It’s been nearly ten years since supergroup The Damned Things’ debut album came out. Comprised of members of Fall Out Boy (Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley), Every Time I Die (Keith Buckley), Anthrax (Scott Ian), and Alkaline Trio (Dan Andriano), the band have returned with a second album that feels considerably more organic than their debut ‘Ironiclast’, as guitarist Joe confirms.
“When we originally did the band, Scott, Andy and I were jamming in a warehouse based in Chicago, and then we ended up doing some demos with [producer] Joe Barresi in Pasadena that we never ended up making an album out of. It was very raw and loose, and even though it wasn’t the right thing, to a degree, we wanted to do it.
“Then we had compiled the full band with Rob [Caggiano, The Damned Things’ former guitarist and Anthrax member], and we were forced to do it on a major label because of contractual reasons. All of these things started to happen, and it felt bigger, and I was thinking, ‘Oh shit, we should make sure this production is very slick’.
“With all of our other bands and all of our other records, I should have felt more comfortable in the loose rawness, instead of the complete other direction. I’m proud of [‘Ironiclast’] don’t get me wrong, but I look back, and a lot of people look back on records and think oh I’d change this, this and that, [but] I would start over from the beginning, with the same songs but just do it differently maybe.
“This time I was like, let’s just shoot from the hip. Let’s keep this record raw; let’s not worry about meeting some type of specific rock and roll standard. Also, I wasn’t listening to anything while writing it, so any influence that anyone hears, and people have mentioned some really cool stuff, that made me feel very humble, but it’s completely stuff that I’ve just taken over the years, stuff that exists in my brain, filtered and written through me interpreting from a million miles away.”
The Damned Things have kicked off the album cycle for ‘High Crimes’ with lead single ‘Cells’. It’s energetic and ballsy hard rock, accompanied by a music video where comedic and gory freak accidents occur as the band are jamming in a studio.
“[The video for ‘Cells’] was inspired by a combination of things, definitely a love for horror movies. It’s more in that regard a send off to everything we love about Grindhouse and B movie horror [like] Sleepaway Camp, Maniac… so I wanted to make a video that was comedy, but a comedy horror and lampooning something. The director Brendon Dermer and I came up with the idea of parodying the rock doc thing, so take Guns N Roses’ ‘Patience’ video, which is them jamming in the studio being a rock band, and then turn it on its head genre-wise, at the halfway point so it completely shifts.”