Tess Dunn

WARPED '14 - Pt. 1: Mountain View


So Warped Tour in Mountain View was on Saturday, and it goes without saying that it was the best day of my life yet again.

With Warped Tour, I always feel like I’m home. I show up at the venue to see lines already forming, artists walking about, and set-up crew turning parking lots into venues the way the Fairy Godmother turned a pumpkin into a carriage. And something about that clicks with me just right, and I think, “yeah, this is where I’m supposed to be.” Warped never lets me down.

For the past five years (yep, this is my sixth year!), I’ve shown up, passed out postcards and put up posters with my set time, performed, and then watched bands and checked out the booths for the rest of the day. This year, however, I’m “getting into the Warped groove” as Julie Grant (an absolute goddess who works at Warped and who has helped me every single year I’ve been there [and is in the center right picture below]) put it. And I did. So for the first time in years (since 2011, I believe), I’m blogging about it! But first, a quick trip down memory lane to last year:



... And we're back to the present!

I woke up early Saturday morning, drove to the venue with Siri and Sasha in tow, met up with the band and Steve, and began filling out post cards and posters. I really couldn’t have a better cast + crew for Warped - they all took it seriously, just like a job, while simultaneously enjoying themselves. I’m looking forward to Auburn and Portland with them, because they kick ass at doing what they do!

From left to right: Grae (drums), Rory (rhythm guitar), some creepy stalker girl with weird hair, Austin (lead guitar), Nick (bass), Steve (crew), and Sasha (crew). Not pictured: Siri (manager/official Tess Dunn iPhone photographer)

Our set was at 1:10, and the crowd was the loudest it’s ever been. I was blown away, and if you look at videos, my face clearly gives my shock away! I was so happy to be playing, and I concluded that it was definitely the best show I’ve had in the Acoustic Basement. Brian Marquis’s huge hug at the end sealed the deal :]

BRIAN! He runs the Acoustic Basement and is a musician himself. Click on the link above - it'll send you to his website!

Then I raced off to Natural High for a signing. Natural High is a non-profit dedicated to inspiring youth to discover their passions and live life off of that natural high, instead of an artificial one. I was honored that they wanted me to sign with them after my set!

After that, I headed on over to The Canvas Foundation’s tent. The Canvas Foundation is another non-profit dedicated to donating art supplies to and saving the art programs in schools. I was initially supposed to do an Instagram takeover, but I ended up doing something a bit different and absolutely awesome - painting people! I thought I’d be there for only a little bit, but nope - people wanted me to paint them for an hour! I had way too much fun, and I’ll be partnering up with them again in Auburn and Portland. They even made me my own smock :] I also plan on rocking my shirts, which you should do to!


Proof that I'm not an artist: I accidentally called my smock a "Spock." I also don't watch Star Trek oops

Next was Punky Pets. I can’t even begin to describe them, but their mini-summary is rad: “Global Misfit Reject Punks Making Music Together!” Basically, a group of eight rejects form a band and must get from NYC to LA for Warped’s Battle of the Bands. Definitely check them out, because it’s a hilarious, fun, and cool story! I’m honored to be a part of their Warped compilation video. I’m holding Lady Scratch in the picture (who I can relate to, based on her personality). I got the best shirts and some plush figures - they’re badass to say the least!

I also met up with Terry from My Life Vs Your Vacation, a clothing company with a simple message: "Make your life whatever you want it to be." It’s that message that attracted me to reaching out to them, and I’m happy to announce that I’ll be doing a signing with them after my show in Seattle! Everyone at the tent is friendly and the shirts are awesome, so stop by if you're going to Warped. I’m looking forward to working with them next weekend and throwing their shirts into the crowd (as well as rocking them on- and off-stage)!

I didn’t get the chance to see many sets due to everything else going on, but I did get to stop and see We The Kings perform. I’ve seen videos of them playing, but physically being there and listening was even better. I also finally met up with Vinnie Langdon of The Vinnie Langdon Show there - we’ve been trying to do an interview for ages, but never gotten around to it. It was fantastic to finally meet, and I’m looking forward to doing an interview with him soon!

Then I grabbed dinner with Nate and Ryan from HeartSupport, which was founded by Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red “as a place for this generation to express their struggles in life.” You don't have to be alone with what you’re going through, which is something I talk about regularly and a message I hope to spread through my music and with HeartSupport. Stop by their tent when you can! I’ll definitely be hanging around there in Auburn and Portland. You won’t be able to miss me - I’ll be wearing a neon shirt.

After dinner, Sasha, Siri and I went back to the car and headed home, where I full-on collapsed. I’m serious. I don’t even remember what happened between the time I got home (9) and the time I fell asleep (12:30, as opposed to my usual 4 AM). I mean, I vaguely remember eating Lucky Charms and talking the day over, but that was pretty much it. My brain was solely focused on my day at Warped - the rest was just kind of overtime-existing, haha.

