I had the pleasure of sitting down with Chris Dudley of Underoath on May 4th, 2006 on the third floor of Alley Katz, in Richmond, VA.
- State your name and position in the band.
My name is Chris and I play keyboards and do electronic things for Underoath.
- Give a brief history of the band and the meaning behind on the name.
Um, the history wouldn’t be very brief. We started, you know, a long time ago, we were all just in high school and hanging out. To pretty much make a long story short, you know, a bunch of high school kids wanted to get together and start a metal band. 6 or 7 years later, here we are. And Underoath actually came from someone who has never actually been on an Underoath record. This guy named Luke Morton, he was one of the guys, you know, started in the band. Just like a friend from high school and stuff. He got it from somewhere in the Bible, but I really have no idea where, honestly, I haven’t talked to him in years.
- How does it feel to be back on tour again since your break?
Amazing, so good. Last night was pretty rough because like, we just flew back from Europe. We’re trying to get over jetlag, getting used to being on tour, and playing a show at the same time. So at the end of the night we were all, like we crashed really hard. Today we feel really good.
- What is the one thing from home you are going to miss the most?
My wife and my dogs. But if it’s only one then my wife. That’s pretty much the only thing that…
You can bring everything else but you can’t really bring her, well you can but..
You can, but it just doesn’t really work out like that. But missing her is pretty much the only thing that makes me miss home. Like everything else, if she wasn’t there, I could be on tour 12 months a year and I wouldn’t care, you know.
- What aspect of being on tour makes it worthwhile to be away from home?
All of it, every bit of it. I don’t see there being any real downside to being on tour. That’s kind of the way I see it.
- How was your experience in Sweden & how do you think the videos came out?
The experience in Sweden was honestly one of the best things I’ve ever done. Just seeing the way life is there, the way people are is so different than the way it is in America. It was amazing, like I, I think it was one of my most memorable things we’ve done since I’ve been in the band. The videos, we haven’t actually seen any sort of an edit of them yet. But even from what we saw on the playback while we were shooting it, I think it’s going to turn out awesome. We’re really excited.
- In your opinion, what is one show that has stood out throughout the
One show…probably for me, it’s really hard to narrow it down.
So many shows…
Yeah, so many shows but one show that was really memorable was, a few months ago we played with Jimmy Eat World in Tallahassee. It was a free show at a college campus, it was just us and them. Jimmy Eat World has been one of my favorite bands, well, pretty much my favorite band for a really long time. They requested us to be on the show, so like it was pretty surreal playing and them getting up right after us.
Playing with one of the bands you idolize.
Yeah, exactly. And having them thank us for playing and we’re just like “Dude, no way dude, thanks for asking us.” That was one show that was really memorable for me.
- What is the most out of the ordinary thing you have seen at one of your
Wow, a lot of stuff.
If you could pick one, the craziest thing you have seen at show.
We played a show in Atlanta once, the Warped Tour in Atlanta two years ago. They had us like on this really small stage and it was a wood barricade, it wasn’t metal, so the kids broke the barricade down and they all started coming up on stage and it was awesome. We were just playing and everyone was having fun. Then the security showed up and they were telling us to stop playing but there was really no reason to stop playing, just cause kids were on the stage, we didn’t really care. And then the police showed up and they were threatening to arrest us for inciting a riot and we almost got kicked off the tour and it was crazy. I mean, nothing really happened it was just like…
How people handled it.
Yeah but even the kids, everyone was just having fun but the security guys were freaking out. It was just this whole big mess, but it ended up being fine. Yeah, that was a pretty crazy day.
- What made you decide to stay with Tooth and Nail and not sign with any
major record label?
Um, a lot of things, pretty much the jest of it being the way that most major labels do business is not really right for us. I don’t think a lot of major record labels get what we do and what bands like in our “scene” do. Like they, I actually got asked this question the other day and I said, like major records can get Madonna and get how 50 Cent can sell however many records he sells but they don’t understand a heavy band that sells hundreds, two, three, four hundred thousand records and that’s like all that they want to do. With “They’re Only Chasing Safety”, our goal for that record for the year was 50,000 and we never thought we were even going to sell that. But you can’t do that being on a major record label if you don’t sell half a million records, you’re a failure. And a lot of times even if you do sell half a million records they’re like “Why is it doing so bad?” And the people that work at Tooth and Nail are, they’re awesome.
I’ve heard a lot of really great things about them.
