Monday May 13, 2013
American rock band The Used to perform in KL on May 19
By Eddino Abdul Hadi
Breaking an arm performing is no biggie for The Used frontman Bert McCracken, who promises they will go all out live.
It would take something more than a broken arm to stop singer Bert McCracken from rocking on.
Two years ago, the 31-year-old frontman of American post-hardcore giants The Used broke his arm and was out of action for months after he fell off the stage at a gig in California.
Laughing, he says the accident has not made him more careful and less aggressive with his stage antics.
“It’s the opposite. I am now even crazier,” he says in a telephone interview from his home in Los Angeles. “I know that I only have so many years of rock left in me so I might as well give it my all while I have the chance.”
Fans of the 12-year-old quartet will be able to see the man make good on his word when they play KL Live in Kuala Lumpur on May 19.
While their contemporaries from the emo-rock boom of the early to mid-2000s have either faded into obscurity or, in the case of My Chemical Romance, split up, The Used are still going strong with tours and releases.
In January, the band – which also comprise guitarist Quinn Allman, bassist Jeph Howard and drummer Dan Whitesides – re-issued a double CD version of their fifth album, Vulnerable, originally released last year.
McCracken also tells us that the band are currently spending time in the studio for an upcoming EP to be released in the summer, and plan to release a full-length album early next year.
They have staying power because they are “friends first” and “always focus on the music”.
“It’s never been a popularity contest to be famous or have our pictures on the front of magazines. We were never in this to be rich, it’s not about money, so I think all the priorities, ethics or morals are in place, if you will. And we just love making music,” he says.
While they are not billionaire rock stars who fly around the world in their own jet, their albums have enjoyed solid sales. All of their full-length releases, save for their 2002 self-titled debut, have hit the Top 10 of the American Billboard charts and have sold over three million worldwide in all.
In fact, they bristle at the mention of them being rock stars. In their latest music video for the song Hands & Faces from Vulnerable, McCracken is dressed in tights, a cape and goggles – a get-up he says was designed to mock “rock stars”.
“It’s kind of an artistic blow at rock stars in general. There are these rock stars nowadays who think that they are heroes and that’s what makes rock stars not cool anymore.
“I mean for the band, we’ve never tried to be cooler than anyone. We’re not part of anyone’s cool group, we don’t wear cool clothes, we are not popular kids,” says the singer, who married in 2008.
Their aversion to a lavish rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle is probably due to their background. Originally hailing from Utah, McCracken and his bandmates experienced poverty, homelessness and bouts of substance abuse before they secured a recording deal and slowly built their name through relentless touring across the United States.
So now, rather than put themselves up on a pedestal, they are more interested in engaging their fans and encouraging them to be active in social issues. “We rather be friends than have the fans worship us,” he quips.
At their upcoming gig, though, the only message they will be preaching will be for fans to have fun. When the music starts, it is truly show time.
McCracken says that watching the band live is like “an escape”.
“When you come to a Used show, you can forget about the problems in your life. We are going to play a lot of new songs, old favourite songs and at the same time, we like to have the most fun that we possibly can, with the most energy and keep everything real.” – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network
The Used plays KL Live, Jalan Sultan Ismail in Kuala Lumpur on May 19. Tickets are available at Rock Corner or Dolls Store outlets.