Interview: Derek And Griffin Of Classless Act Talk The Stadium Tour
If you’ve received a text recently with one of your friends saying ‘Hey, have you heard this band,’ followed by a link to a Spotify playlist featuring Classless Act, it’s for a good reason. In a short amount of time, the band has been gaining a lot of momentum with their music. Now that they’re also the opening band on The Stadium Tour, featuring Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett and The Black Hearts, more ears are starting to hear this incredible band.
I recently spoke with frontman Derek Day and a guitarist Griffin Tucker, about their music, what this tour has been like thus far, and what we can expect from them in the future.
You all are currently in the middle of one of the hottest tours of the year, but before we get into that, you guys have an interesting back story on how you came together. You all found each other through various social media platforms, how did that happen?
Derek: Yeah! It’s the modern-day newspaper ad. We were all fans of each other, I found the band through Facebook, Franco and Dave found the band through Instagram. We found Griffin through Tiktok , and the only other member was Chuck and we found him by going to a punk show that he was drumming at, and we asked him to join the band. It was really that we all just followed each other and liked each other’s vibe, and the rest is history.
That’s great, and it’s such a fun story. You guys have been getting a great response from your music, now that it’s been about a month after the release of your album, how do you feel about all the positive feedback you have been receiving?
Griffin: The music that we write is very much inspired by the music that we love. And just to hear that people love our music the way that we love our favorite music, it’s just so rewarding. It’s crazy to be on the other side of admiration for the music that you love. It’s been very cool.
The album seems to pull from a variety of influences other than simply hard rock. Was it your intention to pull from other influences, and during the writing process did you have any material that was left over on the chopping block?
Derek: Well, there was not that much of an intention, we just wrote like sixty songs over the span of a year. There were a lot of songs left over. But really, whatever came out just came out. It was all our influences. I love David Bowie and Devo and stuff; Griffin loves Queen and The Beatles. It all just splattered on there.
The album has a couple of collaborations, including Justin Hawking’s of The Darkness. How did that come about?
Derek: We were writing this song, and it took us like ten demos to write the right version, and our management reached out to him and was like ‘hey can, you help these kids out?” And that song turned out to be ‘Time to Bleed.” So, we wrote that song with Justin and became friends. We would send each other memes, make each other laugh. We just asked him, hey there is this other song is written but if you can play guitar solo on it, that would be sick! So, he said yeah, and he was down, and it happened.
I can see how you guys would mesh well, with just these fun personalities.
Derek: Absolutely! He is so fun, so witty and he’s super, super nice. We strive to be like him.
After speaking with Frankie from The Darkness not too long ago, he told me that it was important that they don’t take themselves too seriously and to have fun with it. Especially with rock ‘n’ roll. They sometimes like to throw in these hints of comedy. And you guys remind me of that. You’re having fun with it. Do you think it’s important to not take yourself so seriously in rock?
Griffin: There’s so many ways you could take rock and roll as a format. You can take it the party way; you can take it the introspective way. You can really do anything you want with it. Really what we’re trying to do is just make a connection with the people who are listening to our music. We want to make them feel like they can have a really good time with us or reflect about themselves with us. It’s important to us that the audience feels like they belong when they listen to our songs.
Yeah, I just wish your set was a little bit longer here at Comerica Park. It seems like everyone was so into it, and then it was just cut short. Hopefully, you can come back and play a longer set.
Griffin: Yeah. I guess it’s great that you’re wanting more instead of wanting less of us!
You are on the stadium tour, and sometimes you’re playing in places that hold 20,000+ people. How did that happen?
Derek: It’s insane. It came about partially because we recorded half the record in Tommy Lee’s house. Just because we worked with Bob Rock on some of it. You know, Bob’s done Dr Feel Good, and he’s worked with Metallica and all that stuff. So, he was like let’s record it at Tommys place. So, they got us into a Mötley Crüe show, and our name was thrown around. And we pitch ourselves to the management we’re like, please let us open for your tour! And they let us do it.
The first show we played was in front of like eight thousand people, because we’re going on at 3:50 PM. And then the next show would be like four thousand, and the next would be five thousand, and then suddenly, it’s twenty one thousand people. It’s been a crazy ride.
How do you compare playing in a stadium to say like a smaller venue, or even a bar?
Griffin: I’ve thought about that a lot while playing these shows, and have been reflecting on playing at like bars, or even these little, small cafes. Because Derek and I will do these little solo shows, or acoustic shows to barely anyone. The one thing that remains is the fact that we love it all so much, even if we lost it all tomorrow and our names was wiped off the face of the earth, we would still love playing music just in general.
But to be able to play in front of so many people, and to be able to invite so many people that we would have never been able to invite, to this movement of rock and roll has been a privilege and a pleasure.
Derek: Yeah. Personally, I love small bars, but now I feel like I can’t even go back to stadiums, I can only do stadiums and bigger now! (laughing) But really, Griffin said it best, it’s all the same as long as we get to play.
You guys have been getting such overwhelmingly positive press, and you’re still a young band, and you’ve almost immediately been thrown into the deep end. Does it feel surreal?
