By DENIELLE LEONG
WHILE the life of a jet-setting rock star might sound glamorous, the members of The Used have been very careful to not allow thefame and fortune get to their heads. Instead, the American rockers are more than happy to give back.
“We’re really just some down-to-earth losers who love rock and roll,” said drummer Dan Whitesides during an interview in Kuala Lumpur.
Whitesides was in Malaysia with lead vocalist Bert McCracken, bassist Jeph Howard and guitarist Quinn Allman as part of the band’s world tour to promote their latest album, Vulnerable.
“The tour is all about real reality, and not what you usually see on TV. We’re a truthful band and our fans know that they can expect an honest show from us,” said Whitesides.
The band, founded in 2001, headlined the 2013 Take Action Tour, an annual concert series aimed at raising funds for non-profit organisations helping teenagers, particularly with issues like depression and suicide. Acts like Paramore, Gym Class Heroes and Avenged Sevenfold have all been part of the tour in past years.
For this year, the tour managed to raise around $100,000 (RM310,000) for the It Gets Better project, which was founded in 2010 to help struggling LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) teenagers. The suicide rate resulting from bullying among LGBT teens had been growing, and The Used was glad to have been able to help raise awareness about it.
“We had a great time on the Take Action Tour because it was such an amazing cause. I feel that the LGBT-sphere does not get fair treatment. It’s a big issue and I believe our fans could relate (with their struggles),” said Allman.
Besides It Gets Better, The Used is hoping to help out with other causes. Their record label, Hopeless Records, also one of the organisers of the Take Action Tour, is affiliated with an extensive list of non-profit organisations.
“We would love to give our support to as many campaigns as possible. If it’s a good cause, then we’re definitely on board,” Whitesides added.
For Allman, he is eager to help raise awareness about epidermolysis bullosa, a skin disease that has affected a friend. “It’s just something close to my heart and I want more people to learn about it.”
The band is also hoping to make a difference through their music now, with Vulnerable, their fifthstudio album, taking on a slightly different tone.
“Vulnerable has more positive songs than our previous records. Bert is truly a changed man and he writes differently now,” said Whitesides. McCracken has experienced deep personal tragedy in the past, when an ex-girlfriend, pregnant at the time with his child, died of a drug overdose.
That tragedy has no doubt influenced the band’s current interest in helping struggling teens, and that positive energy was definitely felt during their show at KL Live.
The band performed hits like Pretty Handsome Awkward, The Bird And The Worm, Buried Myself Alive and A Box Full Of Sharp Objects.
It was a rocking night of music, with local bands Oh Chentaku, Caravel, Busco and Scarlet Heroes also performing.