Not too many white dudes like fried squid because it’s too “weird”, “ethnic”, and it smells funny [Emperor’s Note: Like Kateri. BURN!]. However, Casey Crescenzo of Boston rock band The Dear Hunter is one of the few that does. I sat down with Casey at the Uva Bar in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney before his show with Thrice to talk beards, Disneyland, the band’s new album Act III: Life and Death, and munched on calamari (which was quite tasty). The Dear Hunter’s pleasantly young-faced tour manager, Connor also makes a special appearance.
Racket Kateri: So how’s Disneyland for you? Have you been here before?
Casey Crescenzo: Ohhhh yeah. I lived in Oak Park, Ventura County for ten years of my life- from 8 until 18. Before that I lived in Culver City, Los Angeles. I remember Disneyland before there was Downtown Disney and California Adventure. I would come here with my mom and my aunt all the time- all the time.
RK: What was “your ride”?
CC: I really like Space Mountain before they redid it. The last time I was here…I don’t know if it’s still the same way, but they had Red Hot Chili Peppers music. I hated it! There were so many lights and the thing that I really liked about Space Mountain was that you couldn’t see anything except for a little glowing. You’d just go around really fast. I think they shut down Star Tours, didn’t they? That sucked…All my favorite rides…I remember watching the Disney Channel when they were building Splash Mountain and then finally coming to Splash Mountain…I love all of them. I love every single ride.
[Editor’s note: According to me and my season pass, Star Tours is still around, open, and as decrepit as it was when I was a kid.]
RK: I like how it’s so dark in Space Mountain that you’re too afraid to put up your hands just in case it gets chopped off by a beam.
CC: I bring my head down a little bit because I’m just going so fast that I get scared.
RK: Have you been to Disneyworld?
CC: No. I don’t think I want to go to Disneyworld just because I love Disneyland. The thing that I love about Disneyland that helps me put up with the amount of people that come, is the memories that I had growing up. Disneyworld just seems so huge.
RK: So what’s happening with your book for Act II?
CC: Yeah, there was a book for Act II that came out with the deluxe edition of Act III: Life and Death, and it was pretty cool. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be because it came out more as a booklet more so than a book so I felt it was kind of wasted. I mean, all of the Acts have a story, but that was the only Act that I already had an artist working on and our label put a little bit more money and time into it.
RK: So you didn’t go through a publisher?
CC: No, it wasn’t even self-published. Triple Crown Records [The Dear Hunter’s label] released a special edition of Act III, and in the case for Act III was the booklet for Act II. I actually have the original pieces of art. They were done on panels so it’s meant for a children’s sized book. It just couldn’t find publishing. It couldn’t find a company that wanted to release a children’s book for adults by a band. Not a big market for that I guess.
RK: Sounds like you’ve got to hit up the J.R.R. Tolkien fans and release a box set. They’re crazy about their special edition items.
CC: I think we’re hopefully going to release three disc vinyl set for Acts I, II, and III and include a book of Acts I, II, and III. We’re gonna try and do that at some point…soon. It all just takes so much money.
RK: Who has the most epic beard in your band?
CC: When it’s grown out, my brother [Nick Crescenzo]. But I don’t know because Josh and Eric have super full beards but they never grow them out. When Nick had his it was like Zeus. It was big.
[That’s what she said.]
RK: How long does that take? I wouldn’t know of course.
CC: [laughs] I don’t really know- six to eight months of growth. Trimming periodically, of course to keep it clean…
RK: I just find beards fascinating. How about Scott Ian’s?
CC: Oh God, yeah!
Connor the Tour Manager: He’s a really nice guy.
CC: You know that?
CC: How do you know that?!
CTTM: I met him at the Musician’s Institute. I went there.
[Waiter brings our food. Brief calamari break.]
CC: I hope you don’t think I can’t talk ‘cause I’m eating. I have no manners. I’ll talk right through the food.
RK: You can talk as you’re eating.
RK: Well now that Connor’s in the mix, how did the two of you meet?
CC: It’s a long story. The quickest way: I was in a band called The Receiving End of Sirens. The first tour that we ever did, we had this band, The Junior Varsity. We both knew Andy Wildrick who plays with me and was in The Junior Varsity. So that’s how it all came about…Everyone in the band is connected in a weird way.
RK: Kind of like the movie Magnolia. Have you seen that movie?
RK: You’ve gotta see it.
CC: John C. Reilly in a serious role!
RK: From Magnolia to Walk Hard…
[Connor is looking puzzled, unsure of who John C. Reilly is.]
CC: He was in Chicago…Boogie Nights…
CTTM: OH yeah…
RK: Don’t you hate Christmas music playing everywhere before Thanksgiving even happens? Does that bother you at all?
CC: Oh yeah. They do it at super markets too for the store changeover.
CTTM: It psychologically makes you spend more money. Play some at the merch table.
RK: You’re not in charge of the merch table…are you?!
CTTM: I hope not.
RK: You can stand by the merch table with your keyboard and bust out “Silent Night” or something.
CC: Now that’s a good idea. Ever seen Home Alone? I like the song the choir is singing when he goes into the church and talks to that old man. It’s a really haunting song…I like that one.
RK: I like “Grandma Got Over By A Reindeer”.
RK: So how is Thrice? Are they needy?
CC: They’re awesome and easy going. They’ve been really nice to us. Some nights they’ll get a hotel room and ask us if we want to use their room to shower—things you would never think to ask a band you’re on tour with, they just offer it up. A lot of headlining bands that we’ve toured with, and rightfully so, really want their privacy. And you get that look like, “What are you doing in here?”
RK: You don’t strike me as a trash-the-hotel-room person either.
CC: We usually don’t have any energy to trash a hotel room.
RK: Cause you trash the stage!
CC: We definitely like to just go to bed. Do the show, go home, and watch a movie…usually Step Brothers.