Cathedral isn’t the only band calling it a day after the completion of this year’s Soundwave Festival. After a successful 15-year career, US post-hardcore/rockers Thursday are also playing their last ever shows on our shores. This will include two special headlining shows featuring them playing 2001’s Full Collapse in its entirety. Having already arrived in Sydney prior to the tour kicking off in order to visit family, vocalist Geoff Rickly spoke to Loud about the exact definition of their “indefinite hiatus”, career highlights, what fans can expect from their final performances and more.
Q: Although the band announced last year your intention to stop producing music together, the exact status of the band has still been a little up in the air. Can you clarify this at all?
A: Yeah, I think it’s pretty much the end. But you know, I guess the way the band feels about it is if for some reason our circumstances change some day, then hopefully we’d have a chance to at least play a show or something again.
Q: Now you’ve had a few months to digest it all, how are you feeling about that decision?
A: It’s bittersweet. I’m really proud of all the band has done, but it’s sad to not be spending all my time with my best friends anymore, for a living. That was kinda an amazing thing.
Q: Do you feel the decision was a long time coming?
A: Not really, no. It was more personal circumstances that happened with one of the members and we decided we didn’t want to go on without him.
Q: What have your live performances been like since you made the announcement?
A: The shows have been amazing actually. Like so much enthusiasm and it’s been really nice to see.
Q: Aside from playing Full Collapse in its entirety at the side shows, what can fans expect from Thursday at Soundwave?
A: Yeah, well, hopefully they’ll be some of the best shows we’ve ever played (laughs). I think there’s something about knowing that you’re at the end, to have it really kinda remind you how special and lucky you are to do what you do.
Q: You aren’t the only band calling it a day after Soundwave is finished actually – it’s also Cathedral’s last ever tour.
A: Really? We’ll have to start bonding with Cathedral then (laughs). I like them, but I would never pick us to be like best buds, you know? (laughs) Now I’m going to see them and make friends.
Q: Can Australian fans expect any rarities to be performed at these final shows?
A: As you said we’re doing Full Collapse from front to back, which is sort I guess our fan favourite record. On the Soundwave shows themselves, we won’t have that much time to do anything, but on the Sidewave shows we’ll try and make some time for some more rare tracks. We’re going to try to keep it to a lot of the songs that everybody wants to hear, since it’ll be their last chance. Songs like “Jet Black New Year” and “War All the Time” and stuff like that.
Q: How do you feel about Australia being the site of your swansong – is it the appropriate place for it?
A: Oh yeah, I think so. I mean, we’ve always had such an enthusiastic, loving response here. I’m glad it’s not like our last show is going to be in Paris or somewhere where they’re kind of like, “yeah, whatever” (laughs).
Q: (Laughs) What are your immediate plans once the Australian tour is completed?
A: Everybody’s working on different things. Some of the guys have bands, Tom (Keeley, guitars) and Steve (Pedulla, guitars/vocals) are both working on TV and movie stuff. I myself am doing a lot of writing for a few things, for a non-profit organisation and for a TV producer. So you know, just trying to stay busy with that stuff and I’m sure I’ll do some other music at some point.
Q: Do you see this as an opportunity to take a musical direction if you so desire?
A: Yeah, I definitely see that there’s an opportunity there to do that; I’m just not ready to take it yet. I want to take some time and really give myself a chance to kind of take a break musically after Thursday. ‘Cause 15 years of being committed to one project, it would be easy to start something right away that sounded exactly like it. Not as good obviously; I think we’ve spent all these years together because we worked really well together. I don’t want to do something that just like, not-as-good-Thursday or watered-down Thursday.
Q: What have been some of the main highlights of the band’s career?
A: Definitely the first time we came down here and played the Big Day Out and played some side shows, the Roundhouse for instance. Also playing the Philippines; we played a crazy show in the jungle for like 25,000 people (laughs), stuff like that. Touring with The Cure, also playing the Reading Festival, things like that.
Q: Are there any career goals you feel the band didn’t achieve?
A: Well, I didn’t have a lot that I hoped to achieve with the band in the first place, like we just wanted to play a few shows. So it’s all really been like a bonus. I guess looking back, yeah, it would have been fun to play stadiums or something, have a No.1 record or whatever. Things that like, people think that you’re in like an underground band that you think that stuff sucks. If that had ever happened to me I would have been super excited about it; it just never was a goal and it never did (happen). I’m sure if it had it would have really, really fun.
Q: You’ve seen a lot of trends come and go during that 15-year period as well. What do you think has been the main reason for your staying power?
A: Yeah, trying not to follow the trends too much I think was a real saving grace that we had as a band. Just being ourselves and in the beginning, never really being cool, you know what I mean? I think that really helps, because when you’re never hip, you can never really lose it. So it’s like instead, we’ve always been a sincere, honest band. That’s the thing; it’s never in style, but it’s never out of style either, it just is.
Q: What’s your perspective on the changes within the music industry during the past decade-and-a-half?
A: I think it used to be really hard to find out about new bands, you’d really have to go out looking for it and now it’s quite easy to find out about new bands. The only difference is when you find it you download it for free instead of paying for it. I guess if I had to sum up what the Internet did to the music industry, it’s that. It’s easy to find out about a band, but nobody really buys records anymore. I think that’s a good thing and a bad thing; more bands get exposure, fans are more likely to come to your shows, which really is amazing, getting people to come out to your show at all. So the Internet’s really helped with that. But you know, seeing the difference between in like 2001, selling half a million records and in 2010, playing about the same size clubs and selling 30,000 records, it’s quite a difference. It’s a mixed bag really; saying that it’s a great thing or a bad thing, either one of those is over-simplification, it doesn’t get across the whole story.
Q: Any famous last words?
A: Just thanks for all the years of support.
Thursday will be touring with Soundwave 2012 on the following dates-
25/2: Brisbane Showgrounds, Brisbane QLD (SOLD OUT)
26/2: Sydney Showground, Sydney NSW (SOLD OUT)
2/3: Melbourne Showground, Melbourne VIC (SOLD OUT)
3/3: Bonython Park, Adelaide SA
5/3: Claremont Showgrounds, Perth WA
You can also catch them with Saves the Day and Circasurvive on the following dates-
27/2: Metro Theatre, Sydney (Licensed All Ages)
29/2- Billboard, Melbourne (Over 18s only)