by MIKE CHAIKEN
Dashboard Confessional’s current tour is about just that… touring.
The band was at Foxwoods’s Grand Theater this past Friday with Third Eye Blind. And in a phone interview from Charlotte, N.C., the band’s singer/songwriter Chris Carrabba said the tour is about the band hitting the road and playing together.
Chris, a West Hartford native, explained Dashboard Confessional, which has not released a new album since 2009, was approached to regroup for some dates. It was kind of a chance to feel things out, Chris said. Those dates begat some interest in Dashboard Confessional touring again. That venture was the jaunt that brought the West Hartford native to the casino.
And Chris said this current tour is all about figuring out whether Dashboard Confessional wants to tour again beyond this summer.
If that tour works out, said Chris, then, just maybe, he said Dashboard Confessional will consider recording a follow-up to 2009’s “Alter the Ending.”
That not to say Chris has been on the sidelines and idle as Dashboard Confessional has been waiting in the wings.
Chris is constantly on the road with his other venture, the more rootsy Twin Forks. And he is writing music.
“It’s daily,” said Chris of his songwriting ventures.
Chris said he begins each day by writing music. When he begins to write, he has no real goal in mind… other than to finish the song.
New music for Dashboard Confessional takes more effort. When Chris writes for Twin Forks, or when he writes for other artists, he said it’s an intentional process. But for Dashboard Confessional, the songs come when the songs come.
Since Chris always needs to write, he said he would find it frustrating to just waiting for a Dashboard Confessional song to come to mind.
That’s why he finds other outlets for his songwriting skills.
Chris’s songwriting stature to the world at large was boosted recently when a song he penned helped propel fellow Nutmegger Nick Fradiani to this year’s “American Idol” title.
Chris said he had been approached by the producers at “American Idol” about using one of his songs—“Vindicated” for one of the competitors. Chris said he didn’t know who the competitor was. And he wanted to know first before he agreed.
Chris said the people at “AI” didn’t expect anyone to balk at using one of their songs on the show. Although they weren’t supposed to tell him, Chris said they relented and told him the song would be used by Nick if he reached the finals.
Even before one of his songs picked by Nick, Chris said he was drawn to the singer. Someone told him that there was a singer from Connecticut competing on “American Idol,” so Chris said he tuned in.
Immediately, Chris said he felt an affinity for Nick. Nick’s haircut was similar to Chris’s. He carried an acoustic guitar like Chris. “This guy and I are going to be friends,” Chris said he told himself. “I hope this guy wins. I hope he gets to tour and we’ll do it together.”
Chris said he felt Nick was someone with passion and a good heart. “I felt this guy was just like me,” said Chris.
Knowing that his song would be used by Nick, Chris said he had no problem with giving the producers at “American Idol” the green light.
Little did Chris expect that Nick would take “A Beautiful Life’ on to victory.
Nick’s win was a in for Chris. The “AI” title earned Chris all sorts of congratulations from friends and family.
“To be successful in Connecticut is so important to the people to Connecticut,” said Chris, who went to Hall High School in West Hartford, where he still has lots and lots of family and friends. “To other people, Connecticut is a place like any other place,” said Chris. “To me it’s the center of my world.”
Nick’s victory has generated a lot of interest in his songwriting, Chris said. “Which is nice.”
Whoever asks for a song, he says yes to. “I love to write songs,” said Chris.
Dashboard Confessional’s current tour is a co-headlining gig is with Third Eye Blind.
Asked how the pairing took shape, Chris explained Dashboard Confessional knew it was going to do a summer tour. But when the suggestion was made for a co-headliner, Chris said it depended on the co-headliner.
Third Eye Blind was the first band discussed, and they didn’t have to go any further, said Chris.
Chris said he had seen Third Eye Blind three times: before they were big; when they were generating their biggest hits; and after career shifted from radio-driven to fan driven. That most recent time, Chris said he saw a band with the same passion as they had when they were playing a small club. They were also better. “They were everything they learned along the way,” said Chris.
Chris also saw a band with a similarly eclectic audience as Dashboard Confessional. Their crowd attracted everyone from a girl attending Miss Porter’s School to a burly biker with a neck tattoo. Dashboard Confessional also will find a variety of fans at its shows.
As for what’s next on tap following the tour, Chris said he hasn’t really decided what Dashboard Confessional will be doing. The key for Chris is to balance Dashboard Confessional and Twin Forks. Twin Forks is always on the road and Chris never gets tired of it. When Dashboard Confessional was on the road forever, Chris said they would always get burnt out.
And right now, Chris said, “I want to steer clear of that of that pothole.”
Right now, there are things being discussed, said Chris. But there have been no firm decisions made.