Emo-tinged rock band The Used play the Back to the Beach Festival this weekend alongside the likes of Story of the Year, Anthony Green and Reel Big Fish. We spoke to bassist Jeph Howard about what we can expect.
L.A. WEEKLY: The band is 18 years old now — how has it grown and evolved, particularly in recent years?
JEPH HOWARD: We’ve evolved as humans as things have happened in life, and I think when we write we jam together as a band. I’m extrapolating a little bit, but somebody will come up with an idea and we’ll jam that together, put everybody’s personal experiences and vibe into the song. I think the way that we’ve changed and evolved as a band is each person in the band has changed and grown, and is into different music and lifestyles. We all live in completely different places. We’re all very different people but we’re all best friends at the same time.
It's been a couple of years since The Canyon. Is there any sign of a new album?
We are currently writing. We’ve written, I would say, 15 decently solid ideas that need some work. We’re getting into it right now, so hopefully we’ll start recording within the next couple of months and then have a record out either at the end of this year or the start of next year.
Where is the band based now?
That’s complicated. Two of us live in California. Bert [McCracken, vocals] lives in Australia and I live in Hawaii. It makes it a little difficult. But I would say we’re based out of California, because that’s where all of our gear is at, that’s just where we meet up and rehearse. The writing process works out pretty well. We all meet back in L.A. and rehearse. The internet is amazing now — you can just send songs and ideas. Everyone has a computer and we can add our own parts to it. We can all talk about it. It’s a really exciting way to write. But we usually end up meeting up hashing out ideas together because that seems to be the best for us ultimately.
Are you looking forward to this Back to the Beach festival?
It’s two days, split in half. Bert and Joey [Bradford, guitar] did a song with Anthony Green at Emo Nite in L.A. and it was awesome. I’m hoping something like that will happen again. LowLives are awesome. Story of the Year, of course. Less Than Jake are awesome. The saxophone player in Reel Big Fish was a studio engineer on our second record. He’s a super good friend of ours, and also one of the most talented guys ever. I wish we were on the Goldfinger and Blink-182 night, obviously. But I’m excited about a lot. Plus, who can beat a venue that’s on the beach.
What can we expect from your set?
Hopefully, we’re gonna have some help with some of the songs. Some friends coming up. Definitely playing all the hits and the stuff that we like playing. Some special guests. I’m hoping Anthony Green comes back up with us. We’ll do some covers — just some little surprises we like to throw in there. A rock show plus.
When that's over, what else do you have coming up this year?
We have a tour called Disrupt, which is gonna be huge. Thrice is on it, and so many great bands. Sum 41, Story So Far, Atreyu — it’s gonna be a monster tour, man. We’re gonna try to record two songs before that tour and maybe release one or two of those. Then the record later on in the year.
Back to the Beach takes place on Saturday, April 27, and Sunday, April 28, at Huntington State Beach.