By Zachary Swickey
LOS ANGELES – After nearly 15 years together, California-based rockers Thrice said goodbye to their fans after a string of 8 sold-out California tour dates ending their much lengthier farewell tour. The group of friends can boast that they retained all original members throughout their career, and are only “breaking up” due to facts of life – like two members having homes full of children they have to leave on every tour.
Singer Dustin Kensrue has already mentioned that he will truly settle down and become the music director at church based out of Orange County. With the band saying goodbye, we wanted to chat with Thrice about what the future holds and how it feels to be closing such an important chapter in their history. MTV News sat down with drummer Riley Breckenridge on one of their final dates Saturday at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, where the group covered their vast catalog with a lengthy set list, which was created using fan’s votes on the band’s website, that left the mourning crowd wanting more.
I think one thing people are unsure about is whether this is a “break up” or indefinite hiatus? It’s being dubbed a “farewell tour,” but in recent interviews you seem optimistic that you’ll at the very least make more music and play a few shows again someday?
Riley: It’s hard to say for me because the decision is not mine. I understand the reasoning and I’m respectful of it, but I don’t know where we’re going to be at. I think we all definitely want to make music together again and play live again. I don’t know to what extent we would ever tour in the future, but you never know what’s going to happen. We might get offered some crazy gig someday. So it’s “farewell for now” and we’ll just see what happens. I sincerely hope to make music and tour with these guys again someday.
Do you personally plan on taking a break too from music? Or do you already have new projects lined up?
Riley: Ed [Breckenridge, Riley’s brother and bassist of Thrice] and I are going to work on some music together. It’s too early to tell what it’s going to end up being like, but we’re excited to get home and write and jam with each other and friends and just kind of see what happens from there. It’ll be easier now that we don’t feel like we’re cheating on Thrice or anything. I’m open to other opportunities. It’s weird after doing this for the last 14 years and always being whole-heartedly devoted to one thing, you never know what other opportunities are out there. So we’ll see what comes up.
Back in the day, it seemed based off interviews that you had slight disdain for your older material like The Illusion of Safety. Is that safe to say and if so, have any of those feelings changed?
Riley: It’s hard to look back on it because I feel like we’ve grown a lot as people and musicians. You look back on something that you made 10 years ago and you’re like, “Wow, man, I wish we had done this here or that there” or “Why did we put this crappy part in this otherwise good song?” So to go back and play it when you’re at the headspace you are now with 10 years of experience under your belt, it can be a little weird. I like the record and I’m aware of what it means to some people and I get that. I’m having fun playing three or four songs from that record on this tour.
“Hoods on Peregrine” stands out, to me, as the most amazing moment of you slaying the drums. What are some of your favorite Thrice tunes to play?
Riley: I like “The Earth Will Shake,” “Firebreather,” “The Messenger.” It’s usually heavier stuff. One of the big things that draws me to drums is the physical side of it. It’s a great way to get some frustration out. So anything that’s physically engaging and heavy I usually prefer playing over mellow stuff.
It’s exciting to hear that. Perhaps whatever new music you create will showcase that more?
Riley: Yeah yeah, totally.
Can we anticipate a future B-sides release someday? You seem to have plenty of them.
Riley: I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job – before any new record cycle ends – of getting everything we recorded in the studio out there.
So anything you’ve recorded is already available through EPs and such?
Riley: Yeah, there’s not like this secret cache of Thrice songs that no one has ever heard before. We have a ton of demos, but they’re never at a point that we’d feel comfortable sharing. Anything we’ve recorded legit in a studio, we’ve put out on something.
So with only three shows after this left, where is your headspace at right now?
Riley: It’s sad. I’ve tried not to think about that a lot on this tour, but it creeps in every once in a while. Like at the end of a show when we’re playing the last song, just thinking, “Is this the last time I’ll play this song in this city? Is this the last time I’ll see this face and that face in the crowd?” That’s heavy and I feel if I dwelled on it too much, it’d bum me out and affect how much fun I’ve been having on this tour. So, I’ve tried to push that aside and just enjoy everything to the fullest. And as we’ve gotten closer to home, the crowds have been bigger, more interactive, way louder. So much so that it’s overwhelming and hard to keep it together onstage sometimes. It’s made it so memorable and I’m going to just try to enjoy these shows the most I can. It’s weird though. Just have to stay positive.