Interview – How (don’t call them a supergroup) LS Dunes saved the lives of its own members

For anti-supergroup LS dunesthe magnetism of friendship and love of their craft made it easy to come together, especially at a particularly turbulent moment for the industry and in their personal lives.

In this excerpt from a conversation with a drummer Tucker rule (Thursday) and vocalist Anthony Green (Circa survive) we learn how much swapping audio files during a global pandemic helped heal their hearts and minds.

The band’s lineup is a stage dream, also consisting of a guitarist Frank Iero (My chemical romance), guitarist Travis Stever (Coheed and Cambria) and bassist Tim Payne (Thursday), and while fans may be quick to label them a supergroup, that’s not the sentiment these members hold. It’s less about assembling an all-star band as the stage equivalent of the Justice League superheroes and more about bonding with like-minded musicians and, more importantly, dear friends.

Being cut off from our regular social circles and points of contact helped create a new perspective for all of us in the midst of the pandemic, and the loss of this essential element of the human experience led Green in particular down dark paths. He prioritized mental health and, with the support of his LS Dunes bandmates, confronted these issues and is grateful to have improved his circumstances as a result.

Get your copy of LS Dunes’ ‘Past Lives’ album (out November 11) here and follow the band on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Spotify.

They’re not a supergroup, they’re SUPER BUDS!

TUCKER RULE: All of us in our bands are heads down, want to write music and enjoy playing music. That’s why we all have multiple bands.

When we get together, we joke that “LS” stands for “low stress” because we just want to have fun. People love to throw around the term “supergroup” and we don’t like that. We are a group of super messages and this is just our circle of friends. It’s not like, “Oh, we’re going to get him from Coheed and the guy from Circa and the guy from MCR…” Those are my guys and I know we get along musically.

Another thing about “supergroup” is that [people think], “Oh, they’re just going to do a show here and a show there.” Why start a band if you’re not going to bring it out live? That is our goal – to play as much as we can. This is another full-time job.

ANTHONY GREEN: I don’t make very many friends outside of this industry. It’s kind of embarrassing because you end up feeling lonely when you’re not working or when you’re at home.

When we started connecting more, it was like, “Man, I talk to Tucker every other day.” I didn’t realize how much I was missing in my life. It’s hard to even find two people who connect on a creative and personal level to make things, so when people have bands that are so good together, it’s like, “These guys just bring out the best in each other!”

It’s hard to find people who go well together creatively, and these are five people who go perfectly together creatively.

LS Dunes, “Permanent Rebellion” music video

It’s not business, it’s personal

AG: If at any point Travis called us and said, “Hey, I’m going through this and I need X, Y, and Z,” that’s the most important thing from the start. No matter what comes our way, we’re able to handle it because we don’t look at it like it’s a business, we look at it like this big art project.

We all know from our other bands that when you have a business that’s run atrociously, where it’s all about the bottom line or getting as many streams or making as much money, it can get complicated. Whereas if you have a situation where everybody’s just looking out for each other because of the fact that this is an emotionally driven band where we’re dealing with a lot of really heavy shit together, you end up feeling so safe and secure and strong , because you know everyone has your back.

The most important thing is that everyone’s mental health and personal relationships. Everyone’s life is more important than just a song or a stream. It makes a project strong and fun… and no one judges [personally or creatively].

Creativity is life sustaining

TR: I’d wake up or go to bed hoping someone would write a riff so I could wake up in the morning and start it [laughs]. And vice versa—I’d write a drum beat and send it out, and I’d say, “Please, somebody’s working on this,” and then I’d get something back. That [felt] like it was Christmas and it was also during COVID so there was very little to look forward to.

I think it saved all of our lives, to be honest with you.

It was a time when none of us knew what was going to happen to our industry. I know everyone was having a hard time and all industries were suffering but I can only speak for myself and the music industry was in shambles. We knew it might not come back for a very long time and we had no idea how we were all going to make money. When you’ve done this for 20 years, you kind of get really good at it and not good at other things. For me, getting another job was not an option.

We are all fathers and at the time I had an infant. I was trying to figure out how to make money and writing these songs with these guys that I love, not thinking we’d make any money from it.

So why did it save our lives? It was as if it was necessary to feel like we were part of something again.

LS Dunes, “2022” music video

Yet life was still very challenging through all of this

AG: We were fired [amid the pandemic]. People were talking about when the shows were coming back or when things were opening up again, but it was so scary [having the mindset of], “Okay, let’s save up until everything comes back,” and then I was just like, “Hey, it’s never coming back. It’s never going to be the same, and we’re going to have to get used to playing through our computers.” It was almost a comfort to me to close the book on that chapter in my life.

I was so depressed. I had been to AA and NA meetings where you have a pretty hardcore connection with other addicts and people who are struggling and that was gone. My therapist didn’t see people face to face. Yes. [This band] was almost like an excuse to miss therapy a lot.

I was also diagnosed as bipolar shortly after my overdose. I struggled with it and I didn’t want to admit I was bipolar. I was really afraid to even say it. It’s crazy to think about it now, but I just didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t medicate at all and I was trying to figure out how to go through life without getting bogged down with dealing with my issues, but I also didn’t do any of the recommended things you do to deal with bipolar.

I was in this manic low, hallucinating and this project came to me at that moment… I hate to say this because your kids are the reason why you want to live… I thought my kids would have better off without me. I was convinced that I would just be a bad father and that I would hurt them at some point.

That’s what friends are for

If I hadn’t changed my shit, I would have [wound up hurting them in some way], but the faith that Tucker, Tim, Frank and Travis had in me really did so much for my confidence and did so much for me in that moment and for those few months. It was like a goddamn lifesaver. I didn’t see my family, my life and my career as something worth fighting for. I was just so lost and there was so much joy rooted in the fact that I had this band that wanted to make songs with me, that believed in me, that wanted me to be in their group.

It really helped me see that my kids would be better off if I pulled myself together and went to therapy and figured out how to maintain. My family and my friendships would all be better off—no one would be better off if I were dead.

When you can’t see it yourself sometimes, it takes someone else to remind you. And these guys did it, and the songs did it. This band and these songs were like a little box of sanity. It became almost like a drug. Whenever I felt crazy, I would think that we had this thing that we were building and it would bring me back to earth every time.

Thanks to Tucker Rule and Anthony Green for the interview. Get your copy of the ‘Past Lives’ album (out November 11) here.

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