Fucked Up Blazes New Path of Peace and Sanity

The Reader | February 17, 2009
Damian Abraham has a solid idea of what the endgame for his band, Toronto's Fucked Up, will look like and it's sure to involve knives, firearms, blood and broken bones.

"I know it's not going to be pretty, the way that it ends," said Abraham, who performs as Pink Eyes.

For now, Abraham is soaking up the first seemingly sane period in the band's tumultuous history.

Talking on a cell phone in Atlanta, Abraham said the six-piece is just getting its sea legs on the current tour.

Fucked Up's usual battery of past tour scuffles seem custom-fit for the band's profane moniker, but as of Atlanta, no knives have been held at any throats in a not-so-diplomatic way to end an argument.

"It's almost like we're becoming a stable band," Abraham said. "I know I shouldn't say this, because I'm going to jinx it."

Unpredictability has been core trait behind the Fucked Up push into public consciousness. Add a healthy dose of ambition to the heady mix of charging guitars and the burly Abraham's '80s-style hardcore bark.

The growing crowds have been the perfect elixir for the band's volatility, Abraham said.

"It's all relative, compared to Arcade Fire we're getting a smidgen of people," he said. "It's definitely taking the edge off."

Chemistry of Common Life, the band's latest album, and Year of the Pig, the sprawling EP that preceded the album, helped forge the band's ambitious reputation. Chemistry's songs meld the band's studied, but fun take on hardcore with layers of melodic guitar riffage and some instrumental tracks that seem to elevate Fucked Up beyond a typical street punk fascination with Black Flag.

Chemistry excelled due to time and a bit of separation. Without a deadline and with band members adding in parts on their own, one at a time, the record became a collective vision.

"We had the benefit of taking our sweet, sweet time," Abraham said. "It allowed us to equally contribute to the record."

The band's brought its unconventional conventions to their live shows, too. In New York, they invited friends to join them in a 12-hour marathon show towards the end of 2008.

Earlier in 2008, Fucked Up built plenty of buzz with a show on a pedestrian bridge in the middle of Austin, Tex. The show lives on better in legend than in actual execution, Abraham said. The band, surrounded by a surging mass numbering more than a thousand, struggled to play complete songs.

But they were joined by Circle Jerk's Keith Morris, a musician who Abraham said is one of the band's many influences. It's the approval of Morris and others like Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis that tell Abraham that Fucked Up is on the right track.

"We've got the most important people's validation," he said.

The Reader

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