December 9, 2023

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“Our Home Away From Home”: Adam Granduciel of The War On Drugs on returning to Johnny Brenda’s this month for A Drugcember To Remember

On adapting their live show for the tiny Johnny Brenda’s stage…

We won’t have our full [setup], obviously, the thing we’ve been touring with. But we’re going to have our show in some capacity, it’s not going to be acoustic. And I think doing three nights, what’s cool is we can do certain songs in three different ways, which is something we do in rehearsal sometimes. So we can have fun, I think, with how we present the songs, but we’re gonna have, generally, the show! It’s gonna be a little more crammed, but we’ll figure a way. John’ll be on Eliza’s shoulders, and I’ll be suspended from the ceiling maybe. Who knows!

On what Johnny Brenda’s means to them as a band…

From the day that place opened, when it was just a bar, before they built the upstairs…we were there. All of our friends, we met our friends there, that was the place after band practice you’d go have a beer. And then they build the second story, with the stage. … It’s always been a huge part of the neighborhood that I came up in in Philly. And it’s a great place, it’s always been run by the best people. It’s just a one-of-a-kind bar and venue. …And we just have a lot of great memories of things we’ve done there, shows we’ve seen there. It’s our little home away from home.

On supporting the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia…

I found out, I had been reminded, of what kind of stuff our money had directly helped with the first two years. It was like, we got school uniforms for one of the schools, and for another school we paid for a new set of lockers, and there was another school we had helped the music program with. It was like really directly, you know, it was a focused sort of donation; it’s been a really nice partnership and we’re really excited.

On the surprises of late-tour gigs and taking inspiration from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers…

It’s just a great opportunity to play everything you’ve done this year and definitely open up some deep cuts. We have a whole list of covers we want to play and songs we’ve always talked about trying to play one night. It’s gonna be fun! I remember years ago, when I lived in Oakland, my buddy had cassette tapes from when The Heartbreakers did 24 nights at The Fillmore. And we’d sit around listening to those cassettes, and it felt like a band doing a small little residency, just having a lot of fun, jamming, trying some stuff out, playing their songs, playing to their fans. So I’m kind of taking a little bit of inspiration from that.

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