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The Used prepare for the soul eating contest their hometown in Utah holds in the spring.
Image courtesy Warner Music

Music Interview: Leaving behind Mormonville

The intensity of The Used scares the Jesus out of Buddha

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New York, Seattle and London are expected to give birth to rock bands. With their liberal mindset, these big cities have nourished bands like Kiss, Nirvana and The Clash. However, more conservative landscapes pose greater difficulty for the avant-garde.

Hailing from Orem, Utah means coming to terms with living in a conservative wasteland where hatred is reserved for homosexuals and atheists in the name of religion, a place where art is the missionary at your doorstep and literature is the religious tract invariably lining your back pocket week after week. If you're not singing about God, you're not welcome. Something hard rock band The Used know very well.

"It was hard, because there weren't really any bands that came out of Utah that were like, the way we were," says the band's drummer Branden Steineckert. "No one did what we were trying to do. So it made it hard­--it's not the most music-oriented place, either."

Such is The Used's beginnings: overcoming closed-minded religious fanaticism to create compelling and sincere music, performing it with their own trademark style and fervor. The intensity of their live performance makes for an unpredictable experience. Lead singer Bert McCracken is known to throw various pieces of stage equipment into the audience and even scream with so much ferocity he actually vomits, an incident referred to as "Bertie's Madness." Needless to say, such antics are generally not well received by straight-laced club owners.

"Everywhere we played, people wouldn't let us back because of the way we play," chuckles Steineckert, reminiscing. "I think it would frighten some people."

For The Used, frightening people and getting thrown out of clubs is part of the gig. However, their difficulty in converting Mormons into punks has led them into financial difficulties. Lacking financial support from mommy and daddy, the boys sometimes resort to panhandling to raise funds. It has showed them the necessity of holding onto a lousy job.

"The hardest thing was just not really having the things to even be in a band," says Steineckert. "Simple things like gear and a place to play and practice."

"We had to hit total bottom to realize that we actually needed shitty jobs and needed money, and needed all this stuff when we just started," adds bassist Jeph Howard. "It was like, 'Fuck, we have to. We have to get these shitty ass jobs, and we have to fuckin' find a house to live in or something to rent out and we have to do all this.'"

But dead end jobs, panhandling and life on the streets has paid off for the quartet. The Used received critical acclaim for their latest release­--their sophomore album In Love and Death--and currently headline the Taste of Chaos tour selling out venues across North America.

"We weren't expecting [success] the first time, so this time around we didn't know what to expect," says Steineckert. "We'd already surpassed anything we thought we could do, so we didn't care anymore. If we sell 150 copies, cool. We just did it [In Love and Death] how we wanted to do it and hoped for the best and, so far, it's just done surprisingly well again."

The Used is a modern-day Cinderella story and their rags-to-riches tale renews an inspiration to struggling artists everywhere. As the saying goes, "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." For the band, if not stronger, then at least more appreciative.

"We definitely wouldn't appreciate it the same if we hadn't [worked so hard]," says Howard, "If it was handed to us, it wouldn't mean shit. It just kinda makes it all mean that much more--it makes it more sincere."

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Comments

The Used are effin awesome! i love them!i love their newest albumn in love and death! i hope to see them live soon...!! sounds like they would totaly kick ass!!Keep Rockin!

the used are one of the best bands around right now, keep the albums coming bert :P

THE USED IS ONE OF THE GREATEST BANDS IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE THEM I WOULD BE HONERED TO MEET THEM!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY ARE SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

um there the best band in the WHOLE WORLD AND ME AND BERT AND QUINN UH UH NANAN

the used are so awsom. they are the best band ever. im in a band and the whole band wants to be like the used. Quinn and bert are so HOT!!!!!!!! I LOVE THEIR ALBUM IN LOVE AND DEATH. i would love to see them live.

the used are my favorite band ever. they rock. bert is so sexy. i could(and do)listen to them all day. i love them he he he frikin rock on

the used are my favourite band in the world their music speaks to me and i completly understand everything they sing about they are an excellent caring group of guys who i will admire for a long time!

love Caitlin

Hey The Used

I'm a 13-year-old girl who'se completely infatuated with your zounds. LOLz11111!!1. I think u r so hot, Pleaze let me have your children. heres my phone number... Oh wait, you're not Chingy!

i still looking for bert mccrackin, he is so fucking hot. i live in the same city. im so siked about that. your music is amazing. ditn ever leave orem. you give hope to those bands converting from mormanizm. many teens look up to you as their hero, such as me.

The Used is the best fuckin band ever I Love Bert he's so fuckin hot!I LOVE THE USED!!!!

