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"We didn't get paid anything and we had no one from the Warped Tour crew to help us," explained Underminded guitarist/vocalist Nick Martin about his band's experience on this summer's Warped Tour. They had to set up and tear down a 20-foot-wide, 16-foot-deep, and three-foot-tall stage at each date on the cross-country, 50-date, eight-week tour.

"At the beginning it took us six to seven hours to set it up and the same amount of time to break it down. After we learned how to do it, it took an hour and a half to two hours."

Martin said he and his band mates had to start building the stage every day about 6 a.m. Tear down, he said was at 11 p.m. or midnight.

"The first date of the tour was in Houston. It got fully rained out, so that date was cancelled. We were out there trying to dodge thunder and lightning. We had to take down this stage in the middle of this monsoon.... And the stage wasn't even the hardest part. The hardest part was erecting the truss to hold the lights. We had to go put this huge tarp over the stage when it rained."

Martin said there were three big stages and three smaller stages at each Warped Tour stop. The Smartpunk stage, the one they had to set up, was the largest of the three smaller stages.

"Our manager heard that Smartpunk was sponsoring its own stage and they were looking for a band that would help them out with the stage. Smartpunk is an Internet company that sells underground and independent CDs. We told him we were totally down to do it. We wanted to do everything we could to help the band."

He said Underminded got to play each day on the stage it built, but the band got screwed in the beginning because it was always the first of nine bands. "We would just get finished setting up the stage, and we'd have five minutes to get our amps on stage. We were exhausted by time we had to go on."

That arrangement led to friction between the band and Smartpunk.

"We went through a little bit of guff. But three weeks into the tour, we got better time slots."

Martin said he has no regrets. "It was definitely worth it, just being able to play for over 1000 kids a day. We got to play some cities it is hard to play on regular tours. It was also good for us because a lot of the other bands would give us the time of day. They respected what we were doing. We stayed in contact with a lot of those bands who have since hooked us up with some shows."

Martin said he hopes Smartpunk will invite them back on some of the dates on the 2005 Warped Tour. Will they set up the stage this time?

"Hell no. You can't talk us into that again."

Underminded appears New Year's Eve at Soma with Atreyu, As I Lay Dying, Bleeding Through, Terror, Throwdown, Before Today, Yesterday's Rising, My American Heart, and Stranger's Six. Doors open at 6 p.m., all ages, $19 admission.

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