Take Action Tour featuring The Used
Vulnerability is commonly defined as “the inability to withstand the effects of a hostile environment.” It can be a time frame, when “defensive measures are reduced, compromised or lacking” or more personally, the soul-shaking moment when we stare in a mirror, finally seeing every last flaw. The answer is to somehow find the strength to heal, repair and improve, and for the Used, music is that salvation.
Turning personal adversity into art is the Used’s trademark, and the band’s fifth full-length, Vulnerable, was a record that simply had to be made. It marks a particular triumph for singer Bert McCracken, who is now reenergized after suffering a broken hand and elbow last year, falling from a stage in Orange County, Calif., and then spending four months getting surgery and recuperating. The experience partially birthed the title and concept of Vulnerable.
“Me feeling that vulnerability kind of sparked this creative fire inside of me,” says McCracken. “This record’s really about becoming more than just who you are, and allowing yourself that vulnerability to be a more powerful person. It’s a lot more positive than a lot of records we’ve written in the past. I think everyone could use some positivity nowadays.”
The Used—which also includes guitarist Quinn Allman, bassist Jeph Howard and drummer Dan Whitesides (who replaced original drummer Branden Steineckert in 2006)—formed in Orem, Utah in 2001, signing to Reprise Records that same year. Championed by producer and collaborator John Feldmann, the band issued their gold-certified Self-Titled debut in 2002, quickly cementing the Used as leaders among the post-hardcore elite, thanks in part to unforgettable singles like “Box Full of Sharp Objects,” “The Taste of Ink” and “Buried Myself Alive.” The band then released the CD/DVD combo Maybe Memories in 2003, now certified platinum, featuring B-sides, live cuts, demos and unreleased tracks, while still another gold record followed—2004’s In Love And Death—spawning singles “Take It Away,” “All That I’ve Got” and “I Caught Fire.”