Fans of alt-metal, post-hardcore and experimental rock have more to celebrate on the 4th of July than just U.S. independence. This year, Deftones, Rise Against and Thrice, who've all been in action for nearly or over 20 years separately, combine forces for one of the most anticipated rock tours of the summer.
The Source recently caught up with Riley Breckenridge, drummer for Thrice, as he walked the streets of New Haven, Conn. Thrice's ninth and most recent studio album, "To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere," spawned melodic hardcore hits including "Black Honey" and "Hurricane." This summer, the band took a break from headlining to fill the support slot for Deftones and Rise Against.
"Being on this tour is awesome," Breckenridge says. "We've toured with both the Deftones and Rise Against in the past. We're all friends and we all hang out and there's no weird rock star egos and no hyper-competitive stuff between bands. It's just a bunch of friends playing some really cool shows in some really cool places."
In addition to playing with their friends and ending their nights earlier, Thrice has been given a unique opportunity for a band that's been playing together for 20 years. On this tour, they're playing for people who may not have heard of them before or decided in the past that they weren't into what the band does. This gives them the chance to try to win over those people.
"It's a much bigger challenge than playing songs for people who came out to see you specifically. It's been a long time since we've done a support slot on a tour, it's kind of refreshing."
Before releasing "To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere," Thrice had taken a three-year hiatus to give some of the guys a break from touring. Lead singer Dustin Kensure, lead guitarist Teppei Teranishi and Breckenridge are all fathers now, which changed the touring dynamic. Band members have more of a draw to be home with their families than spend four solid months touring.
"When we got back together, we made a decision that we wouldn't be out for four months at a time," Breckenridge says. "We try not to do tours that are any longer than three weeks or a month; it's proved to be really beneficial. I think setting some limits on the amount of touring we do, it's kept everyone fresh. It's made it so you miss your family, but you know you're going to be home soon. It's never a bleak outlook, there's a light at the end of the tunnel."
Since being on tour, the members of Thrice have been hard at work writing new music. For Breckenridge, who has both a son and daughter under age two at home, the road has provided the downtime necessary to not only write music, but also listen to music, read about music and seek out inspiration.
"Just being in this environment, playing your instrument every day, being able to watch great bands like Deftones and Rise Against, that's inspiring."
When it comes to writing and recording, Thrice has a very collaborative process. One member doesn't do all of the writing. Over the years, they've gotten better at communicating and sharing and developing ideas, making the writing and recording process very collaborative.
"Everybody in the band has the ability to write on a variety of instruments," Breckenridge says. "I think modern recording software has helped that. You can program drum beats if you're not the best drummer in the world. You can lay out a keyboard idea in MIDI and then have it sound like someone skilled plays it. It makes it easy for us to write ideas that aren't just limited to the instrument we play in the band."
Now, 20 years in, Thrice continues onward and looks forward to the next album. They've always had modest goals, from playing their first club show to getting signed, and they're grateful for how things have worked out.
"The thing that has kept us together has been friendship and, second of all, doing what we want to do musically, never feeling pigeonholed into one specific genre, making the music we want to make."
Deftones, Rise Against, Thrice
Tues., July 4, 6:15pm.
Les Schwab Amphitheater
344 SW Shevlin Hixon Dr., Bend.
$47.50 + Fees.