Interview with Thursday: Bang The Alarm

ThursdayThursday are a car crash of feeling. Thursday are extremely melodic even if they are on hardcore imprint Victory Records. Thursday can be so aggressive that their five-man cacophony will rip your heart out. Thursday at times sound so frail that you would think singer Geoff Rickly is cast from porcelain. Thursday are a good band

These truths cannot be overstated for a band that—whether they know it or not—has discovered a way to squeeze the full range of life’s cries out of a hardcore sound without coming across anything less than powerfully.

Their follow-up to their 1998 debut Waiting runs by the name of Full Collapse, and it’s that and more. “A0001” launches with a spirit of powerful reprieve, while along the way “A Hole In The World” ties all of the record’s various instincts together.

From New Brunswick, the group, which also consists of Steve Pedulla (guitar), Tim Payne (bass), Tom Keeley (guitar) and Tucker Rule (drums), will be at Philadelphia’s The Killtime on June 4 for anyone in the mood for a worthy road trip.

Geoff and I recently spoke of goings-on and semi-apprehensions.

Think a term like ‘cathartic’ is too generic for Thursday?

Anybody can say what they want about us. If you really like us and you use that word, then that’s a really up way of describing us. The [music] that inspired me was very cathartic. Thursday is very much about release. It may be perfect.

Are you finding that since you really have evolved into your own sound, it’s hard to get love from any one scene?

It hasn’t been a huge problem. Our live show pretty much takes care of that. Every little thing that you hear on a record become s a really big nuisance. Not everyone is going to like you. We do the best that we can and stick to the things that we strongly believe in. Those actions speak for themselves.

What are some things that you really believe in?

One is that we really have been at odds kind of with; our label, Victory, wants to create an image for us, and we don’t want a part of that. We got into this issue with them where they wanted to have our pictures on all of the advance tour posters, and we didn’t agree with that.

They felt it would help us sell records. Give the kids someone to recognize and feel familiar with. If we don’t want to do something, we just don’t do it. Each and every person has their own degrees of integrity, and they should stand behind them.

For some bands that wouldn’t be a big deal. It made us feel like it was distracting people away from our songs.

It makes sense that they would want to sell records. You guys have given them a hell of a record to promote. That’s what they do.

Yeah, oh yeah. It’s something that is more our problem than theirs. They have been pretty good to us. They have brought a lot of bodies to us, and that is really appreciated.

In the back of my mind I really do sometimes wonder if it’s all worth it. There are a lot of trade-offs that you have to make if you want to do it this way. You have to stay on the road. You have to give up your life. You must play in strange situations.

I really respect Ian MacKaye (Fugazi) and everything that he’s done and established. There have been some shows that we have done where we didn’t have enough money left over to get us to the next gig, and we were stuck in a strange place.

There’s ways around it. I have a friend’s band whose name I won’t mention that will get to a city and play two shows. On one night they are themselves and the other night they play as a cover band somewhere else to make money. This way, they don’t have to compromise what their band is about.

I understand all of that. There is a huge difference between turning Thursday into Limp 182 for the sake of a dollar and using the promo tools that are at your disposal. Not to argue, but it seems to me that sometimes great bands such as yours live and ultimately die because they hang on to this theory of self-sufficiency that keeps them from changing the very system that they dislike so much.

That’s very valid and everything. You wonder about things. We are starting to make a little money here and there and slowly get out of this huge debt that we have created for ourselves. It is nice. I have to admit that.

Do you find yourself ever feeling like, ‘Okay, I’m in a certain type of band,so I have to suffer and go through all of these hardships to be legitimate’?

Wow, um, it’s more like all of the bands that I was into did things a certain way, and it would feel not right to go around that.

I’m not questioning your principles or the validity of them, but the fact is, Thursday are more than just another band in the scene. There are some special elements to you that really could capture a huge number of people. Your singing is as open and soulful as the ‘70s R&B guys.

Thank you, and I love a lot of that music. I really, really do. I know what you mean on all of the fronts. I can see how those things could happen, and I’m terrified by it in a way.

I can’t be surrounded by huge groups of people at one time. I just can’t. It’s a phobia that is very real and intense. Doing those big after show [meet and greets] would be really hard on me. I’m fine onstage, but all of the other interaction would be difficult.

It must mean a lot to you then if you still do it anyway.

Mmm, it does. More than I could ever say. I feel like I owe a debt to everyone whoever inspired me. Music has gotten me through everything. It has been such a big, big part of my life.

Let’s kill this on a lighter note. Do you have a funny tour story?

I have a lot of them. Okay, we had this tour not too long ago that was all booked by the same person. The first show as in, I think, St. Louis, and when we got there, it was a bunch of kids sitting around in a basement. The basement of a house. They were all well underage and one of their friends or somebody had gotten them a keg of beer.

It wouldn’t have been that bad, but when we got there, they were asking us, ‘Do you guys know any Dave Matthews songs?’

We were freaked out because this was not our crowd at all. By the end of the night, we ended up almost fighting with them. They were just offended by us when we ended up playing, which we almost didn’t do.

I would have if the cops had shown up. You know they would have blamed everything including the beer on you.

We only did it because we had a lot of friends drive for a couple of hours to see us. We were upset because since that one person did the whole tour, we were worried that the whole things was going to be like that.

Was it?

No. For once things went our way.