by Michael Andronico
Irvine, California’s Thrice have been an ever-evolving rock unit since their inception in 1999. Initially cutting their teeth on the punk-metal stylings of their early records, the quartet have since matured into a constantly growing experimental rock band. Sometimes serene and beautiful, other times discordant and explosive, Thrice have covered a broad spectrum of sound in their decade-plus career.
The band are currently on their farewell tour, giving fans a chance to experience that entire spectrum live for one of the last times. We spoke with drummer Riley Breckenridge (pictured far right) about their tour thus far, what it’s like to play songs over a decade old, and what life after Thrice has in store.
YRB: How’s tour going so far?
Riley: It’s been really good. Shows have been great. Crowds have been awesome. We’ve been having a good time. The bands we’re out with are not only good dudes, but just amazing, amazing live bands, so it’s been really fun.
YRB: What are some old songs that you guys are bringing out for this tour?
Riley: Phoenix Ignition from Identity Crisis, T&C from Identity Crisis, Kill Me Quickly from The Illusion of Safety. From the more recent records, we did an online poll to see what people wanted to hear, and it turned out the majority of the songs that people wanted are the songs we’ve been incorporating into the setlists for the last 7 or 8 years. There’s not too much obscure stuff, we kinda just decided to play what the fans wanted to hear.
YRB: How does it feel to play some of those old songs?
Riley: It’s weird (laughs). We’ve progressed a lot as musicians and as songwriters and to go back and play stuff that we wrote like 12 years ago, it’s weird. It’s like being a basketball player and someone goes “Okay, go play how you did when you were first learning basketball.” But we’ve been having fun with it and we know it’s songs that fans wanna hear. We’re enjoying playing them even though it’s weird going back in time and trying to play drums like someone who has only been playing drums for a few years (laughs).
YRB: Your new record Major/Minor has been out for over half a year now. How has the reception been?
Riley: Really good. We didn’t really know what to expect, not that we ever do, but I think the response has been really positive. And one of the things we focused on during the writing process was making sure that these songs are fun to play live, that there’s an energy there that makes them songs that we would feel comfortable playing night after night. I think they’re translating really well in a live setting. We’re definitely having a good time playing them. A lot of the stuff from the new record is my favorite stuff to play live, because it’s so dynamic. It’s energetic at times and restrained at others. I made sure the parts I wrote for this record were parts I’d enjoy playing live.
YRB: What are some of your favorite songs to play live, personally?
Riley: I’d say Yellow Belly, which is the first song off of Major/Minor. Words in the Water off of Major/Minor, Firebreather and the Messenger from the Fire EP of The Alchemy Index, because they’re really physical and I get to beat the hell out of my drums. And from the old stuff, even though we’ve played Deadbolt almost every show for the past 10 years in a row and kind of got sick of it… playing it on this tour after giving it a rest and seeing the crowd explode with energy is awesome.