So I got the chance to sit down with Austin Held, lead vocalist for Girl On Fire before their gig at Trees Dallas with Buckcherry last month. I was looking forward to this one because ever since my dear friend Ebony turned me onto them back in May I really wanted to interview someone from the band. And I also couldn’t wait to hear them live! Austin and I found a semi-quiet spot on the side of Trees and just had a conversation. Check it:
Amps: You’ve been touring for awhile. First with Angels Fall on the spring run, and now you’re out with Buckcherry. You guys are busy!
Austin: Yeah we left home in March with our label mates in Otherwise, then Filter and Redline Chemistry for a couple of weeks, then Angels Fall for about a month, and jumped on this tour in late June.
Amps: What’s been the coolest thing to happen in all these months on the road?
Austin: Honestly, this. Just all this in general. Showing up, getting to work the show, going to sleep (laughs). It’s been a lot of fun. There’s been a lot to learn, and it’s hard to explain it all. Everything kind of gets smushed together and you’re like “Oh God, when did that happen?” and you have no idea. But one of the most fun times was when we played Louisville with Buckcherry and there’s 5000 people in front of us which is crazy because you’re used to packed clubs that may hold several hundred at most. Then you stand up on a riser and it’s like, “Whoa! There’s soooo many fuckin’ people here!” and that’s pretty cool. That realization is one of the coolest experiences, definitely.
Austin: They’ve been really responsive. We like to involve the crowd with our show as much as possible because we’re all there to have fun. Since we’ve released the record the people have been all about it, too.
Amps: Plus it was an eagerly-anticipated album, what with it being pushed back from July 1. If you had to say, what’s your favorite song on there?
Austin: I would have to say “Run”, the last track (I mention it’s one of mine, too). I actually wrote it with Harry (MacDonald, drums) when we were down in California. I actually started the ide on Christmas Eve 2011 when my mom had just gotten re-diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s good now, she did a whole juicing thing, and it was gone in two months. No chemo, no radiation that time around. So the song came out of that sudden shock, the fear, the anxiety, and sometimes you wanna run away from it.
Amps: Well, I’m really glad to hear that your mom is doing better. What have you learned from being on tour with a veteran band like Buckcherry?
Austin: Too much! One thing for sure is that we don’t know enough. These guys are students of music who are phenomenal at their instruments and then some. So it’s like, shit, these guys have been doing this almost 20 years and they have all this time to work on their craft, so we realized we should be doing the same. That’s the huge thing, seeing their desire and drive to be the best that they possibly can.
Amps: I asked you about your favorite song on the record. Now tell me what’s your favorite to play LIVE.
Austin: It’s a coin-toss between “Not Broken” and “Losing My Identity”. (Smiles) I get to sing a little prettier on those, and I really like the groove of them.
Amps: What’s in your CD player/iPod, old or new?
Austin: Papa Roach, the first Van Halen album, Journey, and of course, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam from my home area of Seattle.
Amps: What did you think of the new Soundgarden (King Animal)? I loved it!
Austin: I love it. It’s so different, and yet totally expected from Soundgarden. I didn’t know what to expect, but as soon as I heard “Live to Rise” I knew it was gonna be great.
Amps: Give me one CD fans would be shocked that you own.
Austin: Both Bruno Mars albums. He’s a great singer.
Amps: What do you like to do when you get back home to Seattle?
Austin: I do a lot of painting. I grew up doing it. It’s very relaxing.
Amps: How do you keep your voice in shape on the road?
Austin: I drink a shit-ton of water! I actually just got my little secret going. Two bags of Throat Coat while I warm up, and I make sure before I go on I have a thermos full of hot salt water to gargle. Plus for the hour and a half before and after we play, I just shut the hell up. I am finally getting a grip on this thing (voice). I talked to Josh (Todd, Buckcherry) about what he does and he’s given me some insight that has helped.
Amps: Ok. The time is yours. What would you like to say to the Girl On Fire fans out there?
Austin: Thanks for all your support. We’re here to rock, we’re here to roll, let’s go!!
Austin’s a really nice guy. And he didn’t have to share his personal story about his mom with me, but he did, which I appreciated. And if possible, it made me love the song “Run” even more. He was so unassuming, and he’s very real, this kid. I really enjoyed talking with him, and I DEFINITELY enjoyed their set later that night. Pick up Girl On Fire’s album Not Broken; you’ll see what all the buzz is about.