A conversation with Tucker Rule
Interview by Alexis Roberts
Major label refugees Thursday are back with a new album, Common Existence, that drummer Tucker Rule sees as a culmination of the band's decade-plus as a torch carrier for (depending on who you ask) emo/screamo and post-hardcore - beginning with their breakthrough album Full Collapse. With a healthy fanbase around the globe and a new label - longtime indie punk hub Epitaph - encouraging not just their music but their extracurricular political activity, Thursday very well may be in it for the long haul.
Thursday have bounced around on a few different labels. We know often times with musicians it’s hard to find a happy home that meets your needs as an artist and a person trying to make a living. What pushed the final decision for Epitaph?
We’ve always been a fan of Epitaph as a label and just also as how they have relationships with their artists. We didn’t want to be on a major label, we didn’t want to go through the headache of doing s ourselves. So Epitaph, since we’ve always been a fan of the label and the people who work at the label… well it just seemed like a no brainer.
It just seemed like a good fit?
Everybody we knew always said how easy it was to work with Epitaph. That was just what we needed right now. We were willing to do all of the work and we need a label that’s willing to do as much work as we are. They seemed to be the one that fit the bill.
So you must get a lot of freedom to do what you want to do with your music?
Yes, they were good about giving us input when we asked for it. It was basically free range to do what we want to do, and do what Thursday does as a band. So when it came time to show them the music, we were more than happy to hear what they thought of it.
When is Common Existence released?
February 17th. It’s our 4th full length.
You recently had a split EP come out as well back in November with a band called Envy correct?
Yeah. Envy is this crazy hardcore band from Japan. A bunch of us are fans of them and it just came about at the right time. We didn’t have a label at that time and we hooked up with our friend Jeremy, at Temporary Residence Records. We were able to come up with three songs to put on the EP and it just came out really well. It was great because it’s really cool to be able to do stuff with people who care. When we were on a major label we could only do things with certain people, you know? So we had that time where we could do pretty much whatever we want and we took advantage of it.
So you have Taste of Chaos coming up.. Have you been on TOC before? Or will this be your first time?
We’ve been on it before. A few years ago we were on it with Deftones and Thrice. We did the Canadian run of shows which was only like seven or eight shows. So we’re familiar with it, this is just our first time headlining it and doing the entire tour.
Do you prefer a tour like this that features a plethora of other bands or would you rather be on a tour with one or two other bands?
It depends really… We’re always happy to do tours like this. It’s a whole different animal to do a tour with only a few bands.
So do they hook you up with a sweet bus?
Yeah, we do the bus. There are just too many of us to fit into a van these days. I mean we’ve got six just in the band and a number of people in a crew that makes for a tight squeeze so it’s nice to have a bit more space. In the past four or five years we’ve done only maybe one or two van tours. It’s a blessing and a curse because we have to hire a driver… the whole thing is a process.
Is having your own space key to keeping tension low and people happy?
It’s also key for your health - not only mental but physical too. Getting a good night's sleep is really important when you’re on the road for an extended amount of time. Getting that full seven or eight hours is an absolute luxury.
What are you currently listening to?
To be honest with you, it’s Lil’ Wayne, Fat Joe, Coldplay and Coconut Records.
If every member of Thursday was locked in a room together what could you all agree on to listen to?
Any Hot Water Music. Any U2. Sigur Ros always works as some sort of ambient background sound… I can’t really think of anything else. Um, and Radiohead works for just about anyone, I think!
Are you looking forward to any specific venues or cities on this tour?
I always look forward to playing in LA because we usually have really great shows there. We love playing Chicago. Also, Austin is always a good time.
Any tour anxieties?
I always have anxiety about my hands getting ripped apart from playing drums. When you’re at home practicing it’s never the same intensity as when you’re playing shows every night so I have to build up calluses. I always end up tearing the skin off my hands, specifically on my pointer fingers.
Is everyone in Thursday still sort of located in New Jersey? Or have some members branched out and moved away?
Some of us have moved into Brooklyn, but most of us are still in Jersey. Tom, our guitar player, sort of floats around between Los Angeles and North Carolina and New Jersey.
Does that make it difficult when the time comes to practice or write? Is the writing done separately and then sort of pieced together, or is it more of as group effort?
With Thursday, we all kind of have to be in the same room at the same time. That’s just the way it works the best for us. A person can write a whole song and then play it for the band and as soon as the band plays it together it sounds different than the person who wrote it intended… for better or for worse. So it just seems to work out best when we are all in the same room working on the same idea. All of the cooks need to be in the kitchen! Sometimes it’s too many cooks in the kitchen but in the end it’s all the better.
Shall we just chalk it up to the more the merrier?
Haha, that’s right.
How do you feel like Common Existence is different than the other albums that Thursday has released?
I feel like this record is kind of like a compilation of the last ten years of our lives. It takes something from each record and just kind of expands upon it. Also we take it in a newer direction, in general. Also I feel like it’s just remembering where we came from and what we do best… while trying to make that better.
How does it make you guys feel to hear so many other bands trying to sort of mimic your sound? Is it flattering or… ?
At first when we were younger and bands were doing that we were like “Oh man! Come on!” But now I guess we find it pretty flattering. It’s going to be done for many years with bands to come... it’s a vicious cycle so we have to take it as flattery. It can be frustrating when you’re young and trying to accomplish this thing you don’t want people to do that but then you grow up a little and realize that it’s pretty much a compliment.
Of all of Thursday’s albums, what is your personal favorite? Or is that like asking you to try and choose a favorite child?
Well, I don’t know… The new one I think since it’s been such a long road and we worked so hard for it it’s definitely my favorite. But Full Collapse will always be very special to me because that was a more innocent time. Waiting and Full Collapse days we were practicing in my mother’s attic, and going to school and working… we went on our first tour. Nobody really had any expectations. There were no message boards and there was nobody loving our band or hating our band. It was just like “Hey everybody’s doing new music!” It was just such a different era. The Full Collapse and Waiting era was definitely my favorite though. It was because of the technology and the recording was a little bit of a DIY thing. It wasn’t such a business. It wasn’t like that back then when we started, which brings me back to that innocence. We were doing it just to do it.
Any last words of wisdom?
I guess my last words of wisdom would be… hmm… Put a jacket on when it’s cold! I don’t really have anything other than… thank you!