Though many bands perform 10 year anniversary shows for their albums, the Used faced a bit of a conundrum; they have two equally beloved albums in their self-titled debut and sophomore LP, In Love and Death. So, the Utah-based band opted simply to celebrate 15 years together instead, playing both LPs during a series of two-night stands across North America in April and May — then continued it in August and September.
It was during the latter run that Exclaim! TV's No Future channel caught up with bassist Jeph Howard to talk about their two seminal records. In the first video, he reveals the first song they ever penned (and why the song they wrote second didn't appear until the next LP), explains "getting out and leaving" the oppressive, Mormon society they grew up in and talks about the drug use, homelessness and other struggles that characterized the lyrics of their debut album.
He also tells a hilarious story about vocalist Bert McCracken recording their demo CD in a house Howard rented with then-drummer Branden Steineckert. McCracken was singing, before he flipped the door open and freaked out, asking, "Who put a fucking frog in there?" Upon further examination, they found the animal in question wasn't even an amphibian.
"It turns out Bert was in there screaming in front of a bat for like an hour and didn't realize it was there. He thought it was just some plastic thing until it started moving, but it was pitch black so he couldn't see it; that's why he thought it was a frog, but the bat ended up flying around the room and being all crazy. So it's kind of funny that the first time we started actually recording vocals — like, real vocals for a demo — a bat tried to kill us."
In the second video, Howard explains the lyrical difference between the albums (their second LP focused on death and dealing with loss), how a current member of Reel Big Fish ended up playing horns for them and the cult-like following behind the poem that kicks off "I'm a Fake." He also reveals how he feels about being called screamo, where he thinks the genre came from and why the Used have always just considered themselves a rock band.
Watch the videos in the players below.