That’s a sentiment Ben echoes, though he’s not quite so blunt. Instead, he looks at the situation that Neck Deep, and so many other bands, found themselves in as another learning curve on the path that the quintet – these days completed by original drummer Dani Washington, guitarist Sam Bowden and new bassist Seb Barlow – have forged for themselves, and on their own terms, over the past near-decade.
“We’re just proud of where we’ve come from and how we’ve got here,” the singer says. “We’ve never rested on our laurels and taken it easy. The dream has always been to be the biggest and best band that we can – we kind of looked at blink-182 and Green Day growing up and said, ‘We want to be that – we want to be this generation’s blink-182.’ We’ve still got a lot more to do, but we’ve got to where we are by kind of just being ourselves and doing what we do, and we don’t want to divert from that.”
Those lofty ambitions have been getting ever closer. In the summer of 2019, the band were offered a support slot on blink-182’s U.S. tour with Lil Wayne, which stopped at 42 arenas across the country (with one date in Canada). While the band have had their fair share of eye-opening, profile-raising experiences across the pond – including three full runs on the now-defunct Warped Tour in 2014, 2015 and 2017 – nothing quite compares to getting to open for their heroes across the Atlantic.
“It was ridiculous,” recalls West. “Ben and I were sat in a shop in town, and he’s like, ‘Have you read this fucking email that’s just come through?’ and I was like, ‘Oh no. What’s happened?’” And he’s like, ‘We’ve got an offer to tour with blink-182 and Lil Wayne, and it starts in three weeks.’ We didn’t think it was real. We were meant to have the summer off to write, but there was no way we could turn it down. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a huge, huge honour.”
“We actually took it really easy on that tour,” adds Ben. “We only played half an hour every day. And for a band that’s usually playing hour-and-a-half-long sets, playing half an hour every day is just easy! The fact that we got to be on tour with our favourite band, play half an hour and have no other responsibilities, it was definitely one that we’ll always remember as just being really fun.”