Kills and Thrills: The Road Is a Gamble and a Hustle
“A lot of the younger bands don’t realize it’s a risk,” Kills and Thrills frontman Chris Vetter revealed Noisecreep about touring. The guitarist called each tour and show the band has a gamble. “You can’t go out there expecting to get a $100 guarantee every night, or at all. You have to take the good with the bad.”
The Long Island, N.Y.-based band focuses on the good of the road taking everything as an opportunity — there is no complaining in DIY when a show gets canceled and no one was never told; you just roll the dice again. “Every tour, we get five or six dates that cancel on us,” says Vetter. “We’ll immediately go on a computer and search for shows in the area and try to get a hold of the promoter in time — or just show up and ask if we can play.”
Sometimes the band has driven up to four hours to a show just hoping to get on the bill. Only having been a full-time touring band for over a year and a band since 2005, Kills and Thrills are taking every opportunity they can, even if they have to fight for it. “Weird enough a lot of bands aren’t doing that. We’ll bust our asses to get another show,” Vetter asserts. “Touring is all about taking chances. Every night you don’t know. At this point in the game (where we’re at) you never know what you’re walking into.”
Like most bands, Kills and Thrills are very different from their early self. Beginning as a five-piece, the band used to have a keyboardist, who played on ‘Showstopper,’ their debut self-released EP. “I’m 24 now. A lot of my tastes have changed for sure,” he said looking back on their first recorded material. Part of the evolution of the band was taking the keyboards out, which he assured everyone knew it didn’t make sense anymore for their strike hard and fast hardcore delivery.
But that EP, which was later re-released by Hotfoot Records, went on to sell 3,105 physical copies. “It seems like a drop in the bucket compared to other bands,” remarked Vetter. “We hustle CDs like crazy.
“A lot of band will push their shirts before CDs, which I totally get. But to me we’re not a clothing company. I’d rather put a CD in someone’s hand than a T-shirt.” He credited this emphasis for the sales, as well as their DIY ethic. When the band shows up hours before a show, they head out to flier the town and bring CDs with them in case they can sell any while meeting people.
Vetter sees the band’s true strength is when they play live, so he’s not concerned about how many people play their song samples online. Their drive since their first tour has been playing the areas most bands avoid. “Some of the backwoods shows are the best ones, because that’s where kids really appreciate you. They’re not spoiled with bands constantly going through their area.”
He continued, letting an excitement for their next tour come through, “You gotta dig yourself a hole for a while. We’re still in a hole. The new record put us in a hole, but I’m confident we can keep chipping away at it on the road.”