Yeah, yeah. They’re great people and they’re friends before they’re label people, which is pretty much unheard of from what I know. We’ve never been on another label, but that’s the way it is for us and yeah, just good dudes. There is no reason for us to go anywhere.
- How would you compare and contrast the new record with the rest?
Yeah, they are really different from each other.
Yeah, I guess in that way I can say it’s as much as a change as we have ever had from record to record, I can say that. I don’t know how much of our stuff you’re familiar with but every record we’ve put out is way different than the one before it and in that way it’s the same. It’s way different than the last record. It’s nothing like super intentional, that’s what came out when we went to write and that’s the way its always has been for us. To compare and contrast, I could sit here for an hour and talk about stuff. In a nutshell, it’s a lot different. It’s a lot heavier, it’s a lot, more technical. It’s way better written than anything we’ve ever done. Has more energy than anything we’ve ever done, by far. Just more fun.
- What is the meaning behind the title of the record?
Um, honestly I wouldn’t be the right one to ask that because Spencer, he deals with all the vocal stuff. But in a nutshell, it’s like defining that line for yourself because you are wanting to become the man or the woman that you want to be and the man or the woman God wants you to be and the man or the woman other people want you to be. But you can’t like fall off one way or the other, you just have to find that line and that way to live your life and for some people it takes their whole lives. In a nutshell, it’s about that.
- What are your feelings with the record being leaked through the internet?
It sucks. Yeah, it’s not as bad because it wasn’t the finished product at all, its missing parts, its not mixed, its not mastered, its very not done. Actually I was just talking to a friend of mine about this the other day and he was like, he compared it to somebody but not finishing their sentences. You don’t want to hear a sentence that is only half done or watch a movie before it’s done being edited because you don’t get what is going on. It sucks but the reaction that we’ve gotten from it, is awesome. You know, even though its not a finished product, people are saying that they love it. So that’s cool and I hope that they’ll actually go and get the real record.
I’m going to be honest, I got it from the owner of the magazine, he sent it over.
Oh, the finished thing?
I’m not sure but he got it somehow and he told me not to send it to anyone and I haven’t. I mean, I listened to it and it was amazing.
Yeah, that probably wasn’t done. That’s probably what got taken from the studio.
Yeah, when I first found out that so many people were getting it, I was upset. I know you guys worked so hard on it and just waiting for June 20th and it just sucks. But honestly, every person that I know that has it, has said amazing things about it.
Yeah but the thing that sucks is its not so much we’re waiting for June 20th for it to come out, but it sucks because it’s not ready. We’ve been writing it for 2 and a half years and putting just everything we have to it and it just got taken when its not done, when its not what we’ve been working towards for the last past 2 and half years.
Yeah, its not as it’s greatest.
Yeah, yeah. It’s not like no one is going to hear the finished product but for the past 2, 2 and half years, we’ve been working towards what’s going to be on the CD, like the artwork, the way that it sounds and everything. What people are hearing is like a premature thing of that. We just want to be like ” No, no! That’s not it, don’t listen to it, wait till we give it to you done.”
- When you first entered the band, what expectations and goals did you have set out? How have they changed throughout the years?
It’s changed a lot in that when I first joined, the only thing we wanted to was, which is still true, we just wanted to write music and play it, you know? If we could play a show every now and then, that was cool. That hasn’t changed so much but we still just love doing this, we love writing music, we love, you know playing and we’re a Christian band so that’s the main thing for us. We just wanted to glorify God through our music and that’s all we cared about and but now it’s like, all this stuff that we honestly we don’t want to deal with, like with tour contracts and radio clauses and merch sales and contracts with record labels and tour expenses and all this stuff. And like honestly, we just try to stay out of it as much as possible because it doesn’t really interest us, we don’t really care about all that stuff, we’re just like “We want to go on the road and we want to play, you know?” It’s cool cause we’re now to the point where we can just hire people to deal with all that stuff so we don’t really have to. It’s stuff that we really don’t care about. But when we first started, we never thought that any of this would happen. I know you hear people say like “We never thought this would happen” but like, we never even aspired to do anything close to what we’re doing now because it’s like, “That’s never going to happen, so we won’t think about that. But dude, if we could play a show at Will’s Pub down the street, that would be awesome.” You know, in all honesty, all this stuff is such a blessing. God has really done a whole a lot within the last past few years and it’s really cool.
- What is the biggest misconception fans make regarding the band?
