Published Jan 01, 2006Drugs, homelessness and close-minded Mormons weren't enough to hold down the Used. Don't think that the critics can stop them now. With a successful major label debut and a string of high profile tours, sceptics are labelling the Used as a fabricated "hardcore" boy band with about as much street cred as Avril Lavigne.
But this Orem, Utah four-piece faced many struggles on the road to rock'n'roll reality, including drifting in and out of homes. "We didn't live anywhere, we were just staying wherever we could," says drummer Branden Steineckert, in the band bus during a Montreal tour stop. In addition to the strain of finding a place to live, the Used was formed in the highly religious, Mormon neighbourhoods of Orem. "Another thing we had to deal with was [the lack of] support for rock music or struggling musicians in our town," says Steineckert. Through all the hardships, the band found solace in their mutual drive for success. "I remember rewinding and listening to our demos over and over, getting stoked talking about what we wanted to do with them," adds guitarist Quinn Allman.
The band shopped their demo anywhere, even to Goldfinger front-man John Feldman. "We would see [Feldman] at shows and slip him demos, but he would tell us they totally sucked." said Allman. The Used tightened up their act and added vocalist Bert McCracken as the charmingly destitute lead singer before Feldmann agreed to take the band under his wing and produce their Reprise debut. "I think there's one thing we all took from [working with Feldmann] and it's to not lose yourself through everything," said Steineckert.
The result is a blend of melodic riffs, blood-curdling screams and introspective lyrics. The album sounds so carefully produced, however, that there are moments where a rawer recording could have captured the fire of the Used's live show, the engine of their growing reputation. Although Steineckert concludes that "No one cares about bands from Utah," it is obvious that the Used are leading a charge of change.