By Mike Machian and Bob Gass
The first act at the Warped Tour 2002 on Tuesday, June 25 was Thursday, who was on the main stage for the first time at the Westfair Amphitheatre.
Thursday has seen many good things happen this past year.
They are set to sign a contract with a major record label, Island/Def Jam, the video for their single, “Understanding in a Car Crash” has been getting regular airplay and their 2001 album Full Collapse has started to sell well for an independent release.
Most bands from the “indie” scene resist the move to a major record label. This is because they fear they will lose control of their image and the sense of family that comes with independent record labels. Thursday’s situation differed, as they made the move to a major label for those reasons.
“That was something we didn’t have 100 percent … before,” says Tom Keeley, guitarist for Thursday.
The “before” Keeley is referring to is Thursday’s previous record contract with Victory Records.
Thursday’s Web site, www.fullcollapse.com, has a statement explaining its problems with Victory Records.
The statement, which explains why Thursday left Victory for Island/Def Jam, explains that the problems started when the owner of Victory Records left the band out of the loop when it came to promotion and other decisions.
The final straw, according to the Web site, came when Thursday learned that part of Victory Records might be sold to MCA. It was not until Thursday was faced with the prospect of changing labels against its will that it “decided to find other options.”
Since its contract forbade Thursday from signing to another independent label, “other options” meant signing with the major label of their choice.
Of all the labels that were now courting Thursday, they felt that Island/Def Jam was the “least businesslike” and “most family like,” say Keeley and Pedulla, respectively.
Keeley says after talking to Island/Def Jam for a while they realized that they were on “similar wavelengths” and knew it was the right choice.
“You may not have money, but you still deserve music,” singer Geoff Rickley said, concluding a short speech giving permission for fans to pirate his music.
Though Keeley acknowledged that music piracy “could possibly hurt sales,” he went on to say, “It’s only beneficial to…people who make music.”
Pedulla said he believes true “music lovers … would love an entire album” and buy it if they enjoyed it.
He thinks the majority of the problem lies with pop music fans. “Those are the people that will generally download songs and not want … this nice CD or record,” he says.
Keeley feels some mainstream musicians share some of the blame.
“I think if bands focused more on making complete albums and weren’t so concerned with one song that stands out … I think it would probably curb [music piracy] a little bit.”
Near the end of the set, Rickley solicited donations to help cover the medical bills of local musician Tim Kasher (Cursive and Good Life). Kasher recently suffered a collapsed lung and has no medical insurance.
“I can’t even imagine how that feels,” says Keeley.
They said they met Kasher at a show but have been longtime fans of his work.
Watching Thursday play, one got the impression they are more at home at a smaller, more intimate shows.
An intimate show, however, is not possible at the Westfair Amphitheatre, where main stage puts you a good 15 feet from the crowd.
Rickley ended Thursdays set by breaching that gulf as he jumped onto the barricade in front of the crowd. From there he sang the last song in the arms of his fans. It’s hard for a show to get more intimate than that at Westfair.