Um, that we’re cooler than we are. I think people tend to like, people have this thing of like “Oh they’re in Underoath,” and they think we’re really cool, but we’re totally not. It’s really weird to me when someone comes up and they’re like freaking out and asking for autographs and all this stuff. Well you know, 2 or 3 years ago if you would of met me walking down the street, you really wouldn’t have cared. Nothing has changed since then except we’ve put out records and gone on tour. Yeah but that’s probably the biggest misconception, that we’re something a lot cooler and better than we are.
- In your opinion, what has been the greatest accomplishment?
Oh, wow. That’s a big one. Right now I would probably have to say finishing this record. But there’s been so much stuff that has happened and that is happening at the moment. I’ll say the record right now is probably the biggest thing.
- Who or what, outside of the music industry, has influenced you the most?
- Everything has. You know, obviously God is the reason we do it, we’re an Christian band and stuff. But you get inspired by everyday things, just meeting random people on tour, you know, just living life and being a dude. That influences you. Obviously you get inspired by music and other people’s music. More so, we get inspired by living life and just being a dude.
- What are some things that make you upset more than anything else (inside
and outside the music industry)?
Oh wow. I try not to focus on too much on what makes me upset. Wow, that’s a big question. I think , I don’t know if this is my answer, it’s just something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. But I think ungratefulness as a whole in people, especially in this country is a big thing for me. Like seeing things that I’ve seen and meeting people that I’ve met, like I think that people are extremely ungrateful for having the things that they have. People, especially in America and society, they find things that they can complain about that are just ridiculous. You know as clichÃƒÆ’Ã‚© and stupid as it sounds, there are people overseas that just dying and have things going on in their lives and the dude down the street is complaining because he has a flat tire on his Lexus. That’s something to me that upsets me a lot, people not realizing how well they have it. Even if you are someone in America that is living at the poverty line, you are still living better than 60% of the people on the planet. You know, I don’t know if that’s again, my answer, but it is, but it’s just something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.
- If you were forced to change the name of the band, what would you change
it to? Why?
Meatbeard. I’m doing a solo project right now and that, not a solo project, a side project, sorry. I’m doing a side project right now and that is one of the names we were thinking about being and I just thought it was really funny. So Meatbeard.
- If there was book being written about Underoath, how would it begin,
what would be the climax, and how would it end?
It would begin…wow, that’s a big question too. (thinks for a while) I have no idea because the beginning of it could be in any number of places. The climax of it, I don’t even know if its happened yet, and I don’t know what the end of it would be. So pretty much I have no idea. But when the band is done and we’re broke up, then I can tell you.
- Is there anything else you want the readers to know?
Come and hang out at our shows. If you want to, you can buy our record, it comes out June 20th. And if you don’t, you don’t have to, you can download it. But then if you like it, you can buy it. And if you don’t, then you won’t waste your $15 bucks.
I missed a question, is it cool if I ask it?
Yeah, yeah. No problem man.
- In your opinion, what is the biggest issue and problem facing the
current state of society? You kind of already touched up on this.
I would say that’s probably it. I was also talking to our guitar player the other day about just big things in general and we got on the topic of the planet and pollution and things like that. Al Gore actually just put out a movie, sounds kind of funny to say, but I don’t remember the name of it but I saw a couple clips of it. It’s really interesting talking about how for the past 20 years or 30 years, you know, scientists all over the world have been screaming and being like, the planet is dying, global warning, pollution, etc. And it seems like everyone has kind of like, not paid attention.
Like no one really cares about it.
Yeah, like it doesn’t, “I’m not dying when I walk outside so I’m not going to worry about it.” I think that that is a really big thing because our kids’ kids are going to be living in a world that..
Even if it doesn’t effect us, it’s going to effect them.
Yeah, it’s going to be our doing. It’s totally off the subject, well not really but actually on Warped Tour this year, all of the production buses and all of the semi trucks and everything are going to be running on bio-diesel fuel. So like every vehicle that is in Warped Tour is not going to create a bit of pollution which is pretty cool. It takes things like that, like people taking steps to be able to change the way things are.
If someone does it then someone else is going to and then someone else.
Yeah, you can’t wait for someone else to do it, someone else isn’t always going to do it.
If someone says they aren’t going to do it because someone else is, then someone might say the same thing and it will never get done.
Yeah, yeah. And that’s why scientist have been talking about global warming for the past 20 years and now it’s still happening but still nothing is happening. I sound really cheesy and green and like a tree hugger but whatever.