Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba is no stranger to doing his music acoustically.
“I have ties that I guess I stay tethered to because I enjoy them,” the Florida-raised singer-songwriter explains. “That acoustic presentation g back to my early days in Dashboard, when there were electric guitars or drums or anything.
“It’s a very natural place for me. Predominately I write with just an acoustic guitar in hand, or at a piano. I heard (Jon) Bon Jovi say once that if a song can’t stand up with just an acoustic guitar then you don’t really have a song there. I think there’s truth in that — it’s a good litmus test, at least.”
“Alter the Ending,” Dashboard Confessional’s sixth studio album, takes Carrabba and company further back to that place where he began the band in 1999, as a solo side project while he was in the band Further Seems Forever. The 12-track set is a standard-issue, full-band outing, but the quartet also recorded each of the songs acoustically, putting those versions on a second disc included with some versions of the album.
“We were sitting around with acoustic guitars in hand in my living room,” recalls Carrabba, 34, “and we were playing through the songs as we were talking about them in the finishing stages of the record. And they just had a certain personality as we played them that way, so I said, ‘Why don’t we record one? It sounds nice.’ And then we’d start playing another one...and before we knew it we were more than halfway done with the record, acoustically.
“So we just said, ‘Let’s do the whole thing this way and maybe one day we’ll release it. When the label heard we’d done it, they got really excited and thought we should couple it with the actual album, which I was excited about.”
It’s also a surprise that Carrabba and bandmate John Lefler are currently promoting “Alter the Ending” — which debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 chart in November — with an acoustic tour. A band tour had been scheduled and announced, but that was canceled due to an undisclosed “family emergency” and quickly recast in a more stripped-down fashion.
Carrabba remains discreet about the circumstances that led to the cancellation except to confirm it did not involve his family. “I can’t really say much about it out of respect for the situation,” he notes, “but everybody’s doing well, and I think we’re through the thick of it — the thickest part of it, anyway.”
Dashboard Confessional is currently plotting a headlining tour for 2010 and will also be supporting Bon Jovi, who Carrabba calls “an amazing band that I love.”
“I also hope to do a lot of shows with a lot of friends,” Carrabba adds. “I feel like it took us a lot of time to make this record and a lot of time off the road, and I look forward to getting out there and having that sort of sleepaway camp experience that is the touring life.
“I think it’s easy to say that we won’t be home much next year, and I’m happy about that.”
Dashboard Confessional and New Found Glory perform an acoustic concert Tuesday (Dec. 8) at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $28 day of show. Call (313) 961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com.
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