Interview with The Used: Shy Away From The Sun

The UsedIn 2005, The Used headlined the first installment of the now-annual Taste Of Chaos Tour. Back then, My Chemical Romance were on the verge of exploding, and Underoath and Killswitch Engage had just released groundbreaking albums that put them in the hard rock spotlight, and the tour was a smashing success. Every year the tour grows and reaches more audiences, thanks to the eclectic lineup.

Fast-forward two years and Utah’s The Used are making their second appearance as headliners of this annual winter tour. This time, bands like 30 Seconds To Mars and Saosin are in tow, and that suits this foursome just fine. The Used will release Lies For The Liars, their third studio album through Warner Bros., this Spring, and one couldn’t think of a better way to reconnect with fans and let ’em know a new album is on the way than through a major tour. Lies For The Liars is a spastic, loud, emotionally taxing record that only The Used could make, and it retains all the key components that have made the band such a success since they burst onto the scene back in 2002.

I spoke to bassist Jeph Howard who was open and candid about Berth, the band’s live DVD/CD, lies, liars, the Japanese language, losing their drummer, their return to the Taste Of Chaos fold, and about enigmatic frontman Bert McCracken who, sadly, was unable to participate in this interview.

Why release Berth? Why now? To have something in stores to coincide with the tour?

Well, I’ll tell you first. If we released the live DVD after the CD, it wouldn’t make sense, because the footage is what went on from the end of the last record to the beginning of this record, so it would be awkward. The label wanted us to release it later, but we said, ‘Hell no! That’s stupid!’ We wanted to put things in order, so people don’t get confused, which I think is a great idea. It is better than our first DVD. This has a whole different feel. It’s funnier. It’s not serious, and it shows you our personalities.

What’s the most telling thing about this footage?

It’s us as who we are. That’s it. There’s nothing hidden and we don’t pretend. We make these DVDs because we want kids to know what we’re like in person. This is us. We do video stuff for YouTube, and we have our own channel. It’s funny, so check it out.

It’s as though every fan can get a look at you in another way, other than onstage!

Totally. It’s the whole other world. We like having a good time. Why can’t we have fun doing video stuff? I don’t care what people say.

So, when is new album coming out?

May 8. It is the most incredible record we’ve ever done.

Every band I have ever interviewed says that when they have a new album coming out! What makes you so different?

I mean that confidently, not cockily. The way the songs turned out, we are ecstatic. There is an EP that might come out later, since we wrote so many songs and recorded so many. We wanted to make sure we got the right songs. We were on a roll. We wrote a total of 50 songs, but not with words. You know if a song is going to be good with music, not the words. The other 19 songs we recorded were, like, awesome.

Well, if you have a surplus, it makes sense to put out an EP!

Why not, right? You know when you’re into a band, and you get all of their songs and you are so into the band, and then somehow, you find another song that you didn’t have! That’s the best feeling. We have eight songs that aren’t going on the record, and five of those are better than stuff on the record.

Can you reveal the logic behind keeping the better songs off the record?

It’s awesome that they didn’t make it and that’s what makes them cooler. These songs are that awesome that they didn’t make the record.

Gotcha! It’s reverse psychology!

Yeah, it’s a fun, fun thing to find. It is totally and 100 percent for the fans and that’s it.