The Used

For other uses, see Used (disambiguation).
The Used

The Used in 2013. From left to right: Jeph Howard, Quinn Allman, Bert McCracken and Dan Whitesides.
Background information
Origin Orem, Utah, United States
Years active 2001–present
Labels Hopeless, Reprise
Associated acts
Past members

The Used is an American rock band from Orem, Utah, formed in 2001. The group consists of vocalist Bert McCracken, guitarist Justin Shekoski (who replaced founding guitarist Quinn Allman in 2015), bassist Jeph Howard, and drummer Dan Whitesides (who replaced founding drummer Branden Steineckert in 2006).

The group signed to Reprise Records and rose to fame in June 2002 after releasing their self-titled debut album. They followed up with their second album, In Love and Death, in September 2004 and their third album, Lies for the Liars, in May 2007. Shallow Believer, an EP that featured most of the band's B-sides, was released in February 2008. They spent 2008 working on their fourth studio album, Artwork, which was released in August 2009.[1] A fifth album, titled Vulnerable, was released in March 2012 through the independent label Hopeless Records. In summer 2013 they released another EP titled The Ocean of the Sky. Their sixth album, Imaginary Enemy, released in April 2014.

Albums by The Used have achieved gold and platinum statuses in many countries worldwide.[2]


Formation and Demos from the Basement (2001)

The Used formed in January 2001 with the recruitment of members Branden Steineckert, Quinn Allman and Jeph Howard.[3] They had music already prepared, but did not have lyrics and required a vocalist. They held auditions at Howard's residence,[4] but the band was not satisfied with any of the vocalists, describing the auditions as "terrible". Allman then asked Bert McCracken if he was interested in joining the band. McCracken was impressed with the material the band had created. After being given music that the band had written, McCracken wrote the lyrics to what would become "Maybe Memories" and returned the next day to record a demo version of the song. McCracken was then officially confirmed as being the band's vocalist. Throughout all of this, the band members suffered from poverty, homelessness, and substance abuse, panhandling for change in order to buy food.[5] The members decided upon the name "Used" after friends claimed they felt "used" when contact with the band members waned as they became more engrossed in the project.[6][7]

The Used continued to write songs together and recorded a demo album in drummer Steineckert's bedroom titled Demos from the Basement. Steineckert sent their songs to producer John Feldmann from the ska group Goldfinger. On hearing the song "A Box Full of Sharp Objects", Feldman helped The Used find a record label. Feldmann flew the band to Los Angeles, taking them out of their home state for the first time in their lives. They played for various record executives, but received little interest. Eventually, after sending copies of their demo to many record companies, they began to receive offers. They decided to sign to Reprise Records in late 2001.

The Used and In Love and Death (2002–2005)

In 2002, it was discovered that a Boston band had already trademarked the name "Used." The band decided to add "The" to their name, thus becoming "The Used". Their self-titled debut album, produced by John Feldmann, was released on June 25, 2002 to critical acclaim. The album featured four singles: "A Box Full of Sharp Objects", "The Taste of Ink", "Buried Myself Alive", and "Blue and Yellow", with the latter three entering the charts and the album being certified gold.[8] The Used went on to play Warped Tour, Ozzfest, and Projekt Revolution, as well as Box Car Racer's first and only tour. During these tours, they employed a touring guitarist named Greg Bester. He was later forced to return to his home country when he couldn't get a working visa. The band received much recognition when Bert McCracken dated Kelly Osbourne.[9] In July 2003, The Used released a compilation CD/DVD combo package titled Maybe Memories. The CD features live, rare, previously unreleased tracks, and demo material, while the DVD features the history of the band, member bios, and part of a live concert. Maybe Memories has been certified platinum.[8]

In 2004, lead vocalist McCracken's ex-girlfriend died of a drug overdose while pregnant with his child.[10] Their second studio album was thus named In Love and Death, released as a reference to the tragedy McCracken dealt with during the recording. The song "Hard to Say" was a reference to McCracken's ex-girlfriend; although the song was written years earlier, its dedication was only then declared. In Love and Death received very positive reviews[11] and spawned three singles: "Take It Away", "All That I've Got" (which earned them their first MuchMusic Video Award nomination), and "I Caught Fire", before being re-released in 2005. "Under Pressure" (a Queen and David Bowie cover song performed with My Chemical Romance) was featured as a bonus track on the re-release. The album has been certified gold.[8] After finishing up an international tour for the album, The Used took about eight months off before starting to work on their next album.

Lies for the Liars (2006–2007)

On September 12, 2006, The Used announced that Steineckert was no longer a member of the band.[12] They said they felt they needed to move forward without him, and that there was a personality conflict between Steineckert and another band member.[12] In late 2006, it was announced drummer Dan Whitesides of The New Transit Direction would replace Steineckert. Steineckert has since joined Rancid.

