5 Questions With The Used’s Bert McCracken + Jeph Howard: Longevity, Friendship + ‘Game of Thrones’
The Used always know how to bring a party when they hit the stage. They recently trekked around playing two nights in each city on the first leg of their tour, performing their first two albums in full (one each night). While they were in New York, we had the opportunity to chat with frontman Bert McCracken and bassist Jeph Howard. Both members brought the laughs as they talked about the band’s lengthy career, as well as remembering some memorable times while recording in their early years. They also got into some of their favorite characters on Game of Thrones. Check out our interview with Bert McCracken and Jeph Howard of The Used below:
What are some of your favorite aspects about being out on the road?
Bert McCracken: It’s all about the shows and the fact that we get to do what we do. I mean that’s been what we’ve loved to do since we were such young fellows.
Jeph Howard: I think if I was in a different band it wouldn’t be as fun to be on tour. I’m lucky that all the guys in the band and the crew and we all get along really well so it makes everyday a fun experience.
BM: We hear some horror stories about how other bands do it and it’s like, “You’re in a band with a bunch of other guys you don’t hang out with?” [Laughs] Okay that sounds not fun.
JH: What do [other bands] do when Game of Thrones comes on?
BM: Everybody in the band watches it by themselves? We were counting down minutes on tour until the show came on.
Who are your favorite characters on Game of Thrones?
BM: They all die. Prince Charles III?
JH: Prince Arthur…because he’s imaginary.
BM: I don’t know that’s tough, probably Podrick right now. He’s killing it.
JH: Mans Radar, which oddly the hotel I’m staying at – he’s their new mascot. He’s all over the entire hotel in a suit, seriously with his red beard and hit red hair. It’s really weird.
Obviously, the friendship between you two is so evident. How would you describe the friendship of the band as a whole?
BM: I guess it’s like brothers -- we know how each one of us ticks and we know when people are in the mood or not in a mood or whatever.
JH: We know when it’s not a time to tease. [Laughs]
BM: We all know each other’s sleeping schedules and how everyone kind of ticks so it’s really nice. Everybody has a lot of respect for each other that’s for sure.
You guys have been performing the self-titled record and In Love in Death in full. What do each of you remember the most vividly about creating both of these records?
BM: Yeah, I remember just getting to know these guys. I mean I knew them from the scene, I knew who they were and they knew who I was and we would say “Hi” friendly if we saw each other at the mall but we weren’t hanging-out friends. When I first started hanging out with them I remember Jeph’s mom’s apartment and recording there and the excitement about the music and making memories. The music we were starting to make together and it was like, “Holy f---! This is actually like really good music!” [Laughs] All of our friends and s--- were like, “No way, this is actually really f---ing cool music.” We got a guy to play our demo at a bowling alley and the whole bowling alley was like, “Holy s---!” so that kind of thing is unforgettable.
JH: Yeah, I think we only recorded the vocals at my mom’s place, I don’t think she even knows that. I crashed at her house for like a week and that’s when that happened. It was quite random.
BM: I mean I wasn’t even at my parents’ house at the time because I had just gone through a bunch of crazy s--- too. Right when I met them, the next day I moved into Quinn’s [Allman] house. We all kind of moved around a lot at that time.
JH: Recording, I was terrified. [Producer John] Feldmann scared the s--- out of me, still kind of does. [Laughs] Now we’re on friendly terms, he scared me, I was a pretty shy kid growing up.
BM: It was such a crazy world, too, I thought John Feldmann was in a punk rock band and he picks us up in his BMW and all this weird s--- and talked about all the money he had and I looked at Jeph like, “What is going on here?” and he’d be like, “You want a pair of shoes, Bert? Grab a pair of shoes!” and it’s like I had one pair of shoes for the past five years. [Laughs] “You need swimming trunks? I got all the swimming trunks!” I was just like “God dude, where are we?” He didn’t even live in a nice house then, he lived in a small s---y house but still to us, it was like a lap of luxury. We stayed at the Jolly Roger motel that was like the lap of luxury.
JH: Yeah we would stay at this hotel next door, that’s still up and running.
BM: So much s--- happened there…it’s probably still bloodstained-
JH: Blood stained sheets, the first time we got there, there were hand stains on the sheets.
BM: There was a handprint of blood on the wall.
JH: One day we went to record and we came back and I think it was Branden’s [Steineckert] room? The whole shower in his room upstairs fell through the room into the next room, the whole room underneath was destroyed. It was pretty awesome.
BM: It’s still open if you want to go, on Washington Blvd. They’ve really done it up nice, it’s got a fountain up front now, fancy!
JH: Yeah, moving water means nice. That was a harsh little motel…I don’t even think it was a motel, it was an o-tel, a no-tel.
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you and the rest of The Used?
BM: More of this, we’re going to do another leg of this tour in the fall with all the other places we missed. We’re going to do this in other countries and end the year off in Australia. Making music, writing and recording and keep touring…for the next 30 years. I’m going to be 84 and touring, hobbling about-
JH: That’s when we do the next two records live.
BM: [Laughs] That’s when we do Lies for the Liars. So all you have to do is wait a little bit longer. That’s 50 years from now! If I live 50 more years, I will be so grateful to the universe. It’s in 50 years but tickets are on sale now.
You hear that, universe? Fifty more years of The Used! Our thanks to Bert McCracken and Jeph Howard for the interview! See the dates for the second leg of their 2016 tour here.
The Used Members Play Wikipedia Fact or Fiction: