By paul

“A good Thursday show is just chaotic. It’s sweaty, you don’t what the fuck’s going on, but you feel this amazing energy. It’s not about standing there and just watching the band play as if we were musical geniuses, if it’s a good Thursday show then everybody in the audience feels it the same way we feel it. When it doesn’t work, a Thursday show can be messy, terrible, tuneless; an absolute train wreck!’

The words that come from Geoff Rickley’s mouth suggest that despite them being a band at the forefront of their scene, these six men from New Brunswick are still fully aware that as a band, they can bring the suck at times.

“I think with most bands, they shoot to be good on stage, playing their songs like they’ve written them. With us, it’s all or nothing. It’ll either be a glorious night for everyone or it’s just gonna be fucking awful!”

At the time of speaking, Rickley is just a few hours away from giving their London fans one of the more glorious Thursday spectacles. Tonight at London’s Metro Club, they most definitely did not disappoint. Oxford Street’s Metro Club is hardly an accommodating venue for a band of Thursday‘s calibre. Approaching their ten year anniversary, and with four acclaimed albums, both critically and commercially, you’d expect them to be playing somewhere a little bit more upmarket on their first return to the UK since last year’s Reading & Leeds Festivals.

“You know Chris [Baker, Full Time Hobby] was the guy who got this show happening. We had the one night off on the arena tour with My Chemical Romance, and he was like ‘what are you doing on your off night?’ We thought he’d suggest somewhere like The Garage, or The Underworld, and he suggested here, it’s even smaller and likely to be a huge amount of fun.” If you weren’t aware, Thursday have been touring up and down the UK’s arenas as My Chemical Romance‘s main support over the last few weeks. If you were lucky enough to get tickets for those dates, you would have seen Thursday at their most choreographed, their most sterile, and ultimately, their most uncomfortable.

“The arena shows have been all planned out. If you don’t plan anything carefully, it just doesn’t work because it’s so hard to connect with each other at an arena show. Not only is the audience really far away, so are the rest of the band so you don’t have the same chemistry. Tonight’s show is completely different. We haven’t even decided what songs we’re playing yet!’ Aside from being Thursday‘s posterboy, Rickley was himself partly responsible for the success of their hometown friends My Chemical Romance. In the beginning years, he booked them shows, and got their name around, generally becoming their mentor.

“When I see them now it gives me chills. In the beginning they were like my babies. I was just shoving their first record down everybody’s throats because I believed in it so much. For a while it seemed like they would never come out of our shadow, but all of a sudden they signed to Warner Brothers and I watched them go so far. I remember on New Year’s Eve I watched them play on top of the building on Times Square. It sort of hit me how big they were then, and I was like; ‘Do I have something to do with that?’ I’m not taking credit for them back then because that would just be stupid, but when I see them now, it’s unbelievable. I have to say it’s one of the things I’m most proud of.”

It’d be only human for Rickley to feel a bitterness towards the band, due to their success being far greater than Thursday‘s. However, he’s insistent to portray a different picture. “When we did their first record I said to Gerard that they could be much bigger than Thursday could ever be. You could just tell they had the knack and the want to be a stadium band. Thursday have always aspired more on a Fugazi level. We’ve accomplished that; we got much bigger than we ever planned on being. It’s impossible to be jealous of another band when I’m so pleased with how well Thursday have done so far.”

So what does a band do once they’ve accomplished all their goals? “Well we’ll just have to figure out a way to confuse everybody again, make another brilliant record and piss people off again. Working with David Friedman and the Flaming Lips dudes really helped us. I mean, they had their second wind after ten years, it made me realise we could do the same’.

Back in the present day, Thursday have just announced in the last week that they’ve parted ways with major-label Island Def Jam Records. A band not unfamiliar with label trouble in the past, you’d expect there to be some reasons we hadn’t been told about for the split.

“When we signed to Island it was this one group of people that worked there and then they all left to work at Warner Brothers. A whole new staff was brought in who were super-nice, but it just didn’t fit the same as it did before. Something just didn’t feel right when we put out the last record. It’s not something to worry about because we’re really psyched to have some time on our own. We’ve had a lot of our dream labels already offer us some greats deals, and even though they guys who used to work at Island who are now at Warner want to work with us again, we want to take some time on our own. If anything, this is really our second wind. In all honesty, I could not ever imagine being on a major again. It’s just not the same way as it was when I grew up on Indies. ”

While on his break over Christmas, it was rumoured Rickley had started a collaboration with Glassjaw‘s Daryl Palumbo under the ‘United Nations’ moniker. Not much has been printed about the potential super-group project, but Rickley was eager to discuss their plans.

“That’s what I’ve been doing on my time off. We’ve recorded seven songs, which might not even use yet. When we start the new Thursday record, I think it’ll be easy for me to find my spot in United Nations, and use all the ideas I have that wouldn’t work as Thursday songs.”
Daryl Palumbo’s side projects range from the most commercial pop (Head Automatica) to user-unfriendly House of Blow. Where would United Nations fit into his musical spectrum?

“Oh it’s totally different. This is grind-core like the Locust, only with a sort of hardcore sense to it. We’ll still have breakdowns! This is like grind and heavy shit”. So will they be dressing up in insect costumes as well? Rickley giggles. “No, not just yet!”

After parting ways, Geoff goes off to prepare for the history-making show he is to be a part of just a few hours later. In front of exclusively die-hard fans they put on one of their most energetic performances to date, with the crowd salivating at Rickley’s every word. An undeniable perfectionist, he can return to New Jersey label-free, fully content that he won’t have seen the last of the UK just yet.

Andy R

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