Who hasn’t wanted to go back a decade and see a band that broke up perform its hit songs? Stop wistfully thinking about how great it would be to return to 2002 and hear “Post Script,” “Letters to Burn,” and the rest of What it is to Burn live because Finch is providing the opportunity to do just that one last (maybe) time.
Finch is about to embark on its final leg of its 10 year anniversary reunion tour on which the band will perform the album in its entirety. Don’t get too excited though; the band has cautioned that this may be the end of the road and that there are no plans to continue the band after the tour concludes.
Finch has been on a tumultuous journey involving lineup changes, label changes, a hiatus, a return that was quickly followed by an official break up, and now, this 10 year anniversary reunion tour with all of the original members except the bassist. Original lead guitarist, Randy Strohmeyer, isn’t holding his breath that the band will move forward after this but he isn’t closing any doors. He spent some time speaking with Pop-Break, divulging what it’s like to be back together as a band, what everyone has been doing since the most recent breakup, and where the band goes from here.
Pop-Break: So let’s jump right in. Tell me a little bit about the tour. This is the last leg and it’s kicking off the 13th right?
Randy Strohmeyer: It kicks off, I think it’s Sunday the 13th in Long Island.
PB: Is it going to be hard for you guys to say goodbye to the album?
RS: I don’t know. I think that it’s kind of bitter sweet. It’s so much fun to play it and you know we just have a blast doing it so it’s kind of like we don’t really know what our next move is after this so, it’s, well, you know, this is it!
PB: Oh it’ll be so sad to say goodbye to it!
PB: So what prompted the What it is to Burn Anniversary reunion tour? What brought that about?
RS: We were broken up for a while so one of our old managers, Andy, called everybody individually one day last winter and he was kind of like, what do you think about you know doing an anniversary tour for What it is to Burn? I was like “I’m into it as long as everybody else is, you know? If you can get [Alex] Pappas on board and that would be fucking awesome!” Finch is my first love so the opportunity that I can do it again is always [and] I’m not really too hesitant to say yes, like jumping right into it! I loved it.
PB: For you, what has been the best part of the reunion tour?
RS: Wow. I think to sum it up, it’s just been really great to just play for people with my friends. It’s kind of an excuse to do that again and the overall reception has been mind blowing. We can’t wait to get out there and just do it again. It’s super fun.
PB: Well, what’s the hardest part for the reunion tour for you? Have there been any hard parts?
RS: No! Not at all. Like super fun the entire time. There’s not even any weirdness at all. We don’t even argue anymore at all so it’s just fun. Like we all hang out anyway. We all went out to dinner last night so it’s kind of like an excuse to like hang out more…so yeah there really are no negatives to it. It’s all positive and you know just really fun.
PB: I was fortunate enough to see one of your original tours to support What it is to Burn back in November 2002 with, I want to say New Found Glory and Something Corporate.
RS: Oh wow yeah! Something Corporate!
PB: How do the shows now compare with the shows from back then?
RS: I think we’re a little bit better!
PB: Well that’s good!
RS: It’s funny…back then I think we were so wild on stage and it’s because we were so young. We had that energy and we’ll still have that energy but now I think I’m rocking out super hard and I look back at the photos and it’s like I’m in slow motion! But I know that we’re playing so much better and the songs sound really true to the album so that was kind of the point of this tour. So we are doing a lot of stuff with loops to keep it, I think the whole mission behind the What it is to Burn tour was to bring that album into a live setting and play it as true as possible so that we can kind of, you know when you hear a record and it kind of sucks you into that zone of what it is, whether it’s an old record or something and you have a sort of attachment to it and you get kind of put back into the spot and a lot of memories are attached to it? I think What it is to Burn has a lot of memories attached to it and we wanted to make you forget how old you are or where you are in life and just come to the show and have it happen like that and playing it as true as possible does give the fans an opportunity to lose themselves in it because it’s played loud and live. And it’s special, so I just really want people to forget about life for a second and we want [ourselves] to kind of do the same thing and that’s kind of been the way it is. You just get lost in the music that you identify with. I mean for us it’s a little bit different because it’s our life’s work!
PB: It’s cool from a fan perspective to hear those songs that you never thought you’d hear again or see again live and it takes you back and it’s really cool that you guys are doing that so props to you for that.
RS: Thank you!
PB: I mean you guys have obviously had a rough road with label changes and line-up changes and your indefinite hiatus then back together and a breakup and a reunion tour!
RS: Yeah! Rocky.
PB: I mean you guys have overcome a lot. What do you think was the hardest thing to overcome for you guys?
