Looks like life on the road has been taking its toll on Senses Fail, who will, nevertheless, be appearing on the Taste of Chaos Tour tonight at the CSU Convocation Center.
Credit: Seth Roy
Tonight, Cleveland State University’s Convocation Center will get a taste of chaos, as the so-called “winter version of the Warped Tour” stops by for the night.
Over the past month, I’ve had the chance to speak with Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, Buddy Nielsen of Senses Fail, Dan Arnold of A Static Lullaby and Jeph Howard of The Used, over the phone.
My Chemical Romance
My Chemical Romance, which gets its name from the Irvine Welsh novel, Three Tales of Chemical Romance, was in Cologne, Germany at the time of my interview, having just finished a quick European tour with Taking Back Sunday. The band was playing a few more shows overseas before coming back for the Taste of Chaos tour.
Singer Gerard Way described Taste of Chaos as being different from the typical tour.
“You have all your friends around you,” he said. “(There’s a) great sense of camaraderie.”
While looking forward to touring with each band on the tour, he was especially excited to be touring with Killswitch Engage, a band that MCR had never toured with before.
MCR’s popularity took off after the release of its second CD, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, and hit single “I’m Not Okay (I Promise).”
The album is a “broken story” that “started off with a plot,” but ended up being a lot more personal than originally intended. The album “plays like a soundtrack,” and the video for “I’m Not Okay” looks much like a “trailer for a movie that doesn’t exist.”
Movies and literature are common themes and inspiration for many bands on the tour, and in general, including Senses Fail.
Some of the band’s songs compare life to being a movie, and many of the songs are heavily influenced by literature. In fact, the band’s first full-length album, Let it Enfold You, is named after a poem by Charles Bukowski. Other influences include Joseph Campbell, Dao De Jing and Chuck Palahniuk.
“He’s (Palahniuk) the only contemporary person I really like,” vocalist Buddy Nielsen said.
Senses Fail’s album was released on Vagrant Records, the same label as Dashboard Confessional, Alkaline Trio and Saves the Day, but they were originally signed to major label Geffen.
“[Geffen] just wanted us to record radio songs,” Nielsen said. “We’re not gonna change our record and our band; we didn’t want to change ourselves.”
Vagrant was more receptive to the band’s needs, and distributed the record.
Nielsen said he was looking forward to the tour, and also cited Killswitch Engage as a personal fave on the tour.
“Killswitch is such a good fuckin’ band,” he said.
A Static Lullaby
One band that seems to be getting looked over is A Static Lullaby.
The band was formed in 2001 and actually played its first show just two weeks after being formed.
“Our bass player had an old band and was really good friends with Drive-Thru,” said Dan Arnold, the band’s guitar player. The show was a promotional show for bands on the Drive-Thru record label. “We had two songs, so we rushed to write [more].”
A Static Lullaby then signed with Ferret Records and released the hard-hitting …And Don’t Forget to Breathe in 2002.
“We wanted to be on an indie label to establish a fan base,” Arnold said. “Then move to a major.” They got their chance for the move when a scout from Columbia went to one of their shows.
“We were playing some shit-hole in Kansas City,” he said. “It was just an ‘on’ night.”
So the band signed to Columbia and recorded material for a new album, which will be released in early April. The band’s first single from the album, “Stand Up,” features a new, slightly poppier sound for the band.
When I talked to Arnold, the tour had been going strong for about two weeks.
“The tour’s been great and a lot of fun,” he said. “Every band is awesome.”
He added that he especially liked Underoath and Killswitch Engage, which seems to be a common theme for bands on the tour.
“Killswitch is amazing,” said Jeph Howard, bass player for The Used, who had a hand in choosing the bands on the tour. “My Chemical Romance is seriously our brothers.”
The Used tours constantly with many different bands, which puts a hamper on social life outside the band.
“We live in a bus,” he said. “You lose a lot of things; relationships are almost impossible.”
Having said that, Howard does have a girlfriend.
The amount of time that The Used is on tour makes them professionals of finding stuff to do in the bus. Howard likes to play games, watch movies or play bass while he’s on the tour bus.
“We have two buses,” he said. One bus is always pretty quiet, while the other one is always having a party. “There’s lots of drunk people.”
On the tour bus, the band likes to play Xbox. A couple times during the interview, Bert McCracken, lead singer for The Used, could be heard yelling at the game system. He was playing the newest Oddworld game.
Being on tour a lot also leads to some altercations and problems with the law.
“Bert got a ticket for speeding,” Howard said. “On waterskis.”
McCracken has also gotten in trouble for violating an ordinance against swearing during a show. He got the crowd to chant the f-word. On another escapade, the band was strip-searched on its way into Canada.
“It was a full-body search,” Howard said. “I really didn’t mind it.”
The Taste of Chaos tour brings it’s Killswitch-loving, mischief-making cast to CSU tonight; doors open at 5, and the first band, A Static Lullaby, goes on at 6.
Contact Pop Arts reporter Seth Roy at [email protected]