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By Alex Gallagher | January 4, 2022

Music has always been an escape for Wage War guitarist/vocalist Cody Quistad.

Even when Quistad is not on stage, he says he blasts music — no matter the setting.

“I think that music does things that words can’t and I personally connect with it a lot,” he says.

Because of this, Quistad admits he connects deeply with his own music — as it is primarily based on his or his bandmates’ experiences.

“Every song that we’ve put out as a band has been about something that has happened to me or a member of the band,” he says. “As twisted and dark as it sounds, the more twisted and messed up things get the faster our content comes.”

That was the case with the band’s latest album “Manic,” which was released in October.

“Our music is very mental health driven,” he says. “I try to write therapeutic lyrics for myself, but I know there are a lot of people who have connected with our music. Especially with ‘Manic’ and how it walks through the hardships of the last couple of years like losing loved ones, learning how to be alone or dealing with anxiety and depression.”

Because of this, Quistad has changed his motives for performances.

“For a while, I wanted to create a show for people to have fun at,” he says. “After the last couple of years, I want to create a safe space for people to escape reality.

“There are a lot of issues covered on the record and it’s important for me that people come to a Wage War show and feel that as a release or a place where they can forget about whatever is going on in their life.”

Quistad is proud of all of his songs, but one in particular, is his favorite.

“My personal favorite is the title track, ‘Manic,’ because it is a live song with several moments for crowd participation and contains a nice groove,” he says.

While Quistad is excited to exhibit Wage War’s newer music, older tunes like “Who I Am,” “Stitch” and “The River” offer Quistad different opportunities.

“A lot of times, the songs that go off are the songs that we’ve played so much that we go into autopilot while playing them,” he says. “Those songs are really fun to play and give me the chance to look out into the crowd instead of at the neck of my guitar the whole song.” 

During the song, he pulls out his in-ear monitor just to hear the crowd sing. It’s in these moments that Quistad realizes the gravity Wage War’s lyrics hold with its fans.

“When the audience interacts with us, I know it’s a good show,” Quistad says. “We have never been about the mosh pits and people beating each other up. I love seeing people put their hands in the air, jump up and down and sing the words.”

Falling In Reverse with Wage War, Hawthorne Heights and Jeris Johnson

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 1

WHERE: The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren Street, Phoenix

COST: Tickets start at $39.50; ages 13 and older