The Used

author TL date 14/06/07

After I had to run around the maze that is the halls of Vega, and walk past the long line of fans to the tour bus, I found out that somehow Bert McCracken, the vocalist of The Used, didn't think it was a good idea to conduct an interview there. So I had to walk back past the line with him, watching the various degrees of hysteria that ensued upon the fans noticing Bert, followed by the maze again, before ending up in a pretty neat room backstage, where I was finally ready for the short chat I had been promised with the notorious vocalist/madman, so as to illustrate the rush, let's plunge straight into the result:

RF.net: Forgetting about all the boring introductions today, I'm gonna go ahead and get myself into trouble by throwing an e-word question at you: You've been saying that on the new album you want to distance yourself from the "emo" term, so I'd like the true explanation for why you've felt you needed to do that?
Bert: I think that there have been so many bands before us that should have credit, that don't necessarily get it.. You know like Sunny Day Real Estate, Texas Is The Reason, Braid and all the original "emo" bands, but it's ridiculous to say that songs were not always emotional from the beginning of time. Music's just emotional in general and I just think the whole thing is so childish, I don't understand it.

RF.net: Then, is there another scene you feel more connected to then?
Bert: No, I don't feel connected to any scene.

RF.net: Okay, about yourself, you've been known to act pretty crazy on stage as well as in the media, but what we'd like to know is how much of that is "Rockstar Bert" and how much is "Real Bert" and how you're different (if that's the case) around friends and family?
Bert: I've never been anything but.. The real Bert. I love playing music and I love being on stage and it's just so exciting for me, and.. I freak out some times and I freak out in general too.

RF.net: Okay let's talk about the new album a bit. To us as fans it seems like quite a break in the bend in terms of style, and I'd like to ask you about the changes you made, how you got inspired to make them and if you feel this a turn in style yourself?
Bert: I think every day it's a new band, and we're continuously changing as people individually and as artists collectively. I think this kind of lays out how The Used is going to be in the future and like, if this was a book this record would still be the first chapter. I guess what inspired us to kinda go outside ourselves is just being true to who we are. From the beginning we wanted to continuously push the borders for what we can expect to do and we want to try everything. Everyone's just into such different types of music and it feels very free to be able to write a song where you can pretty much do whatever you feel like.

RF.net: Okay, more specifically, what changes from the old albums to the new one do you yourself feel are the most characteristic, and were those influenced by anything in particular?
Bert: Yeah I think that this record is a little bit of.. Umm, I mean it was definitely the most fun we've had writing music and it's always a challenge to put yourself into a song the way that you can and the way you know you should. What's changed on this record is that we know a little bit more and we're just all that more different now and it's kind of a snapshot of what the band is now, just like in the past the albums were snapshots of who we were then. We continuously grow and change.

RF.net: To talk about something else, we've had a reporter present at your set at Give It A Name in London, and apart from that we've been doing some further research discovering that you've started not playing what many fans consider as the definite The Used song, namely "Maybe Memories", and there's a lot of people who'd like to know if this is a conscious choice and if you've stopped playing it for good?
Bert: No it's just like. We've played all those songs so many times, and right now it's just really exciting for us to have a new album and be able to play it. It's definitely not anything against any of the old fans and the true die hard Used-fans. We're definitely going to play "Maybe Memories" so many more times but, it's just exciting to play new stuff and be able to mix it up, and we are still playing "Box Full Of.." which is one of our favorite songs to play. It all depends on how we're feeling really. I doubt we'll play it tonight.

RF.net: In order to make you a part of the opinion polls we're subjecting bands to here at Rockfreaks.net, I have to ask you a couple of questions, and the first one is what the most encouraging and discouraging thing about being in a band today?
Bert: I think that the worst thing about being in a band is the constant change in your life, like you constantly come on tour, it has to become your home and you have to be comfortable. Then you go home and you just get comfortable there for a second and then you're right back out on the road again. It's hard for relationships with family and friends because they always know you're about to leave. On the positive side, everything else that has to do with being a band is awesome. We get to travel the world and play our songs that we love for the entire world and we get to hang out like a family on tour, like.. Our whole crew is just really tight and we're all really good friends.. Except for this guy *points at one of the guys in the room*.. We're not even friends with him.. Hahaha.. It's just a great time. We all seem to have a great time every time.

RF.net: Another thing we like to ask bands about is downloading of music, which is a huge topic for bands and labels alike, so what's your stance on the illegal downloading of music of the internet?
Guy sitting next to us in couch behind a laptop: I'm downloading music right now..

Bert: I love it. I mean the honest bigger picture for us is playing the songs live. We know we have a lot of fans out there and if people download my record and listen to it and love it then great. We make music for everyone and we're not necessarily making fuck loads of money from record sales, and labels are doing terrible and.. I think 500 people just got fired from my label back in the state and, at the end of the day.. It is what it is. The real reward is playing your stuff live and seeing people sing along.

RF.net: Okay, if you feel like it, how about telling us a crazy tour story from among what I'm sure must be many weird experiences.
Bert: It's hard to single something out. I think every day is a crazy tour story. We had a day off in uhmm.. We were just in England and Europe a little bit about a month ago, and we had a day off in Nottingham, England.. And I was walking around at noon and then there was this fellow about my age in a business suit, walking in the street. He was like "Yeah, wanna come into my pub?" and it turns out it's one of the oldest pubs in the whole world, it was from the late 1200's and there was like.. Caves down below it.. He knew the band but he wasn't a creepy fan, he said his girlfriend was a big fan but he was more of a passive fan, and we went back there later and I think we went down to these caves and it was just insane. Then later on I saw our new drummer Dan do a shot of liquid cocaine and we went dancing in this place next door.. Then when we got back to our rooms I went bouncing off his bed and fell on my face and I have a huge scar on my forehead from it.. And that's just one day and I could go on for hours like that.

RF.net: Here in Denmark there aren't really a lot of people who have heard of bands of your kind, and the show tonight is definitely a lot smaller than what you're usually playing in the states, so how do you feel about that?
Bert: I love it man, I love seeing all the different people and the way the place evolves and how the music is growing. We played here in Copenhagen one time two and a half years ago maybe, and it was just a really insane and really great show, and it would be cool to see how it's changed since then and how it might have grown a little. Especially when a lot of people aren't exposed to this kind of music it's nice to see you still have a lot of fans and that just feels awesome.

RF.net: The final question is from a fan, namely "Megan from California", and the question is if anyone in the band ever had food poisoning, and what did they eat?
Bert: I just recently had it right before we came out on this tour. It was I think in "Baja Cantina" in Marina Del Ray, and I ate some shredded beef taquitos, and got so sick the following day, puking and shitting all the time.. Fortunately it only lasted like 24 hours which was nice, but I'm sure everyone's had it, or maybe at least alcohol poisoning.

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