Blender “I’m Out of My Head!”

20. června 2008 v 20:38 | gree |  Bert
je to něco jako životopis s rozhovorem,přeberte si to pokud trochu zvládáte anglinu,je to zajímavý dozvíte o tam jaký drogy Bert užíval,o vyrůstání v Utahu a taky pár zajímavostí,který i mě překvapily:)
"I'd been awake for six days. I weighed 84 pounds. I knew I was gonna die."
-BERT McCRACKEN
ust an hour after McCracken's arrival in Salt Lake City, his non-smoking hotel room is foggy with cigarette plumes, and the ice bucket serves as an oversize ashtray. A creaky room-service trolley holds toasted cheese sandwiches and bottles of beer. An old friend offers to roll a joint with Bible paper. A tall blonde vainly attempts to tell McCracken an anecdote.

The singer, however, won't be distracted from his just-completed CD In Love and Death, the Used's furious second album. He rocks back and forth on the floor, his eyes red from sleeplessness, his long black hair spilling over his face.

In his 22 years, McCracken has been a Mormon, a Hare Krishna, a straight-edger, a gymnast and a crystal-meth addict. Right now, it's impossible to imagine him functioning as anything other than a rock star. He inhabits a realm of benign chaos, where timekeeping is shown the same cavalier disregard as smoking restrictions.

Sometimes, he does things that don't make much sense, even to himself. Backstage at 2002's KROQ Acoustic Christmas concert in L.A., he was so excited to see Billy Corgan that he stuck out his foot and sent the alt-rock legend flying. Corgan retaliated with a fierce kick to McCracken's ribs. Then, two months later, McCracken ended his tabloid relationship with Kelly Osbourne over his cellphone on Valentine's Day.

"I really freaked out that day," he says, brandishing a cigarette as In Love and Death blasts from the stereo. "I'm pretty much out of my own head a lot of times. I feel a lot more crazy than I think that I should feel."

* * * * *
Prior to the Used's 2002 self-titled debut, Utah's contributions to American popular music consisted of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Osmonds. McCracken, oddly, has connections with both: He was a chorister at school, and once played in a straight-edge band with Donny Osmond's son. "[Osmond] was kind of like, 'What's this guy doing screaming?'" McCracken says. "But he was a rocker, too. He knows how it goes."

The radical contradictions embodied by his home state are etched into the band members' personalities. During the three days Blender is in Salt Lake City, a restaurateur is arrested for allowing customers to dance past the legal deadline of 2 A.M. Also in that period, a local free paper calls crystal meth "Utah's drug of choice." Drummer Branden Steineckert sums it up: "People tend to go to extremes here 'cause it's so conservative."

Raised in the strait-laced suburbs of Provo and Orem, a half-hour's drive south of Salt Lake City, all four members of the Used - McCracken, Steineckert, guitarist Quinn Allman and bassist Jeph Howard - grew up as outcasts. As kids, they were frowned upon by Mormons, attacked by straight-edgers, ostracized by family members and arrested by the Provo Police Department.

Later, struggling in a bunch of self-described "god-awful" bands, they panhandled for change and crashed on friends' couches. When those friends turned on them, complaining they felt "used," the band's name was born.

Even the Used's subsequent success (half a million albums sold, triumphant stints on the Ozzfest and Warped tours) provoked suspicion. It stemmed partly from the speed of their rise - and a little from McCracken's habit of screaming so hard he threw up onstage (hence their association with the emo subgenre "screamo"). But mostly it stemmed from a certain high-profile girlfriend, Kelly Osbourne, whom McCracken met during the 2002 Ozzfest, when she mistook him for a roadie. He later figured in two episodes of MTV's The Osbournes, much to his discomfort.

"I felt embarrassed for my band, because I knew that it bummed them out," says McCracken. "But at the same time, I didn't give a fuck because I really liked that girl."

This time, the Used are set to be famous for the right reasons. They're playing on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution tour, and In Love and Death is a mighty creative leap forward: a muscularly melodic set of pop-smart hardcore which resembles Coldplay as often as it does Fugazi. Like Kurt Cobain, McCracken can shift gears from a pitch-perfect howl of rage to the kind of angelic croon you could take home to mom. Despite bursts of taut, imagistic angst, his lyrics have a soft center. "All That I've Got" is a passionate tribute not to a lover but to McCracken's late Chihuahua, the imaginatively named David Bowie. The Used are poised to be crossover giants - as long as they can hold it together.

"I'm not really afraid of exploding," says Allman. "I'm afraid of imploding."

* * * * *
"If you don't fit a certain mold in Provo, you tend to be looked down upon," Steineckert says of his hometown. "People automatically assume that because I have tattoos or a mohawk that I'm a drug dealer. Between looking like I did and being a skateboarder, I was bad news."

This says more about Provo - a bland sprawl of flat, white buildings that look like they could be packed away at 24 hours' notice - than it does about Steineckert, a courteous, talkative 26 year old who has never had a drink, drug or cigarette in his life. The self-professed "dad of the band" lives in a neat, custom-built house with his girlfriend Spike, a black dog called Radio and a retro diner's worth of 1950s memorabilia. It's hard to imagine anyone less suited to sharing a tour bus with McCracken.

