Chris Carrabba just might be the most unassuming workhorse in the business.
Despite his demure stature, perfect coif and soft-spoken voice, the Dashboard Confessional frontman stays on the road for the majority of year, no doubt to the delight of his obsessive fans. Even in the weeks prior to the release of an album, time most bands spend resting before embarking on seemingly endless months of promotion, Dashboard were on the road with Beck.
The band is about to set out again for a 28-show stretch behind the new album A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar and its first single, "Hands Down" (see [article id="1474767"]"Dashboard Confessional Singer Heals Scars, Stops Singing the Blues On New LP"[/article]). And thank goodness for that because Carrabba is slowly becoming a homebody.
"For the past five years, I've always felt really uncomfortable if we were home for more than two weeks," he explained. "Since our last [U.S.] headlining tour, we did a tour in the U.K., then recorded the record, then went on tour with Beck, and then I did some solo shows. Now that I've been home for a while, I've grown to really like being stationary, and that's kind of square. I don't want to feel that way anymore."
He doesn't have long to wait. The tour begins August 30 in Pittsburgh, and after confirmed dates wrap up October 7 in St. Paul, Minnesota, more shows are likely to be added. Those who haven't heard Dashboard's new material might be taken aback when they hear the marked difference in sound and scope as compared to 2001's more depressed The Places You Have Come To Fear the Most and last year's acoustic MTV Unplugged. While a few songs still brood and moan like the heart-wrenching moments from Places, most of them just plain rock.
"I know the fans who've been coming to our live shows in the past two years are going to expect it," Carrabba said of his fresh, more rollicking sound. "That's what they've been seeing because we've been playing a lot of the new songs live."
Fans who missed the new stuff live got their chance to buy it last week, and more than 122,000 people did, propelling A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar to a #2 debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart (see [article id="1477092"]"Dashboard Leave High Mark On Albums Chart; 50 Falls From Grace"[/article]). By comparison, MTV Unplugged and Places had first-week sales of only 34,000 and 2,500 copies, respectively, but they went on to sell more than 149,000 and 426,000 copies thanks to Dashboard Confessional's ever-expanding legion of fans.
And since Carrabba's fanbase was built upon persistent touring, the new trek is likely to result in even larger crowds singing every word to every song as Carrabba bares he soul, warts and all. Revisiting old demons seems a painful practice, and it is. Just not all the time.
"It's kind of strange to carry those feeling with you night after night, like kind of intentionally keeping a wound open for the sake of entertainment," he said. "But on some nights it's extremely cathartic, and on other nights it's just confoundingly painful. But it's never base, it's never even."
Dashboard Confessional tour dates, according to Interscope Records: