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Katy Perry (2008)

She’s as punk as anyone at heart. She went through all the trials and tribulations before she became a star. Katy was not an overnight success.

Back in 2008 and I had written a movie called ‘Endless Bummer’, and I was actually looking for covers from around 1984. The movie was about a stolen surfboard. I went over to [Capitol Records] and talked to [their CEO] Jason Flom, and he said, “I’ve got this girl named Katy Perry. She did this Outfield cover of ‘Your Love.’”

It just struck me and I said, “Wow, has she done anything else?” And he said, “She’s done this video called ‘Ur So Gay.” And I said, “Man, I gotta have her on Warped Tour. I think she’d be great out there.”

He gave me this sideways look, but I got the name of her agent and bought the song for the movie and made a deal for her to come out on the Warped Tour that year. Her guarantee was $500 a show. It was interesting because we have a kickoff party in the Key Club in L.A., and I always like to showcase new people that I’m getting behind. So I invited Katy to come play it. It was the first time she had played with the band and it was a trainwreck.

I was standing there talking to a few people and I thought, “Uh-oh, I hope this works.” Then she came out on the road and she worked so hard out there to get her show down. Her label released “Kissed a Girl” right around the end of May, when the tour was going out. It went on the radio, and she had to do a lot of work between concerts. She did radio shows and TV in the morning. But she’d always be there in time for the show. And I would always put her in unique, hard spots. Bring Me the Horizon was on one of the smaller stages, too. So I’d book Bring Me the Horizon and then Katy Perry or vice versa.

These kids would turn around to leave, and then they’d get pulled back and watch her. She’d said, “Where the f— are you going? You’re gonna miss out if you don’t see me play.” And kids would turn around and she would win them over. She was really dynamic, and she would always end up with many more people than when she started.

As the summer built and the radio picked her up more, she got more attention and she became one of the favorite artists of the bands. Yet at the end of the summer when we did our annual awards presentations, Katy Perry was voted “Laziest Artist on the Tour.” And I asked people, “Why is Katy getting called lazy?” And they said, “Well, we never see her at any of the parties or the barbecues.”

So when we were in New York City there were 2,000 at the barbecue, and I went up to Katy’s bus and I said, “You gotta come out tonight.” So she came out, grabbed a bottle of Patron, and she pretty much housed it in about 10 minutes. Everyone loved it. She pretty much won all this punk-rock credibility right there on the spot by showing up and chugging the tequila. The next day her road manager came up to me and said, “You are going to have to deal with her this morning!” Apparently she was up all night throwing up and she had a blazing hangover.

But man, to this date I love Katy Perry, and I just wish she’d come back out on the road with us again.

Kevin Lyman remembers Katy Perry, Eminem and other surprising artists who played the Warped Tour

Jon Wiederhorn
Writer

The Warped Tour — which ends this Sunday, Aug. 5, after a 23-year run — always presented fans of pop-punk, punk, emo, and hardcore with an annual showcase of the best and brightest acts in the industry. But Warped founder Kevin Lyman wasn’t content to simply hold down the fort for perennials like Pennywise, Dropkick Murphys, NOFX, and Bad Religion. Over the years, the tour was also a proving ground for fresh faces in hip-hop, including Eminem, D12, and the Black Eyed Peas (before Fergie joined), as well as veteran rockers like Joan Jett and Billy Idol.

Lyman has also premiered new faces on the scene like the Pretty Reckless, who are fronted by ex-Gossip Girl actress Taylor Momsen — and, back in 2008, a virtually unknown singer named Katy Perry, who had yet to kiss a girl and like it. Yahoo Entertainment talked to Lyman about some of the most unusual acts to play the Warped Tour and what he remembers most about their inclusion on the festival. Read on, in Lyman’s own words. (Photos: Getty Images)