Geoff Rickly expects “worst stupidity” before post-pandemic enlightenment
Last week, Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly announced the band's plan to aid in the coronavirus pandemic. The band are repurposing unsold tour shirts into masks to combat COVID-19. Working with NJ Maskmakers and FaceMaskWarriors, the band hope to quickly get masks to frontline workers.
The band will also be creating special Thursday dove-branded masks via their merch store. Proceeds from these items will go back into the creation of more masks to be donated to hospitals in New York and New Jersey. Thursday are also creating some limited-edition “isolation items” (jigsaw puzzles, playing cards, etc.) that will be made to order via pre-sales on their webstore.
Geoff Rickly is one of the finest post-hardcore empaths out there. He's always concerned with paying it forward to both fans and colleagues. Rickly spoke with Altpress discussing the mask-making effort on both economic and philosophical sides. Like most of us, he's been thinking about a post-pandemic world, and what needs to happen.
How are you functioning in this interesting time in history?
GEOFF RICKLY: I’ve been trying to keep a routine. Even if it’s a new routine, [it’s] essential. I’ve been finding that having structure to the time is really important. And I think that getting sober a couple of years ago and finding the only way through the time of having to go through the withdrawal and building a new life was that I couldn’t let there be long patches of time with nothing going on.
Gotta stay busy, gotta have a schedule. “This part of the day is for walking. Now this part of the day is for working out. Later, this part of the day is for writing. Then, I better play guitar.”
The stasis would flip your switch.
That’s right. Too much time to think on my own is sometimes not great for me. [Laughs.]
A friend of mine told me that if you’re ever feeling the most scared, go help other people. And now Thursday have made the decision to repurpose their unsold merchandise into face masks.
A bunch of bands have been asking us how we are doing it and what they could do. We hit a new snag: There’s an elastic shortage, so we’re going through a phase of sourcing elastic. Even if we donate all the fabric, it still costs something to make them. So we are negotiating with factories for the lowest price so we can make more of them, obviously. And then we learned that there are places that aren’t factories, but [there] are DIY craft people, where if you donate the cloth, over time, they’ll make a bunch for their community.
We’re trying to figure out the balance of making them on our own [versus] paying somebody. It’s not like we have a ton of money in reserve [where] we can just make masks for everybody—Tucker [Rule, Thursday drummer] just had a baby a few days ago. We’re going to try to do a balance of paying [for] some of our T-shirts to be converted to masks and also donating the rest of the cloth to DIY spaces that are making their own masks.
It’s a combination effort: A bunch of people from bands have asked us how they could help, where we’re going and what we’re doing. We’re wondering what we could do if we marshalled a bunch of resources.
What’s interesting is that a lot of people who came up through the punk/metal community are very attuned to what’s going on. Avenged Sevenfold are offering free merch to fans who stay home and Beartooth created a “stay-at-home” kit with custom merch and a deck of cards and a bottle opener, with the money going to MusiCares. Black Veil Brides' tour manager started Nomad Project to try to help all his crew friends.
That’s great. I did not hear about those efforts.
It’s great to see that this community—“the scene,” if you will—is stepping up regarding the pandemic.
All the bands [in that community], we’re all road dogs. Our living that we make… who knows if that’s coming back, when it’s coming back or if people want to mass-gather anymore. Who knows, right? For [Thursday], it started with “We are screwed. What are we going to do?” and then taking a step back from that and being empathic people and thinking, “Well, everyone’s pretty screwed, actually.”
Maybe it’s not about what we do to save ourselves: Maybe it’s about what we can do to help the collective effort. What part of this feels right, and what feels like asking for a handout from people who don’t have money to help? Those were all things that we weren’t fighting about but [were] trying to wrestle with ourselves internally. Maybe we should all be pulling together. And I will say that I’m very psyched to hear about the stories you just told me about the other bands doing the same. That’s really cool.
We were feeling that thing of, “What are we going to be able to do?” What are we going to do, make a couple thousand masks, maybe? Does that make a difference? This was the other thing. Somebody said we should just do it and not tell anybody. But if we do it and tell everybody, maybe some bands will get the power of suggestion. “Yeah, maybe we should do that, too.” One part inspiration and one part leading our friends is probably appropriate at this time.
Well, Thursday have never been a bunch of guys to make half measures.
[Laughs.] As usual, there were times where I said, “I think we’re overthinking this.”
What are you seeing in other people during the pandemic? Could this be a reset button on humanity?
That’s a really good question. I think we’re going to need to change drastically when we leave the bubble. The pause button, the bailout, the social distance. In my opinion, we can’t build it up to where it was.
This has laid bare [how] cruel and unsustainable so much of society was. You’ve got Republicans talking about universal basic income. You’ve got centrist Democrats thinking maybe medicare for all wasn’t a stupid idea—maybe it’s a lot cheaper than being unprepared for a pandemic. Something’s got to give. People are going to be pissed when the death toll stacks up and the economy doesn’t come back for 10 years or whatever happens. I just think people aren’t going to want to do the same thing over again. It’s stupid and crazy.
We’re going to see a lot of the worst stupidity you can imagine and people embracing the idea that things could be better if they’d change.
How are things in your home in Brooklyn?
Very weird. Very Dickensian, like A Tale Of Two Cities. You’ve got grocery stores where everybody is wearing masks and gloves. Glass partitions are up, and everyone’s being really safe and careful. And two blocks down, there’s 20 hipsters at a coffee shop with no masks congregating. It’s like, “What are you doing?” We're treating it like a zombie movie. [Laughs.] You see another person, and you cross the street. It might be a zombie.