Aug. 4, 2005

'The Used' Make Touring "Just Like Camp"

By Randy J. Klodz

Fresh off a nearly completed run on the Vans Warped Tour, The Used found themselves entertaining several thousand fans at yet another festival tour, The OZZfest, at the unrockstar-like hour of 11 a.m.

Hailing from Orem, Utah, The Used have taken their RV (they drive it themselves and don't yet have their own tour bus) and driven it across the United States in support of their self-titled debut album. The RV made it's first OZZfest stop—with half the tour's dates remaining—on Aug. 11 at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Wisconsin, with a bit of timidity.

"It's always weird when you start a festival tour, something like the first few days of Warped Tour and OZZfest, where you're the new kid and things are kinda weird," said The Used's front man Bert McCracken, "but then it's just like camp and everybody gets along pretty well."

McCracken, joined by guitarist Quinn Allman, bassist Jeph Howard and drummer Branden Steineckert hammered the OZZfest crowd with The Used's often screaming vocals and contrasting bouncy choruses on such songs "A Box Full of Sharp Objects" and "The Taste of Ink."

The size of the morning crowd for The Used's first OZZfest set surprised the band, but had an even larger impact on McCracken—so much that he vocalized some of his anger in the form of curse words at certain members of the audience. "I was a little overwhelmed with the changeover from Warped Tour and OZZfest," said McCracken. "I started to lash out a little bit, [but] I don't really like to do that. I like to keep a pretty positive vibe during our show and I felt pretty bad after the show."

Much like The Used's live shows, their self-titled debut album ranges from songs of all-out rage like "Maybe Memories," to the mellow ballads "Poetic Tragedy," "On My Own" and "Blue and Yellow." The Used's influences span from all-out rock to hints of punk, and any other type of heavy-hitting or mellow emotional music one can think of.

The Used are scheduled to hit the road and open for Box Car Racer (two-thirds of Blink-182) in the fall, while playing large clubs and theatres. "We cant wait to get back into clubs again," said McCracken. "There's a more intimate vibe and there's walls." The tour with Box Car Racer is penned to hit Chicago's Aragon Ballroom on Nov. 9.

Bert McCracken of The Used Photo: Randy J. Klodz