Solitude is the only true silence: when our strongest feelings are the only dialogue, our most intimate thoughts the only soundtrack. It isn? easy to convey those moments to others. All you can do is let them in to listen. Dashboard Confessional is Christopher Carrabba? soundtrack to those moments alone. Two years ago, the singer-songwriter turned to song to get out what was inside. From the acceptance his two albums, The Swiss Army Romance and The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most have received from not-easily-won-over punk rock audiences around the country, there are a lot of people who relate. I started this as a side-project from the band I was in, Carrabba says. I was going through something really tough at the time and since I don? write in a journal, this is what I did with it. It was a good way to get it out of my system. I never thought anyone would hear these songs, but I played some for my friends and one of them who owned a little label talked me into recording.
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Carrabba? style is intimate and visceral. Unlike the raucous punk sounds of his previous bands, Further Seems Forever and The Vacant Andys, Dashboard is a quiet affair: Carrabba? acoustic accompanied by simple bass and drums. His voice runs from a whisper to a scream, emerging from deep in the moment of overwhelming emotion. His lyrics speak of broken love, disappointment and the kind of paralyzing alienation that creeps into the soul like ivy. At his shows, kids who usually release in a mosh pit, stand rapt, emoting in word-for-word sing-alongs. One girl wrote me a poem she? written after a show, Carrabba says quietly. There was a line about everybody resenting everybody else in the room for being a part of what? going on there. I think that sums it up. They?e there, all in that room singing along together, but the songs mean something so particular to each of them that is theirs and no one else?. It? hard for me to sit there and play those songs and relive those feelings constantly. But it? also rewarding and pacifying to have people sing them back. It makes those feelings hold less weight when you understand that they?e universal.
Leading a group isn? new to the Connecticut native; before his career, he worked as a teacher and school administrator at an elementary school in South Florida. He sees his callings as parallel. I had 00 kids looking to me all day for something, he says. This isn? any different but what these kids need is a little different from what those kids needed. Kids at my school weren? as intrusive as kids at some of my shows. Carrabba makes a point to meet his fans because after all, they?e not very different. Kids put you on such a weird pedestal, he says. It? my objective to break that down a little bit. I want them to know that they could do this or whatever else it is that they want to accomplish. They just have to do it.
Carrabba had to learn that lesson himself. He was always interested in music; singing in the school chorus and messing around with a guitar his uncle gave him at fifteen. He didn? get serious with his playing until a few years later. Society makes you think you?e supposed to do certain things because they get ingrained in you, he says. I thought I was supposed to go to school. My family never made me feel that way. Carrabba? mother encouraged him in music, even sitting him down in front of MTV when it premiered and telling him that? what he was going to do. My mom recognized the talents of all of her kids and has a lot of faith in us, he says. It was the greatest support system.
Carrabba? leap of faith began when he left his former band, donated his belongings to Goodwill and hopped in an unreliable van to start his first tour with Dashboard Confessional. He hasn? looked back. I don? know where this is going and I don? know that I care, he says. I just want to be able to keep playing music. If nobody? listening, I figure I?l still play in my room. At the moment he has more ears turned that he can possibly entertain. Carrabba? fans were won by word-of-mouth and albums bought by the handful at local shows around Florida. His first headlining gig in North Carolina was so sold out that fans that had driven hours to hear him loitered outside to catch a glimpse through the doorway. The venue was unable to stay open for a second show so Carrabba brought his guitar outside to play for those who had waited. It was the first time I felt anyone had come specifically to see me play, he says. Some of them came so far, I had to make it up to them somehow. The support of his fans has given Carrabba the courage to delve deeper into himself with every song - a process the artist and the audience benefit from. After the first album I felt more honest to challenge myself, he says. I think this album is even more introspective. I? not a great singer; I? not a great guitar player. But I know how to get my feelings into my songs. That? all I claim to be good at.
The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most was originally released in April 00?and has sold more than 00,000 units. After co-headlining a summer of sold out shows on the Vagrant America Tour last summer, including two nights at New York? Irving Plaza, four nights in Chicago and two at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, Dashboard Confessional headlined a full national sold out tour. They just wrapped a national tour with Weezer this summer and recently performed on the Late Show w/David Letterman, Late Night w/Conan O'Brien, The Late Late Show w/Craig Kilborn and Last Call w/Carson Daly.
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