by Brenda Hillegas
Photography by Ally Newbold

Man Overboard is a band known to “defend pop punk”. The South Jersey group holds true to this motto by non-stop tours filled with upbeat, pop-laced punk influenced by bands like Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday, and The Promise Ring. With the one year anniversary of their third studio album, Heart Attack, approaching, Man Overboard is hitting the road (again) for a headlining tour which wraps in Philadelphia on June 21st.

“We’re from South Jersey and the capital of South Jersey is umm…Philly,” the band’s rhythm guitarist, Justin Collier, jokes. “We all grew up going to shows in Philly since it’s 15 minutes and a $5 toll away from us.”

The band, consisting of Collier, Zac Eisenstein, Nik Bruzzese, Wayne Wildrick, and Joe Talarico, even holds their annual holiday show in Philadelphia. The Lost Tape Collective takes place at The Theatre of Living Arts a few days after Christmas, bringing a variety of bands to share the stage. Since their TLA show in 2013, and even before then, the band has been on tour non-stop with hardly any downtime. Though the guys have been wearing themselves thin, Collier isn’t about to complain.

“We toured the USA, Australia, and Asia last fall from October 8th to December 31st with a total of eight or nine days at home in there. Then we had three weeks [off] before a month in Europe,” says Collier. “We are really grinding ourselves to the bone right now, but we can’t really complain. We have the best job ever.”

Most of April was spent touring in support of Maryland’s pop/punk All Time Low. They’ll have three weeks to relax before the next tour starts on May 20th in Montreal and this time they’re headlining a tour of their own. Collier and his bandmates are fully prepared to bring out some material that fans have never experienced live before.

“Instead of the typically 30 or 40 minute support set, we will be doing a nice long set full of old and new songs,” he says. Though, after a few weeks of shows, Collier says the band does get bored with the set list and they typically have a few extra songs they swap in and out to keep things fresh.

“We are really grinding ourselves to the bone right now, but we can’t really complain. We have the best job ever.”

“When [we] only get a 30 minute set, we just play the favorites- “Dead End Dreams”, “Montrose”, “Love Your Friends”, “Where I Left You”. Since this is a headliner, we will be trying out some songs we have never done live before, some oldies that have been in the closet and even some new ones that we haven’t done live yet.”

Man Overboard typically prefers to play the newer songs “since we haven’t burned ourselves out on them yet”, but Collier enjoys the old songs just as much because of the response of the fans. He encourages the Man Overboard fans to take to the band’s social networks and submit their requests for songs to be played live. This is a band that loves to get their fans involved and constantly has a contest going. In April, they teamed up with Ultimate Ears to give away concert tickets, meet and greet packages, merchandise, earphones, albums and more.

“We are always trying to get everyone involved with our current happenings,” Collier says. “So be on the look out for new things. I can’t let the cat out of the bag yet!”

The last tour-stop on Man Overboard’s Heart Attack Tour takes place at The Theatre of Living Arts with Transit, Forever Came Calling, and Knuckle Punch. A finale at a place almost considered home for the band seems fitting, especially since Heart Attack was also recorded in this area, at Will Yip’s Studio 4 in Conshohocken.

“He’s probably the coolest person in Conshohocken…after Jack Romano [of Romano Guitar Repair] and the staff of Chiangmai restaurant,” says Collier. “But really, Will’s reputation, recommendations and sound recordings were what made us want to work with him. Meeting him at his studio sealed the deal. We hit it off right away and had a blast making the album together.”

The group is taking a well deserved break afterward touring to support the album by enjoying July and August vacationing and spending time with family. Collier assures me they’ll be working on some great new stuff, though, but he prefers to keep it hush hush for now. Until then, just know that this is a band who is truly grateful for everything that has come their way.

“Every album, every tour, every Tweet, every letter – we appreciate it all and thank our supporters for everything,” says Collier. “If it ended tomorrow, we would still be thankful.”

For more information about Man Overboard, http://www.defendpoppunk.com.