How (Don’t Call ‘Em a Supergroup) L.S. Dunes Saved Its Own Members’ Lives
For anti-supergroup L.S. Dunes, the magnetism of friendship and love of their craft made coming together a no-brainer, especially during a particularly turbulent moment for the industry and within their personal lives.
In this excerpt from a conversation with drummer Tucker Rule (Thursday) and vocalist Anthony Green (Circa Survive) we learn just how much swapping sound files during a global pandemic helped heal their hearts and minds.
The band's lineup is a scene dream, also comprised of guitarist Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance), guitarist Travis Stever (Coheed & Cambria) and bassist Tim Payne (Thursday), and while fans may be quick to brand them a supergroup, that's not the sentiment these members harbor. It isn't about assembling an all-star band as the scene equivalent of the Justice League superheroes and more about bonding with like-minded musicians and, more importantly, dear friends.
Being cutoff from our regular social circles and points of contact helped frame a new perspective for us all amid the pandemic, and losing out on this essential element of the human experience led Green in particular down dark paths. Prioritizing mental health, and with the support of his L.S. Dunes bandmates, he confronted these issues and is grateful to have bettered his relationships as a result.
Get your copy of L.S. Dunes' 'Past Lives' album (out Nov. 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 the ones that 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 about the "L.S." standing for "low stress" because we just want it to be fun. People love to throw around the term "supergroup," and we don't like that. We're a group of super buds, and this is just our circle of friendship. It's not like, "Oh, we've got to get the guy from Coheed and the guy from Circa and the guy from MCR…" These are my dudes and I know we get along musically.
Another thing with "supergroup" is that [people think], "Oh, they're just going do one show here and one show there." Why start a band if you're not going to go bring it out live? That's our goal — to play as much as we can. This is another full time job.
ANTHONY GREEN: I don't really get to have many friends that are outside of this business. It kind of sucks because you end up feeling kind of lonely when you're not working or when you're home.
Once we started connecting more, it was like, “Man, I'm talking to Tucker every other day.” I didn't realize how much I was lacking in my life. It's hard to even find two people that connect on a creative and personal way level so that they can make stuff, 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 that creatively mesh well, and this is five people who fit together creatively just perfectly.
L.S. Dunes, "Permanent Rebellion" Music Video
It's not business, it's personal
AG: If at any moment Travis called us and was like, "Hey, I'm going through this and I need X, Y, and Z," that's the most important thing from the get-go. No matter what comes our way, we're able to deal with it because we're not looking at this like it's a business, we're looking at it like this big art project.
We all know from our other bands that when you have a business that's run cutthroat where it's about the bottom line or getting as many streams, or making as much money, it can become convoluted. Whereas, if you have a situation where everybody's just looking out for one another because of the fact that this is an emotionally driven band where we're processing a lot of really heavy shit together, you end up feeling so safe and secure and strong because you know that everybody has your back.
The most important thing is that everybody's mental health and personal relationships. Everybody's life is more important than just a song or a stream. That makes a project strong and fun… and no one's judging [personally or creatively].
Creativity is life-sustaining
TR: I would wake up or go to bed hoping somebody would write a riff so I could wake up in the morning and get to work on it [laughs]. And vice versa — I would write a drum beat and send it out and I'd be like, "Please, somebody work on this" and then I'd get something back. It [felt] like it was Christmas and it was during COVID, too, 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 where none of us knew what was going to happen with our industry. I know everybody had it rough and all industries suffered, but I can only speak for myself and the music industry was in shambles. We knew that it might not come back for a really 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.
All of us are dads and at that time I had an infant. I was trying to figure out how to make money and was writing these songs with these dudes that I love, not thinking that we would make money from it.
So, why did it save our lives? It was like this was out of necessity to feel like we were a part of something, again.
L.S. Dunes, "2022" Music Video
Even so, life was still very challenging through all this
AG: We got laid off [amid the pandemic]. People were talking about when shows come back or when things reopened, but it was so scary [having the mindset of], "Okay, well let's save up until everything comes back," and then I was just like, "Hey, this is never going come back. It's never going to be like it was and we're going have to get used to playing through our computers." It was almost like a comforting thing for me to close the book on that chapter in my life.
I was so depressed. I had been going to AA and NA meetings where you make a pretty hardcore connection with other addicts and people who are struggling and that was gone. My therapist was not seeing people face to face. Yeah. [This band] was almost like an excuse to miss therapy a bunch.
I was also diagnosed as bipolar shortly after my my overdose. I was struggling with it, and I didn't want to admit that I was bipolar. I was really scared of even saying it. It's crazy to think about it now, but I just didn't want anybody to know. I wasn't medicating at all, and I was trying to figure out how to go through life without getting fucked up to deal with my problems, but also not doing any of the recommended things that you do to manage bipolar.
I was in this manic low, hallucinating, and this project coming to me at that moment… I hate saying this because your kids are the reason why you want to live… I thought my kids would be better off without me. I was convinced that I was just going to be a bad dad, and that I was going hurt them at some point.
That's what friends are for
If I didn't change my shit, I would've [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 in those few months. It was like a fucking life preserver. I wasn't looking at my family, my life and my career as something worth fighting for. I was just so lost and there was so much joy anchored 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 if I got my shit together and went to therapy and figured out how to maintain. My family and my friendships would all be better—nobody'd be better off if I was dead.
When you don't see that yourself sometimes, it takes somebody else reminding you. And these guys did that and the songs did that. This band and these songs were like a little box of sanity. It became like a drug, almost. When I was feeling crazy, I would think about the fact 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 'Past Lives' album (out Nov. 11) here.