Griffin: It’s so surreal. I mean the people that we get to play with, the legends we get to pass by in the hallway, the stadiums. We became good friends with Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx, The Black Hearts, of course Bret Michaels in all of Poison, Phil Collen, and Rick Allen. All of these people that have been doing this for so long who have inspired us to become better musicians.
And to be able to play in these giant stadiums in front of so many people it’s been crazy. And after playing so many stadiums at this point, which is over ten, we got our act, our classless act if you will down pat. Whenever we play it’s like 17 minutes and 58 seconds on the dot.
We’re in somebody else’s house and we’re trying to be respectful of their time and everyone else’s time. That’s really helped us estimate with how much time we can get with the number of songs. We’re learning to be a better band by being on this tour.
Have you been sticking to one set list and keeping it the same then?
Griffin: Thus far we’ve been sticking to one set list, but we might start to get risky every once in a while.
Derek: Heck yeah, get some risky business in there!
Personally, what are your favorite songs to perform live?
Derek: Aw man that’s hard!
Griffin: It is hard. We start off with the theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, we walk out to that and then we start playing ‘This is for You.’ In the meantime, before all that we’re waiting backstage and we’re like, OK let’s get ready, we’re almost there, calm your nerves, take a deep breath.
Then you get out there and get your instruments on and we start playing ‘This is for You,’ and when that riff starts, you’re looking out at all these people, and we’re just thinking it’s finally here, we’ve been here since 11:00 AM, now it’s four, and Derek runs onstage and he’s like “HEEEEYYYYY!” Then it’s smooth sailing from there.
Derek: Yeah! I like singing ‘All That We Are,’ because it’s a challenge and it’s a little slower, it’s got some challenging notes in there. Or the closer, you can’t beat the closer because we play our namesake song Classless Act. And because it’s the last song everyone is like, OK we’re at negative ten percent let’s just go out and give it one hundred at this point and leave it all on the stage.
You got to do what you got to do, to leave an impression.
Griffin: Right. Because we don’t know when we’re going to be in Chicago again, or Milwaukee. We want to make an impression that will last as long until we get back there.
Now I’m sure he’s a busy guy, but how did you get Vince to sing on your namesake song?
Derek: That happened because we were on tour. And getting on this tour got us in front of him a little more and we were in contact with his people. We just felt that Classless Act feels like Mötley Crüe.
Like the song we mean. Because it just has the same vibe, tempo, and guitars. We just sent it to him on a whim and we’re like, hey will you help us with this, it’ll help immensely, and it’ll help the song, and he said yeah sure. And he just did it over in like a night, he killed it. It’s funny because the chorus is ‘welcome to the show,‘ and it felt like Vince invited us to his show.
There’s an infinite amount of wisdom with all the bands on this tour. Have they shared any advice with you guys? Do they watch, or give you any sort of guidance?
Griffin: We’ve gotten very few precious moments with some of these guys. But one moment that stands out, was when Francos boots melted during one of the shows. The soles were coming off his boots because it was over one hundred degrees. He was just performing and running around all over the place. We were trying to get him some new boots, but in the end, Mötley Crüe decided to get him some new boots.
So, we went to their dressing rooms, and they delivered them. Nikki was talking about in the early days how Mick came over to his house, and his shoes were falling apart, and he had like duct tape all over them.
And it just put it all in perspective how paying your dues is what defines you as an artist because you learn a lot of things by going through stuff like that. That was something that put it in perspective for me because it’s like, this is all part of the journey. If it’s hard, if it’s easy, if you’re soaring, or if you’re going through the trenches.
Derek: And not to mention, if you remember, Griffin, the first 40 minutes of the first show of walking into the stadium, Bret Michaels comes up to us, and he’s like “you guys are awesome!’ Then we took a picture, and it was such a positive sign.
Griffin: All of Poison they’ve all been so nice to us as well.
You guys have been making a lot of great memories, do you plan to continue touring with legendary bands, or doing your own thing?
Griffin: We would like to, but we also want to do our own thing, and as soon as we find out, we’ll let you know. We will definitely be touring after the stadium tour.
Derek: Oh, we’re going to be touring for a long time, Brooke. I can tell you that much! And I’m not letting the cat out of the bag here, but I did hear that Phil Collen did say that they are going out next year.
Griffin: Did he say that?
Derek: I think he said it in a magazine, so I’m not in trouble if this gets out. That they’re going abroad. So, I don’t know what we’re going to do next year! Maybe we’ll hide in the trunk or something.
Well, you guys are incredibly awesome live, and have been knocking it out of the park. And we can’t wait to see you come back again. Is there anything else you’d like to say to the fans?
Derek: I know that it is shameful, and shameless, but guys please follow us on Spotify, it helps the algorithm. It’s not even for the looks, it really does help put rock and roll up there, and it also suggests other rock bands that are coming up. And it we just want to help bring rock and roll back. We love Detroit, we love all of you guys, anyone that listens to us for two seconds, even if they hate us, we love you!