For The Fans, And Just To Play

Dashboard Confessional Frontman Carrabba Brings His Acoustic Tour To Ottobar

December 10, 2009|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa , sam.sessa@baltsun.com

In late October, alt-rockers Dashboard Confessional were gearing up for a new album release and a nationwide tour when one of the band members suffered an undisclosed emergency.

The full-on Dashboard Confessional tour was postponed until next year. In the meantime, frontman Chris Carrabba and guitarist John Lefler set out on an acoustic tour, playing small clubs. On Sunday, they'll come to the Ottobar for a sold-out show.

Carrabba said this tour is reminiscent of the band's early days, when Dashboard Confessional consisted of Carrabba, his acoustic guitar and a few songs. Here, he talks about the acoustic tour, as well as the band's recent offer to open for Bon Jovi.

QUESTION: : You've said this tour is a place-holder for the tour that's coming in a few months. Was this tour about you personally wanting to play, or was it for the fans?

ANSWER: : I can't tell you which one it was. They were both equal. I felt a draw to be with the fans, and also I really wanted to play. I don't know what else to do.

What am I going to do? What are we going to do? Take a vacation? It's been totally invigorating. And to be honest with you, it really brought me back to a place that I didn't realize had meant so much to me.

Q: : It's almost like coming full-circle for you, isn't it?

A: : Yes, I'm not too eager to leave this part of the circle right now.

Q: : Why not?

A: : It's just so natural. It's so filled with energy, and it's so immediate.

Q: : What kind of a response have you been getting from the fans that have been coming to these shows?

A: : They're the best shows we've had in years and years. It's electric. It's unbelievable.

Q: : Because of the setting?

A: : I think so. They're small venues, and there's so much that can be said for people who are packed in that bought their tickets within five minutes of them going on sale and have been excited since.

We're working loosely from a set list, but people are calling out songs. With our band, if we hear somebody call something out we'll play it. But to be honest, sometimes you just can't hear it. There's the roar of the crowd and the roar of the band.

In this setting, if you hear somebody shout out a song you weren't thinking of playing and suddenly you're playing it, they feel like they're part of it. I could talk for an hour about why these shows are so electric. There's just such raw, potent energy with so few tools at our disposal.

Q: : Next year, you're going to be opening for Bon Jovi for a couple of shows, right? What was it like getting that call?

A: : I got it from my manager. He said, 'What would you say if Bon Jovi asked you to go on tour.' I said 'Absolutely.' There was no pause. It's not a really obvious pairing. But for me, there was no hesitation. ... I think they're an inspiration for how to have a career simply doing what you believe in.

Q: : One of the biggest challenges for a band is figuring out how to sustain a career.

A: : It's nearly impossible. You could probably name 10 bands that can do it. Thankfully for bands like us, there are bands that have niche loyalties like Morrissey or Tom Waits. That gives me hope that I can still do it. Because I won't stop doing it - even if things change, as no doubt they will.

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