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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

This Band is Thirsty

Thursday.net, myspace.com/Thursday Record label
Island records Thursday’s Triumphant Return
Thursday.net, myspace.com/Thursday Record label

For nearly a decade, New Jersey post-hardcore sextet Thursday built up a loyal fan base with their high octane records and shows, peaking in 2003 when their third album (and major label debut for Island Records) War All The Time charted as high as #7 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. But in 2004, after their stint on the Warped Tour ended, citing tiredness and a need to get away from each other, Thursday quietly broke up…briefly.

Early in 2005, members found themselves hanging out and practicing, and eventually reformed. They then spent much of the year writing and recording their long-awaited fourth record, titled A City By The Light Divided, which arrived in stores last Tuesday, May 2nd on Island.

On April 25th, I caught up with lead singer Geoff Rickly and keyboardist Andrew Everding before their sold-out show at Boston’s Axis club and spoke with them at length about their current tour and all things Thursday.

Their current tour, called Shirts For A Cure, is named for a charity dedicated to fighting breast cancer and funding its research by selling exclusive T-shirt designs online (www.shirtsforacure.com) or at sponsored shows that were given to them by tons of punk rock/hardcore bands. When asked how the band got involved with it, Geoff explained that a few years ago, a friend of his came down with stomach cancer, and after the band helped raise money to pay for his medical bills, he eventually lost his battle and died. Ever since then, Geoff vowed to stay involved in cancer causes whenever possible.

With many of the shows on this tour selling out weeks in advance (including the Axis show), Thursday should be ecstatic and relieved of any worries about a nearly three-year layoff negatively affecting the popularity of the band. Heck, one dude drove up from Jersey to see the Boston show. That’s dedication-or obsession.

“A lot of fans are still with us,” says Rickly, Andrew nodded in agreement.

And the band believes they will attract newer fans this year as well, including younger siblings of older fans, some of which are in similar-sounding bands now that qualify as peers of Thursday (Copycats for short).

Thursday’s complex sound has gotten them labeled and relabeled over the years. But the raw, true emotion they put into every song has never changed. They can be heavy and harsh, or heavy with colorful melodies. That paradox, according to Geoff made his band “one of the most misunderstood bands around.” He said that metal magazines complained that “we weren’t heavy enough.” In any case, Thursday has always had their own sound, and they strive to build on it with each CD, while retaining that raw passion and youthful exuberance as they get older.

A City was produced by Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mogwai), which was a dream come true to Geoff. The result (after streaming the still-unreleased CD at the time online) sounds like the heaviest Thursday record to date, even if it’s the least “hardcore” of them all. Fridmann’s production can be noticed immediately on tracks like the near-death experience-centered and hardcore dominated “At This Velocity,” which unlike past recordings has more of a live band feel to it. The band (which also includes Tim on bass, Steve and Tom on guitar and Tucker on drums) still lays out punishing, menacing rhythms for Geoff to sing his intense poetry over, as evident on the first single, the lyrically violent “Counting 5-4-3-2-1.” “Running From The Rain,” another death-themed song with a big, full sound is reminiscent of former tourmates Sparta. Andrew’s choir effects via a mellotron puts this very impressive album highlight over the top.

Overall, Thursday feels that A City is their best CD to date. Some fans and critics alike are already saying it’s among their best. Though the crowd surfing and fist-pumping was a bit reduced when the new and at the time unreleased music was played at the otherwise highly energetic Axis concert, next time around (perhaps during their headlining stint at the Warped Tour this summer), the kids will be ready for it, loving it and know the lyrics by heart to it, for sure.