Interview with Fred Mascherino

Amy Julian

Fred Mascherino, formerly of Taking Back Sunday, sits down with The Mass Media to talk about his solo project, The Color Fred, his bittersweet departure from TBS and what you can do to help the environment.

MM: First off, thanks so much for taking the time out today to talk with the Mass Media and congrats on all your success with your solo CD, “Bend to Break”-it was such a great CD! How has playing solo and recording solo, without the net of Taking back Sunday, been?

Fred Mascherino: It’s been a really good experience. Playing in Taking Back Sunday for almost 5 years taught me a lot and helped me grow as writer and musician. So when I went to make “Bend to Break,” I feel like I was able to use the things I’ve learned and put it to use with these songs. This has been to date my favorite musical experience; that month we spent recording it was so unbelievable. It was a really great time for me. Now we’re out touring, and the fact we are able to be on tour with these great bands, it’s been a dream come true.

MM: You’re touring with Chiodos and MXPX now; how did you guys all get together?

FM: Chiodos made it all happen; they asked us to do it ’cause we’re label mates with them. They were big fans of MXPX growing up, and then they put us together. It’s a pretty varied bill with the styles and sounds of all the bands, but people are responding really well to it; it’s been super fun!

MM: Speaking of different sounds, how would you describe the sound of The Color Fred?

FM: To anyone who’s heard my past bands [Taking Back Sunday and Breaking Pangaea], I was trying to make something those people could still enjoy, and at the same time, I tried to branch out and do things I could have never done in my past bands. I’d say, though, the majority of record is straight-up rock you’d be used to hearing me play.

MM: Right, kind of switch it up a bit. Who are some of the artists or bands you look to for inspiration?

FM: With this record I was concentrating on solo artists that I like: Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel and even Bjork! Bright Eyes also was a big inspiration. And although those people wouldn’t have inspired me stylistically, they more inspire me the way they tell a story, and in what they accomplish with their music.

MM: Have the other guys in TBS been supportive of your solo project?

FM: When I left the band, there was no fighting; we were ending our last tour and when it was time to make our fourth record, I decided my future was here. It was a sad thing for all of us; they are in making their next record, and I’m sure it’s gonna be great.

MM: So you’re completely done with Taking Back Sunday?

FM: I am completely done. I left touring in August and decided to do this solo project about a month after that. There were a lot of talks during the tour that were sort of determining what we were gonna do. I was getting the feeling that we were due for a break, but I was sort of the only one that felt that way. So I said, ‘you guys ought to keep going and I’m gonna step off the ride.’ I am very proud of the music I made with them, and those were happy times, but it was losing steam for me. It was time for something else.

MM: I was watching the TBS “Louder Now” DVD and saw your vegetable oil car; and you’ve also tried to minimize materials in the packaging of your CD. How did you get so involved in the environment and going green?

FM: It’s something that I’ve been pretty passionate about since I was young, and something my dad sort of passed on to me, to have respect for planet and nature. Then as I got older I wanted to get more and more involved, and I saw “An Inconvenient Truth.” That was a kick in the butt to start doing more. When I started this project, I wanted everything about this project to reflect what I cared about, so the packaging for the record is over 90% recycled materials, like a cardboard digi-pack. The plastic that the plastic the CD usually goes in is actually corn starch. It’s, like, 100% biodegradable-It’ll melt in the rain if you put it outside.

MM: With Earth Day coming up, what tips can you give UMass Boston students for going green and helping out?

FM: The most important thing is to educate yourself. Go to websites like or There are a lot of habits we have developed over the years, like using the dryer all the time, instead of hanging clothes up to dry. Also, I had all the electricity in my house switched over to wind energy just by calling electric company. A lot of states offer clean energy; it’s more of a displacement thing. In general, common sense things: not leaving things on, carpooling, taking public transportation. There’s also a website,, and if you have something that’s perfectly good and you don’t want it anymore, you can give it away instead of throwing it in the trash. It’s like a little trading community going on there. I got a bicycle on there; I got a racing car bed for my son; got rid of a stroller on there when he grew up. Instead of the trash, you can give it away.

MM: Is there anything else you want UMB students to know about you, your music and what you do?

FM: Whether people have heard the music or not, keep an open mind. Check it out online, but definitely come out to see the live show-that’s the part where I have the most fun. This band is my new chance at having a really good time at what I do-trying to live it up while I can.

The Color Fred will be at the Worcester Palladium April 30. Visit for tickets and show information. The band also plans on joining the Warped Tour this summer. Their latest CD, “Bend to Break,” is out now at your local record store.