The Orem Utah four-piece The Used were back in Montreal last Friday for the second time in the last couple of months. The band played at Uniprix Stadium in front of more than 4000 fans. They are currently on a two week Canadian tour, after which they will be embarking on the international Taste Of Chaos tour which hits Australia, Japan, Europe and the U.K. later this fall. I spoke with the band’s guitarist Quinn Allman right after their sound check.
The Concordian: The Used has taken part in a lot of festivals recently. You’ve been part of the Taste Of Chaos, the Vans Warped Tour and so on. What is it about festivals that you guys like?
Allman: It’s a cheap ticket price and kids get to see a showcase of bands. The venues that we are playing as well are awesome, to be able to showcase these bands at that level and that it works. You get a low ticket price so you can get a lot of kids in there. It’s great exposure for all the bands.
The Concordian: You have a fan club called the Used Nation which allows your fans to come and meet you before the show in every city. How important is it for The Used to remain approachable to your fans and to take time to meet them?
Allman: It’s pretty important. I definitely know what it’s like to be a fan and just have this connection to the music and the people making it in such a unique way. I know what that’s like and all I can say is thank you for all the support that we get. There are so many bands and musicians, we are just lucky to be there, but we make it happen.
The Concordian: Your sophomore album, In Love & Death, came out back in 2004, so it’s been a little while now. Why do you think you’ve avoided the sophomore jinx?
Allman: Because it was a little more accessible, it connected not just with the people who knew our band but also with the people who sort of knew our band. It has some softer and more melodic parts than the first one does. The production on it is close to the same but it’s cleaner and bigger. It’s just another step.
The Concordian: Has the band starting working on new material yet?
Allman: Yah, we always have ideas going. As far as songs go, once we get in the studio, all four of us, it just becomes a blend of what it is. We are planning on going into the studio in January, right after the holidays.
The Concordian: I read in your biography that at the beginning, when the band first started off, you guys were rebelling against where you were from as well as certain people or just things in every day life. Do you feel that you still have to do that now, or have you passed that stage?
Allman: Yah, I do. Not rebel, I can’t really call it that, because it’s not what it feels like to me. But I identify with that because I feel that everything I want to do I want to be original, I want to leave my mark. With the opportunity that I have, I want to do it uniquely and that’s rebelling from being anything like anybody else. It’s a tough game, but music is something where if you are not creative, it’s not what you should be doing. With any artform you should be getting creative no matter what. It just depends on your intention of doing it. I’ll always want to rebel and do my own thing.
The Concordian: How have you guys changed as individuals and musicians since your past record? How has The Used changed?
Allman: Pretty much, we’re all stoked. We are pretty happy about it. When it first happens, all of a sudden you don’t really have to work, you’re doing what you love to do so it doesn’t feel like work no matter what you are doing or where you are going. It’s awesome but it’s kind of like a dose of apathy as well. We are just still the same but we’ve all grown around each other. None of us departed and we are all still really close friends. As far as it goes, Brandon doesn’t smoke or drink, so he doesn’t really hang out when we party, but that’s cool.
The Concordian: I assume respect must be important in the band?
The Concordian: The Used always has interesting artwork, both in the album booklet and on your website Your videos are also always very nice visually. How important is that visual aspect? What kind of experience do you want to give your fans?
Allman: Yah, I definitely think it’s an important aspect. Our lights and our show, our artwork. Alex Pardee did the artwork, he’s got a website called eyesuckink.com. He’s just an artist that we found on the internet, his stuff is just amazing. I think it ties into our music. It’s because of all the texturing, it’s rough and has an edge to it It’s really gross but then the colors that are there are very beautiful. He seems to have a really disgusting way of showing how beautiful something is. That’s in a way what it feels like when we are writing music, it has a dark sound and it kind of is what we feel. From what we’ve been through.
The Concordian: Would you like to work with Alex again in the future?
Allman: Always! I think we’re going to go with him, take his direction. He’s a great artist.
The Concordian: There are so many bands out there right now, do you think the music scene is at a good place right now? For bands and fans?
Allman: It’s alright. Kids don’t know who the Beatles are, Led Zepplin or The Police are. They don’t understand this is what we stole, this is what everyone is stealing from and it’s the truth, all trying to move it forward. There are– a lot of good artists now, don’t get me wrong. There’s some amazing stuff that has never been done before, which is awesome. But I don’t think that a lot of bands that deserve exposure, get exposure and it’s just sad. Hopefully with internet and downloads it’s going to bring that down to where anyone can be famous, which I think is great because it’s just about talent.
The Concordian: A lot of bands won’t have the chance to stay in the music industry for a long time and obtain longevity, they’ll just have a couple of hits and then fade away. Is that one of your goals in The Used, to obtain longevity?
Allman: Absolutely. I don’t know what lasting quality a lot of people find in our music but we are playing to such a great crowd. Those people are with us all over the world. It’s definitely a question we ask ourselves; could this last? Could we keep this going? I’m pretty sure that we’ve got a really good chance. I think it’s healthy to just make music, bottom line. Whether we do or not, something will evolve from The Used no matter what and will always have remnants of what this is. Even The Used is going to change and it’s going to be different, so that’s exciting.