Bert McCraken The Used Interview
In an era rife with downloads, fly by night one hit wonders and singles it's the passionate fans that truly appreciate the album in its purest form. There is something cathartic about putting on an album from start to finish and being at one with the artist. There's something innately satisfying about an album's running order. The way the songs fit together and it characterises our relationship with them.
In that spirit for the first time ever in Australia The Used will be performing their self-titled album 'The Used' in fill one night and then 'In Love And Death' in full the next night in every city the band play.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for fans of The Used to revel in a night of nostalgia and remind themselves exactly why they fell in love with these iconic albums in the first place.
There will be limited discounted tickets available for both nights and also a strictly limited amount of VIP options. Head to www.tickets.destroyalllines.com for more information.
Interview with Bert McCraken
Question: Where did the idea, to play shows featuring albums in their entirety, come from?
Bert McCraken: These records are monuments, not only in our lives but we hear so much feedback from hard-core, die-hard, dedicated The Used fans about how important these records are, to their lives. We've never been the type of band to discredit anything we've ever done and we missed our 10 year anniversary a couple of times; we think an 11 or 12 year anniversary is just as cool and special. This tour is for us, because we enjoy these records and we're very grateful to be where we are, in our career. It's for the new fans and the old fans – it's about capturing that moment where we were a little more free and childlike in our hearts with our enthusiasms.
Question: It's unique to play a show that way, yet strangely fulfilling as that's the way, we listened to the albums – the crowd will know what's next.
Bert McCraken: Right. And for us too, we feel like these records are more than a collection of songs, they really speak in their entirety and we really appreciate the records. For us, music has always been about records not just individual songs; it's the collective feeling as you get so many moments, from one record. The self-titled record, The Used, is really about the clash of belonging, fitting-in and falling down with the mistakes that we make and then getting back up; it's really about freedom.
Question: Has it been different playing songs from -The Used'? Do songs such as Poetic Tragedy and Greener With The Scenery usually feature in a live-show tracklist?
Bert McCraken: It has been; we've been doing these anniversary shows for the whole year now and we've had some practice so it doesn't feel quiet too strange after 120 times. Greener With The Scenery, Poetic Tragedy and the deeper tracks on The Used have been really so special, I could use so many cliché words, I wrote these records about things that were so personal and important to me. In a general way people will take, what they will, from the imagery but getting to relive these tracks made me realise how song meanings change, after years. I've understood that these songs are so much more important to me now than they were 15 years ago and the perspective I have on things. It's been a dream come true, I am humbled.
Question: For me, The Taste of Ink is an anthem, to this day; how does it feel to still be performing a song, like that, 14 years after its release?
Bert McCraken: It's an unbelievable, out-of-my-hands type of feeling and we understand the hard work that it's taken, to get to that point but these songs are bigger than the four of us, on stage and hearing everybody sing those words is a true testament to that. Music is such a powerful thing and it really defies and goes beyond individuality. We understand that these songs we created out of a collective consciousness of ideas – it's all the art, poems, books and songs that I ever listened to that influenced the way I create things. It's out of my hands, all the praise goes to all the great artists who have ever come before.
Question: How has The Used and especially you changed since the release of In Love And Death in 2004?
Bert McCraken: I'm a completely different person; I had a lot of different ideas – not to say my ideas of success have changed or my love for music has changed but there has been reason behind my perspective. I think that understanding the intricacies of systems of economies that are built on consumerism has put us in this deathly trap and we're all walking plagued victims of their systems – walking on programs with … that's such a tangent!
Ultimately I don't know if there is a true answer to the question.
Question: You're still selling-out shows, all over the world. Where do you see yourself and the band, in 5 years?
Bert McCraken: Inevitably celebrating 20 years, for us it's about the love of music and creating a snapshot in time and each record can encapsulate the people we are, in this moment of our short little precious lives. Anything else we get to add to the story, from here on out is icing (I hate icing (laughs) I'm more of a pie guy).
Question: Who still inspires you, musically, now?
Bert McCraken: So many people who did, back then such as John Lennon and David Bowie still and there are a lot of new artists who have come since then that have been a part of my life, along the way as well. It's strange because there is so much music in the world now that I feel like records are so quick; I really love the new Weezer record but I feel like I forgot about it so quickly because there is so much music, out there. I always go back to the old classics.
Interview by Brooke Hunter