Interview with: Fred Mascherino of The Color Fred

Fred Mascherino took some time out of his schedule at the July 2nd Warped show in Bonner Springs, Kan., to talk to Joshua about his solo project, The Color Fred, as well as his departure from his former group, Taking Back Sunday. Check out the interview below:

Joshua, PopWreckoning: Is there an overwhelming difference singing backing vocals compared to lead vocals and which do you tend to prefer?
Fred Mascherino, The Color Fred: I prefer singing lead because that’s what I’m doing and I’ve kind of been waiting to do it. Singing backup is a whole different talent. You have to sort of be listening a lot to the other person and fitting well behind them and making them sound better. But singing lead is more creative and not as much of a method to it.
PW: Interesting. I, of course, have to get into Taking Back Sunday.
FM: Not a problem, man.
PW: I always feel bad because of drama and shit.
FM: I don’t care.
PW: What was the reason that you felt the time had come to step out on your own and leave Taking Back Sunday?
FM: I was feeling like as the band got bigger and bigger-and it was something that I originally liked about it and like, for example, a lot of the earlier songs had very much a two vocal back and forth thing-I figure there were forces that led to us having more of a front man. That was sort of where I didn’t want to be in a project like that.
PW: Understandable and I know that you can’t necessarily speak for this, but do you feel that this is the same reason for the split for Straylight Run?
FM: I think that being the backing guy is a tough role and I think that it’s going to be tough for whomever does it next. So, I assume that John [Nolan] felt similarly to what I did.
PW: That was well stated. You did that very well.
FM: Thank you.
PW: Where do you see The Color Fred heading and what is in the future for the group?
FM: I’m really excited about it because when I recorded this record, I was still in Taking Back Sunday and now it’s become my full focus. That makes me really excited because I feel like the potential is so much greater than what we’ve already heard. I’m already starting on the next record as far as writing.
The fact that Bend to Break had the rock stuff, the catchy rock stuff, but it also has something like “It Isn’t Me,” which is a piano ballad, but I had never been in a band where we could add piano to it. I feel like with this band we can add anything we want-we can get organs in there, guitar solos, strings and anything musical that I’m feeling when it’s in my head can come out on the record a lot cleaner. A lot more directly.
PW: So it opens you up to whatever creative avenue you should choose?
FM: Exactly. Whereas being in a band, everybody filters out what they don’t like about it.
PW: Understandable. It is kind of what we talked about right here, but the next question is: you recorded this album basically on your own, compared to writing an album in a room with a group of guys, do you think this process was harder or easier?
FM: It was actually a bit easier. There’s never anything easy about a democracy, sadly. I like to use that filter metaphor. When you’re in a band, each guy acts as a filter. So when I write a song in my basement with my acoustic guitar and my notepad and I have the drums in my head, it changes when you’re in a band.
When I’m writing this out, I just put everything as I heard it in my head. To me it’s a better vision. A lot of the bands that I like are one or two persons’ visions, not five.
PW: So, it becomes completely your project as opposed to somebody in a group where six different people tweak it just enough that nobody has a full group of the original project?
FM: Yeah, so the bands that I love are something like Billy Corgan in Smashing Pumpkins or the way Jimmy Page is a brainchild. The other guys do have something to do with it, but I like, well the Billy Corgan example was a lot better. But I even find bands where guys write, but it will say, “Oh, he wrote this song and he wrote that,” Lennon and McCartney are the perfect example.
PW: Yeah, that’s a good example. What do you believe is your biggest accomplishment as a musician? That’s a hard question.
FM: I know. I just hope that especially with my newest record that people feel that they are getting something that’s artistic and honest and not swayed by what’s going on in the genre or what you think will do well. I honestly think that my greatest accomplishment isn’t gold records or opening for Green Day, it’s more about the songs.
PW: Staying true to yourself?
FM: Yeah, exactly. It is always hard to do that. You write a song and say, “I can’t put that in there,” or “That’s silly and will offend people,” but if you leave it in there, I always like it so much better.
PW: That’s great. How do you feel The Color Fred differs from Taking Back Sunday and Breaking (Pangaea)?
FM: Wait, I’m sorry, say it again?
PW: How do you…
FM: Oh, Breaking Pangaea, yeah.
PW: I forgot the album was called Break, too. That could have gotten confusing.
FM:That’s cool. That’s a hard question, but very fair. For me, The Color Fred is just a more complete vision of what I do. When I was in Taking Back Sunday and I came into the band after it had already started, my friends who knew my past music going way back, they could hear what I changed about them and what I added to it. Now, it’s sort of that part of what I do in its pure essence.
Even in Breaking Pangaea I would co-write with the other guys in the band, but this is truly my writing. It was me and the drummer and I would have played the drum’s myself as well, except Steve‘s way better. But he tried to stick to my vision all the time. So, mostly what I said before.
PW: It’s more you.
FM: It’s completely me.
PW: That’s the perfect answer.

The Color Fred: website | myspace

Photo Credit: Mascherino for Equal Vision Records

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One Response

  1. What an awesome interview! Very insightful and “well said.” Thanks Joshua!

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