There are numerous places emo superstar Chris Carrabba can’t go without a throng of screaming adolescents trailing him. Fortunately, the rock & roll dive bar WXOU Radio in Manhattan’s West Village is not one of them. Here, hidden among a rowdier crowd, Carrabba, who is synonymous with Dashboard Confessional (the four-piece band he fronts), is able to watch the Yankees-vs.-Red Sox game prominently playing on the TV and announce his lifelong loyalty to the Bronx Bombers. (Alas, they lose 9-5.) A few drinks help to reveal more surprises tucked under the singer-guitarist’s heavily tattooed sleeves: a vast, anthem-heavy new album (Dusk and Summer, out June 27), an unlikely friendship with a ’90s alt-rock icon, and an ability to toss ’em back. Three of them, at least.
TIME OUT OF MIND
LTT Your devotees are a pretty fanatical group. Were you feeling any pressure to get this album, your fourth, done?
CC Well, yes. I’d record for two weeks and tour for two weeks, so I’d actually be having interactions with fans after shows. They’d be like, ”We’re excited!”…”All right, what’s happening?”…”Where’s this damn record!?”
LTT Well, you were working with Daniel Lanois in Jamaica for a bit. Were you thinking, I wonder what the U2 sessions were like?
CC He talked about that stuff freely, but not out of ego. Just like I’d talk about my experience, he’s talking about U2 and Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. I was recording on this microphone and I saw a piece of tape at the bottom and I was like, Why does it say BD? Think about it, buddy.
LTT Did that freak you out?
CC I changed mics.
Out of indecision, seconds of the same. LTT Certainly you’ve had other famous run-ins.
CC I got stuck in an elevator the other night with Ashley Parker Angel from O-Town and his wife. I suggested perhaps he was getting Punk’d, and his wife said, ”No. We’ve already been Punk’d.” I don’t think she realized I was making a joke.
LTT What kind of TV shows do you like to watch? Based on your lyrics, some folks would assume melodramas.
CC I liked Dawson’s Creek. I was a big Party of Five fan. But I watch boxing every Friday. I go to the gym every day. I got into a lot of fights in my high school and college years — they probably wouldn’t think that because I’ve written about feelings and not about getting into fights.
LTT You are a true study in contrasts — how’d you end up with all those tattoos?
CC My first tattoo was something I got in a back room in Florida because somebody I knew in art class got a tattoo gun and wanted to try it out. I figured, he can draw well, it’s gotta translate.
Carrabba’s pick: Moscow Mules all around. His publicist’s bad joke: ”Hope it’s got kick!”
LTT Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz sings on your new album. Have you always been a fan of his?