Stray From The Path Guitarist Tom Williams' 2014 Summer Tour Survival Guide — Warped Tour

by Sammi Chichester
Posted Jul 8, 2014 at 10:20am

In this new feature from the August 2014 issue of Guitar World, the guitarists of Avenged Sevenfold, Morbid Angel, Trivium and other metal acts tell how they'll beat the heat and tame the crowds on the season's biggest tours.

TODAY: Stray From The Path Guitarist Tom Williams — WARPED TOUR

Your sweatiest concert ever?

It was at this place called the Nile Underground in Arizona. It was a room that holds about 250 people, but there were about 400 people there. It was so hot that I sweated into my pickups and they shorted out. Back then I didn’t have a backup guitar, because I couldn’t afford one.

One item you’ll carry with you at all times this summer?

Probably water bottles so I don’t die of dehydration. [laughs] But other than that, I’m hoping to have a skateboard, because usually the grounds of a Warped Tour show are huge. It might be fun and quicker getting around using that. It’s like summer camp for bands, really.

Considerations when playing an outdoor show versus an indoor show?

Sound good, obviously. We ended up going out and hiring a sound guy for this tour, because we know from playing a couple of festivals that performing outside is completely different from playing in clubs. You definitely have to make some adjustments.

Primary gear you’ll be playing this summer?

I have a pretty ridiculous pedal board. On the pedal pad, I have the essentials: tuner, noise compressor, Boss DD-3 Digital Delay pedals, a DigiTech Whammy Pedal. I have all Fender Stratocasters, including one that I’ve customized over the years. The only thing original on it now is the wood itself. It has EMG pickups in it and my own toggle switch. It’s my baby, and I don’t play any shows without it.

Tips for winning over a tough crowd?

It may sound cheesy, but you have to make sure you give it your all. We are a highly energetic band, and we are constantly moving around onstage. There are times I’ve watched bands struggle with a crowd, and they give up and stand there. You gotta understand that there could be people in the back of the room that are feeling it, so nail your performance. Just power through it. You have to always think there is someone in the room waiting to hear your band, so give them the show they were waiting for.

Highlight of your band’s set list?

We’re looking forward to playing “Badge & a Bullet,” the first single from our new album, Anonymous. I don’t know what to expect going into a big festival like this. It’s our first time going into a monster tour, so we’re going to find out the hard way.

Advice for a band just starting to play live?

Make sure you buy a tuner. I’ve seen many bands that just go onstage and they could be good, but they sound so terrible—so out of tune, so noisy, so unwatchable.

Here's the music video for "Black Friday":

Photo: Stephan Hoederath/Redferns via Getty Images