It’s been over a year since Fucked Up released the Polaris shortlisted David Comes To Life. Though the band has spent the majority of the year touring the record worldwide, effusive lead singer Damian Abraham is still trying to wrap his head around the acclaim that both critics and fans have delivered in spades.
“I didn’t know if people were going to be into it at all,” says Abraham, caught on the phone while walking home after a shift at MuchMusic, where Abraham serves as the host of The Wedge.
“I thought after The Chemistry of Common Life that we were due for a major backlash. I thought people were sick of us. In all sincerity, I was taken aback that people responded to it.”
Simply “Responding” to David Comes To Life, as Abraham puts it, may be the understatement of the year.
Spin Magazine lauded the record, ranking it #1 on their “Best of 2011” list, no small accolade for a band that Abraham claims “Never planned on making any money or anything.”
Still, the real validation has come in the manner in which crowds around the world have responded to the record. Fucked Up live shows have always been an exercise in chaos, but Abraham insists there’s something more cathartic about recent tours.
“To sing a line from ‘The Other Shoe’ like, ‘Dying on the inside,’ which I wrote while stoned in my bathroom, and to have someone in Japan sing it back to me, that’s the best feeling on Earth. Well, besides having a child of course.”
Travel has become an important part of the band’s agenda, with extensive tours in North America, Europe, Australia and the aforementioned stint in Japan.
Yet when questioned on the role of travel within Fucked Up’s creative process, Abraham can’t help but believe they’re simply victims of a more universal desire.
“It’s part of the human yearning to break free of the ties that bind. Just being able to put pins on the map, and just having people respond to your music, be it in China or Russia or even a Foo Fighters crowd is ridiculous.” (The band was part of a lineup on an Australian stadium tour that included Foo Fighters and Tenacious D)
“I think the first milestone you ever hit as a hardcore band or perhaps any band is when people you don’t know sing your songs. When you look out in a crowd and see people that aren’t your friends or don’t have to pretend to like your songs sing along, you get blown away.”
The experience has been so humbling that Abraham finds himself making unlikely comparisons.
“I was watching this interview with Maroon 5 the other day and they were saying the same thing. And I guess it’s universal. There’s something awesome about visiting somewhere you yearn to go and having people respond to what you’ve done.”
Though Fucked Up have just begun working on their follow-up to David Comes To Life, Abraham isn’t ready to let the glow of the record fade away just yet.
It’s brought a level of clarity that many bands search for. For Abraham and Fucked Up, it’s a clarity that took a few tours around the world to attain.
“Punk can be such bullshit at times, but it’s one of the only kinds of music that has that universality where there can be an exchange of ideas between bands and fans from North America, China, South America and Europe. I can go to China and talk to a kid about Minor Threat. And it can all be done on a DIY level.”
Fucked Up roll into Fortune Sound Club (Vancouver) September 15.
By Joshua Kloke