NovaFest rocks the Pavilion

Justin Rodstrom

I must say, this year’s NovaFest was quite chaotic. Be it the 1,000 kids on West Campus, the 24-hour marathon Relay For Life or the deer that invaded Moulden Hall, it almost seems like Saturday night didn’t happen. Although this weekend brought many highlights, none shone brighter than Saturday night’s concert from ’90s titans the Goo Goo Dolls.

With a set that included past hits as well as successful new material, the Campus Activities Team hit it big with this rock-solid concert. Between the standard sing-alongs of “Iris” and “Give a Little Bit” and the quasi-political rantings of an enthused Johnny Rzeznik, the concert added up to a success for fans of the band and students in general.

Last week, Robby Takac told me that the Goo Goo Dolls were psyched to be playing this year’s NovaFest, and they certainly brought a lot of energy to the show.

Great contributions were made by all three founding members, as well as memorable guitar and saxophone solos by two of the Goo Goo Dolls’ tourmates.

Interview with Copeland’s Aaron Marsh:

I’m sitting here with lead singer Aaron Marsh of Florida rock band Copeland. Hi Aaron, thanks a lot for joining me just before your performance at NovaFest tonight. Let’s get things started:

So Copeland has been on the college circuit a while now; how has the reception been for you guys?

We’ve always enjoyed college shows. We do mostly bars and all-age shows and stuff, so it’s really cool to do a college show because it’s a really different vibe. It’s really laid back because this is the students’ chance to kick back and relax and get out of class for a little while. We’ve been really appreciated at colleges, which has been great.

How has it been opening for the Goo Goo Dolls?

Yeah, they’ve been super cool to us since we met them; we’re really excited. And I was a big fan in high school, so it’s been kind of surreal that I’m on tour with them right now.

So now you’re on tour in support of “Eat, Sleep, Repeat,” your new album; what was the writing process like for that?

It was good; it was really similar to the rest of the records so far. We were at the same studio with the same producer. The real difference on this record is we use a lot of real instruments – real strings, real horns – all the little ornamentation was all a lot more organic this time, versus doing programmed strings and synthesized horns and stuff like that.

How has life been on the road for Copeland?

Well, we live on the road, so that’s kind of like asking for an experience from the last five years because it’s been pretty constant for the last five years. When I think about my touring life for the last five years, what comes to mind is really all the cool people I’ve met along the way, the people that’ve helped us out and all the artists we’ve played with. Getting to go to the U.K., Singapore, Japan has always been great. Dude, it’s exhilarating to be able to see the world; that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do is to be able to travel and play music … and get my rent paid.

Has Copeland faced any challenges in staying together over the past seven years?

Well, I would say all the typical VH1 “Behind The Music” stuff. You know, trouble with money and labels and all that drama. It really does take a toll on you, it seems petty to hear an artist cry about how his label doesn’t give him enough tour support, but it really does make it stressful.

Stephen Christian of Anberlin was describing today’s pop music scene as very cut throat. Do you see it that way?

Yeah, the life expectancy of a musician in the pop scene today is shorter than anything, unless you’re really just cranking out timeless songs. I think you need to just be aware that it happens, focus on bands that have been successful, keep making relevant records. It’s a rare find to find someone who’s got the talent to craft a really great song that has staying power.

Do you have anything to say to Villanova students?

Just have fun and be good to each other. It seems just a week ago those things happened in Virginia. We’re always shocked when things like that happen, we fell like our world has never been this chaotic. Just be good to people; you never know who needs to be smiled at.