For anyone who was as scene as I was back in 2005, the idea of hanging out on The Used’s tour bus would be simply too much. However, at 26 I was able to realize a dream now 11 years in the making, and was privileged enough to interview/hang out with/watch The Used at their show in Toronto at Danforth Music Hall. What more could a former MySpace-er ask for?
After entering the bus, which is essentially a swanky downtown apartment on wheels, I was greeted by all four band members casually hanging out before the show. Donning sweat pants and a Karl Marx sweatshirt, Bert laughed and informed me he was “still in his pyjamas”. Luckily this interview was by no means a formal affair – more of a chill hang out. So in the back room of the tour bus, this is precisely what we did.
It’s pretty safe to say I was relieved by how genuinely nice and down to earth Bert was, especially with him being a pillar of my anarchist youth: an image I was by no means willing to replace with “douchy musician”. Luckily, this wasn’t the case. Instead of chatting with someone who could have very well become jaded by over 15 years in the music industry, he prefaced all of his opinions with statements like “I’m not here to sell ideas”, and “My opinion doesn’t matter more than anyone else’s.”
Beginning with an icebreaker game of “would you rather”, we discussed hypothetical sex with Keith Buckley, whether Bert would prefer to give up music or sex (he chose to give up sex – “I have a long life to live”, he said), and whether he would prefer to be submerged in a bathtub full of spiders or someone else’s puke (“Anything but spiders”, he said). We then delved into the discussion of music, and subsequently politics – both being topics on which Bert is extremely passionate and well-read.
After emerging from the back room, we spent a little time with the rest of the band, discussing veganism, Canadian politics, and were treated to The Used/Saosin guitar player Justin Shekoski solving a Rubik’s cube in about 10 seconds. This is definitely an entire band of genuinely rad guys.
Needless to say, the show that followed the interview was excellent. I hadn’t seen The Used perform in about 10 years, and it was still the epic show I remembered, and then some (I nearly died when the pre-recorded intro to ‘Take It Away’ began playing).
Check out photos from their show in Toronto below!
*photos by Rick Clifford
Want to see some highlights from our interview? Check out the videos below, where Bert discusses the concept of music as a weapon, and discovering I’m basically blind when he tries on my glasses.