By MIKE CHAIKEN
Over seven years have passed since Dashboard Confessional released its last studio album, 2009’s “After the Ending.”
However, Chris Carrabba, who essentially is Dashboard Confessional, hasn’t exactly been a hermit during that time.
Dashboard Confessional has been on the road… a lot. Carrabba recorded with a side project, Twin Forks. And he’s been writing a lot of music for other people.
Now, however, Carrabba has been back in the studio with his band. In a phone interview, the Connecticut native said he feels the effort is really close to being set loose into the world at large.
Dashboard Confessional comes to Foxwoods Resort Casino on Aug. 4 with All-American Rejects.
Carrabba said the new album follows an artistic path that he detoured away from thanks to the advice of music industry experts who were interested in getting him hit records.
Carrabba, in a phone interview, explained that after 2003’s “A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar,” he found himself at a fork in the road creatively. He saw one path that he felt he should take. But he took the other path that others favored for him. It was a decision he now regrets.
For the new album, said Carrabba, “I’ve done my best to go back to that fork.” It’s a road that’s a little more rocky, a little less safe. “But it’s more in line with the writer and person I am.”
One piece of advice he received after “A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar” still eats away at him.
Carrabba was told: “Lyrics don’t matter.”
But, Carrabba said, “I do think lyrics matter.”
And they matter for music fans, too, said Carrabba.
The leader of Dashboard Confessional cited Ed Sheeran as an example of a best selling artist whose lyrics are key to his success.
“Hearing that lyrics don’t matter was disturbing to me,” said Carrabba.
“If I had one gift, it is that I write lyrics that might be difficult for most people to make melodic. Lyrics are massively important to me.”
When he reached the creative fork in the road, the theory was the path he took would lead to commercial success.
But Carrabba said it never happened. “I never had a true radio hit.”
He has had a steady career.
“My lot in life is pretty good,” said Carrabba. “There are not many people who started with me who are doing this any more.”
But the hits never came as promised when he took the wrong fork in the road.
Over the past few years, Dashboard Confessional has become a band of road warriors. They play live gig after live gig.
And Carrabba believes all of that playing live has benefited the band and his song writing. “I know I come home with a thousand songs hidden in that guitar,” said Carrabba. “They pour out. It seems to be just when I run out of territory to explore, the next tour comes along.”
Carrabba grew up in West Hartford, Conn. And when he plays in the Nutmeg State, it’s always a chance to catch up with family and friends.
But these days, Carrabba said his homecoming is more about family and friends reconnecting with him rather than them being excited to see him perform.
When he steps into Connecticut, Carrabba said he’s a son, cousin, nephew, and friend. For the people who have known him for years, he’s just Chris— not the leader of Dashboard Confessional.
There have been stories in the music press about how the music industry is seeing an emo revival— with new bands– like The Hotelier, Citizen, Have Mercy– looking to groups like Dashboard Confessional for inspiration.
But Carrabba said there have been bands revisiting emo for years. Now, however, the revival is reaching a crest because the bands mining emo are very good. “It’s one of the best batches I’ve seen in years,” said Carrabba. The quality of the bands, not just there presence, is what’s so significant about this revival, said Carrabba.
When Dashboard Confessional comes to Connecticut, they will be joined by All-American Rejects (“Move Along,” “Dirty Little Secret”).
“I’m so lucky I get to choose bands whose records I love,” said Carrabba. “They’re a great live band with tons of hits.”
Additionally, Carrabba said the members of All-American Rejects are a bunch of great guys onstage and off stage. “They’re a blast to be around.”
Dashboard Confessional and The All-American Rejects come to the Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Friday, Aug. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, $45, and $55.
For more information, go to Foxwoods.com or DashboardConfessional.com