Burning Stars: Name and position in the band.
Tom Keeley (guitar/vocals): My name is Tom and I play guitar in the band Thursday.
BS: Give us a brief history of Thursday.
Tom: It's been eight years so I don't know how brief, but Tucker the drummer and I started playing together in high school,
started a straight edge hardcore band, then when we went to college, sort of learned how to write songs outside of the hardcore
genre, met all the other guys in New Brunswick, started playing shows in basements. It was a really good punk community in
New Brunswick, really supportive, so we got to play a lot of shows with our friends. It's a really great community and
eventually we decided to try and start touring and made it across the country and back and never had a reason to go back to
doing what we were doing before this band. Eight years later, we're on Warped Tour.
BS: Why did you pick the name Thursday?
Tom: It's sort of the answer to the idea behind the Smiths where the name is more anonymous than anything. It's so
commonplace that it's really hard to derive any notion of sound or meaning. It's just kind of anonymous. At the same time,
there were a lot of punk bands with very long winded names, it's kind of a reaction to that. We didn't want to be the most
important band in the world, we just wanted to be sort of anonymous.
BS: You recorded the new record at Tarbox Studios. Can you tell us what it was like recording there and why you chose to
Tom: It was cool. It was a cabin, in the middle of the woods, a couple hours from here actually. It's basically the only studio
Dave Fridmann works at and he's the producer we wanted to go with. He said he could get the best results out of his own
place so we didn't want to mess with that. Going up there two weeks at a time, six weeks total. It was great, it was really, really
nice to get out of New Jersey for a record. We've done every record in the same place, so to have, from start to finish, a change
of scenery, brought a totally different vibe to the whole record.
BS: Why was "Counting 5-4-3-2-1" chosen as the first single?
Tom: You know, it's kind of bullshit to be honest. We've never really set out to write a single. I think maybe once we tried to
write a single and it didn't really work out. The way we write, we just write what feels right. If there's something that someone
else at the label thinks is a single that's usually how we pick it. We don't try to do it and we don't write songs for the sake of
being on the radio. I guess that was the song that the people at the label thought would have the best chance at radio or
whatever and we gave it to them and really all it did was make people not like the song. The idea of singles, I'm kind of over
that whole thing, selling your band on the radio, because all it does is alienate the people who care about you. You kind of lose
the song. When we have the discussion about which song is going to go out to the public first as a single, the people generally
end up hating it because it's a single and they scream sell out and all this stuff, when really, we just wanted to write a song we
cared about and it gets kind of sacrificed to the world of radio.
BS: What is the story behind the video?
Tom: The story behind the video is sort of an impressionistic version of trying to get out of your town. The main character is
sort of trapped in this town that is falling apart around him and the only way to get out of town is through this train track and
this train is coming to block him off if he doesn't make it, then he'll be stuck where he is. It's sort of a play on something that
happened to Geoff, a friend of his who he used to fantasize with about getting out of the town and what they would do once
they got out, where they would go, and his friend actually got hit by a train and never made it out of the town. It's sort of a
reflection on the whole event.
BS: What was your favorite song to record and why?
Tom: It would be "Running From The Rain". The recording process this time around was a lot freer, it wasn't so uptight like in
the past and that was one of the songs that was one of the songs that was really a departure for us. It was really exciting
knowing that it was going to be on the record and that we could really play around with our sound and do something totally
different for our band. So recording it, it was sort of like a crossroads, for me as a member of this band, knowing that we're
definitely expanding our sound and that there are so many more options. Now that we've made this record, we can go in a lot
of different directions and play with a lot of different styles. That song was kind of a marker for that event happening. It was
BS: I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about the new record. How have the reviews been from your point of view?
Tom: It's been great. Critically, I've read two bad reviews, and they were from my two least favorite magazines, Rolling Stone
and Spin. So it's kind of like, "Who really cares?" and personally, I think it's the best record we've ever done. I think that there's
something that happened with people who go to shows. We've only been lumped in with the screamo category or whatever
and screamo become pop music, really popular and very formulaic and the last thing we want to do is write a pop screamo
record. I think the people are confused because we're lumped in with that genre, they expect us to write a Used song or
whatever - no offense to the Used, I'm not bashing them - I'm just saying we get lumped in together and we don't want to
write those kinds of songs. So people, when they don't hear screaming, they get confused. I think Thursdays always been
about playing with the rules and being sort of on the outskirts of what's acceptable and also having a bit of acceptability. So
there are a bunch of people who are confused by it because it's not a pop screamo record and there are a bunch of people who
are excited about it. Actually a lot of people that had mixed feelings have come around and expressed later on a couple weeks
later after they've given the record a chance, that they really liked the record. If we're making people think, that's only a good
BS: A lot of bands now list Thursday as one of their influences. How does that feel?
Tom: Surreal. We never thought that we'd be anything but just a link in the chain in the history of punk music and the last
thing we expected was to be an influence to anyone. We just wanted to write songs and try to tour. It's amazing. It's very
BS: Who has influenced you
Tom: We get influences from everywhere. We started off with hardcore punk music, like Hot Water Music, straight edge stuff,
when we were younger, but we also have influences that range from classical rock to modern pop to jazz, whatever. It's kind
of all over the place.
BS: If you were not playing in the band, what do you think you would be doing?
Tom: I'd probably be doing some sort of illustration or I don't know. I'd probably still be in college... eight years later.
BS: What are the plans for the future?
Tom: Just touring, lots of touring. We're going to Australia, going to festivals in the UK, then a headlining tour with Rise
Against and Circa Survive and Billy Talent in the fall.
BS: Any last words?
Tom: Thanks for doing an interview.
Thursday interview by: Julie Magyar