Story & Photos by Andy Lyons, Editor-in-Chief
After touring for nearly nine months straight, Stitched Up Heart took a two-month break before jumping on the “Hearts in Hell” tour with fellow rockers Hell or Highwater. Throughout it all, the band has developed a reputation for being fan-sided, and Friday’s stop at The Riot Room in Kansas City was no exception.
Stitched Up Heart, which features vocalist Mixi, guitarist Nick Bedrosian, drummer James Decker, bassist Randy Mathias and guitarist Merritt Goodwin, was loading gear into the venue Friday night and took time to say hello and share a handshake with everyone who stopped. The tour features a VIP experience, which meant hosting a group of fans on their RV, home to seven people during the tour.
Each member of the band made it a point to interact with every person who was part of the VIP. From sharing stories from the road to offering M&M’s, the group made it a special and intimate time to truly get to know their fans.
While the venue was coming alive to the sounds of Darling Jameson, who doubles as Stitched Up Heart’s merchandise manager, the group took some time with CMN to go in depth with what the last year has been like, sharing experiences such as some fun in the skies while flying to a show.
“There was one time we were in an airplane and we had all the same row,” Mixi said. “You know how the airplane has those little lights for if you want service, or if you want to turn your light on or off for your book? We all had this little light show in our row.”
“Each one of us had a flying solo, we put on disco music and started hitting the lights,” Mathias added.
“It was dark everywhere else except our aisle. Can you get kicked off an airplane if you’re in the air?” Mixi said with a laugh.
After touring with big names such as Lacuna Coil and Lacey Sturm during their nine-month stint, a break was well worth it.
“We did nine months straight except a week or two here or there off,” Mixi explained. “And before this tour we had two months off and everyone loses their minds. Decker disappears off the face of the earth when we’re off tour. I don’t even know.”
“I get bored,” Decker explained.
“He’s on his phone 24/7 and you text him when he’s off tour and you’re never gonna hear from him,” Mixi continued. “Like, he’s looking at his phone and you’re calling him, and you know he’s looking at his phone.”
“You have to let it go or they know you’re ignoring them,” Decker said.
“Maybe just put it on airplane mode and connect it to Wi-Fi,” Mathias added.
“Randy knows how to ignore people, he says he has bad service at his new house,” Mixi said as everyone burst into laughter.
The group definitely has a family feel to them, with each laughing and joking and giving each other a hard time – with Bedrosian admitting he loves touring and spending time with his bandmates. Between the five band members along with their merchandise and production managers, it’s a lot of time in an RV. Mixi explained they’ve always had an affinity to life on the road.
“There was a time when Decker and I and Merritt all lived in the same apartment that was smaller than this RV and we toured in a van,” she said. “And we took the van benches out of the van and put them in the apartment so whenever we would get off tour we were still in the van.”
The “Hearts in Hell” tour goes until July 9, after which the band will be playing some one-off shows but focusing on new material for the rest of the year.
“We started working on a new record, sophomore record, kind of important we really wanted to step it up a lot from (first album) ‘Never Alone,’” Bedrosian said. “We didn’t realize how far it was gonna go for us and ended up able to play some huge festivals and got on some really awesome tours with some amazing bands. And with this record we just want to grow as artists, we want to write some crazier songs, some more poppy melodic songs and expand on Never Alone. We’ve got a couple people we’ve been writing with just getting ideas out there, and it’s been going pretty cool. I’m personally, pretty stoked for the next record.”
“I am definitely stoked as well,” Decker added. “The songs that we’ve gotten so far we’ve sent them along to management and they seem to like them also. Which is a bonus because we could write these songs and you could put everything you have into one song and be like this is the best, and they would be like, ‘no.’”
The group has played on the rock cruise ShipRocked the last two years. The cruise features shows from the “Stowaways,” which puts members from different bands together to play songs fans would never hear outside of the cruise. They talked about some of their dream collaborations with artists from across the rock genre.
“For me personally, I’ve always been a fan of Papa Roach,” Bedrosian said. “And recently playing festivals and stuff with them we’ve gotten to meet the guys and they’re all super awesome people, amazing human beings. I like them as artists, Jacoby’s got so much energy he’d be a cool guy to colab with and jam some songs with him. I know Mixi really likes Sevendust.”
“Sevendust! Godsmack, Halestorm,” Mixi added.
The group has also made some waves on social media recently as photos and videos of Mixi riding atop crowds on an inflatable Pegasus have made some rounds. She’s also been known to ride inflatable pizzas and cupcakes as well.
“I am an impulse buyer and um, when you see a giant Pegasus pool float at Walmart and you don’t own a pool, you figure out a way you’re going to use it,” she explained.
Throughout the tour, fans have been bringing the band all sorts of gifts, especially food. The fans at The Riot Room supplied some donuts and pies, but this has become a pretty normal occurrence for Stitched Up Heart.
“It’s pretty awesome, our fans are very generous to us,” Decker said. “They bring us tons of stuff. We share with them, so like whatever we get today we’ll give tomorrow.”
The “Hearts in Hell” tour marks the first time the band has worked with a production manager on effects such as fog and lighting, and The Riot Room responded in kind. The energy in the room skyrocketed as soon as the band finished their sound check. As the fans got louder and wilder so did the band, with each member bouncing around the stage.
The Riot Room has no gate to separate fans from the stage, and throughout the show the group was high-fiving and hugging fans across the front row. Mixi braved the low ceilings and rode the crowd on a cupcake. The lighting and fog effects only added to the intensity that is a Stitched Up Heart show.
The band even pulled a fan, Cosa Smith, of Halfway, Mo., onto the stage while playing “Bodies” by Drowning Pool for their encore – a proper ending to a show that truly celebrated a band caring about their fans.
Stitched Up Heart continues the “Hearts in Hell” tour with Hell or Highwater through July 9. They are expecting to release their yet-to-be-titled sophomore album in 2018. Follow Stitched Up Heart on Facebook here.
Listen to our interview with Stitched Up Heart in its entirety below: