged releasing the #1 record in the country. Last week, Disturbed had the #1 album. This next week, I'm hoping Stone Sour becomes the trifecta. It would be awesome.
Halestorm rounds out the main stage very well too.
Dude, Lzzy Hale is a fucking superstar! She has the best voice that I've heard in years, and she has such star power. In five years, I see her being like a Joan Jett or a Chrissie Hynde. She's going to be a real female rock power like Pat Benatar. That girl has that kind of talent. In 20 years, you're going to look back and have witnessed someone that came up who could really empower females.
The stage shows sound like they're pretty incredible too.
Disturbed and Avenged have both stepped it up in a major way in terms of their production. This is the biggest production that Disturbed's ever had and the biggest that Avenged has ever had. It's cool that the fans are getting that. Normally, when they go to a big rock concert, they see one big headline show. Well, on Uproar, we turn the stage over in 20 minutes between Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed, and the looks are absolutely diametrically opposed to each other. We give the fans two massive headlining shows in one. You get that in this festival environment where you're getting eight bands for the price of three.
Corey Taylor has the best voice in this whole genre, and he really adds something undeniable to the main stage too.
I actually signed Slipknot back in the late '90s. Ross Robinson and I flew to Des Moines. We went to Clown's basement and we signed them on our label. That's when I first heard Corey's voice. There was this fucking gnarly heavy band, yet this kid had true melody in his voice and such an ability to transfix an audience. I also have Child Find of America on Uproar. We're raising money to help fight the abduction of children, and Corey has stepped up in such a major way with that too! He did a PSA announcement for us. Every night he gives us drum heads, drum sticks and strings we auction off at the charity booth. He's been awesome! He can do the heaviest of the heavy with Slipknot or a ballad with Stone Sour. Stone Sour are true musicians, and it's really evident from this record and the live show they're bringing.
Uproar follows the best Mayhem yet too.
We didn't cancel a single date; our ticket sales were up 27 percent overall. On the weekends, we averaged close to 15,000 tickets per market. During the week, it was close to 10,000. We had our biggest year by far. Mayhem is always going to be a metal festival. Except for a couple bands on the main stage, you're not going to hear the bands on Mayhem on the radio. Uproar is designed to be a melodic hard rock show.
If Uproar were a movie, what would it be?
Scarface! Say hello to my little friend [Laughs]. I say that because of the dynamics of what's going on out here. It's a, "Fuck you", us-against-the-world attitude with these bands, and I love that! They do their own thing, and they don't care what people think. They come from the heart, and they've all worked really hard like Tony Montana did [Laughs]. These bands started in little shitty clubs and they worked their way up to this point.
If you haven't entered our UPROAR ticket contest yet, enter it now here!
Are you going to UPROAR?