On July 13, Dashboard Confessional (Dashboard) will be kicking off a 2017 Summer Tour with support from groups The All-American Rejects (AAR), The Social Animals (7/14-7/23), and The Maine (7/25-8/13). On Thursday, July 6, I had the opportunity to interview lead singer/guitarist of Dashboard Confessional, Chris Carrabba, about the upcoming tour and to learn more about the band.
In previous interviews, Carrabba mentioned the history his band has with AAR, growing up in the same music scene and having similar fan bases. When speaking with The Wilson Billboard, he mentioned how the other bands became involved. Carrabba said that being a fan of a band is a key factor when it comes to choosing the bands they tour with. Another factor that Dashboard considers is who their fans would like to see alongside them.
“The [All-American] Rejects history is [more] obvious, we came up together at the same time. I think it’d be safe to say we watched each other as fans and friends. We both have a certain amount of success doing this thing that we love, and what I love that The [All-American] Rejects and I share is the complete shock that we beat the system. I don’t think any of us expected that we were going to be the guys that would get a career,” Carrabba explained. “So we have a long and intertwining relationship of friendship and mutual fandom. The Maine are friends of friends, and I just wanted them on because I’m a fan. Sometimes it just comes to that, where you get lucky enough where you just take a shot in the dark and wonder if there’s any chance this band might say yes to touring and you take a crack at it. They did, and we were very excited. With The Social Animals, I have another band called Twin Forks, and we did a tour together, and we hit it off. We actually did one Dashboard show with them as well.”
When it comes to their touring set list, Carrabba says that there isn’t a specific song Dashboard favors over performing another, but more so, it depends on the fans they perform for.
“They [the songs] take a different place of importance every night. It’s pushed or pulled by the audience’s interpretation of it,” Carrabba said. However, he went on to mention the last song that struck a chord for him while playing live.
“I think the last few shows of the last tour, I was actually pretty overwhelmed by the song ‘Ghost of a Good Thing.’ I couldn’t tell you why, and I couldn’t say that’s how it’ll be for this tour, but that’s how it was on our last two shows.”
When it came to picking a song to define the band, Carrabba had a more definitive answer.
“I would pick ‘Hands Down,’ and the reason being is that while I’m not sure it’s the best song that we ever made, I do think it resonated pretty deeply with the audience and because of that, I think it’s probably a good invitation to the rest of the catalog,” Carrabba explained. “There’s a lot of songs I have that are a little bittersweet, and this song I think is unabashedly warm, and almost exuberant or something. I think if that one grabs you, you’re probably gonna like the rest of the stuff. And if it doesn’t grab you, well, listen again.”
Future plans are still up in the air for what Dashboard will do following the tour, but Carrabba feels the band is far from slowing down.
“We don’t know how to stop; we proved that when we burned ourselves out and had to take three years off,” Carrabba stated. “We have no idea how to choose our battles responsibly, we just go for it 100 miles an hour. I can’t give you any concrete ‘here’s what’s coming’ because I have no idea. I just want to do it all.
“[However,] I would really like the Twin Forks record to come out relatively soon,” Carrabba continued. “That’s more of a passion project for me. It’s a totally different band, although the players of Dashboard often overlap, because we’re friends, we all play together. I’d like to see that come out, even though it’s tricky ’cause like, I need the year to be longer. I need to figure out a way to make the year longer to be able to do everything I want.”
Being a multi-project focused musician, Carrabba offered advice for anyone wishing to pursue a similar thing, stating, “If you want to be a musician, a real one: it takes an adherence to do the boring stuff, [such as] doing the scales. Your hair and your jeans are really important too, but you have to do your scales, you have to learn to plan time, you have to play with a metronome. If you want this to be your job, your trade, not just your way of becoming more attractive, you have to dedicate yourself to the boring stuff a little bit more. But here’s the other thing: you have to believe in your inner voice, what you’re trying to portray to people, what you need to portray to people, and you need to be unwavering in that belief. And not let anyone, anyone, tell you to be different, to change who you are, to change what that elemental thing inside you is that’s making you into music. But one day, when you change, because you will change because you’re a human being, do not be afraid to change. You yourself can allow/invite the change, but do not allow somebody else to do that for you.”
Dashboard Confessional’s tour begins on July 13 in Costa Mesa, Ca. For a full list of show dates, go to www.dashboardconfessional.com. If already planning to go, Carrabba recommended some songs for the playlist on the trip:
1) “Mass Pike” by The Get Up Kids
2) “Cars and Calories” by Saves the Day
3) “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus
4) “My Friends Over You” by New Found Glory
5) “Sweetness” by Jimmy Eat World
6) “Starships” by Nicki Minaj
7) “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake. “Mostly because that man is a national treasure,” says Carrabba.
8) “Welcome to Paradise” by Green Day. “It’s an oldie, but a goodie,” Carrabba commented.