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The War on Drugs Have Two Very Fond Memories of New Zealand

Adam Granduciel recalls the last time his band toured New Zealand ahead of their return to the country this year

The War on Drugs

At the beginning of December, The War on Drugs will perform in New Zealand for the first time since 2018.

Ahead of their return, the band’s frontman Adam Granduciel reflected on their previous trip in conversation with Rolling Stone AU/NZ. Granduciel has fond memories of touring Aotearoa, with two moments in particular leaving a lasting impression.

“Last time we were there was when they had the Grammys in America and we won that Grammy (Best Rock Album for A Deeper Understanding) while we were in New Zealand,” the musician remembers. “We all woke up in Auckland and everyone was calling us and texting us at 10pm East Coast time. We were already in the future and it was like, ‘woah this is crazy.’ We played the show that night outside and we were just having the best time onstage.

“It just felt like there was no pressure. It was this thing we were sharing kind of among us, you know, because we were so far away geographically from all the hoopla and stuff. And it was such a special night. It was a beautiful night, and we played a great show to an amazing crowd.

“It was like everything came together and there was a really great photo of us that we took sitting on a fountain in Auckland, and you can tell we’re all just at peace with the night. It was pretty great.”

Granduciel’s other New Zealand story centres on the initial creation of the song “Strangest Things” from that Grammy Award-winning 2017 album, A Deeper Understanding.

“I wrote that song onstage in Auckland at soundcheck,” he reveals. “In the backline that we had rented, (there was) a Stratocaster and a Vox AC30 amp and it sounded so good.

“I was like, ‘man, this is a really nice Strat.’ I plugged it into my pedals as everyone was setting up and I just started playing and the first thing that came out of my hands was that riff, and it sounded so good. I’d never played it before and I just kept playing it over and over. The band kind of kicked in when they had all their stuff set up. That night after the show, I went back to my hotel and wrote the rest of the song.

“I have a voice memo somewhere of playing it on that stage and yeah, it became a song. So I have strong memories of New Zealand for that very reason.”

The War on Drugs 2023 Australia & New Zealand Tour

With special guests Spoon & Indigo Sparke

Ticket information available via livenation.com.au or livenation.co.nz

Friday, December 1st
On A Good Day, Anderson Park, Wellington, NZ

Saturday, December 2nd
Spark Arena, Auckland, NZ

Monday, December 4th (SOLD OUT)
Sydney Opera House Forecourt, Sydney, NSW

Tuesday, December 5th
Sydney Opera House Forecourt, Sydney, NSW

Thursday, December 7th
Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, VIC

Saturday, December 9th
Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD

Monday, December 11th
Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Perth, WA