From Utah to The Used: Band members chat about their journey together

"I went from playing shows in front of four or five people for the past ten years to playing shows in front of five or ten thousand people. There's a huge difference," says The Used's new drummer, Dan Whitesides. "I've never toured on a bus before, so this is crazy, having showered everyday. It's the best thing I've ever been a part of in my whole life."

- Sheila Busteed

posted May 7, 2007

From Utah to The Used: Band members chat about their journey together
     The State of Utah is famous for many things – it holds the Great Salt Lake within its borders, is the center of the Mormon religion, and is home to alt-rock band The Used.

     While in Ottawa, Ontario recently to perform at Scotiabank Place for the Taste of Chaos tour, guitarist Quinn Allman and drummer Dan Whitesides sat down with PlugInMusic.com to talk about life in Utah, their losses and gains in recent years, and the band's upcoming release.

     Before being known as The Used, Allman, Whitesides, frontman Bert McCracken and bassist Jeph Howard were typical teens growing up in the small community of Orem, Utah. What was typical of them was their desire to leave home and explore the world. The means by which they left is a little more unusual.

     "Being from Utah is hard," says Allman, adding that he never expected the band to become its current success. "It wasn't really ever thought of. It was unexpected."

     Allman, who says that he doesn't really consider himself a religious person, adds that growing up in a predominantly Mormon community was an unusual experience for him.

     "Mormons are kind of trippy people and so are a lot of people who use religion to justify their lives," he says. "When people justify their lives based off a belief, it's always weird."

     Deciding they wanted to find a way to take them beyond Utah's borders, Allman, McCracken, Howard, and original drummer Branden Steineckert formed The Used in the mid-1990s and recorded a few demos. After a few years, the band caught the attention of John Feldmann after Allman handed him a demo while attending a Goldfinger concert.

     "He said he was interested after we sent him the third demo and he called us back one day and said, 'We're going to do a demo with you guys,'" says Allman. "So we wrote for six months because he was on tour. When he got off tour, we flew to his house.

     "He introduced us to our management, got us a lawyer and label interest right away," he adds. "About two months after we'd done the demo, we were signed and recorded with John and started touring and went right on Warped Tour."

     The relationship forged with Feldmann was strong from the very beginning, which led to him becoming the producer, engineer and mixer for all three of the band's studio records, including the upcoming “Lies for the Liars,” which is due for release on May 22, 2007.

     But not everything has always run so smoothly for The Used. In 2004, McCracken's girlfriend, Kate, died of a drug overdose. She was pregnant with his child at the time of her death.

     Her death impacted McCracken and the entire band significantly, says Allman.

     "It has a huge effect on all of us, but for Bert it's something out of a Shakespearean plot," he says. "It's going to stay with him for the rest of his life."

     The band faced another major hurdle in September 2006 when Steineckert left the lineup. Following his departure, fans were concerned that the band would break up or struggle to find a substitute for one of its founding members. However, Allman insists that it was the right time to make the change.

     "The more I try to describe it, the less I understand why I'm describing it," says Allman. "It was creative differences and personality conflicts basically. Where things were going [with] working together, [he] didn't have the same objective at heart, I think."

     Steineckert moved on to play with Rancid, and Dean Butterworth of Good Charlotte stepped in as the band's temporary drummer. Then Whitesides, a longtime friend and fellow Utah native, joined the band for the 2007 Taste of Chaos tour.

     "These guys have been my friends for years and I knew this was going to work out," says Whitesides.

     "I went from playing shows in front of four or five people for the past ten years to playing shows in front of five or ten thousand people. There's a huge difference," he adds. "I've never toured on a bus before, so this is crazy, having showered everyday. It's the best thing I've ever been a part of in my whole life."

     Whitesides, who played in local Utah bands for years, says that he wasn't worried when he decided to take the next step to join The Used.

     "I had a long time to prepare, ten years of touring, wanting to do this. When I got the opportunity, I wasn't going to fuck it up," he says. "I wasn't nervous. I don't get nervous."