Undenianbly, it’s been a dramatic week for Kill Hannah. It’s Saturday afternoon and we’re sitting in Whelan’s before their show. It’s a miracle that they’ve managed to get to Dublin at all, since on Tuesday night, the band’s tour bus went on fire as they were going through the Swiss Alps. Luckily, the band escaped unscathed, but they still look a little unsettled. Dan Wiese, the guitarist, describes what happened: “It was really bad, everybody lost everything. Our gear was in the other trailer, so we still have our instruments, but all our personal stuff: computers, cameras, clothes, ipods, everything’s gone. Some of us lost passports, so we had to go to the embassy in Switzerland to replace them.’”
You would think that Kill Hannah would have been tempted to cancel the tour, but apparently not. “You know, that never came up, nobody suggested it. We did end up having to cancel two shows in Belgium, which we were looking forward to. Some of the shows coming up are the biggest on the tour, so I’d feel like such a quitter if we went home early just because we lost our pants. Touring in a band is what we’ve all always dreamed of doing. That’s why when something happens like the bus catches on fire, you can’t just pack it up and go home when we’ve worked so hard to get here, if it’s possible to continue… But it is really tough, especially since we’ve got another ten dates to go, with no days off in between.”
The fire was just the latest episode in what’s been an eventful year for the band. Earlier this year, Kill Hannah made the decision to change record labels, moving from Atlantic Records to Roadrunner Records. When asked about this, Dan explains: “Atlantic wouldn’t release us outside of America, and we really wanted to be released in places like the UK, Europe, Japan and everywhere else.” The switch to Roadrunner means that the band’s four albums are now on the shelves in music stores in this country for the first time ever.
Kill Hannah have a huge following in the U.S. among the alternative rock scene. As many emo kids’ band of choice, a quick search on the internet reveals a host of street team and fan sites all proclaiming their undying devotion to Kill Hannah. Later, as I watch the band play the end of their set to a moderate crowd of teenagers in Whelans, it seems incredible that a band who have been in existence for 14 years, sold out all their UK dates and have such a huge and devoted fanbase in the U.S. can still experience relative obscurity here in Ireland. They seem completely undaunted, though. As Matt Davies, wearing the only set of clothes he currently possesses, gives away his arm-warmers to a fan in the front row, and tells the audience that they’re the best crowd ever, you have to admire the band’s tenacity. They deserve those fan sites, there’s no doubt about that.