Photo: Tom Stone

Saves the Day are no strangers to Warped Tour—first playing the fest in 2000, then again in 2006, and now in 2014. That might not seem impressive when compared to Less Than Jakes' three-hundred-and-sixty-five-day history with Warped, but it does prove one thing: When the band plays the tour, they do so selectively, intentionally.

While pop-punk and emo nostalgia runs more rampant than ever before, STD are using their time on Warped Tour for fun, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the punk rock summer camp that gave their band a platform for success.

We sat down with frontman Chris Conley to track the band's relationship with the traveling tour, how the fest has changed, what to expect this year and more!

It’s been a while since you’ve done the tour, right?

We did the whole tour in 2006. I’m really psyched to do it again! We did a week or maybe two weeks in 2000. It was after Through Being Cool, our second album, had come out. It was in the South, Tennessee and maybe a little of Texas.

You picked the hottest places to tour.

They have to test you, ya know? Make sure you can stand the heat.

What was it like doing the whole tour in 2006? That seems like a huge commitment.

I had so much fun! It was crazy to have 50 bands traveling around together, just hanging out in parking lots. There’s a little bit of a Groundhog’s Day thing where it’s just the same scene everyday. We got a great group of bands and so it was just a blast meeting new people and hanging out with old friends. The Bouncing Souls were on that year, so that was a huge plus.

Veterans! Were you the young kids running around, trying to figure it out?

Ha, yeah! NOFX was also on that year so they had a bunch of the veteran bands. Pennywise… those groups were all out there. I think at that point we were even older than the bands that were coming out at the time. It was like Senses Fail would go up there and destroy the audience. We had not been touring for a while. We’d just started touring again in the fall of 2005 so it was kind of eye-opening to see the Warped Tour scene in 2006, having been gone while MySpace happened. Coming back, it was just so obvious that it was a different world. I think at the time I was sort of angst-y about it, but now I understand that that’s just how things go. There are different cycles and trends. 

I don’t stay that connected to new things that are happening. I definitely think at this point we’re much more like the veterans whereas in 2006 we were much more in the middle tier. I think we’re definitely some of the older folks on the tour. It's going to be interesting to see what that dynamic is like. A lot of Warped Tour is politics and I think that’s interesting. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

What’s political about it? 

I mean, having certain bands be "veteran bands" and then there’s the new bands and the exploding bands and you just notice that. Anytime you get large groups of people together you just start noticing the patterns, the different ways people are. This year we get to be the lazy old guys chilling on lawn chairs.

Who are you excited to see this year?

I’m excited to see Bad Rabbits. I saw them once before and got way into it. They do hardcore breakdowns but it’s this weird futuristic sound. I’m excited to hang out with our friends in Bayside and Yellowcard—bands we’ve toured with before. 

Why did Saves the Day decide to play Warped now? It’s been almost a decade since you last did the tour.

Our record label Equal Vision thought it would be a good idea. I’ve always been open to it. For whatever logistical reasons it never worked out. This year we didn’t have a tour. [Warped Tour founder] Kevin [Lyman] had a good slot for us as part of the package.

Warped Tour has this strange sort of energy. You have so many people traveling around together for such a long time. It’s definitely like people are bonded completely and immediately. There’s undeniable camaraderie.

What’s the craziest moment you’ve experience on Warped?

Not the craziest, but the coolest moment for me was getting to hang out with Joan Jett! She was on Warped Tour 2006. She wound up being just the coolest person. There was only one moment where I got to talk to her at one of these aftershow BBQ parties. They set up Tiki torches everywhere and it was like a real scene. Joan Jett’s just hanging out by the fire. She was just so cool, super nice, very down to earth and she’s Joan Jett. 

What are you expecting from Warped this year?

I’m just excited to play. I’m sort of oblivious. I don’t think about these things, what they mean or what I’m preparing myself for. We’re going to try and do different songs every day. You only get half an hour to play and with a catalog that’s over 100 songs, we really want to mix up the setlist. I think the bands on the tour that are fans of Saves the Day will be happy it’s not the same set every day. That’s what I'm really look forward to, just playing. I do all the work ahead of time so I can lose myself.

Check out our continuing Warped Tour coverage here. See you in the pit!