Warped Tour has been a summer festival institution for what seems like forever now, boosting the careers of countless famous musical acts in the scorching summer heat. Poison The Well, Thrice, Avenged Sevenfold, and dozens more cut their teeth here. The 2015 lineup is looking solid as well, though for this reader, the summer of 2004 will always hold the best memories. However, there’s an alarming number of people who are convinced Warped tour has only ever had “punk” bands like Bad Religion and Pennywise play. They would be wrong. There’s a surprising number of Warped Tour alumni who now headline amphitheaters and arenas, or who are/were extremely influential on a number of today’s bands. Check out the list below, along with some pics/video where applicable.
Honorable Mention: Eighteen Visions
The highly influential Orange County metalcore band never got their deserved success (2006’s major label debut, the self-titled Eighteen Visions, wasn’t promoted well at all) played on the 2004 and 2006 editions of Warped Tour. They influenced a generation of newer bands like Escape The Fate and Asking Alexandria with their “fashioncore” style, and with their brand of metalcore that combined pummeling breakdowns (“You Broke Like Glass”, “Tower Of Snakes”) with hook-filled choruses is still popular today. A comeback looks unlikely with the 2013 death of guitarist Mick Morris, unfortunately. See you on the other side.
Yes, the influential rapper and frontman of Body Count played Warped Tour in 1999, along with some other famous luminaries (which we’ll get to later). Warped was one of the first summer festivals to group punk-rock acts with rap/hip-hop stars.
One of the most influential bands today, Deftones proved that you could gain a fanbase just from a long slate of touring and releasing volatile, transcendent albums during the height of the nu-metal era (that they were unfortunately lumped in with). They played Warped 1995, 1996 and 1998, too. Their music at this time proved to be a hit with concertgoers, because it contained a lot of the spirit of punk in its rage. Today, they’re still going incredibly strong – 2012’s Koi No Yokan is their most recent in a long line of great albums.
#8: Katy Perry
Platinum selling albums and on the 2015 Super Bowl Halftime show? You bet. Katy Perry hit up Warped Tour back in 2008, though, right before she became one of the world’s biggest musical icons.
#7: Limp Bizkit
Jacksonville’s finest may not be as great as they once were, but there was a time where they were kings of the nu-metal world. 1997 was a huge year for them, touring on their debut album 3 Dollar Bill, Ya’ll, and on Warped 1997, they captured a large portion of their sizable audience. This covers Limp Bizkit at not quite the height of their power, which is something to behold.
Super influential post-hardcore band was one of Victory Records first big signings, and they were a big part of Warped 1997. Their album Progression Through Unlearning continues to be a stone cold 90’s hardcore classic.
Couldn’t find any footage of Staind at Warped Tour, but right before they went into the studio to record their 1999 album Dysfunction, Staind played the 1998 Warped Tour. They’re pretty far removed from the kind of sound that got them here, but it’s interesting to see them as alumni, nonetheless.
Right before hitting it big with 1999’s Make Yourself, Incubus was captivating audiences with their explosive, genre-bending music on Warped 1998. One has to wonder if they played “A Certain Shade Of Green”? Here’s hoping.
#3: No Doubt
Warped 1995 and 2000, No Doubt played Warped Tour. 1995 saw No Doubt bringing the third-wave ska movement to the mainstream, and by 2000, they were one of the biggest bands in the US. By 2000, they had released the follow up to 1995’s Tragic Kingdom, in Return Of Saturn. They had also been nominated for Grammy awards, and managed to have Tragic Kingdom eventually certified Diamond.
#2: Kid Rock
He may not be anything like he was in 1998, but Kid Rock supported his multiplatinum selling album Devil Without A Cause by playing the 1998 version of Warped Tour. At the time, Kid Rock was a struggling musician three albums deep into his career – but none of those albums sold well or gained any critical success. Devil Without A Cause changed that.
One of the biggest artists in the world, and one of the highest selling rap/hip-hop artists ever, Eminem played Warped 1999, while promoting his recently released landmark LP, The Slim Shady LP.