I’m looking forward to my gigs on the Hard Rock Kevin Says Stage in Auburn and Portland next weekend (the 28th and 29th, respectively)! Everyone I’ve worked with so far have been so kind, and I’m lucky to be working with them in the future as well. Warped is a giant community, and I wouldn’t have discovered these amazing non-profits - and met so many inspiring people - without it.

So here’s to another fabulous date at Warped, and another two on the way. Auburn and Portland, GET READY. I won’t be there to mess around. (Okay, maybe a little bit, but can you blame me? 

I’m in love with you all. Thanks for letting me be able to do this.


ps. I'll leave with you this gem. I call it "Austin + The Hat."

Warped Tour '11


Photos COMING SOON! [check back on Thursday!]

My third year playing Warped Tour. And it was the best time, by far.

Located at the lovely Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, tons of people piled in to see bands of all genres. As Kevin Lyman said, this year was the most eclectic selection of bands so far, in terms of genres and bands. It was one of the best decisions for Warped that he has ever made, in my opinion.

But let's rewind to waking up in the morning [gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs....]!

I woke up at 7:30. Sasha, my lovely "sister"/crew member slept over, so we woke up and got dressed and started the day. Rory, my guitarist, and Ty, my drummer, met up at my house with our friend Lani, who also was a crew member, and my friend/other crew member Keith came around the same time. We exchanged passes, figured out the ride situation, and got on the road. Will, my bass player, was driving his friend, so he didn't meet up with us until we were in the parking lot at the Shoreline. My lovely mother/"momager," Siri, also came along.

We arrived around 9:30, and the lines were already extremely long, even though there was an hour before it actually opened. Tour buses lined the parking lot, along with vans and trailers. Luckily, there were spots for other things, such as a Pilot and truck :] We unloaded and brought the equipment to the Kia Kevin Says Stage, got our time [4:25 - perfection], and were off to the races! We met up with our friend Austin, who's like a little brother to me. Then Rory met up with his friend, Topher, and I lost track of him until I went onstage. Oops...

While Lani, Ty, Austin, and Keith all headed to see Relient K [which DID sound good, from the little bit Sasha, my mom and I heard], Sasha and I watched The It Boys! on the Kevin Says Stage. Not only are they the definition of an attractive band, they were amazing. Sasha and I met them at their tent, and the band members signed my sunglasses. Sasha and I also got a picture with them.

Next, Keith, Sasha and I saw Stephen Jerzak. With tons of energy and a huge smile, he and his bandmates [a drummer and a keyboardist] ROCKED it! He had everybody moving.

3OH!3 played next, and I wanted to go, but Sasha and I were hot and hungry, and our legs and feet were killing us. So Keith met up with Lani and Ty again to see them, while Sasha and I got some food. After that, we rested in the sun because I was feeling dizzy. Keith, Sasha and I then went to see Automatic Loveletter [aka just the lovely Juliet Simms and her guitar] do a quick, lovely, raw set.

Then we wandered. There was an array of tents for different bands and causes, such as To Write Love On Her Arms [a cause I am very much inspired by and dedicated to], MusiCares, Music Saves Lives, and Dear Jack. I am all for supporting causes, so I like to wander around those tents. At the MusiCares tent, I ran into someone who had gone to my music video filming at Ex'pression - shout out to Nigel! He let us sit behind and rest before our next band to see went on.

The three of us headed back to the Kevin Says Stage to see New Years Day play - they have been my favorite band for a VERY long time! It was exciting to finally see them live, and each band member owns their instrument. Austin, Keith, Sasha, Rory and I watched, then started getting ready. The Dance Party played before us, and they were very entertaining to watch - from their get-ups to their dance moves! Behind the stage, Austin, Lani, Sasha, Will, Rory, Keith, Ty and I all prepared.

And then, just like that, I was on. Our ensemble included a gold and glittery bass, drums, a guitar, a keyboard, a keytar, and three microphones. And to say the least... We. Rocked. It. Harder than I'd ever rocked it before. And the crowd loved it! I was so proud of myself. I blasted through six songs, enjoying myself every step of the way. I debuted Shame to See for the very first time, and it went better than I thought it would. Everything turned out perfectly. Before I knew it, my 25 minutes were up, and we packed up everything as if nothing had happened. However, people somehow liked me enough to come and meet me and get pictures and CDs and shirts and autographs. It was fantastic! I felt like a real star. I then got photos with my band and crew, before melting and walking to Ty's truck and eating sugar in the shade with everybody. It was a great way to end the anticipation of performing.

Next was Hellogoodbye. Sasha, Keith and I had the greatest time ever! They were so very dorky, in the most lovable way. They talked and played and danced and it was hilariously perfect. They closed with Here In Your Arms, one of my favorite songs, and their set could not have been anymore fun than it had been.