RS: I don’t know. I never really got over the breakups you know? So the hardest thing to overcome was always when there was a lot of tension back in the day especially in the Say Hello to Sunshine period and touring on that record. It was really tense and I felt like there was a really big divide in the band and that kind of initially led to us just not enjoying it anymore and we can’t fake it so the logical thing for us to do was to quit and to move on and get normal jobs and, you know at one point I was working three jobs at once.
RS: Yeah, they were cool jobs but like just to get by. Everybody has to get through that you know? But it’s kind of weird when you, like for me, I dropped out of high school so I could go on tour. I had a record deal when I was in high school and then … well fuck it this is what I want to do with my life anyway so I never had the opportunity to go to college or anything or figure out any sort of trade that would be worth anything but I did land some pretty cool jobs. I started working at a label. I started that with some name and signed some really really cool bands. Did that until we reunited and then for a little bit I was working with my friends at Drive-Thru over at their merch company so that was pretty cool. I was pretty lucky to get me out of the retail rut. Then the Finch thing came back up and I jumped right into it and then we broke up again but now we’re back again!
PB: You’re taking us all on an emotional roller coaster here! I don’t know if we can handle it!
RS: We can barely handle it! But everything’s gone well!
PB: Were you shocked at the reaction and how intense the fans were and how excited they were to see you guys back together?
RS: Yeah. I thought from the previous tours that we were doing before the last breakup, it was just like strange. I think we were on a lot of the wrong bills. We got packaged with this band Blessthefall and I think there was a real big age gap and we didn’t have any breakdowns in our songs or anything and so it was a bunch of people that were ten years younger than us and didn’t have any sentimental attachment to our fans. A lot of it was a weird vibe going on for a little bit and I don’t think our fans were that stuck on it. It wasn’t like we were winning new fans over either so it was strange. When we booked the first show and it sold out and we were like well lets add another show and then that sold out in like minutes, like these shows sold out in minutes, at the Glasshouse and we just ended up selling out more shows and we’re just like this is wild! Yeah people were just so excited about it so we were like alright well lets go play some more shows!
PB: That’s great. I mean it seems like what a lot of what you guys as a band have been doing is using a lot of social media and stuff like that; has that played a big role in your reunion do you think?
RS: Yeah absolutely. Like we didn’t even have a Facebook before the tour started and now we have like over 100,000 fans on it.
PB: That’s insane!
RS: Yeah and that’s been able to really get the word out and we are utilizing Twitter and start taking over Instagram or whatever we can just to reach out to as many people as possible because there are still some people that don’t know this is happening! It’s hard when you don’t have any money to go promote the stuff and it’s just all sort of word of mouth but that’s just the way things are now. It’s not like what it used to be like especially on a major label. They used to do the same stuff though so it’s like really no one has the upper hand anymore. It’s just how you are with your fan base and we’re lucky to have a really loyal bunch of fans and they blow our minds on a daily basis. I mean we read all the messages and stuff and it’s all really sweet and we write back as often as possible so yeah we’re really connected to our fans.
PB: I’ve seen you guys do different contests and you give out tickets to people who share everything. It seems really cool and people seem to be really interactive with you guys. I mean that’s awesome. I am glad you guys are using it and it seems to be working.
RS: Yeah so it’s just like an excuse for us to stay in touch. We like it!
PB: That’s awesome but that brings me to my last thing. Where do you go from here?
PB: Or is that your question for yourself too?
RS: Logistically we go to Long Island!
PB: And then I see that you guys are doing Australia too.
RS: We’re going to do Australia and Japan and I think we are going to try to play in the Philippines too.
PB: That’s awesome so this 10 year anniversary tour is becoming the 11 year 12 year 13 year anniversary tour?
RS: We thought we had such a strong logo with the ten so I didn’t want to give that up! It looks too nice!
PB: It’s sad when you see the goodbye! This can’t be the end.
RS: I don’t know. We don’t really talk about it too much. Then Nate’s got another band that he fronts and he is very into that and Alex went to culinary school and works in a lot of kitchens and I think he’s actually opening up a food cart. And Daniel Wonacott makes a lot of apps and Pappas is like a full-on recording engineer and he’s great.
PB: So basically it’s a whole embrace it while it’s here and if it keeps going awesome and if it doesn’t, it may still come back some day?
RS: I’ve learned never to say never. I don’t want to shut any doors but it would be great if we can do something else. But I am not going to hold my breath about it and I don’t want to get anybody’s hopes up.
PB: Very cool. Well that’s awesome and I look forward to seeing you guys in Jersey!
RS: Oh cool!
PB: Do you have any last comments you want to say?
RS: Thanks for everyone who’s reading this and we hope that you come out to the shows and come say hi!
Finch performs at The Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey on Monday October 14th. Click here for tickets.
All photos are courtesy of and credited to Ian Garrett.