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There are plenty of things you can count on when you go to a MisterWives show: their signature soulful pop sound, a giant singalong to “Reflections,” and, if you’re lucky, a few choreographed dance moves. But tears? That’s become a common thread running through the New York quintet’s recent string of East Coast performances, and we’re not just talking about the fans getting emotional (although, let’s be real, that’s totally understandable).
Vocalist Mandy Lee is the first to admit that she’s guilty of crying onstage sometimes. “I cry a lot during the shows, especially on this tour,” she told us after the group’s Music Hall of Williamsburg sold-out performance. “It’s just so crazy to think that you’ve been working so hard on something like this and now we’re finally living our dream.” With a debut album Our Own House to their name and another tour on the horizon, they’re only getting started – and you’d better keep up. Fresh off their Brooklyn show, the band filled us in on the craziest parts about life on the road. Read our interview with Lee and MisterWives drummer Etienne Bowler here, then click through their tour diary in the gallery.
Tell us about your Music Hall of Williamsburg show!
Lee: Music Hall of Williamsburg was crazy, oh my gosh. It was probably one of the most fun shows we’ve ever played. We’ve all gone there a million times to see other bands; it’s not just the venue that we love, but it’s the people who are having the best time. The feeling is contagious, when you get to play to a group of people who are screaming all the words to your songs.
What’s your pre-show routine?
Bowler: As the drummer I do my warm-ups, which includes some jumping jacks and stuff like that. Mandy does vocal warmups, which last about 45 minutes to an hour.
Mandy: We all get together, jump around, do cheers, and just get pumped up. The whole thing is very Spinal Tap, but you just have to embrace those moments! That’s what being in a band is about.
So you guys aren’t doing tequila shots or anything backstage, then…
Lee: [Laughs] We’ve done that on occasion, but usually not before the show.
Bowler: The post-show ritual would be another story.
What’s your favorite show you’ve ever played?
Lee: This is going to sound crazy, but Houston! It’s funny because the venue there wasn’t even that big, and we had just come from playing the massive House of Blues venue in Dallas so we weren’t sure what to expect. But the crowd was so awesome—there was literally five minutes of screaming after every song. Our tour manager told us that they had reached the same noise decibel as Justin Bieber.
What is that like, being onstage for that?
Lee: It’s insane; I get emotional. Actually, when we were playing the New York shows this week we played the song “Queens,” which is about where I grew up. It’s about my family, and my family happened to be there at the show, so it was really hard to sing. I felt my eyes tear up, and I couldn’t look at my family because I knew I was getting emotional.
What’s up next for you guys?
Lee: We’re going to do a quick college tour run before we play some shows in Europe. The college thing will be interesting, though – there’s this one college, Dartmouth, where the kids there go crazy and know all our songs. It’s wild. Then at Tufts, we’re opening for Ke$ha. We’re going to bring up a bottle of Jack and a toothbrush [Laughs].
Your new album features art with all of your spirit animals on it. How did you find each of your own spirit animals?
Lee: It’s funny, because almost all of us actually all had our own spirit animals before we even met each other. Since I was a little girl I loved elephants and had big ears – I was called Dumbo by my family! – and just thought they were fascinating. It was pretty cool that we all already had one.