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Terrible Things - 07.12.10

Interviewed by: Adam Pfleider (07/12/10)
Fred Mascherino, Andy Jackson and Josh Eppard aren't entering their first rodeo with their new project Terrible Things. They've all had their hits and big band moments. This time around, it's just about the rock music and moving forward with their anticipated collaboration. Mascherino recently took some time to talk about how these three guys got together and a bit of the writing process and growth that went into the band's forthcoming debut.


What's kind of the quick rundown of how all you guys got together?

I was on tour acoustically with The Color Fred. I was going through Alabama and Andrew Jackson was at the show hanging out. He was into my guitar playing and some of my songs. He had mentioned that we should play together someday. Basically, I got home from tour and called him immediately. I surprised him. I sent a few new demos I had been working on for more of a "band" thing. He was really into it. Then we started working on the songs together. We tried out a few bass players and drummers. Then Josh Eppard - pretty much my favorite drummer of the last ten years - he was into doing it with us. Ever since the three of us got together, it's just kind of taken off from there.

So this is an idea that's been brewing for a while there? It's just come full circle now having a full band as opposed to The Color Fred?

I do somewhat miss the social aspect [of being in a band]. When you have more than one person working on songs, it can only make it better. I always, kind of, had Color Fred for years as a side project. I knew if I had an actual band, I would always want to do it as my thing, then my friends would just kind of tour with me. This is a whole different thing, where everyone has input.

There's kind of speculation around which of these Terrible Things songs were originally set to be Color Fred songs and which are for the project. Then there's also the story behind the record about the arson in your town. So what of all of this kind of bled through from The Color Fred and what was made after the project started rolling?

There's a song called "Terrible Things" that was used on The Color Fred acoustic EP. That song is on the record, but I changed most of the lyrics. I got with Andy and Josh and we started digging this acoustic version and started making it into this Foo Fighters rock song. When I did that, it was another case of how working with them makes it better. It was like, "Shoot, I can write better lyrics than this." That was one song. I had been playing "Revolution" on my acoustic tour, but I have always heard it as a big band song, not an acoustic song. I was just playing it because I liked it. Everything else, for the most part [Laughs] well, there's one other song. We rewrote a Breaking Pangaea song called "Lullabye." We added this chorus to it and changed up the end. Everything else is brand new. A few songs are Andy's that he wrote that we worked out together.

Just to be clear, is this whole record going to be a narrative to this idea of experiencing what happened in this town, or is it more of a general statement of having to go through something tragic like that?

It does get specific, but the fires play more of a role of being a backdrop on a story that gets fictional. I sort of looked into all the facets of I could of a town under siege. "This is Not a Revolution" is sort of about these people banning together against this thing that's happening. There was no revolution in my town. [Laughs] It was all sort of inspired by. There's another song called "Conspiracy Song." There were a lot of people that thought there were a conspiracy to these fires. There were almost fifty fires in a three month period. I had to touch on that. I don't know whether there was a conspiracy or not. A lot of it was based on this couple that was living in fear. There were a lot of emotions. I was angry about [what had happened] because my brother still lived there. I was sad because I love my town and I hate to see it going to ruin like it has been. Those were the sort of things that inspired all the songs. I tried to put in specific things. In the song "Up at Night," there's a line "I bet you can see our town in space at night." Not only because it was burning, but people were wondering what we should do. We were told to leave our lights on at night. We were like, "What's that going to do? That's not going to do anything." That was the best advice they could give these people at the time. I just pictured this town, with all the lights on and half of it burning. It gets into stuff like that which is abstract, but also able to relate to.

So there are just allusions through out and more of a dedication?

Yeah, exactly.

You guys went down to Birmingham to record. You said something in your press release about there being no distractions and that was the place to do it. What about Birmingham attracted you to get that setting?

We recorded in this area called Tarrant. It really reminded me of Coatesville in a way. Right near there, there were these furnaces. It was this steel town. A lot of those steel towns aren't being used anymore. The people who once payed for everything in the town have moved out. What's left is kind of a ghost town. There was nothing walkable from the studio except for a Taco Bell. I didn't know anyone there except for a couple of friends I didn't see very much. There wasn't this thing where my wife could drop by or my friends had something I needed to go to that weekend. I was in Birmingham, 18 hours from home, and this was all I had to do. Normally we would work seven days a week. There were many sleepless nights because we were trying to squeeze six months into four months, trying to get the best record we could.

Do you think being around that environment added to the mindset of the production and creative outcome of the album?


Absolutely. I saw a lot of the same things I would see if I were in Coatesville. Working with Jason Elgin had everything to do with this experience. I learned about him from Maylene and the Sons of the Disaster. I sort of got into some other things he produced after that - this record called Rantings of Eva, which is more like Jeff Buckley kind of stuff. I thought he was really good at getting live drums down. I think that's kind of rare these days. People just tend to do the drum replacing and the sampler. I didn't want that sound with Josh playing. It has to sound like Josh when the drums kick in. Jason is a Southern gentleman. There's a way about him that's old fashion. I'll come in there thinking I know something about Tom Petty, and he'll name seven songs I've never even heard. He's sort of brought in this whole other element of classic music and rock that I don't necessarily get exposed to in the scene we're all from.

