and explanations aside things get underway before Thursday draw their
UK tour ever closer to its finale. The band are currently on England's
south coast, in Portsmouth. "We're in a beach town at the moment,"
begins an excited sounding Rickly. "I've never been to one in the
UK before. We've had a little time to explore. We found an Indian place
that smells really good. We love the UK, September's London Garage show
was amazing. This tour the Astoria was probably our most enjoyable date,
we played really well and the crowd were great, it was a lot a fun."
latest album 'War All The Time' has a lot to live up against. Their
previous LP 'Full Collapse' was a much needed breath of fresh air to
the rock scene while 'War All The Time' is sitting pretty among any
number of similar albums marking the upsurge in melodic hardcore. However
things are still riding in Thursday's favour, the band has received
largely positive feedback for their latest LP. "So far it's been
unbelievable, especially in America. It's been received so well and
the press has been going crazy over there. I guess the press makes the
record in some ways," explains Rickly before continuing. "We
read a lot of the reviews. People who write the reviews have really
interesting opinions, I personally want to know about it, and what they
'Full Collapse' and 'War All The Time' Thursday upped and moved record
labels. The move from independent to major record label is a well-documented
one, all too often accompanied with horror stories of corporate control
and music little more than a commodity. Things have been very different
for Thursday however who's move to Island Records brought a new sense
of freedom to the band. "I don't think this is the rule; probably
the exception," suggests Rickly. "For us it's been very liberating.
We can do whatever we want now. On Victory we had a real hard time fighting
for everything we do because they saw us as their ticket to becoming
this huge label, I think they thought we were going to be their Offspring.
That's not what we wanted to do. Now we're on Island there's not the
pressure to do that."
Not even the pressure to produce for them?
"Only from ourselves; the pressure to one up our last record, do
something more intense. It wasn't, let's be more poppy. It was more,
let's do something closer to what we've always wanted to do all along."
And do you feel you've achieved that? What have you achieved on 'War
All The Time' you haven't in the past?
"I think this album has more hope that any of our other records,"
suggests Rickly. "It came through more. In the past I thought our
music was hopeful but could never pinpoint how or where. On this record
I think you can. I really think we were able to get a broader range
of emotions on this record." Amid so much change one constant was
producer Sal Villanueva. "Every record we've done we've worked
with Sal. We thought about other people but so many things were changing
we wanted to keep Sal producing," explains Rickly.
album title, 'War All The Time', is obviously open to a very immediate
interpretation, yet has different implications to Rickly.
"It's more of a personal title really," he explains. "A
lot of the record is about love, I don't think it's actually very political
in the traditional sense. I think it's more political in the way that
politics affects the person. In the way it actually translates to your
life and how it affects you on that level."
The first single released from it was 'Signals Over The Air', seemingly
one of the more obviously contenders for release. "There were a
few others I thought were going to be the first but the label was really
certain about that song," admits Rickly. "The way I feel is
that any song we have I love. We never write with the intention of songs
being singles, so whatever ends up being a single I'm never disappointed
by. It's very much more down the middle. 'Division St.' is much more
a rock song; it's got the catchy chorus and stuff like that. 'Signals
is a lot more atmospheric. It definitely has the big chorus but at the
same time it I still think it's really adventurous for us as a single
and a radio song."
among an album of hardcore guitars and screaming vocals one track noticeably
stands out. 'This song brought to you by a falling bomb' is a sombre
minimal piece, simply comprised of guitars and vocals.
"It was originally intended just to be an interlude with no singing,"
explains Rickly. "I just kept hearing things and I asked Andrew
(keyboards) if it was OK to try some singing over it. It turned out
really well. Being in the middle it gives you a breath almost."
The emotional content of Thursday's lyrics has been well documented,
Rickly is not alone as a frontman ready to bare his soul on record.
'War All The Time' is no exception. What to some would be emotions to
keep inside, Rickly releases through his lyrics, finding it natural
to express his experiences and memories in such a way.
"I don't really know what else to write. That's just the way that
I write," he admits. "I feel like everybody finds their own
voice for what they need to say. I guess I've found my voice in writing
about things that are very personal, I've never been one to talk about
things that I don't know or understand."
to many, Rickly's skills stray further than those expressed in Thursday.