With two hours to kill until the next band started at 8, we waited. We ate. We walked around again, even though our legs were close to dead. We waited. And then....

Simple Plan was on! Everybody except Will, and Rory and Austin [who went to A Day To Remember, because quite unfortunately, they were playing at the same time] watched, and sang, and laughed. It was fantastic! Sasha and I met the lead singer, Pierre, beforehand, and got pictures as well. He was very kind, and not faking it, either. He seemed very nice, like you could ask for anything [including an autograph, photo, etc.] and get flustered and he'd be totally fine with it. Ty and Lani also stopped by, which was what prompted Sasha and I to get in line to meet him. [In line... that's really not a good way to put it. There are no lines at Warped, unless they are very long. Otherwise they are just clumps, and that is what it was.] Anyway, their set was great. Full of energy, full of appreciation of the fans [they welcomed newcomers to their "family], and Pierre ran out into the crowd a few times. It was a perfect way to end Warped Tour.

Then we packed up and drove home. It was a bit anticlimactic, but maybe that's because of the pain in our legs, the sleep deprivation, and the closing of what was a perfectly perfect day.

I cannot believe I did it. And I am SO very proud! I'm hoping this isn't the last year at Warped... my goal is to play the big stage someday, and to have the crowd that Simple Plan/A Day To Remember/Hellogoodbye/etc. had during their sets. I can dream, right? Right. So now it's just working to it.


Warped is amazing. And you made it that way. Thankyou for all the support you give me on a regular basis. You keep me going - and you never let me down. You guys ROCK.



Warped Tour. A Success.


Warped Tour.

Pictures here.

Videos here.

Basically, I woke up before 8 in the morning, which I haven’t done ONCE within the past year, got dressed, applied make-up, scooped a bowl of ice cream, got Nico and Sasha [who was part of the crew, along with my mother] in the car, and left by 9. In the car, I applied pink gel to Nico’s hair, giving him a scene look, and rocked out to Top 40 songs on the radio. We arrived at 10, half an hour before checking in was over. You see, check-in is between 9 and 10:30, and you find out what time you’re playing at and pick-up passes for the band/crew. You can be playing between 11, which is when doors open, and 8, when the last band on the big stage plays - basically, neither are ideal. You don’t check in, you lose your slot. When mother came back telling us my time, I was overjoyed because I wasn’t playing when any of the bands I wanted to see were playing. We went over to the Willy Wonka tent before opening to beat the crowd, and took some candy and funny pictures. Then we stopped by the Vans booth. There, I met Amanda, who handles a lot of the online stuff for Vans Girls'. She was super friendly and said she’d stop by and interview me for her blog. After we met, we then carried on to see the first band at 12:20.

Hey Monday gets tons of flack for being a “Paramore copy” but I have to disagree. I find the only similarities are the fact that they both have a female frontwoman with a killer range, and they’re both in the alternative genre  [though Hey Monday is a bit more poppy]. That’s it.

They played a fairly short set, but my god was it great. They played two new songs that are coming out on their new album, Beneath It All, three songs from their current album, Hold On Tight, and a cover of Jason Derulo’s “In My Head.” Their cover actually made me like the song, and now I want to cover it myself!

Next, Sasha, Nico and I headed over to see Sum 41. We entered in the middle of their set. I have to say, it was an interesting one. The crowd was very interactive, and I’m guessing the majority of the people there also on drugs… at least, half of the crowd admitted it when the lead singer [who was wasted, for sure] asked. There were lots of middle fingers, swear words, and pot-clouds, but the set was quite entertaining.

Next, we walked around to kill time. There are tents everywhere, mainly for bands, but also for charities and accessories [belts, sunglasses, hats, bags, etc.]. We stopped by the Hey Monday tent, and Sasha and I got a picture with Cassadee Pope, the lead singer. I bought a pre-order of their new album and donated money to “Stop Bieber Fever.” We continued maneuvering our way through the never-ending crowds, eventually ending up at To Write Love On Her Arms, a great organization that aims to help those who are suicidal, depressed, self-harming, etc. I am a huge advocate for it [I have a jacket, two shirts, and a dog tag, and am planning on getting a tattoo of the word love on my arm] and bought some pins. 

After that, I headed back to get some food and was interviewed by a reporter for the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Joel, before the next band I wanted to see came on.

Gardening, Not Architecture is a one-woman band. Sarah Saturday plays bass and sings along to a recording with the rest of the parts of her songs. She got onstage and rocked it all by herself on this huge stage, which I thought was extremely ballsy, and I was lucky enough to get a picture with her afterwards.

