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Riley Breckenridge: Thrice Working On New Music While On Tour With Deftones, Rise Against

BOSTON (CBS) — This week on The Hurley Edition, Riley Breckenridge of the band Thrice joined Michael Hurley on the phone from the tour bus.

With some friendly New York City car horns in the background, Breckenridge talked about life on the road 18 years after the band was formed, why the band opted to open for Deftones and Rise Against instead of headlining a tour, and also what was a significant turning point in the band’s history.

On the decision to open for Deftones and Rise Against…
Saying no to a Deftones and Rise Against tour would be stupid, I think. So as soon as they offered it to us, we kind of jumped at the opportunity. And at this point in our record cycle — we’ve already done two three-week headline tours, we’ve done a bunch of festival shows, we’ve been to Europe and the U.K. twice — with the record being out for like a year already, it kind of makes sense to do a support spot instead of doing something like a headliner.

On the major difference of playing as an opener…
It’s crazy. … You get trough the first block of songs in a setlist, and I look down and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, we only have two more songs to play? I’m just getting loose.’ It’s pretty crazy.

On the challenges of paring down a massive catalog for an eight-song, 45-minute set…
Ah man, it’s really tough. It’s really tough. It’s tough for any tour but especially with only eight songs to play. Obviously you want to showcase the new record so you gotta include a handful of songs from that. … It’s tough and I think we’re still trying to figure it out. Every night we kind of evaluate how stuff’s going over and talk about how we can switch it up to make it go over a little bit better.

On writing new music while on tour…
Everybody’s been working on stuff individually. We’ve been talking about ideas that we’ve been sharing. That’s something we talked about before we left for this tour. We’re not a headliner, we’re not really getting sound checked every day, we’re only playing for 35-40 minutes — there’s a lot of down time, so we need to make sure that while we’re all in the same place at the same time we need to take advantage of that time and spend it doing things that are productive for the band.

On the significance of the creative leap taken by the band in the 2005 album ‘Vheissu’…
I don’t think we would be a band anymore if we didn’t make that record. It was incredibly important for us to do what we wanted to do there, kind of push back against what the label wanted. … In hindsight, I’m super proud of it. I’ve had a lot of people tell me how important that record has been, that maybe they didn’t get it at the time but they ended up loving it. That’s a really, really important record for us, and like I said, I really don’t think we’d be a band if we hadn’t made that choice to do what we did.

On the feeling of hearing Thrice being played in some sports arenas around North America…
It’s wild. When we started this band, the goal was to play a local show at a real venue and stop playing house shows and people’s parties and stuff. Our goals have always been very, very small steps forward. So it was never like, ‘We’re going to start a band and then we’re going to get signed and then we’re going to get on a major label and then we’re going to make videos and travel all over the world and then people are going to use our songs in sports arenas.’ It never even crossed my mind, so when it first started happening I was just like, you’d get chills. It’s so cool, because I’m super into sports and I was always wondering why they played like … mostly crummy music at stadiums.

Riley also discussed the changes to the music industry and what it’s like to release a new record in the era of streaming, how he handles the instant criticism that social media allows, the wonderful side project known as Puig Destroyer, the anguish of being on the DL in men’s league baseball, the woes of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, what it was like to play a show in Boston as a Lakers fan during Game 7 between the Celtics and Lakers in the NBA Finals, and more.

Thrice is currently on tour, headlining a show in New Haven on Thursday and opening for Deftones and Rise Against on Friday in Boston.

If you’re interested in listening to Thrice, check out this Spotify playlist.

You can follow Riley on Twitter @rileybreck.

Be sure to follow The @Hurley_Edition on Twitter.

You can listen to The Hurley Edition in the audio player above, on iTunes, on Stitcher, on Soundcloud, and on CBS Boston.

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