Miss May I Guitarist Justin Aufdemkampe's 2014 Summer Tour Survival Guide — Mayhem Fest

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: Miss May I Guitarist Justin Aufdemkampfe — MAYHEM FEST

Your sweatiest concert ever?

It was in Louisville, Kentucky, at this place called Uncle Pleasant’s, back in 2010. The show was amazing and there were a lot of people inside this small place, so the combination of the heat outside, the heat coming off people inside, the lights, and the fact that the ceilings were eight feet high just trapped the heat. I specifically remember, about mid set, I was so hot that I thought I might pass out. I ran out of water about halfway through playing, so I just had to tough it out. After we played the last note, I darted for the back door. I was beyond dizzy at that point and getting outside was such a godsend.

Tips for playing in extreme heat?

Sometimes when it’s really humid outside and there’s a lot of condensation, wrapping your in-ear monitor pack and guitar wireless pack in plastic can help protect them from moisture. If those things go out, I can’t hear what I’m playing or my guitar signal will go out.

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

Sunglasses. I get headaches if I squint for too long. The combination of a headache and being dehydrated is the worst feeling, so sunglasses and a water bottle are a must in the summer heat.

Considerations when playing an outdoor show versus an indoor show?

One of the biggest problems I ran into playing on Warped in 2011 and 2012 was the dust getting into my gear. I really like my guitar rig and guitars to be clean. Almost every day there was some sort of dirt on both of them, and it’s something you cannot help. The wind carries it, and it can be a real pain in the ass for you or your tech.

Primary gear you’ll be playing this summer?

I recently started playing EVH 5150 III heads, which I’m falling in love with more and more with every tour that passes. I’ll be running a pretty standard pedal setup at the front of the stage as well: a Boss TU-3 tuner into a Maxon OD808 Overdrive pedal to an ISP Decimator noise-reduction pedal and after that to a Boss DD-7 Digital Delay. All of these are in my guitar chain and run straight into my head. We’ll be using Orange cabs too. We’ve been using them for a couple of years, and they’re really the only things in my rig that have stayed the same. As far as guitars, I’ll be using the Charvel San Dimas Style guitars for all of the festivals this summer.

Tips for winning over a tough crowd?

Sometimes it’s as simple as one song or one thing your singer says between songs that gets a crowd going. When I went to shows as a kid, it always made me more comfortable when I saw the guitarist moving around onstage. It let me know that I could just let loose and have a good time. So now, at every show, I give my all for the fans that have paid to see our band play, but even when playing in front of the worst crowds, I try to move around as much as possible. Playing in front of a bad crowd actually fuels me.

Highlight of your band’s set list?

My favorite songs to play are “Hey Mister,” “Refuse to Believe,” “Our Kings,” “Relentless Chaos” and “Echoes.”

Advice for a band just starting to play live?

Just go up there and have as much fun as possible. I was so nervous at Miss May I’s first show seven years ago, which was also my first show. I kept thinking, Do I remember my parts? What am I going to look like in front of people? Am I going to mess up? I ended up having one of the best experiences of my life. When I walked offstage, I said to myself, I could do this for the rest of my life.

Check out the video for "Hey Mister" here:

Photo: Julien Esteban Pretel

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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.