"It's actually very difficult," concedes Steineckert. "I don't think less of Bert for doing what he does, but I see him struggling, and I know all that shit's not helping. I wish he could be happy from the high of playing music. I wish that was enough."

Steineckert's Mormon parents divorced when he was 11. His mom soon remarried and his dad killed himself. Dad played drums, and in tribute to his father, Steineckert took it up. "That was my drug of choice," he says.

Steineckert drives Blender into Orem, past the run-down, two-bedroom house he and Howard used to rent together. "This is where it all started," he says. "We collected old mattresses and egg crates and then nailed them all over the walls to soundproof it. We'd use my closet as a vocal booth."

Jeph Howard, 25, lives a block away from his old housemate, in a place done up with red walls and black ceilings, half Japanese restaurant, half Edgar Allan Poe. Fittingly, he says he likes Japanese things: girls, horror movies, food and décor, in that order. "If you're a strict Mormon, you can only watch PG movies," Howard says, shaking his head. "They have these stores that edit movies to make them PG. All the movies I like would be 10 minutes long."

If Howard were any more laidback, he'd never leave the house, but even his equanimity was tested by the Used's punishing schedule. "We toured so much that we wanted to kill each other. We almost did, actually."

Howard thinks the Used's chemistry will always be volatile. "Nobody in this band's alike. We're four totally different elements. I don't know what's going to happen from day to day. Bert gets sick a lot. Somebody's missing. Somebody's mad at somebody. There's drama. We could make the best TV series ever. The Real World is pussy."

* * * * *
"I'm kind of having a brainfuck," Quinn Allman says apologetically. "I have a memory squeegee. Seriously. There's this thing hooked to my head in a different dimension."

The 22 year old is halfway through a sushi meal which, within minutes of leaving the restaurant, he will splatter on a Salt Lake City sidewalk. He has the fallen-angel look of a young, blond John Frusciante and the grogginess of someone who has stayed up all night and slept all day. Half of what he tells Blender makes no sense whatsoever.

This evening, his mood is soured by the fact that his parents have recently moved out of his childhood home and into a trailer. "That house was cool," he says. "We'd stay up all night as kids and watch the sun come up."

Allman's parents have always been liberal anomalies in Utah County. "My dad gave me a crash course in religion early on, so I've always felt pretty alienated. I've never met anyone who had an upbringing like I did - more being against something than really being part of something."

His parents offered an open house to Utah Valley's waifs and strays, one of whom was a post-crystal-meth McCracken. During one fractious period, Allman moved out of the house while McCracken stayed on there.

"He's like my twin brother," the guitarist says. "We're kind of like alter egos - a Tyler Durden kind of thing."

McCracken and Allman's turbulent relationship inspired "Blue and Yellow" on their first album, with its line: "It's all in how you mix the two."

McCracken acknowledges he can be difficult to work with. "I know in my heart that I'm the type of person people can get sick of really easily, because I'm very flamboyant and loud and obnoxious and rude at times," McCracken says. "Not on purpose, just in a joking way."

It's past midnight and McCracken is sitting cross-legged on the floor of Blender's hotel room. Like Allman, he's preoccupied. Kate, the girl to whom he lost his virginity, died on July 4th. He won't say how, but darkly alludes to "habits" they shared during their five-year relationship.

McCracken's backlash against his parents' Mormon strictures was long, erratic and intense. An actor and star gymnast at school, he started dabbling in other religions, from Catholicism to Hare Krishna. He edited a straight-edge fanzine, until other straight-edgers beat him up.

"Of course it drove me in the exact opposite direction," he says. "I started smoking weed and cigarettes, and a month later, I was taking lines of coke, taking as many pills as I could, drinking every day. Then I found crystal, started using needles, fucked around with heroin, and dropped so much acid that I still don't feel right."

Exiled from the family home since his rejection of Mormonism at the age of 15, McCracken hit rock bottom on Christmas Eve one year. "I'd been awake for six days, took a bunch of valium to try to chill out, and I thought I was having a heart attack. I decided right then and there that I couldn't go on. I weighed 84 pounds. I knew I was gonna die."

His rehab process involved what he describes as "rotting away at my parents' house, watching television sitcoms for about a month and smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. Then I met the Used."

McCracken is still not exactly the picture of health. He may have stopped vomiting onstage, but last year, his Surgeon General-baiting diet of beer, cigarettes and junk food induced a bout of pancreatitis. The Used's most potent ingredient is also the most fragile, as the rest of the band know well.

"Without him, I don't have a career," Steineckert says. "I'm not secure that our band will be together in two years. But that insecurity makes today feel better."

The Bert McCracken who makes enemies is a flaky loudmouth. The one who manages to retain loyal friends and bandmates is a goofy, good-natured optimist. He shows Blender his latest tattoo: the word "Love" inscribed on his left wrist.

Love? Why has this crazy-ass king of screamo got something so, well, mushy carved into his arm?

"Because," he says with a sappy grin, "all you need is love."
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Komentáře

1 Angelsfeelings Angelsfeelings | E-mail | 24. června 2008 v 17:01 | Reagovat

Heeej krutě a btw. Budeš to kdyžtak překládat pro ostatní?

2 greenei greenei | Web | 25. června 2008 v 20:45 | Reagovat

pokusím se;)

3 emoholka emoholka | 26. června 2008 v 17:11 | Reagovat

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