Crown the Empire Guitarist Bennett Vogelman's 2014 Summer Tour Survival Guide — Warped Tour

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: Crown the Empire Guitarist Bennett Vogelman — WARPED TOUR

Your sweatiest concert ever?

The sweatiest concert we ever played was at the Speak Easy Lounge in Lake Worth, Florida, on our first headlining tour. It was so hot, you could literally see everyone’s perspiration in the air. We walked into the venue before our set and within maybe 30 seconds, we were completely drenched in sweat. By the end of the set, all of us could barely breathe.

Tips for playing in extreme heat?

The obvious one is to make sure that you have water onstage for each person. Wear short sleeves, and depending on how hot it is, you might want to tone down how intense you play onstage—which is something we never do.

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

My phone and a water bottle. That’s about it.

Considerations when playing an outdoor show versus an indoor show?

Basically, the deal with outdoor shows is there are no lights in the afternoon, so you have to make up for it with how you interact with the crowd. You also have to account for any weather that you might encounter, like rain, lightning, thunder, wind and dust storms. Plus, with some outdoor shows, you’re really far away from the crowd because of the barricade, which makes it a little hard to get up close and personal with the fans.

Primary gear you’ll be playing this summer?

Right now we’re actually looking into switching over to running things all digital. We'll have a computer that runs a standalone guitar plug-in—probably Line 6’s POD Farm—that emulates a guitar tone very similar to the one used on the actual song.

Tips for winning over a tough crowd?

That’s tricky. We’ve had our fair share of tough crowds over the last few years, and it’s really a different animal every time. What we normally do is make sure we’re confident. We’re at that show playing it for a reason, and understanding that helps keep our morale high, even when the crowd sounds like crickets chirping. We talk to the crowd and tell them we need to see more action and then make sure we give it our all so the crowd sees we’re not just fucking around up there.

Highlight of your band’s set list?

For me, it’s either playing “Makeshift Chemistry,” which has a lot of energy to it, or doing our “wall of death" during “Children of Love.”

Advice for a band just starting to play live?

The most important thing for me is making sure you’re playing your parts as solidly as you can. We do a lot of choreography live, and we’ve had to learn how to play and move around aggressively at the same time. Play the songs correctly first, go crazy second.

Check out the video for "Makeshift Chemistry" here:

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Jeff Kitts

As a teenager, Jeff Kitts began his career in the mid ’80s as editor of an underground heavy metal fanzine in the bedroom of his parents’ house. From there he went on to write for countless rock and metal magazines around the world – including Circus, Hit Parader, Metal Maniacs, Rock Power and others – and in 1992 began working as an assistant editor at Guitar World. During his 27 years at Guitar World, Jeff served in multiple editorial capacities, including managing editor and executive editor before finally departing as editorial director in 2018. Jeff has authored several books and continues to write for Guitar World and other publications and teaches English full time in New Jersey. His first (and still favorite) guitar was a black Ibanez RG550.