The Ready Set's Jordan Mark Witzigreuter talks about the Jingle Ball, B.o.B. and Paul McCartney's 'Wonderful Christmastime'
At Sunday’s 93.3 FLZ Jingle Ball at the St. Pete Times Forum, Jordan Mark Witzigreuter is the unsung opener. The unknown star. The unpronounceable name.
But maybe he shouldn’t be.
At 21, his one-man band, The Ready Set, has a growing teenybopper fan base thanks to a pulsating sound that bridges the gaps between pop, dance and punk. The Ready Set scored an unlikely hit in Love Like Woe, and this week they were picked to headline the 2011 Glamour Kills Tour, which comes to Ybor City’s Orpheum in March.
Get to the Jingle Ball early, because The Ready Set is the first band taking the stage. We talked to Witzigreuter this week about the show.
Are you playing a lot of these year-end radio concerts? Is this the first year you’ve been through that gauntlet?
Yeah, this is the first time. It’s definitely a fun little circuit to be a part of. The most important part of all these shows, aside from the fact that some of them are the biggest shows I’ve done, is that most of the people there, if they know one of my songs, it’s Love Like Woe. So I’m looking at these shows like it’s my job to get them excited about the other songs, and entertain them to the point where they’re interested to hear everything else.
Have you played arenas before?
We’ve done a lot of festivals, and converted, smaller arenas. But the first time we’ve actually played a full, sold-out arena was a couple of nights ago in Minneapolis. That was crazy, definitely pretty mind-blowing. The way that the lights are, you can’t really see anything at all. So it doesn’t really feel like a lot of people until you step off the stage and you see it with the lights on, how insanely packed it is. That’s fun.
Have you checked out the lineup for Sunday in Tampa?
Oh my gosh, yeah, it’s insane. That’s the cool thing, too — so many of the people we’re playing with on these things are just giants. It’s crazy to be able to share a stage with them.
One of the artists is B.o.B., and you did a cover of Airplanes, his song with Hayley Williams. How did that come about?
I got asked to do that for Fearless Records — “Pick whatever Top 40ish song you want and do a cover of it.” I got a list, and there were a few that I wanted to do, but that one stood out, because at the time, it was one of the biggest songs. I really like the song a lot. I really like Hayley’s voice, and I’m a big fan of B.o.B. We played with him the other night at the show in Minneapolis.
I was going to ask if you were going to play that song Sunday, but that would be weird, wouldn’t it? With him there and all?
Yeah. It’d be a little strange.
Out of the artists on the bill — him, Bruno Mars, Train, Maroon 5, Enrique Iglesias, Mike Posner and yourself — is there anyone who’s put out a song that you wish you’d written? Aside from Airplanes, of course.
I don’t know if there’s necessarily one that I wish I’d written. I think for a lot of them, what they’ve put out is something personal. Like, Mike Posner — I’m sure a lot of his stuff is super personal, so the way I look at it is, I wouldn’t have been able to. I guess I can only write the songs that I write.
Another cover you did was Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney. A lot of people consider that the worst Christmas song of all time. So I guess my question to you is: Why?
Pretty much because the song is predominantly synth-driven. It has that crazy little keyboard sound in the beginning and throughout the whole thing. And since the majority of my music is pretty electronic and synthy and whatnot, I felt it was a cool similarity. The song itself is structured so strangely, and it’s just weird part after weird part. I wanted to make it the most bizarre-sounding thing.
Do you like the original song? I don’t know anybody who does.
Yeah. It’s one of those songs where, I don’t know if it’s anybody’s favorite Christmas song, but I think so many people know it that you hear it and it’s familiar. So yeah, I can say that I do like it. I guess you could say it was ahead of its time.
Do you have big holiday plans? Do you have any big holiday traditions?
Not anything huge or out of the ordinary. We do the Christmas-morning thing, where my brother and sister and all their families will come over, and we’ll do the Christmas-present-unwrapping thing. It’s pretty chill.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Photo: Roberto Chamarro.