Thursday talk prospect of new music, play career-spanning set—interview
With a longstanding legacy and a devoted fanbase, Thursday drummer Tucker Rule says the band are more inspired than ever.February 22, 2022
In their now 25-year career, Thursday have experienced their fair share of trials and tribulations. However, no matter the circumstances, the band have an uncanny ability to preserve and create raw and visceral art. With this current tour, in particular, their first major headline tour since the COVID-19 pandemic, the band faced two of their members coming down with the virus and frontman Geoff Rickly breaking his foot at the Arizona stop of the tour.
Nevertheless, the band didn’t let these incidents overshadow or halt the tour; instead, they used their resourcefulness and dedication to their fans as a driving force to bring a truly incredible experience to every person in attendance on this tour. Their set in Los Angeles was a special reminder of how much Thursday care about their fans, and you couldn’t help but think about just how much they have given of themselves over the last two decades-plus of being a band.
When the band took the stage, frontman Rickly rolled on to the stage, scooter in tow, and let the crowd know that nothing would stop them from putting on a special experience. From there, they launched into the first song of the set, “For The Workforce, Drowning.” Instantly, the crowd erupted into a full-blown mass of energy and raw excitement. Rickly and the crowd traded off each vocal line, and it was apparent that everyone in attendance was there to celebrate the legacy and impact of the band to the fullest extent.
The setlist comprised select songs from five of their six genre-defining records as well as a welcomed performance of “Jet Black New Year” from the fan-favorite EP Five Stories Falling. The band played their most notable and popular songs that every die-hard fan comes to expect but also threw in a series of deep cuts, including “Autumn Leaves Revisited” and “Running From The Rain,” both of which have been heavily requested by fans for several years.
Perhaps one of the most special moments from the night was their performance of “If It’s Here When We Get Back It’s Ours” by ’90s emo veterans Texas Is The Reason, which featured a mini-reunion of the band themselves with current touring guitarist Norman Brannon, who founded the influential group, onstage supplying his signature guitar riffs. Texas Is The Reason bassist Scott Winegard also made a special appearance for this date of the tour only. It’s worth noting that Thursday embarked on this tour without their original guitarist Tom Keeley and bassist Tim Payne, who were missed dearly. However, with Brannon filling in on guitar and Stu Richardson of No Devotion holding it down on the bass, the band were essentially a supergroup for this run. They sounded as tight as ever, with new energy and flair courtesy of the two’s distinct artistic abilities.
Thursday closed the set with a performance of their 2003 title track “War All The Time.” It was clear that no matter how deep into their career they are, there’s still so much life and timeless energy within their music and live performances. The prospect of new music and additional tours aren’t only welcome but necessary as there’s still so much history that has yet to be created with the band.
Thursday have described their band as an art collective composed of individuals and friends who come together to create music for their community. In many ways, that community is what makes their legacy so special in how much they support one another. We can only hope that Thursday will continue to create their important brand of art for years to come and remain inspirational to generations of artists, as their influence has never been more necessary than now.
Leading up to the band’s performance in Los Angeles, we caught up with drummer Tucker Rule on an off day in Arizona to discuss the dream tour lineup the band curated, the prospect of new music, their highly anticipated appearance at the much-talked-about When We Were Young Festival and so much more.
When the band announced this current tour with select support from Cursive, Appleseed Cast, Nate Bergman and Jeremy Enigk, you described it as your “dream lineup.” What was the process behind creating this tour package, and can you speak on the influence that these artists had on Thursday specifically?
First and foremost, we are fans of these artists, and we understand that in this climate, the mid- to post-COVID [era], in order to get people out of the house, you have to put together a good bill. We really want to give someone a full night. Cursive, first and foremost, we used to blast their records Domestica and The Ugly Organ like crazy. We have always loved that band, musically and as people. With Sunny Day Real Estate and Jeremy Enigk, that dude and his band are legendary and have influenced us and countless others in our genre and even outside of our own.
It’s the same with Appleseed Cast, and all of the people are rad. We’re in a pretty tight bubble, and if somebody gets sick, there is a possibility that the whole tour will get canceled, so you have to also enjoy the people you are out with. It’s important that the traveling circus is at least fun.
