The Used’s Bert McCraken On Painkillers, BBQ, Record Labels And ‘Vulnerable,’ Stream Full Album, Headlining Tour Dates
There’s often a singular force behind every musical genre. The Used is just such force.
[pullquote quote="For us, we're just fans of music first. It's what we do and we would do it for free." credit="Bert McCraken"]Although The Used has always considered itself a straight-forward rock band, their style is often anything but typical.
Bert McCraken’s younger brother had just returned from his Mormon mission in Peru. Bert was touring him around Las Vegas when he pulled the car over to talk about the band’s latest release.
Vulnerable, the band’s fifth and latest full-length endeavor, hits stores today.
“This record is for all those people who weren’t the coolest people around. We never were. This record’s for kids like us, who just love music, because it saves their lives every day,” McCracken says. “At the end of the day, I’m the only one who has to live and die with myself. I want to make it a good one for me. I only have one life to live.”
Describe the fan response on the new album.
“The response has been great. I think that people really like the sound. It’s still sounds like The Used, for sure, but sounds a little bit modern. People seem stoked. It’s going over really well live. Can’t wait. It’s been a long time coming (referring to the album’s release).”
We hear from bands just released from major label contracts that it’s like a weight lifted from their shoulders. True, or just something you say when you’re back to being independent?
“It’s completely legit. Initially, the label will promise you this and that. They told us we’ll have 100% creative control with our records and our videos which is a complete lie. Especially nowadays, major labels are completely failing and they just need to grab onto something that’s top 40. They’ll be like “Why don’t you do a collaboration with Deadmau5! (he laughs)”
“For us, we’re just fans of music first. So, we want to keep doing it cause it’s our livelihood. It’s what we do and we would do it for free. And the fact that we’re not going to put on a costume… Just the fact that we’re not going to play their game is very discouraging for them. In the end, it kinda forces them to get some angst going and they stop working your record. Our last record that came out was leaked a few months early and just the fact that it was leaked.. they got numerous emails saying ‘don’t work this record any more. It’s leaked.’ It’s pretty brutal. So, feeling free is an understatement.”
Perfection or imperfection during live shows. What’s your preference?
[pullquote quote="Rock and roll is imperfection. It always has been. That's kinda what makes it special."]“Some of my favorite rock shows of all time have been where the signer can just barely even speak–let alone sing… It’s kinda more up to the crowd. Just feeling that vibe. Rock and roll is imperfection. It always has been. That’s kinda what makes it special.”
Thoughts on returning to the Vans Warped Tour.
“It’s a family vibe. Everyone gets along out there no matter what kind of genre. For us, it’s been ten years since the first time we did Warped Tour and the bands the Kevin Lyman brought out this time are all really important to the scene that we came up with. In 2000, 2001, it was kind of a mishmash of scene. And then the scene was kinda defined by this screaming emotional screamo… a lot of the bands [this year] are a throwback to that period of time that are playing the Warped Tour this year–which for us is really exciting.”
“I think it’s just a good opportunity to play to a young crowd. It’s good to play for a crowd that maybe knows who A Day To Remember is, but they don’t know who The Used is.”
“The shows are only a half hour so you can just get up and play devastating heavy songs, just kill it and be done with it for the day.”
You’ve been known to through down some mad culinary skills.
“I’m a bit of a gourmet chef. A lot of people don’t know that about me. I’m gonna be doin’ a little bit of cooking. My cuisine is a little bit of tapas for the Warped Tour. Maybe some Mediterranean and Spanish dishes… bacon wrapped shrimp and dates and we’ll get it going. If you can get back stage, come find us. I’ll be throwing down.”
What does the album title Vulnerable mean to you?
[pullquote quote="We really believe that vulnerability is powerful, positive thing that can affect the world in a great way. "]“We played the Musink Festival. I completely fell off the stage. I broke my elbow, broke my hand and was down for the count for like four months. I had two surgeries and got severely into eating 20-40 pain killers a day. Four months later I weighed like thirty pounds more than I should and took a look in the mirror one day was like, this is not me. I felt like a huge waste of space… a piece of sh*t. I think that was the moment that… that creative fire was lit under my ass. I got into the studio and did twelve songs in twelve days… Lost all my pain-killer weight.”
“I think that people take the word vulnerable in a negative way almost all the time. We really believe that vulnerability is powerful, positive thing that can affect the world in a great way. I think the only way to do anything powerful and positive with your life is to live your life with an open heart and for us that’s all that vulnerable means… The only way we can ever fall in love or dare to dream is to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.”
Upcoming In Store Appearances
3/26/12 – Claremont, CA Rhino Records Signing
3/28/12 – San Diego, CA Best Buy Signing
3/30/12 – Las Vegas, NV Zia Record Exchange Signing
4/1/12 – Salt Lake City, UT f.y.e #1970 Signing
4/3/12 – West Babylon, NY Looney Tunes Signing + Acoustic Performance
4/4/12 – Ford, NJ Vintage Vinyl Signing + Acoustic Performance
4/5/12 – Philadelphia, PA f.y.e. Broad St Signing + Acoustic Performance
4/7/12 – Berkley, MI f.y.e. Detroit Suburbs Signing + Acoustic Performance
Vans Warped Tour Dates
Jun 16 Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 17 Denver, CO
Jun 20 Las Vegas, NV
Jun 21 Irvine, CA
Jun 22 Pomona, CA
Jun 23 San Francisco, CA
Jun 24 Ventura, CA
Jun 27 Chula Vista, CA
Jun 28 Scottsdale, AZ
Jun 29 Las Cruces, NM
Jun 30 San Antonio, TX
Jul 01 Houston, TX
Jul 03 Dallas, TX
Jul 05 Maryland Heights, MO
Jul 06 Auburn Hills, MI
Jul 07 Tinley Park, IL
Jul 08 Shakopee, MN
Jul 09 Bonner Springs, KS
Jul 10 Noblesville, IN
Jul 11 Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Jul 12 Burgettstown, PA
Jul 13 Holmdel, NJ
Jul 14 Montreal, QC CA
Jul 15 Toronto, ON CA
The Used Headlining Tour Dates
5/12/12 – Buffalo, NY Town Hall
5/13/12 – Albany, NY Northern Lights
5/15/12 – Philadelphia, PA TLA
5/16/12 – Huntington, NY Paramount
5/18/12 – Providence, RI Lupo’s
5/19/12 – Boston, MA House of Blues
5/21/12 – New York City Irving Plaza
5/22/12 – Allentown, PA Crocodile Rock
5/23/12 – Charlotte, NC Fillmore
5/30/12 – Silver Spring, MD Fillmore
5/31/12 – Cincinnati, OH Bogart’s
6/1/12 – Milwaukee, WI The Rave
6/3/12 – Winnipeg Garrick
6/5/12 – Edmonton Starlite
6/6/12 – Calgary Macewan Ballroom
6/9/12 – Vancouver Vogue
6/10/12 – Seattle, WA Showbox at the Market
6/11/12 – Portland, OR Roseland Theatre
Buy Vulnerable at TheUsed.net.