Fucked Up's Damian Abraham: "I'm a Hardcore Kid. I Love Shitty Photocopied Zines"
Fucked Up, fresh off the release of its 18-track epic, David Comes To Life, will be in St. Louis on Friday. The Canadian six piece is touring with Nashville's JEFF the brotherhood. We talked to Fucked Up front man Damian Abraham in this week's print issue. More from our interview, including Abraham's view of his glimpse at stardom through the band and his TV show, below.
Michael Dauphin: After taking on such an grand endeavor with David Comes to Life, is there much of a concern about how you follow up with your next recording?
Damian Abraham: That's actually a concern I had with The Chemistry of Common Life. I was like, "No way. How can we live up to this and the unattainable hype that record received?" So I think we kind of had David Comes to Life planned in the back of our head. It was something that we kind of kicked around. We basically just had to tell ourselves to bring this idea to life. We actually already have our next single. It's called "Year of the Tiger" as part of our "Year of..." series. It's a collaboration with Jim Jarmusch (film director) and myself on vocals. And everyone in the band has already started writing and bouncing around new ideas. Or I guess we could put out a double live album or something even more pretentious than a rock opera [laughing].
You seem like a natural "talker." What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't in Fucked up today?
I'd definitely be involved in music. If I was playing it, I'd definitely still be involved. I'd probably see a lot more shows if I wasn't in a band. I'd be at way more local shows. I'm more of a music fan; I don't consider myself a musician. I'm a hardcore kid. I love shitty photocopied zines. I love demo tapes, collecting records--even colored vinyl. I have a hard time imagining what I would have been if I wasn't in this band. I would probably still be working at the video store I used to work at, or a call center or something [laughing].
You're now hosting "The Wedge"--the recently resurrected music show on Much Music in Canada. I understand you got to attend the big music awards show they recently put on.
Yeah, so I have a show on Much Music, right? So technically I'm supposed to be involved in the awards show. But they did not have me involved in the show... at all. I was the only person from Much Music not on air at all. There's a guy I know who never even appears on screen, he just provides his voice. Last night, even he appeared on screen. I think they were trying to send me a message. I had fun though, regardless. I had a bunch of photos taken with celebrities in my beardless state.
Who were some of your favorite celebrities that you got to meet?
I got my photo with Drake, and he was a pretty nice guy. At first he gave me the weirdest look, but I had a friend that vouched for me and told him I was cool. I got my picture taken with Dev, the one who sings that "Bass Down Low" song. I met a lot of Canadian celebs, which doesn't really have any value in America at all.
It seems like in both your personal career, and your career with Fucked Up, you've almost infiltrated the system a little bit. You started out as this mysterious hardcore band and now you're rubbing elbows with celebrities and flirting with mainstream exposure. Is there an element of stealing the tooth from the lion's mouth?
I should make a definite postscript here: I assure you there is definitely a class distinction when I see these people. I am certainly not on any of these people's level, by a long shot. It's weird though. It's all so cool and exciting on its own level that I can't ever sit back and think, "Well, this is the way it is now." That's not the way it is. It's very fleeting. What's here today is gone tomorrow.
It's funny because the other day we played with this Canadian band that was this huge rock band when I was growing up. They were so popular--all the kids from my high school loved them. And they were opening for us. It was a really weird feeling. And it didn't feel like this huge victory for me, it was more like there but for the grace of God, go I. One day you're opening for the Foo Fighters, and the next you could be opening up for whatever the next Fucked Up equivalent is.