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Interview with Geoff Rickly, singer of Thursday: September 17, 2009

24 September 2009

Cara Donaldson: Your fifth full-length album, Common Existence, came out earlier this year. Now, I own all your albums and you guys have consistently impressed me, but with Common Existence, this is the first time since “Jet Black New Year” that I listened to songs of yours and had my first reaction be wow, this is really dark. Is that just me? What were you going for with this album? I see a lot of finality, death imagery, despair in love.

Geoff Rickly: Yeah, I guess it is pretty dark, which is surprising because we thought A City by the Light Divided was kind of dark so we wanted to just bring lots of energy on this album I guess we made it an intense dark. We just wanted to have a few faster songs and I wanted to make sure it was something I could feel really passionate about. A lot of what we were thinking when writing the music came out in the lyrics. Each song had a theme; we wanted to tell a story with each song.

CD: It’s been a long time since your first album, Waiting. How has the band evolved and grown, either personally or musically?

GR: There have been marriages and kids and people have not liked each other and become friends again. It’s been like any group of friends would be after 12 years, except I think we’re closer than most groups of friends. And you can definitely see that relationship in the music. On City, I could say that you can hear a lonely, kind of sad thing that was going on between us, but now I think we have much more fun.

CD: You guys have had some major label drama in the past; all that mess with Victory to Island and now you’re on Epitaph. What effect has the business side of the industry had on you guys just simply making your music?

GR: We always really loved Epitaph. Island was really cordial and let us go and Epitaph was so cool and supportive about everything. It has been no mistake.

CD: You guys were kind of at the forefront of that explosion of bands and that emo-punk genre out of Jersey in the late 90s early 2000s. That was definitely a turning in popular music, but I don’t really see so much of that anymore. Why do you think that is? Is that era in time simply done, or do you think there will be a revival at some point?

GR: Oh, no. I don’t think they’ll be a revival. It just became such a commercialized thing, it really tarnished the whole genre image so badly. Maybe a couple bands will make it through, like us, hopefully, but I don’t think they’ll be a resurgence. Probably.

CD: You chose to kick off your new headlining tour in Philly tomorrow and we’re extremely flattered. Why us?

GR: We love Philly. I mean it’s the closest major city to where we’re from, New Brunswick, New Jersey, so it’s become a default hometown over the years.

CD: What’s your favorite thing about Philly? What must you do every time you’re here?

GR: Chinese food. There’s a whole bunch of vegetarian places that I love. I can’t remember the names of any, but I meet up with good friends who know where to take me so I don’t have to, haha.

CD: The last time you guys were in Philly you were on the Taste of Chaos tour. What can your fans who went to that show expect to see different at tomorrow’s show at the Church?

GR: It’s going to be a much better show. It just will. We hand picked every act on this tour and they’re awesome. Young Widows are awesome. The Fall of Troy are strange, sort of crazy. And it’s always a treat to play smaller places and get longer sets.

CD: What new songs from Common Existence do you think this live audience tomorrow will respond to the most?

GR: I know I have a favorite: Love has Led Us Astray. But I don’t know. I’m kind of excited. This is the first time we’ll be playing lots of them.

CD: I’m sure you know you guys have a huge following here in Philly and the majority of those fans have been with you since the beginning. That being said you know they’re going to want to hear the classics, maybe some stuff from Waiting, War All the Time, and definitely Full Collapse. Are you planning on giving the masses what they want?

GR: We’re going to do a little of both. Wel’l play songs that people love the most. I love playing old songs. We’ll play the song that will make people say, ‘Oh, I remember that,’ and then the new stuff that hopefully people will say, ‘Oh, that’s new, I like that.’

CD: Last week I was talking to Andrew from The Fall of Troy. He’s real excited to be on this tour and I’m really excited to see you all together. You mentioned them a little earlier, but what stood out about The Fall of Troy, Moving Mountains and Young Widows for you to bring them along as support?

GR: The Fall of Troy are really strange. They’re so cool and weird and they’re a three piece. I just could not believe that three dudes on stage could play what they were playing. They blew my mind. How [singer] Thomas [Erak] sings and how he writes songs is so crazy and weird; there’s nothing like that. They’re something that other people copy. They’re doing what they want to do. And Young Widows put out my favorite album of last year, Old Wounds. I love it. Moving Mountains is great. Their singing, and that violin—amazing.

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