Utah band The Used was one of the first Utah rock bands to gain traction in the burgeoning post-millennium, post-grunge period a decade ago, and now the band is using its stature to call attention to a pervasive problem that afflicts Utah and other states.
The quartet is headlining the 2013 edition of the Sub City Take Action Tour — in Salt Lake City Jan. 12 — a tour that every year raises funds and awareness for a different group that needs and deserves notice.
As headliner, The Used were given the opportunity to pick a pet project, and they chose the It Gets Better Project, a national organization created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness their lives will reach - if they can just get through their teen years.
“It’s a very important, positive charity,” said Bert McCracken, The Used’s singer. “In high school, I was bullied for being different.”
While McCracken said he harbors no bitterness or resentment to being raised in Utah County, he said there were plenty of close-minded people who believed that the LGBT community was sinful and not deserving of the same respect the heterosexual population receives.
After several years of inaction, The Used is on the upsurge with its new album “Vulnerable,” its first album in three years. Released in March, under their new record label, Hopeless Records, the album represents a level of control the band has sought for years.
The previous album, 2009’s “Artwork,” represented “the end of the end of the end of our record label [relationship],” McCracken said. “They were even going so far to tell me not to swear. Instead of saying ‘s___,” they wanted me to say ‘it.’”
The sour relationship resulted in dangerous habits, McCracken said. “I was in a dark place, drinking from sun up to sun down, even when the sun wasn’t up.”
Now in what he called a better head-space, McCracken said the majority of the new album is about deciding to make the oft-hard choice to find a better way to live. “It’s about taking the first step.”
Opening for The Used on this tour is We Came As Romans, a Michigan-based metalcore band touring behind its 2011 album “Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be.” Guitar player and lyricist Joshua Moore said he had vaguely heard of the It Gets Better Project, but once he learned more, was ecstatic about the project’s mission. “Being a part of this inspiring positivity is a great thing to be involved with.”
Being involved with a tour that has a charitable arm fits firmly with We Came As Romans’ world-view. Early on, the band realized that while darkness will always be a part of its music, the band wanted to stand for something to believe in. “We decided that if we weren’t about something, we shouldn’t be a band at all,” he said.
The band is recording its new album, but doesn’t plan on playing the new songs because Moore said he wants fans to be familiar with the lyrics before the band plays them. Again, the new songs have a message. “It’s hard for people to find the message in a live show,” Moore said.
Except, hopefully, with this charitable show.
— 2013 Sub City Take Action Tour
The Used with We Came As Romans, Mindflow, Crown the Empire
When • Saturday, Jan. 12, 7 p.m.
Where • In The Venue, 579 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $27.50 in advance, $30 day of, at SmithsTix
Info • Ten percent of the cost of each ticket purchased will be donated to It Gets Better and Sub City. The previous Take Action Tour raised nearly $50,000 to help further the mission of its non-profit, with over 19,000 fans attending the 30-stop city tour. Previous benefitting charities of the Sub City Take Action Tour also include Driving For Donors, Do Something, America’s Youth Hotline, ReachOut.com and The National Hopeline Network. To date, Sub City and the Take Action Tour have donated over 2 million dollars to over 50 non-profit organizations.