Thursday's opportunity to headline the Taste Of Chaos tour last spring certainly had its benefits, considering it is perhaps the biggest annual package tour of the season and it coincided with a return to action for the band after a two-year break.
But there was just one drawback to accepting the offer to headline Taste Of Chaos.
"When we got the offer, our booking agent was like 'Of course, right? Of course, we're taking this, yeah?'" vocalist Geoff Rickly recalled. "We're kind of like, 'Yeah.' And he's like 'OK, good, because now you have to finish the [new] record two months ahead of schedule.' We were like, 'Oh shit!'" Facing the time crunch to complete their newest album, Common Existence, undoubtedly brought a sense of pressure that would not have otherwise been there. But looking back, Rickly said the tight recording schedule may have been for the best.
"The funny thing is the kind of hustle that we had to do to finish the record, I think, gave it a different tone than it would have had if we hadn't had (to rush)," he said. "I think it ended up being a lot more of an urgent-sounding record. And I
think that's a good thing. I think Thursday is at its best when it has a sense of urgency to it," he said.
The making of Common Existence had not been entirely smooth and easy, even before the recording schedule was accelerated to meet the Feb. 17 release date for the CD.
Things started off fine, as an initial writing and recording session yielded about a half dozen songs the band considered worthy of making the album.
At that point, the group decided to take a break.
Rickly got involved in the side band United Nations that released a self-titled CD last September. Drummer Tucker Rule, meanwhile, filled in as touring drummer for My Chemical Romance for several months.
But when Rickly, Rule and their Thursday bandmates Steve Pedulla (guitars), Tom Keeley (guitars), Andrew Everding (keyboards) and Tim Payne (bass) reconvened, the creative tap was dry. The band went two months without coming up with even one song that showed promise.
Still, Rickly said there was no panic, although there was frustration.
"I think we all kind of had two minds about it. One was like this really sucks," he said. "We're all really broke and what are we doing spinning our wheels? The faster we get this done, the faster we can start making money again and stuff.
"The other [reaction] was like, whatever, this happens," Rickley said, noting the band also hit a creative wall during the making of its 2006 CD A City by the Light Divided. "There's always a point where we hit a wall. This is just the part where we've got to keep going through the motions and getting together and playing.
One day the fog will clear, and we'll be back on the explosion."
Then a chance to go to the Philippines to play a few shows and enjoy a week of rest and relaxation helped Thursday rediscover its groove. By August 2008, Thursday was in the studio with producer Dave Fridmann with a healthy batch of songs ready to record.
Common Existence turned out to be arguably Thursday's most cohesive CD yet. Songs such as "Resuscitation Of A Dead Man" and "Last Call" are explosive rockers that match fevered vocals, crashing drums and driving guitars with potent hooks. Other songs take the band in intriguing new directions, including "Time's Arrow," which has an epic, almost ethereal sound, and "You Were The Cancer," which builds from brooding quiet into a roiling rocker.
The consistent quality and sound of "Common Existence" is a welcome development for Thursday, which emerged from New Brunswick, N.J., with its 1999 debut CD, Waiting.
Although the band has made fine albums before its 2001 CD, Full Collapse, in particular, is widely seen as a landmark CD that ushered in a wave of groups that combined emo and hardcore other albums, such as War All The Time (2003) and A City By The Light Divided were more scattered musically.
It's also nice to see Thursday on track musically, considering that the band nearly broke up in 2004, after five years of near-constant touring and recording had created major tension in the group.
Those problems, though, are in the past, and Thursday figures to be in top form on Taste Of Chaos. Rickly expects the band to play a wide-ranging set.
"There are certain staples we try to keep in the set that are our favorite songs live," he said. "But this time we're also going to try to add in some old favorites that have kind of gotten lost, and we want to play a (boatload) of the new record. It's an hour set, and I'd like to play at least six new songs."