The Used


Hailing from the staunchly conservative town of Orem, Utah, The Used surmounted homelessness, substance abuse and the closed-minded environs of their hometown to become a band rock and roll just might need; one that creates compelling, sincere music and performs it with uncontrived style and verve live and on their debut album for Warner/Reprise records.

Recorded in LA at the home studio of producer John Feldmann and at London's legendary Olympic Studios (Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin), it contains thirteen anthems and ballads that thrum with the intensity of four guys who have sacrificed everything for one thing: music. Their effort is conveyed in a spray of crashing rhythms, sublime melodies, candid lyrics, dynamic vocals and, natch, big guitars.

Their self titled debut album The Used produced by Reprise Records, has so far sold nearly 200,000 copies and counting. The band later released Maybe Memories, a live album featuring the songs from their self titled album along with a DVD with many features. They released their second album In Love and Death, produced by Warner Brothers, on September 28, 2004.

In 1997, Quinn Allman, Jeph Howard, and Branden Steinecekert played together in hopes of becoming a band. It later came to realization that they needed a singer in order to get anywhere. Jeph then decided to switch from bass, to vocals. After playing a couple of songs, they noticed how horrible they sounded without a bassist. Jeph then switched back to bass, and they decided to host auditions in order to find the singer they wanted. What they did was have a person sing while they played a random beat. After about 50 or so auditions, Bert McCracken, a classmate at Quinn's school showed up and gave his performance. After the show, they knew that he was the one they were looking for. They decided to call him up, and asked him to join, which he did.

For The Used, music transcends the Stepford-like surroundings of their youth. "You're held down so long and told what to do," says drummer Branden Steineckert. "You're supposed to fit in this fuckin' mold all the time. Music is your one place to break out and just say "fuck it all, do what you want, be the person you are with no fuckin' rules."

And fuck it all, they did. Relationships, day jobs and other responsibilities were flushed. They survived, literally, on the kindness of strangers. "We'd spend hours panhandling so we could eat and then we'd bum rides to my brother's garage so we could practice," reveals Steineckert, adding the lean times fortified friendships within the band and creativity flourished in tandem. There was only one obstacle.

The Used live experience is indeed a visceral one. Every note, every scream and every leap carries the possibility of a laceration or a contusion, a lost shoe, a damaged instrument or worse: McCracken, who prowls the stage singing and screaming as if jockeying for an aneurysm, often drops chow. "Sometimes, there's no way in hell I can keep it down," he laughs. "I just love to scream in people's faces and sometimes it makes me puke."

He affectionately calls it Bertie's Madness and, while revolting at face value, there is no better example of The Used's ethic (giving everything to the music). Are they the band rock and roll desperately needs? We'll leave that for you to decide. Should you vote affirmative, just know it's a mutual need, and The Used isn't taking anything for granted.

Te band is Bert McCracken-vocals, Jeph Howard-bass, Branden Steineckert-drums, Quinn Allman-guitar.

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