When Fred Mascherino announced that his side-project The Color Fred, coupled with disagreements with his former band-mates over songwriting direction had lead him to quit Taking Back Sunday, it was anyone's guess how successful his solo endeavor would prove to be.
For the most part, Mascherino's new band has silenced doubters. The Color Fred's debut album Bend to Break has lead to a summer-long stint on the Warped Tour as well as a stop at Bamboozle Left back in May where Punknews interviewer Ronnie Raffaniello snagged an opportunity to ask Mascherino some questions.
What inspired you to leave Taking Back Sunday and start your solo career?
I was feeling the desire to sing more and at the same time we were starting to write the fourth Taking Back Sunday record and I was just a lot happier with what I was writing on my own than with what we were writing together, so I decided that was where my future was going to be.
What has been the best thing so far for you in The Color Fred?
Well, whenever a band first starts, it's always the most exciting part in the band. So, there's been a lot of things. But I would say the fact that we're able to play great shows like today at Bamboozle and knowing that I'm now fronting the band and these are my songs. That's probably the best part.
When you left Taking Back Sunday, were you worried about what would happen with your solo career? Why or why not?
No. Foolishly, I am the type of guy that takes leaps of faith and sometimes I fall flat on my face and sometimes I live. But I felt really good about it at the time and I still think it was a really good thing. Obviously I'm still alive.
What was the writing process like for your album, Bend to Break?
I started writing the record about a year before it came out and I was taking songs that I had been messing around with off and on. It was originally thought of as a solo project and I intended on having it go along side of Taking Back Sunday, but as the songs started taking shape I was getting really excited. I guess I didn't quite answer the question well. The actual process is that I would get together with our drummer, Steve, and play with him and then we would record demos together. I would take it home and sing over it and put the other instruments down and then by the time we went to make the record we had everything demoed really well.
Did you have a lot of demos when you went in and had to cut them down?
Yeah, I had over 40 songs written for Bend to Break. We went through them, I picked my favorites and there were about 20, and the producer picked his favorites and we just kept talking about what kind of record we wanted and that's how we came up with the 11 on the record.
Was that hard?
Yeah, well, you know, you hate to cut your babies off the list, but some of those songs that got cut I've continued working on and they'll be on the next record along with a brand new one.
What was your tour with Angels and Airwaves, Meg and Dia, and Ace Enders like?
The tour with Angels and Airwaves was incredible. That band really knows how to take care of the bands they tour with and were very generous and just cool to hang out with in general. everyone in that band was pretty mellow, there wasn't any hard partying or anyone too crazy. It was just like everyone became friends after a short period of time.
How did you meet photographer Ryan Russell and become involved as one of his clients?
Ryan Russell is a legend [laughs] and he's hilarious as well. Ryan and I met when he did his first photo-shoot for Taking Back Sunday, and for one reason or another he and I really hit it off. We've spent many nights together hanging out just making each other laugh and that's basically all our relationship is about. Obviously we respect what each other does a lot and its a good relationship, but mostly its based on his good looks.
If you had to choose one odd instrument to be a part of your next album, what would you choose and why? I would like to hear an accordion, and I was listening to Jeff Buckley the other day and he did an intro with accordion on it. I know a kid who plays really well, but I've never asked him to play on my record and I'm going to. We used the accordion sound on Bend to Break, but I want to even feature it a little bit more.
Any last words?
I would just say to definitely look into what our band is also doing with our packaging as far as us on the global warming issue. That's something that's really important to the band and there's a lot of things that people can do that are nearly effortless that would help the whole cause.