Originally published February 19, 2008 – Red Pulse Magazine

There’s something to be said about longevity in the music business, especially in a genre that spits out ensemble after ensemble in the name of giving angry teenagers a soundtrack for their aggression. Thursday is one of the only bands that can survive their fans growing out of that surly phase. Since Full Collapse, their breakthrough album, Thursday has continued to be a heavy presence in the scene. The band will headline the “Taste of Chaos Tour” that rolls into town Saturday, featuring a bunch of other bands with frosted hair and fresh tattoos that cry “Trust me! I’m not 16 anymore, promise!”

Almost since their inception, Thursday has been carrying the banner of the emo/hardcore/whatever-you-want-to-call-it scene. When Full Collapse dropped in 2001, Alternative Press dubbed it “The Year Punk Broke Again.” This came in conjunction with debuts from Taking Back Sunday and Brand New, the other two catalysts of the emerging “new punk” sound. Something funny happened along the way though, as Thursday continued to improve and build upon their proven brand of music while the others went by the wayside. Taking Back Sunday went too commercial, Brand New got too experimental, but Thursday kept honing their craft and pumping out pounding songs about self-reflection and world crisis.

“We never went for a gimmick or a look,” said Thursday drummer Tucker Rule. “Thursday’s competent because we’ve never tried to be someone we’re not, never tried to put on a show beyond the music. It’s not about makeup.”

It’s unfortunate then that Thursday continues to get lumped with the kind of bands that are all about the makeup. In fact, despite being grounded in the soil music, Thursday has never quite been at peace with the world around them. Consistently mistreated by their record labels, Thursday has bounced around the punk landscape looking for a place to call home.

Thursday left Victory Records, basically the birthplace of the genre, in 2002 after accusing the owner of caring more about sales than the actual songs. The grievances came to a head when Victory distributed Thursday-themed whoopee cushions at the Warped Tour. Thursday finally said “that’s enough” and left for Island Records, leaving a whole lot of legal crap for the lawyers to mop up.

Thursday’s honeymoon with their new major label didn’t last as long as they would have liked, though. In 2003, they released War All the Time, which turned out to be a commercial success. They played on the dichotomies of love and war that seemingly cried to the Planet of the Apes-style futility of trying to exist in a conflicted world. Soon after the release, like any major label does, Island Records began to shy away from promoting the band. In 2006, after learning that Island had essentially pulled all of their promotion budget, Thursday gave them the middle finger and split for Epitaph.

To put things in perspective, Epitaph was still a “punk” label when Thursday released Full Collapse with Victory. It is amazing that a band in such a fickle environment has survived long enough to become a part of a whole new musical movement within a record label. Early this year, Thursday released Common Existence with Epitaph in a whole new display of technical achievement and refined ideals.

Singer Geoff Rickly has said the album is a realization that everyone is going through the same problems and ordeals, that there is unity in the fight against the “war.” In effect, the album is their answer to War All The Time.

“It’s definitely not a negative record,” Rule said. “I think the message is more along the lines of everything that’s going on right now. We are all going through things in our lives.”

Common Existence seems to bring forth a new era in the world of Thursday, finally coming to terms with the world around them. Rule said the band is definitely beginning to move more into this direction.

“I think we’re going to start writing commercial-happy Obama jingles,” the drummer joked, but quickly added, “The rest of the records should be more hopeful.”

Despite their newfound happiness in unity, Thursday is one band that you can always expect to bring jarring, fist-pumping tunes. It’s more than worth it to sit through the junk headliners that will be warming up the crowds for them this year. Maybe it’s intentional, like finding a glass of water after days spent wandering in the desert.

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