Of all the projects that you've been a part of in the past, what are you taking that you've learned and moving forward with this project? Going into this one, how did you want to do things differently than past projects?

One of the main things is that I didn't want to rush anything, and I didn't want anyone to rush us. That's always a factor because people have their deadlines. I wanted to keep working on the music until it was great. It's hard, especially when you're on a label, there's people waiting to hear mixes. I think that was the biggest mistake with The Color Fred. I put it out right after leaving Taking Back Sunday. I kind of hadn't made sure everything was in line first. I had written all those songs pretty quickly and recorded them in a month. I don't think that's the way you make art. There were some good results, but I also think there were some that could have been better. Within the band, I learned a lot with sort of dealing with other people and their personalities. I sort of went out on my own, because I didn't want to deal with anyone else. I'm more open to doing that. I think I've grown up in that sense. I care more about what Josh and Andy think than I would have ten years ago. I really value their opinion. I look up to them. It makes my work so much better. I wouldn't have been able to do that ten years ago.

So you're saying ten years ago you were more selfish of a songwriter?


I think song writing is a separate world. Actually, I am selfish. Song writing is always that moment when you're sitting on the edge of your bed and lightning strikes, but you can put together a song with your band. You need that spark to happen either way. I feel like you can write all the parts you want, but our band isn't about a style or genre, it's about a song. For a song to connect to other people, you have to have a moment where magic happens. Sometimes it happens when I'm alone. Sometimes it happens when I'm there with Andy and Josh. What I was talking about was more about touring and me contributing to Andy's songs the best I could. Josh has a lot of great drum moments on the album. Those types of things I'm more open to.

You guys were all part of these bigger things in the past, but how important is it for you, and everyone in the band, that this is a separate projects?

To an extent, I don't think those fans will be let down. At the same time, in order to progress and continue to do this, we have to have something to say on our own. There's a song called "Conspiracy Song" that really gets us out of our comfort zone and sounds like something new. I'm really confident that when you hear this record, there's nobody out there doing what we're doing. That was something we really had to strive for and push ourselves to do.

Do you think you accomplished that?

Yes, I think all three of us will say this is the best thing we've ever been a part of. It's all about the record. It sounds great. All of us have five favorite songs on the record. Andy's songs are amazing. I think we really accomplished what we wanted to.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 14 of 14.
01:59 PM on 07/12/10
#2
Ryan Gardner
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Great interview. Super stoked for their record
02:02 PM on 07/12/10
#3
CoheedForever
The Afterman
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Cool!!
02:06 PM on 07/12/10
#4
hello299
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Can't wait for the album to drop. I have high expectations with two phenominal songwriters at the helm.
02:37 PM on 07/12/10
#5
raptorz44
One Who Gets Away/NJ Success Story
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As always, I'm super stoked for this record. Should be awesome
02:41 PM on 07/12/10
#6
nickstetina
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This album hasn't even come out yet, but I'm already looking forward to the next one, haha. I have a feeling the second record will sound more like "Terrible Things" rather than, "This is Fred's song. This is Andy's song", which I guess is kind of inevitable the first time around.
02:55 PM on 07/12/10
#7
Mattylikesfilms
If You Dig Up The Dead...
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This album hasn't even come out yet, but I'm already looking forward to the next one, haha. I have a feeling the second record will sound more like "Terrible Things" rather than, "This is Fred's song. This is Andy's song", which I guess is kind of inevitable the first time around.

Agreed.
03:15 PM on 07/12/10
#8
rockshowkimiko
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Check Out My Two Part Interview With Andy And Fred: Youtube.com/user/rockshowaddiction
04:05 PM on 07/12/10
#9
tristanmatthew
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I have a feeling I'm going to like the songs that Andy sings and not the one's that Fred sings. I mean he's a great songwriter but I just don't like his voice all that much.
07:15 PM on 07/12/10
hello299
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Just read this and Fred seems like a really casual, down to earth person.
09:43 PM on 07/12/10
Xe1881
You're All I Ever Dream About
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Can't wait to hear this record. Saw these guys twice on the recent Anberlin headliner, great stage presence.
10:00 PM on 07/12/10
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
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Just read this and Fred seems like a really casual, down to earth person.
nicest dude.
08:12 AM on 07/13/10
hello299
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Very refreshing to hear!

Also, I just wanted to say that I always enjoy reading your interviews because they always go in-depth with some thought provoking questions!
10:06 AM on 07/13/10
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
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Very refreshing to hear!

Also, I just wanted to say that I always enjoy reading your interviews because they always go in-depth with some thought provoking questions!
thanks! I honestly just have conversations with the people I interview. I usually only go in with ideas and not questions. I have a Curious George mentality.
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