This Post-Hardcore Guitarist Competed on ‘American Ninja Warrior’
Musician Ryan Phillips — co-founder and guitarist for Midwestern post-hardcore mainstays Story of the Year — participated in an episode of sports competition show American Ninja Warrior that aired Monday (June 24). The program's current season, its eleventh, premiered May 29 on NBC. The qualifiers that Phillips took part in were filmed May 11–12 at Washington State's Tacoma Dome.
Surrounding the episode's taping, Phillips spoke of his excitement in photo posts on social media, even posing for a photo with Ninja Warrior superstar Jessie Graff. This week, ANJ released their own still of the guitarist rocking the course, and the musician revealed a behind-the-scenes clip of his performance. See the images and video down toward the bottom of this post.
Wearing a Story of the Year shirt during his run on American Ninja Warrior's challenging obstacle course, the 39-year-old rookie beat the Shrinking Steps, Lunatic Legends and Barrel Roll to start his attempt.
Waving to his wife and kids atop the barrel before swinging to safety, he stepped lightly across the Broken Bridge but bottomed out on the Lightning Bolts. There, Phillips couldn't seem to get his bar locked in, and he fell to a watery finish. The musician did not advance to the finals, but he did make a strong showing.
On the latest American Ninja Warrior episode, Phillips briefly overviewed his music career while offering a shoutout to Linkin Park for taking the group on their first big tour. He also suggested continued activity from Story of the Year while admitting the band have slowed their touring lifestyle due to the responsibilities of parenthood.
"Our video came on MTV and you wake up and you're like, 'Dude I’m living my dream,'" Phillips recalled of the group's success. "I was gone year-round and our first big tour was an arena tour with Linkin Park. We're still at it and it's one of those things I'll do until I'm an old skeleton.”
However, he noted that "touring had to be cut way back because we're all dads now. We're like the cool dads though."
As for his knack at athletic competition, Philipps said he's "always been like a monkey, swinging around, jumping around. I was at a point in my life where I was feeling like I needed a new challenge."
He continued, “My kids, the whole music and rock star thing — I'm just dad. They're used to it. But American Ninja Warrior, they think that's awesome. That makes me a rock star to them." The introductory package also featured a bit of the band playing a St. Louis-area show.
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