The Used is fuckin AMAZING! I cant wait for your show in TEXAS. You guys are, like I said, FUCKING AMAZING. I absolutly love you all.

oi caras eu curto muito suas musicas mais nem sei nada de vcs um beijo

eu sou do brasil, falo portuguÍs por isso naum to entendendo nada dese site, mais queria falar que gosto muito de vocÍs , gostaria muito que vocÍs me escrevesse um email falando de vocÍs, ou mesmo para mi mandar um oi ta bom tchau tchau...

i've got news. Vermont's the same way. if you arent singing about how great the field and the cows or GOD is... well than you can forget even trying to make it at all. i've been in so many bands, and not one has made it. sometimes i feel like giving up... but i cant. i wont. the music is what counts. not the gigs. not the time. the music. what yuo and your friends make when yuor jamming and sreaming, and puking your guts out on a stage you've made in the backyard out of a picnic table. thats where we started, and since we're not gettng anywhere, where we'll probably end up. yes it sucks, but hey, we had a great time. the Used are our idols... rock hard til you get to hel*

The Used is a great band for emotional purposes. It helps me keep emotionally stable. From cutting my wrist. It lets the tears flow from my eyes. And away from a blood stained death bed. Great job people. You make all the difference in probably more lives than you know. Just keep up the hard work. And don't slack off jsut because things get easier. I did not have to tell you that though. Well this is the end of this comment. Au revoire.

i dont think it's very nice that your catagorizing all mormons in the same way, they aren't all closed minded annoying, we hate everyone whos not just like us type people. Some are, but aren't some muslims and some catholics and lutherens and everything else. it's retarted how yall are saying "hatreds saved for gays"...or whatever, my best guy friend ever is gay and the ONLY people who dont give him crap about it are me and my friends (who are mostly mormons), dude and yall are my faviorite band but give the utah thing a break! ohhh, poor me i came from utah where my parents were actually mormons and taught me values.....ohhhh wo is me.... im losing tons of respect for you from all this

hey
the used is definetley the best band in the fukin world cant wait 2 c ur guys show in thunder bay!!!

The Used is the best band in the world, they inspired my band to start up i just hope we are as succesfullas them but of corse no one can be as good as them afterall they are one of the best bands of all time!! i hope i can meet em' some day! they rock!!

I love The Used and i have for a long time. They are the greatest band in the world. I cant wait to see them in concert.

I love the used... i worship bert... i listen to them 24/7 and it drives my mom and dad mental...but thats OK cuz they're fuckin awsome......i have two sexyliciouse posters and three CDs and thats what i live by.... their music has a lot of personal meaning to me and sometimes i get so deep into thought listening to it i cry..soo... if bert brandon quinn or jeph by any chance come across this...I FUCKING LOVE YOU ... tehehehehehe, tata doll ;)

The Used is my all time favorite band u guyz rock!!!!!!!!!! i am a huge fan!!!! I love the used.. the used is THE BEST BAND EVER.

u guyz rock i listen to u all the time. keep making ur muzic cuz if u stop i'll die. i wanna see ur band play live but i live in sask and i dont think u guyz will ever play there but i reall hope u do sometime, i'll buy tickets forsure. i love u guys and ur muzic. u guys are so friken hot!!!!!!!! Rock On!!

my coz let me borrow her cpy of your CD i had never heard of you before, once i started lisaning i couldent stop she never got her CD back she had to buy another (LOL)

Are you kidding me. Salt Lake has had Punk/Speed Metal and Alternative bands since 1977...and yes even Orem and Provo. Know your history before you think you're on to something new. Bands such as L.D.S. (Lucifers Death Squad), The Atheist, The Massacre Guys, Tiny Fag Puppets (from Provo), Spittin Teeth, Bad Yodelers, Potato Heads, Blind Parade, Angle and many more. Brad Collins from Raunch Records started playing this type of music on K.R.C.L in 1979. He also started his record store in 1984. Salt Lake has been on the map long before "The Used" came along. And there were crazier bastards in Utah that would blow away the singer from "The Used." I give "The Used" one big Yawwwwwwwnnnnnnn.

the used fukin rocks and needs to show up in dallas again and again and again.

i really love the used.. im pretty sure they are the best band ever!!!! its refreshing to hear their unique style of music..i cant wait to see them in concert!

Ok all i have to say is
THE USED FUCKIN ROCK N IF NEONE SAYS THEY DONT THEN BLEH GO AWAY COZ THEY OWN! and QUINN is so hott:D:D:D

The Used kicks ass. Me and my friends so know how it feels to be making a band and trying to make it through, you guys are an awesome inspiration, i absolutly am in fucking love with you guys! My friend chloe can sing almost exactly like u guys and im a bassist. You make us appriciate evrything even though we're from a shit ass town and everything. We know we can do it, we'll be seein ya up there on stage one day! we hope anyways haha

You guys r the best. i find it interesting the way you guys got together. OH BILLY YOUR HOTT.

The Used are the best band ever!!! I know what it's like to have closed minded Mormon parents.I was stoked to hear you in concert, but tickets sold out :-( I love your music, and I always will.All of you are AWESOME! Good luck and rock on!!!!