After that, Automatic Loveletter was on. Juliet Simms was backed up by a guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer, and man did she rock it. Wearing lacy, see-through tights, short shorts, a slouchy shirt, rocker boots, a leather jacket, and her long hair in a side braid, she looked like the bad-ass rocker she is. She opened the set by quickly hocking a loogie and spitting her water up like a fountain. I’d only heard one song of hers, Make-Up Smeared Eyes, but I ended up falling in love with another song of hers that is constantly on repeat – Parker. She has a killer range for such a raspy-voiced person, and that was a huge inspiration right there.

Then I was on. Unfortunately, The All-American Rejects were playing at the same time I was, and they had the biggest crowd of the day. But I didn’t let it drag me down. Ari Shine [guitar and back-up vocals], Adrienne Pierce [guitar and back-up vocals], Nico Spence [drums and back-up vocals] and I loaded our things on, set up, and that was it. As soon as I shouted out, “Hello Mountain View, how are you? … Alright, I’m sorry guys, but that sounded really lame. Let’s try this again. I’m Tess Dunn, Mountain View, HOW ARE YOU!? … That’s better” all nerves disappeared. I played two songs off Darling Just Walk, Marionette of Me and Goodbye Hero, along with three new songs, The Year of Discovery, Wishful Thinkings, and Your Words Could Bite Ears Off. I’m pretty sure the people liked them. I sold some shirts, CDs, and met with a few people afterwards. Then Ari and Adrienne headed out. While I was wanting to stay for Mayday Parade, that would have required waiting another hour, and I was too tired for that. So Nico, Sasha,  got in the car at 7 and drove back down to my house.

It was a success.

Amanda posted this video, along with a blurb about me on the Vans Girls’ blog, and the article on me at Warped Tour in the Santa Cruz Sentinel just came out now. This is surreal.

I couldn’t have done any of it without you guys.

Thank you so much for all the support. You made a dream come true once again.

I love you. Sincerely.



Fancy Shnizz


Hello, and welcome to my fancy little website-blog-thing. I love writing, so I'll most likely be entering a bunch of shnizz in here. We'll start off with the most fantastic happenings of my life - aside from the fact that I'm recording my album and have a website now. So enjoy, leave a message in my guestbook about it, etc., etc. :]

Firstly, I have a back-up band. Like, an awesomely awesome back-up band. They are quite possibly some of the coolest people you could have as a back-up band. Their names are Rory Freeman and Nico Spence.
Rory is amazing on guitar - that's why I chose him to play it. He's never had lessons, but he's a music whiz. And he can play some piano and drums. I'm jealous. We have practices at his house because it's convenient and he has his own shed. It's a magical room, I swear. He's the organized one in the band - everything is sorted out and mapped out, and he's constantly thinking one or two steps ahead.
Nico is fantastic on drums. He owns them. That's why he's my drummer, of course. He can also play piano and guitar, and I'm also jealous. He has a super loud car, you can hear it from down the street if you're waiting for him. He has glasses that make me look like Lady Gaga when I wear them. I always end up singing the only part from "Bad Romance" that I know [though Rory and I do a good rendition of the chorus from "Paparazzi" if I do say so myself].
[^^ ADD moment]
Both of these boys are my closest friends - two of my favorite people, actually. They know me better than most people do, and are around me more than most people are [I occasionally wonder how they aren't sick of me yet]. They treat me with respect, listen to my requests, and follow through.  They have helped me fulfill my wishes for my new sound [yes, I have a new sound, I'll post some videos/songs soon]. They're prepared and always up to learning something new. And they're funny - I'm laughing half the time :
Here's a photo of us together:

Secondly, I'm in a new band called Too Close For Comfort. It's a little side-project with Nico and Rory, and two other people [who just happen to be twins] - Lani [lead guitar] and Karel [bass] Roos. I am the only girl and the youngest member, but I, personally, wouldn't have it any other way. I'm the singer in it, and occasional lyricist, though the majority of the stuff is Rory's - which I'm fine with. He's an amazing songwriter. We're just finishing up writing enough stuff to begin doing gigs, and then we're off to the races! Izze Martin, my "sister," took the photos, I'll post a few below. If you'd like to listen to some of our music or see more pictures, click here.




Thirdly, I managed to get on a date on WARPED TOUR '10 [at the Shoreline Amphitheatre]! I have been dreaming about getting on and I did.
And for the record, I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you for being there for me and supporting me throughout the way. Honestly, I wouldn't have an album out, I wouldn't be getting gigs, I wouldn't have a myspace or facebook or twitter or anything if it weren't for you guys. That's not to say I wouldn't be happy just writing in my bedroom - I would be. But you made the unreal happen for me, and it means the world to me.
I highly recommend going to this, too. There will be plenty of other bands there - check out the list by clicking here. Once you've decided you're going, you can buy tickets by clicking here.

Vans Warped Tour

Once again, thank you so much for absolutely everything.
Especially for suffering through my ADD moments.


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