I love that. To be honest, while this tour has its nostalgic elements, this feels like a full-circle moment more than anything.
We first toured with Cursive 20 years ago and have never played shows with Sunny Day Real Estate or Jeremy Enigk, so we were like, “Let’s do this.” It is nostalgic, but you got to do what you like and give people what they want to see. Speaking for myself and the band, we want to play for people that want to be there. Jeremy played “How It Feels To Be Something On” [the title track from Sunny Day Real Estate’s 1998 release] on the piano one night, and I would say 99% of the tour was watching and crying. We’re all grown-ass human beings being moved to tears, and I can’t tell you the last time that’s happened to me.
Another full-circle moment is that Norman Brannon [guitarist of ’90s emo pioneers Texas Is The Reason] is playing secondary guitar on this run for the band.
He certainly is and stepped up. Our guitar player Tom Keeley has a family and two kids, so it’s tough for him to get away. Same with our bassist Tim Payne. Thursday went through a lot of ebbs and flows. We did really well in the early 2000s and then had to tour a bunch in the mid-2000s to keep it going, but we kind of shot ourselves, so we had to take some time off.
Now that we are back, people have limits on what they can and can’t do since we’re all in our 40s. We like to think of ourselves as a collective now. People that we were influenced by when we were young are now playing instruments on tage with us. It’s really cyclical, amazing and inspiring. You forget to be grateful that you get to play songs that people want to hear, and when you add playing songs with your heroes, it really brings it to a whole other level where you have to pinch yourself.
Obviously, Thursday have a massive discography to pull from. What went into creating the setlist for this tour?
There are a couple of songs that we literally never play. When we were younger, we had all of this angsty energy and never wanted to play the slow, ballad songs. One of those songs is called “Running From the Rain”, and it’s a midtempo ballad song that is fun to play, but not the most energetic, but we’re getting better at playing our own songs as we get older. There are songs we obviously have to play that are staples, but we also have to play the songs that our fill-in musicians Norm Brannon and Stu Richardson know.
Next year is going to be the 20-year anniversary of your 2003 record War All The Time. Are there any plans to celebrate this milestone?
We haven’t gotten to the nuts and bolts of what we are going to do, but I know we are going to do something. We always pride ourselves in trying to be creative.
You can now see Thursday’s influence across three-four generations of bands in this scene within the last 20 years or so. With that being said, what do you make of the scene today, and what is exciting about it now? Is there anything that needs to change?
I’m seeing a lot of cool bands. Turnstile, for instance, is doing that thing where the stage is everyone’s. I love to see people going apeshit, and all of us grew up in the hardcore scene where everyone was there for the experience, both band and crowd. What has to change? That’s a hard question, but I think people need to be kind. There’s so much division happening in the world right now that I hope people can put away some of that shit, see a show, enjoy it and have everybody sing together.
Thursday officially reunited in 2016 and have steadily played live ever since. In addition, you recently signed a record deal with Velocity Records. Can we expect new music in the near future?
There is no plan as of right now. We’re just enjoying getting back to it and showing people that you can tour safely, follow the rules and make shows happen. In those two years [off the road], we weren’t allowed to get into a room together, so a lot of this is playing catch up in a friendship that has spanned over 20 years. Anything is possible, and I do feel that we are more inspired than ever, but I think we’re pouring that into our live show. As for now, it’s all about bringing smiles and singing with one another.
Thursday were announced to be on the highly anticipated When We Were Young festival in the fall of 2022, which has experienced a massive response on the internet. Several of your counterparts from the classic early 2000s New Jersey scene are also on the lineup, from My Chemical Romance and Armor For Sleep to Senses Fail. What are you looking forward to with the festival?
Anytime you get something that breaks the internet, it’s pretty fun. Everybody is an armchair expert saying this is going to be Fyre Fest part two, but everyone [running the festival] is a fucking expert. Just show up, buy a ticket and have fun. Leave that shit up to the professionals. We’ve grown up with the My Chemical Romance guys forever, so we always look forward to hanging out with them. There are a lot of our peers on this show and a lot of people we owe a lot to as far as friendship and collaborative music stuff. Is it going to be a shit show? Yeah, of course, but all festivals are shit shows. [Laughs.]