Thrice Gets in a Last Hurrah Before an Indefinite Hiatus
Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 18:05
It’s hard to believe the California rock band Thrice has been together for over 13 years. They’ve created eight albums and tirelessly toured the world together.
Singer and guitarist Dustin Kensrue released a statement in November, shortly after the release of Major/Minor, breaking the news that the band would be going on an indefinite hiatus. A family man with three children under the age of 5, Kensrue said he will be taking time off to focus on fatherhood.
The band’s Farewell For Now tour focuses on the fans, who picked the songs on the set lists. Drummer Riley Breckenridge was preparing for Thrice’s tour when College Times caught up with him to discuss the band’s decision to go on hiatus.
Did you like the finalized fan-picked set list?
It’s all right. [laughs] It’s kind of what I expected. I think there’s a little less obscure stuff. I felt like some people would be picking random songs from The Illusion of Safety (2002) or songs we barely ever played from The Artist in the Ambulance (2003), but it was pretty consistent, which is kind of encouraging. It means we’ve been doing a pretty decent job of keeping people happy over the years. There are some really old ones from Identity Crisis (2001). Listening back and playing along with those records now is a total disaster. We were all so horrible at our instruments and had no concept of tempo or feel or anything. To try and play those songs 13 years later is weird, but it’s fun. It almost feels like you’re in a cover band. Instead of looking at it like something that’s embarrassing that you did a decade plus ago, [we] just take some liberties with it and have fun with it.
So much of your career has been on the road. How has it altered your life?
Any of the sacrifices we’ve made to be in a band, one of which is touring a ton and being away a ton, you miss friends’ weddings and birthdays and anniversaries and all that stuff. That’s definitely rough, but having the opportunity to do something creative and being able to produce for yourself and your family by being creative is the most amazing thing in the world to me. It’s something I’ll forever be grateful for. It will be hard to let go of, but it’s what’s happening now so we’re dealing with it.
This is a farewell tour but Thrice isn’t breaking up, right?
Yeah, it’s not a break up. Dustin really needed to step away from being in a “full-time band” and it’s understandable. He’s got three kids and a lot of duties at home that he’s got to take care of. Back in the day we’d tour eight or nine months out of the year, and if we really wanted to do this full time and have it be a career and have it pay the bills that’s the kind of work we had to put in. I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask [guitarist] Teppei [Teranishi] or Dustin, both who have families and young children, to be away from home that much. It’s not like we’re Blink  and every band member can have their family bus and fly our families out all the time. It gets really difficult to be far away, so Dustin wanted to take a break. We’ll do stuff when we have time to and everyone’s schedules line up, I guess.
Why was it important to have a farewell tour?
I think just to say thank you to our fans. We kind of knew that things were winding down on the tour we did last fall with O’Brother and La Dispute. We kind of knew that a hiatus was on the horizon. I think to be out on that tour and know that these were some of the last shows we were going to play and not have our fans know that wouldn’t have been right. It’s like, ‘Hey, if you want to come see us and have fun and pay your respects and let us pay our respects to you and thank you for everything you’ve done for us over the years, this is your chance to do it.’ It’s not like we’re going to be back in four months or something on another tour. It’s giving fans a definite opportunity to come out to a show, have fun and reflect on however long they’ve been a fan of the band, whether it’s a decade or a year or whatever.
It sounds like you’ll be hyper-aware that this is the last time you’ll be touring together for a while.
Yeah, it’s going to be weird. I’m trying not to think about it … it’s gonna be really sad. I really love doing this and I’m disappointed it’s what’s happening but, like I said before, I’m fully respectful of the decision. I understand why the decision is being made. But, that said, we’ve put a lot of time and effort and sacrifice into making this work for 14 years almost. It’s hard to let something like that go. It’s like being in a long-term relationship and you say, “Well this isn’t working right now. We should take a break.” It’s kind of heartbreaking in a lot of ways. You can either look at it and be bummed about it or you can look at it as an opportunity to do new things. I’m excited about the future but admittedly kind of anxious about it and scared. I think that’s natural. I don’t know. I think it’s going to be weird playing shows in cities and seeing familiar faces and familiar places, like the venues and wondering, “Man, is this the last time I’m going to do this? Is this the last time I’m going to be in this city ever?” I can’t travel all the time and I love going from city to city, seeing all these places I’d never thought I’d see. I don’t know, but it’s got to be done.
Thrice w/Animals as Leaders, O’Brother, The Marquee Theatre, May 6, 6:30 p.m., $18