Tuesday, June 01, 2010

‘Dashboard’ music: Primal scream

(Published June 1, PDI-Entertainment)

By Oliver M. Pulumbarit


American band Dashboard Confessional’s sensitive musings and playful melodies stand out in the ever-expanding alt-rock scene, winning over listeners other than “emo” kids in recent years.

Composed of vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Chris Carrabba, lead guitarist John Lefler, bassist Scott Schoenbeck and drummer Mike Marsh, the band from Florida played a one-night show Thursday at the TriNoma Mall. In this Philippine Daily Inquirer interview, its members talked about musical growth, comic books, and “honest” songs.

How was opening for Bon Jovi like?

Carrabba: I always liked Bon Jovi, but I didn’t expect to be able to watch them about 65 times and have my mind blown every night.

Name some of your biggest influences.

Carrabba: Most of my influences are relatively unknown besides bands like the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Bob Dylan. Three of us come from the very underground indie rock-punk background, and one of us is strictly pop.

How has the band’s style evolved in 10 years?

Lefler: “Alter the Ending” sounds like four band members working together. It’s like we’ve finally figured out how to make our different influences and backgrounds work together.

Carrabba: I’ve always felt that we were much better live than on record; this album is the closest we’ve got. It’s closer to the roots than, maybe, “Dusk and Summer” was. There’s something very vibrant about “Alter the Ending.” It’s the truest representation of us finally being the band that we are on stage.

Which comic books would your music best accompany?

Carrabba: That (writer) Robert Kirkman, he’s my favorite guy – anything of his. I would say “Walking Dead.” I like “Haunt.” I’d say “Invincible” is probably the best. There’s an optimism in that book.

How would you differentiate female and male fans responding to your music?

Carrabba: We have more female fans than male fans, and I think that’s helped us get more male fans. Early on, I realized that these guys were coming to meet girls at our shows. We’re just lucky that they also like the music.

Lefler: Chris and I would comment on these things every time. We’d see these tattooed kids in the front row. They have a tear in their eye and they’re singing their hearts out, something you’d never expect!

What makes listeners connect with the band’s songs?

Schoenbeck: A lot of times we say things that people are afraid to say. It’s like primal scream.

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