Terrible Things is an all-star trio with ex-Taking Back Sunday guitarist Fred Mascherino, former Coheed and Cambria drummer Josh Eppard, and Hot Rod Circuit guitarist Andy Jackson. "I did side projects for a couple of years after leaving Taking Back Sunday," says Mascherino. "When that didn't work out, I started talking to these guys [Eppard and Jackson.] We said, let's do something that we've always wanted to do. We were all, like, when I was a kid I wanted to be Led Zeppelin. That's what this is all about. We even play a bit of a Zeppelin song at our shows in one of our songs as sort of a nod as to what got us together." Earlier, Terrible Things recorded their eponymous debut CD in Birmingham, Alabama with producer Jason Elgin. "We feel," says Mascherino, "like this is a natural step for us."
OC Weekly: OK, so do you guys consider yourselves to be, ahh, terrible things?
Fred Mascherino: According to some people we are. [Laughs.]
When you leave a band that's doing really well, very few people on earth can understand why. We got our name from our song, the lyrics to the chorus which is we are doing terrible things. It speaks to our fans and says you're not gonna understand, but we had to do this, and maybe this will help.
You all knew each other before this project?
Yeah. We had all toured together, especially on the Warped Tour.
Your first record turned out to be a concept album about a truly bizarre story.
My little home town of Coatesville PA had a horrible rash of arsons, 49 fires in a four-month period. It happened two years ago. I started writing songs about it because I was upset and frustrated and angry and scared, too.
Were you living there at the time?
My brother was living in the house I grew up in right there and I lived two towns over.
And your band mates got behind the idea?
Andy told me that he had a house fire four years earlier and he lost everything he owned. When I told him what I was writing about he said, I could write about this, this is interesting.
That's some hard subject matter.
In retrospect, it was a good thing. It helped us get away from the old emo boyfriend-girlfriend songs that we were playing when we were much younger. [Laughs.]
How else does your writing for Terrible Things differ from your writing for, say, Taking Back Sunday?
Because we were thinking more, like, Tom Petty and Led Zeppelin it's more straight-forward rock. There's a lot of guitar solos on this record and some of the grooves that Josh lays down are a lot different than anything that's going on in rock right now.
Have the fans spoken?
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People have told us that this is their favorite thing that we've ever done. Our fans were 16 or 17 years old when they were listening to Coheed and Cambria or Taking Back Sunday. Those people are now 22, 23. They don't want to listen to the same thing they did when they were 16.
What about survivors of the Coatesville fires? Any of them hear the CD yet?
We were [playing] in the Northeast and two guys came out to the show, young guys, and they said "We're firefighters in Coatesville. We were at every one of those fires, and we love your album."