Since my high school days as a wee little punk rocker, the Vans Warped Tour has been a part of my life. Warped Tour is a nationwide (and sometimes international) touring festival that has made it’s way across the USA every year for the past 30 years. For around 25 dollars (or that’s what it was back in the day) you can see over 130 different bands of various genres (though mostly punk rock). It was, and still is, by far the best deal in music. It is also a good starting ground for bands to get major exposure by being a part of a nationwide tour.
Outside of this list there is a big group of bands that are now household names which cut their teeth on the Warped Tour. They include:
Green Day, Blink 182, No Doubt, Linkin Park, The Deftones, NERD, The Offspring, Paramore, Papa Roach, Staind, Sublime, 30 Seconds to Mars, Weezer, 311, Billy Idol, Talib Kweli, D12, Atmosphere
While some of those names may surprise you, it is hard to believe the following ten mega bands and singers spent a summer on the Warped Tour.
1) Katy Perry
The Superbowl Half Time alumni appeared in on the Vans Warped Tour in 2008. In a recent interview with USA Today she even said that she got her bearings from being on the Warped Tour.
Beck was not only on the Vans Warped Tour in 1996 but was also featured on the Warped Tour Sampler Compilation album.
3) The Black Eye Peas
The Black Eyed Peas have actually been around for a long time and had two albums before Fergie joined the mixed. They started off as a pretty legit Indie Hip-hop group before taking off to astronomical levels with the 2003 album
Elephunk. So in 1996, two years before the release of their first album they did a stint on the Warped Tour, though they looked a little different then they do today.
It’s hard to remember all the way back to 1999 when the Slim Shady LP first released. But Eminem was not an overnight sensation when he first got on to the music scene. Eminem’s success was a slow build that didn’t really reach peak level until the release of his sophmore album, the Marshall Mathers LP (fueled by the huge single “The Real Slim Shady“). So while it is still odd to think that Eminem was on the Warped Tour in 1999 it was a smart move for a up and coming artist.
5) Sugar Ray
Yes that Sugar Ray! Here’s a weird fact about Sugar Ray. They actually started out as a fairly straight forward punk rock band. Their second album Floored, released in 1997 is entirely made up of punk rock music with the exception of the huge hit “Fly” which appears as the last song of the album. The single became so big that Sugar Ray changed the direction of the band to become the more radio friendly pop band that we know today. So it is weird, but it does make sense that they would be on the Vans Warped Tour in 1997 to promote their album.
Every one has to start some where. Godsmack was another band that had a slow gradual climb to success. Their first self titled album winded up selling over 4 million copies but in 1998 they promoted it by spending a Summer at the Warped Tour.
The real question is what hasn’t Ice-T done? The man had his own rock band (Body Count), has played a cop on tv for a decade, read dungeons and dragons audiobooks, and appears in Gears of War 3. Is it even a surprise that he was on the Warped Tour in 1999?
When I think of Incubus I don’t really think of them before 1999 and the release of the super popular Make Yourself. But they actually had an album before that, 1998’s S.C.I.E.N.C.E. which they promoted while spending the Summer on the 1998 Warped Tour.
9) Kid Rock
Kid Rock had three albums before the release of the huge hit Devil Without a Cause was released in 1998. The album wasn’t actually released until August of 1998 right after he finished his stint on that Summer’s Warped Tour. I’ll assume he left the fur at home.
10) Limp Bizkit
How things have been going for Limp Bizkit lately it might not be too long before they are on the Warped Tour again. Limp Bizkit is another band that had sky rocketed to success on their sophomore album. They appeared on the 1997 Warped Tour to support the album Three Dollar Bill Yall (which had moderate success and even had a couple music videos reach MTV). It wasn’t until 1999’s Significant Other that the band really took off to what we know (and mostly hate) now.