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When Thrice dropped The Artist In The Ambulance in 2003, their popularity was inescapable.
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Almost overnight, the Californian based post-hardcore outfit (known for cutting their teeth on the punk festival circuit) became global megastars. Stare At The Sun became one of the most requested songs on MTV’s ‘TRL’– sitting amongst the likes of Brittney Spears and Blink 182, other songs were featured in beloved video games soundtracks such as Tony Hawk and SSX snowboarding, and the album itself made its way to the top end of the highly revered Billboard 200. It was literally Thrice hysteria (pun intended).
Two decades on, its impact is equally as measurable, with many now crediting The Artist as one of the most influential releases of the early emo movement. So naturally, fans worldwide were absolutely ecstatic when it was announced that the punk-rock icons would be re-recording the seminal album in support of a 20 year anniversary tour.
Although for the group, it’s a celebration that still feels a bit “surreal” for them.
“It was a really big record for us, and it’s been really fun celebrating it, but there’s also an element where you’re trying to wrap your head around the fact that it’s been out for 20 years, and that’s strange” reflects the groups vocalist Dustin Kensrue.
“This is also our 25th year as a band, which is equally as strange to think about,” he laughs. “But we are so grateful, and we’ve been having a blast touring it.”
Which is not something that the group necessarily expected, with Kensrue admitting that the band were initially hesitant to do anniversary tours.
“We were really hesitant about doing any anniversary tours, then we did the Vheissu one and ended up having a blast doing it.”
Explaining his reluctance he added, “I think we were just hesitant because there were a lot of other bands that seemed like they were coming out of the woodwork just to do reunion tours, and we are very much still a fully functioning band making new music all the time, which is what’s really important to us.”
I think we realised that we can also incorporate that stuff [anniversary tours]. They’re fun, and a really great way to connect to fans who may have a very special connection with the record. It’s been cool chatting with people about their experience of coming to these shows, and how much that record has meant to them over time.
[ Dustin Kensrue ]
“But I think we realised that we can also incorporate that stuff [anniversary tours]. They’re fun, and a really great way to connect to fans who may have a very special connection with the record. It’s been cool chatting with people about their experience of coming to these shows, and how much that record has meant to them over time.”
“It’s been great. We’re really lucky to be able to do it.”
Having been given a two month period to write the album (after their record label pushed for a quick follow up to The Illusion Of Saftey) the group have long commented that they felt the initial recording process was rushed, stating that their intense tour schedule restricted them from writing and experimenting as much as they’d wanted to for their major label debut. Although, upon rerecording the album, Thrice decided to stay true to The Artist’s original sound, stating that they wanted the new recordings to stay “respectful” to the original release.
“We really wanted to do the revisited album in a way that was respectful of the original recording,” reflects Kensrue. “Those songs are good, they don’t need to be redone. So it was like, ‘alright, we’re just going to play these songs with them being informed by us playing them for the last 20 years, but with the tones that we would use now.”
“We ended up being really happy with it. And it’s been cool that other people are too, because it’s not meant to shit on the original,” he adds,
“I mean, we have our hang-ups about the original, but mostly it’s our own performances on it. But they are just our own hang-ups about it, as a whole it’s a great record.”
With plans to start writing album number twelve, Horizons/West, at the end of the year, Thrice will be wrapping up their intensive touring schedule with a quick trip down under to celebrate The Artist In The Ambulance’s 20th anniversary–and with the band swapping their usual stomping ground of arenas for intimate venues, it’ll be a Thrice tour like no other.
Catch Thrice at the following dates:
Thu 31 Aug // Northcote Theatre // Melbourne [LIMITED TICKETS LEFT] w/ Wifecult
Fri 1 Sept // Northcote Theatre // Melbourne [SOLD OUT] w/ Wifecult
Sat 2 Sept // Metro Theatre // Sydney [SOLD OUT] w/ Wifecult
Sun 3 Sept // Princess Theatre // Brisbane [SOLD OUT] w/ Wifecult
Tue 5 Sept // Lion Arts Factory //Adelaide [SOLD OUT] w/ St Judes
Wed 6 Sept // Badlands // Perth [SOLD OUT] w/ Shangrila
Thu 7 Sept // Badlands // Perth [SOLD OUT] w/ Shangrila