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Album releases used to make him nervous, he says. And now? "I'm too busy to feel anxious about the record coming out," he says, smiling.
Over the phone, Nick Bogardus, Mars Hill's pastor and Thrice's former manager (from 2000 to 2008) describes Kensrue as an "amazing family man. He's a husband and dad foremost. Then he's an amazing front man, singer and worship leader."
Both Kensrue and Teranishi, Bogardus says, are "two of the most loyal and sacrificial men with their wives that I've ever seen. To be married and tour for months at a time takes a special kind of man—and marriage. It's a testament to who they are as men."
Kensrue met Shadlie in middle school. "We were friends for a long time before we started dating," Shadlie says, adding, "I bought the first Thrice CD from Dustin's backpack."
Bought it? She laughs. "Well," she says, "he didn't like me then!"
Now that they've been married for nine years (and together for 12, almost as long as the band have been around), Shadlie, who used to be a nurse, is an old hand at being a touring band member's wife, but it doesn't make the long stretches of time that Kensrue's away easier.
"When we only had Sailor, it was easy to fly out and meet them in different places on tour," she explains. "With three kids, that's pretty much impossible."
It changes the way they tour. Unlike their early days, when they could tour non-top, Thrice now take about six weeks each quarter. And Kensrue's as happy to be home as he is to be on the road.
* * *
In August, Thrice played a sold-out show at the Yost Theater in Santa Ana. It had been awhile since the band had played locally, and friends, family and hometown fans came out in full force. An electric feeling of anticipation thrummed in the room, akin to the feeling you get when watching a famous band's reunion show. As soon as "Yellow Belly" came on, three concurrent mosh pits started on the floor, with kids swirling up and down—now onstage, now off-, now crowd-surfing, now singing their hearts out.
Backstage, Teranishi's son Miles, 4, was taking it all in—while wearing his noise-blocking earmuffs, of course. Weeks later, Teranishi says, "My kids love Thrice's music—they really do. Every once in a while, they ask me to put on 'daddy music.'" He laughs, then adds, "And Miles, who is learning to play piano now, too, really likes aggressive songs. He calls it 'mad-guy music.'"
Teranishi, 31, moved to Washington to try a different lifestyle for his family. "My wife and I had been thinking about moving from Cali for a long time," he says. "I appreciate nature, and I always liked the Pacific Northwest; it's a lot less mowed-over, unlike Southern California."
After their second child was born, the decision was cemented. "They're energetic boys, and we live on a couple of acres of land. So it's a lot more open and free for them to run around and be boys."
The only difference for Thrice, he says, is that he's flying a lot more to go to practice and play shows. "But once the album is out and we're on tour, it will be like cruise control."
Sometimes, Thrice feel like the most underrated band to ever come out of Orange County.
Despite producing consistently good-to-great records and never imploding over creative differences, despite avoiding felonies and overdoses and nefarious dealings that come with a degenerate lifestyle—and despite keeping it real (have you ever seen a photo of anyone from Thrice in eyeliner?), the band flirted with mainstream success early in their career, but they never quite had it.
Instead, they've collected loads of rabid Thrice super-fans, kids who started listening when their debut album, Identity Crisis, came out in 2001 and have stayed loyal through the years.
Scott Heisel of Alternative Press is one of these devotees. "From the beginning [of Thrice], there was nothing to get behind other than the music—no larger-than-life personality or crazy antics. The band didn't ever come off too self-involved; it has always been about the music. That is what is so exciting about them." He pauses, then says, "If you're a fan of Thrice, you're always going to like them because they're always going to deliver consistently fantastic albums."
And yet, this could also be why Thrice have never achieved superstardom: They've never been interested in whoring themselves out for fame. That's not to say they don't have an enviable career; they make the music they want, release it when they want to and tour when they want—and their fans will always be there.
Jason Tate, founder of the site AbsolutePunk.net, says that Thrice have grown up with their fan base. "They evolved with their listeners; as members of the band got older, people listening to them got older, too. . . . I don't listen to Illusion of Safety today, but Major/Minor still speaks to me on that same level."
Or it could just be that all four members of Thrice are good guys.