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Warped Tour Returns To Its Roots

Promoter Kevin Lyman: 'I would love to have Katy Perry come to a barbecue'

Kevin Lyman (2nd from left) with members of The Used at the Vans Warped Tour kick off party.
Chelsea Lauren/WireImage
March 31, 2012 10:25 AM ET

The Warped Tour unveiled its 2012 roster and dates on Thursday night with a press conference and launch party, featuring Falling In Reverse, the Used, Dead Sara, Yellowcard and more at L.A.'s Club Nokia. The 2012 edition of the long-running festival will commence June 16 in Salt Lake City and run through August 5 in Portland, Oregon. In typical Warped fashion, the lineups will often vary city to city, with some acts, like Rise Against, who are doing four shows, only doing select dates.

Also true to Warped tradition, the bill will feature a mix of veteran acts, from the Used, Taking Back Sunday, Newfound Glory and Yellowcard to newbies Cherri Bomb, Dead Sara and Matt Toka.

Warped promoter Kevin Lyman told Rolling Stone that he turned to the tour's illustrious history to book this year's talent. "I looked at the 1995 tour, that was a pretty eclectic lineup – Sublime, No Doubt, L7, those are all different sounds," he said. "This year I put it all in there. I think we’ve entered a new time of music, it’s closer to 1995 than ever. You leave your iPod on shuffle and you can go from Taylor Swift to Mumford & Sons to Kanye West to Falling In Reverse."

Taking the festival back to its roots was important for Lyman, who admits he had grown weary of doing the tour a few years ago, to the point he thought it might be nearing its end. "Three years ago, I was actually getting kind of bored. I was probably listening to too many other people. So two years ago I just went back and listened to music again," he says. "I said, 'I’m gonna book an eclectic show and if kids don’t come, okay, it’s maybe time to end this thing.'”

While Warped is known as a punk tour, a vehicle for acts like Bad Religion, NOFX and Pennywise, as well as alternative bands such as My Chemical Romance, it's also been a launch pad for several pop successes, including Gym Class Heroes, Paramore and Katy Perry. Lyman holds a special place in his heart for Perry.

"When this is all over I’m gonna be really proud of hearing one song of Katy Perry and it wasn’t 'I Kissed A Girl.' It was 'Ur So Gay' on a tape and I went, 'I want her on Warped tour,'" he says. "And she came out there and learned how to be a live performer. I’m gonna be very proud that I was part of that start for her in some small way."

This year’s lineup features several returning acts, including the Used coming back a decade after their debut. Lyman would welcome Perry's return, and it wouldn't have to be as a performer. "’I'd love Katy to come back," he says. "I don’t know if it makes sense for her, but I’d love for her to come to a barbecue one night."

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Song Stories

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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