What’s up Modern Drummer readers?! Dan Whitesides from the Used here. Thank you, Modern Drummer, for giving me the opportunity to talk a little about our new album, Vulnerable.
Vulnerable is the Used’s fifth album and my third with the band. I was and still am a huge fan of the Used, so naturally I loved and still love the first album. I love all of our albums a lot, but that first album was a groundbreaking one for rock ’n’ roll. Honestly, the Used have always pushed the limit when it comes to making original-sounding rock, and Vulnerable is no different. If you think you know the Used or if you have no idea who we are, listen to this album and get ready to be blown away. Every album we write is one hundred percent honest, real, and very personal. I’ve never played music with more sincere people in my life, and I’ve been in more than twenty bands in the past fourteen years. The bottom line is, this album is my new favorite Used album.
Anyway, about the drums, of course. I’ve never felt more in control or carefree about what I played than I did on this album. “Kiss It Goodbye,” “Shine,” and “Now That You’re Dead” all stemmed from the drums. For example, someone said, “Play something crazy,” and the next thing you know, we’re writing “Kiss It Goodbye” or just thinking of something unique to play, like the intro/verse beats on “Now That You’re Dead.” I think those two songs are the types that the Used haven’t done in a while—they’re pretty chaotic-sounding. Those are my favorite types of songs, since I’m a rocker at heart.
Our second single, “Shine,” has a really cool intro and outro beat and a lot of cool bass and drum parts. Besides having an amazing and positive message, this song is one of my favorites to play.
“Put Me Out” is another song that in my opinion is one of the best and most rocking on the album. It’s a straight-up rock song with driving choruses, choppy verses, and a pissed bridge that’ll make you kick whoever is sitting next to you right in the face, like Daniel did to Johnny in the first Karate Kid. I’m really proud of what I played on this song as well.
“Hurt Nobody” is a track that I pretty much play the same thing during the entire song with a few cool changes here and there, but that’s what makes the song so huge-sounding. We got the idea from a song called “You’ll Never Get To Me” off of Killing Joke’s second self-titled album. Dave Grohl played on that entire album, and he’s a huge influence on me.
I could go on and on about every song, but I won’t. The fact of the matter is, I never play anything I don’t absolutely love, and I always try and play tastefully. The most important thing in my mind when I’m helping to write a song is what is best for the song.
I love to play my drums. It’s what I do, it’s what I’ve always done, and besides laying brick—which I did or twelve years—it’s all I know how to do. So the fact that I get to do it professionally is a blessing. I play with a ton of emotion—maybe too much at times, but who cares!
If you’ve never heard the Used, then you should. If anything you should see us live, because we kick ass for an hour and a half every night, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks again to Modern Drummer.