In 2002 he produced My Chemical Romance's LP, 'I Brought You My Bullets,
You Bought Me Your Love'.
"I've know those kids for ages, before they were in a band,"
explains Rickly. "They played me 'Vampires Will Never Hurt You'
and I was so blown away I asked them if I could record a record for
them. When it comes to Thursday though I don't want to be involved in
producing. I'm already so involved with the band that it would just
be another thing. I wouldn't want to get lost and not have any perspective
on our music."
of the many precursors to the current hardcore scene, and inspiration
to Rickly is Jonah Matranga. A legend in his own right Matranga has
played an integral part in the bands New End Original, Oneline Drawing
and more importantly Far.
Far's albums now being re-released Rickly is just one individual to
be quoted in their accompanying press release.
"No way! Really?" exclaims Rickly, sounding genuinely shocked.
"What struck me about Far was how honest, intense and beautiful
their music was. I consider Far to be a band that were beautifully amazing
Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore is another, maybe not so obvious influence
on Thursday's vocalist.
"When I was about 14 I got 'Glue'" explains Rickly. "I
loved Glue so much. I've always respected Sonic Youth, the way they
have worked and done their band. They've always followed an artistic
vision. It's really interesting for me because they're a band that cut
their own path."
Another revealing aspect of Thursday's influences was seen on the B-side
to 'Signals Over The Air', a track called 'Ni Batteri' by Icelanders,
Sigur Ross, again not an immediately obvious influence.
"They're a huge influence on us as far as experimentation,"
explains Rickly. "To me it's fascinating because so much of what
people think they're feeling in Thursday is about the lyrics. To me
it's not all the lyrics, there's the beauty of music and Sigur Ross
are an example of that. I have no idea what they're saying but I still
connect to the base emotion of it."
embarking on a musical career with Thursday Rickly was training to be
an English teacher in America, something he believes isn't as far from
singing in a hardcore band as you'd imagine. "I always had this
feeling about teaching. It was a pivotal thing in my life that helped
me out a lot and the same thing with music. It was a time in my life
when I needed something there. Both are things I feel you can devote
yourself to, rather than just be a job."
time pressing on and a gig on the coast looming for Rickly, he begins
talking about some of the music that gets him through Thursday's gruelling
tour schedule. Some familiar names begin cropping up including Godspeed
You! Black Emperor! and Mogwai, Majority Rule and past touring partners
Cursive. However there's just time to question him over comments he
made at the band's gig at the London Garage in September last year.
Before the finale of 'Autobiography Of A Nation' Rickly spoke out to
the crowd telling them: "Make sure you believe in what you fight
for, or you may end up killing people for no reason." Thursday
have never been a band with an obvious political stance showing through
their lyrics. However at a time when being British or North American
is met with a degree of criticism from the rest of the world it's crucial
to hear people speaking out against the actions the two governments
sanctioned. It's unsurprising to learn Rickly's words were aimed at
the political situation surrounding the invasion of Iraq.
"For me it was about not believing in a lot of things that our
government is doing," he explains. "I never believed that
Bush was telling the truth about the weapons inspections. In America
people are starting to believe what Bush is staying just because he's
the president and if anyone questions him they say you're a traitor.
To me it's just like people are going along with it too easily. You
can't just go with what's popular. I don't think most people in America
even understand what's going on, they think somehow Iraq is related
to September 11, there's so much misinformation. Bush is definitely
a puppet and doesn't know what he's doing but there are enough people
around him who could stop him and Blair is one of them but on the American
side, we haven't got many."
Politics aside, the foreseeable future is a busy one for Thursday. The
success of 'War All The Time' is a lot to take in, taking the band to
every corner of the world, to countries they have never been. There's
even talk of the band returning to the UK in 2004. "We're going
out to Japan and Australia, then hopefully back to the UK," reveals
Rickly. "This will be our first time to the Far East, it will be
really interesting to see. We don't want to assume that people will
go crazy for us."
With Thursday in such demand from press all over the world a rapturous
welcome is an almost certainty wherever they travel, with little signs
of this slowing down. Thursday's current album, 'War All The Time' is
out now on Island Records.
Visit www.thursday.net for more info.