Carrabba “catches fire in a bottle” yet again with a new folk band
Story by Sarah Spohn
It’s one of the biggest highlights in my young journalistic career. Landing this phone interview with a man who’d been the soundtrack of my teen years (and admittedly, long after) was a big deal.
A huge opportunity for such a little girl –Me. It was me! I was on the phone with Chris Carrabba (Further Seems Forever, Dashboard Confessional, and Twin Forks)
Still wondering who let me do this, who gave me permission for this interview boggles my mind: my giddy, Dashboard-lyric-filled mind.
A huge interview that would warrant a major press publication, yes?
Finally, it was my chance to leap into the world of freelancing.
After failed attempts at pitching the story to what I consider major publications fit for a story like this: Paste, Rolling Stone, etc, I was met with rejection.
Disappointed, but still resilient, I kept trying to get the story on a bigger platform.
It was great. It was huge. It was … unfinished- still a draft, a story in the making.
Although the story didn’t get published on a major scale, that doesn’t mean it ends.
It’s here, alive and well, and brought to you today.
The timing might seem strange, even given the brief explanation of delay above, but its here.
When I really think about it, it’s in the perfect place.
A small, but dedicated audience is what started Dashboard Confessional and the springboard of Carrabba’s success. It’s through word of mouth that it spread. And it’s what led to the singer songwriter’s newest band, Twin Forks.
And it’s where this story will begin: delivered to a small, but dedicated following here on WLNZ’s blog.
While moving on is a part of life, sometimes revisiting those glory days is just the reminiscent prescription the doctor ordered.
And this summer, Dashboard Confessional fans will hands down be having the best day they can ever remember.
Currently on tour with ‘90s alternative rockers Third Eye Blind, summer 2015 is about to get vindicated.
For a guy who, for years, stood behind an acoustic guitar, singing heart wrenching songs of broken hearts and infidelity, it might be odd to throw a banjo into the mix.
It might be odd, but I assure you it works.
The timing of this story might seem strange to you, since Twin Forks isn’t out on tour this summer, given Carrabba’s summer co-headling tour as part of Dashboard and Third Eye blind.
But for me, it makes sense.
While the interview with Carrabba took place last December, yes a whole year ago, the story is coming to light in June.
Part of me feels guilty for not having released this gem earlier, but Twin Forks has seen their fair share of success, touring with Counting Crows and Jukebox the Ghost during the fall and winter.
I first heard about the band by accident, but the story has really come full-circle.
In fact, the first time I heard the band was their first ‘gig.’ I was at a solo Dashboard Confessional concert in Florida. Nearing the one of many encores, Carrabba mentioned that he thought he knew nearly everyone in the audience in the St. Bienes Performing Arts Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
He later invited some of his friends onto the stage, announcing he was working on a new project. The group was in fact, unnamed, and he encouraged fans to shout out names as suggestions.
It was the beginning of a beautiful project, an entirely different genre of music and along with that, a slew of new fans.
After playing some foot-stomping songs — heavy on the banjo and light on the heart, Carrabba returned to his emo roots with the ever-so-popular crowd favorite “Hands Down.”
If you’ve ever seen DC live, you know the song immediately turns into a giant sing-along. Always an intimate show, full of emotions on his sleeve tattoos, this song really brings the crowd together.
Destroying the wall between the band and the fans is something Carrabba is known for.
So there I was, singing (perhaps shouting) “this is the best day I can ever remember” just a mere feet away from Carrabba, in a circle full of other fans who were undoubtedly going to remember this moment forever.
The memory is anything but faded.
I remember that night for so many reasons.
The audience, while respectful and seated, kindled the flame that is the ignition of passion Carrabba sparks on stage.
I truly fell in love that night. January 11 was the night I fell in love. Not with the boyishly handsome Carrabba (I’d say that happened long ago), but with love itself.
I fell in love with people being in love with what they do.
Its evident Carrabba loves what he does-whether it is Dashboard or the new folk band, now named Twin Forks.
“Guess what?” he said, “I love that I have this job. It’s kind of easy to smile when you’re up there.”
The aspect of live shows is a crucial ingredient of successful bands, especially that of Twin Forks, according to Carrabba.
“It’s huge,” Carrabba said of the importance of a live audience. “In Dashboard, it was like a massive,massive, massive part and I just kind of expected it to be less because I figured, you know- how many times can you catch fire in a bottle?” he said.
“But nonetheless, it’s kind of happening again. And that’s something I really enjoy. And the reason I enjoy it is because there’s no better way for the songs to be changed than by the audience being the driver of the song.”
While the driving force might seem like the frontman Carrabba, the band is made up of successful musicians in their own right- Suzy Zeldin, Jonathan Clark, Ben Homola.
And the pavement Twin Forks drives on is being built track by track. While it could be considered a super group, the band is quick to not ride on any previously paved success.
“I thought, you know what would be easy would be to like put all our band names on the marquees and sell a lot of tickets really quickly.”
“But you know what would be really unfair? Doing just that,” he said. “Because I think we have a loyalty, each of us, particularly the Dashboard audience is very, very loyal. I’m very careful not to trade on their trust.”
“I believe that many of them will like this band, but I don’t want to force it down anybody’s throats. I also, frankly, like being the underdog and proving it from the ground up.”
“But mostly, I just felt like that was the honest thing to do, to not try to take advantage of our lineage. That would seem like the best way to honor those fans for their dedication.”
“And they’re there, for the most part. They’re working very hard to make sure people know about us like they did in the first place.” “I’m grateful to them,” Carrabba said.
Aside from band names, genres, or tour schedules, it’s still about the love of music. And that’s a love that can’t be broken, according to the endearing frontman.
“I wouldn’t be doing so many projects and so many side projects if I didn’t just love music,” he said. “I mean, people ask me about my hobbies all the time. I have hobbies outside of music. But still, given an hour of free time, I’d rather pick up a guitar than anything else. Even though I love to skateboard, even though I love to run, even though I love to draw, I still would rather pick up a guitar.”
And picking up where he left off is exactly what Chris is doing.
What most don’t know though, is the singer is always writing songs for all three of his bands, usually in cycles.
It’s not so much that Dashboard Confessional was ever over, and it’s not that Twin Forks took its place. Each band has its own special place in Chris’ heart.
“I write quickly and jump around. It’s kind of cyclical, so I might write five Further Seems Forever songs, five Dashboard Confessional songs, five Twin Forks songs. But once I’m in that mode, I stay in that, whichever mode that is, until I feel it’s a little less fruitful than it started out as, then I move onto the next thing.”
Moving to Nashville was a little different for the rocker turned folk singer.
“I guess I’m in a different spot than other people that move to Nashville. I think a lot of people that move to Nashville move there to make it. And I’ve had, well, how do I say this without being a bragger-I hope I can just say it plainly without sounding like that …but I’ve been very lucky to have had success, and so now I get to choose kind of wherever I want to live.”
“But that’s what I want to live around. I’m not scraping and trying to make it, I want to be around people that have that hunger to make it because that’s really contagious and I really enjoy that and I find that inspirational.”
“I’m in a place where maybe I can help a little, but definitely I can gain a lot from that energy.”
Energy is exactly what Twin Forks is full of.
“Take a listen to the free EP, and if you like it, tell your friends that ‘Twin Forks is awesome.’ And if you didn’t like it, tell your friends that ‘Twin Forks is awesome,’” Carrabba laughs.