On February 6, 2007, The Used released a live double-album, Berth, which includes a DVD that features video of their performance at the Taste of Chaos 2005 tour in Vancouver and a CD that features it on audio. The DVD also includes a biography of the band and four music videos. The biography depicts the band after the release of Maybe Memories, leading into the creation of In Love and Death. The sale of Berth lead it to be certified as gold.[8] The Used spent most of the early part of 2007 on the Taste of Chaos tour before their third album, Lies for the Liars, was released May 22, 2007. They headlined the Give It a Name festival. In June, they played the MuchMusic Video Awards for the first time ever, and received their second nomination for Best International Group Video, for "The Bird and the Worm". The Used were scheduled to play Warped Tour in June and July, in support of their album, but were forced to cancel due to McCracken's vocal cord surgery.[13] After McCracken recovered, the band played the Reading and Leeds festivals in August, and went on to tour the United States in September. Lies for the Liars charted in the top five in more than seven countries,[2] and featured four singles: "The Bird and the Worm", "Liar Liar (Burn in Hell)", "Pretty Handsome Awkward", and "Paralyzed". Although Whitesides had been chosen as the new drummer, Dean Butterworth of Good Charlotte recorded drums for the album. The six-month recording process was the longest The Used had ever undertaken. Lies for the Liars generally received mixed to positive reviews.[14] Originally, Lies for the Liars was expected to be a double-album. Nineteen songs were recorded, but they instead decided to save the songs for a future release.

Shallow Believer and Artwork (2008–2009)

Howard in Lethbridge, Alberta, November 27, 2009

On February 19, 2008, The Used released Shallow Believer, an EP containing the band's B-sides. It was only released on digital music stores and it has charted No. 14 on iTunes' Top 100 albums.[2] The Used worked on Artwork, their fourth studio album, throughout 2008. They took several breaks while working on the album to headline the inaugural Get a Life Tour and the Spare the Air Festival in California. The album was produced by Panic! at the Disco's producer Matt Squire, making this their first studio album not produced by John Feldmann.[15] It was also the first studio album by The Used to feature Whitesides as the drummer. In Alternative Press, McCracken stated "In the past, we've always kind of brought pop sensibility into heavy rock, but this is going to be all that much more tantalizing and brutal. Our songs are ten times messier and noisier than they've ever been."[16] McCracken explained the meaning of the album, saying, "This record is about coming to grips with how much you really hate yourself and knowing you can never hate yourself to the full extent, so you're free to hate yourself as much as you want to".[17] McCracken went on to say "we [have not] been this excited about an album since our self titled back in 2002." Artwork was released to mixed reviews. The album released along with a DVD for the pre-order and first run of the album in stores.[18] A cover version of "Burning Down the House" by the Talking Heads was released on the cover compilation album Covered, A Revolution in Sound, and was also featured in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – The Album.[19] They played at The Bamboozle in May 2009. The single "Blood on My Hands" was released on iTunes in June, and was streamable for one day on the band's website. On July 21, the pre-order was available. Artwork became available worldwide on August 31, 2009. The band played a major U.S. tour in October and November 2009 with supporting bands The Almost and Drive A, and another in early 2010 with Atreyu and Drive A. They later joined an arena tour supporting Three Days Grace in Canada. The band premiered the music video for the song "Empty with You" on December 9, 2009 via Twitter. In April 2010, The Used began another US tour along with Chiodos and New Medicine.[20]

Vulnerable (2010–2012)

In April 2010, The Used cancelled their upcoming international tour dates and also began writing material for a follow up to Artwork.[21] Recording and officially releasing the new album was significantly delayed after The Used left Reprise Records—their record label group of ten years. According to Howard, "We were kind of waiting to see if we were going to do this record on Warner or not. We kind of had to wait and see what happened about that before we started recording."[22] The Used founded their own record label in 2011 after parting ways with Reprise Records, a division of Warner. The label was dubbed "Dental Records", and they planned to release their fifth studio album Vulnerable in February 2012 on it.[23]

By December 2011 the release plans for Vulnerable had changed. Their first choice, "Dental Records," was already taken, so the group quickly came up with a different name instead, Anger Music Group. The release date of Vulnerable was again delayed to March 26, 2012.[24][25] The album's first single, "I Come Alive," was released digitally on January 17.[25] Vulnerable's second single, "Hands and Faces," was released digitally in February 2012.[26]

In support of Vulnerable, The Used embarked on a North American headlining tour in May and June 2012, and also performed on the main stage of Warped Tour 2012 in June and July 2012.[27][28] In June 2012, The Used were forced to cancel all scheduled Canadian tour dates due to McCracken's criminal record. McCracken said he would not be allowed entry into the country for ten years because of some "teensy, eensy misdemeanors," including trespassing, from many years earlier.[29]

The Ocean of the Sky and Imaginary Enemy (2013–present)

Justin Shekoski and Bert McCracken performing in 2015.

Sub City (Hopeless Records' non-profit 501(c) organization) announced on November 9, 2012 that The Used, with support from We Came As Romans, Crown The Empire, and Mindflow, will headline the annual nationwide charity tour will circle the US through February, showcasing some of the best bands in music today while raising funds and awareness for It Gets Better Project and the concept that we can all help play a part in making a positive impact.[30] The Used's fifth studio album was re-issued as a two-disc set titled Vulnerable (II) on January 22, 2013.[31] On March 11, 2013, the band released a music video for the single "Hands and Faces".[32]

In June 2013 The Used announced their new EP, The Ocean of the Sky,[33] and the EP was released the following month.[34]

In mid-January 2014, the band revealed their sixth studio album, Imaginary Enemy. It was released on April 1, 2014 through their label GAS Union.[35] The album was greatly influenced by McCracken's daughter.[36]

In early February 2015, it was announced that guitarist Quinn Allman parted ways with the band for a one-year hiatus. Saosin's guitarist Justin Shekoski became his replacement as touring member for subsequent tours from February 2015. The Used toured the United Kingdom in February 2015 with support from the Landscapes.[37] On November 19, 2015, The Used announced that Allman amicably parted ways with the band permanently and then touring member Shekoski was welcomed as his permanent replacement.[38]

The band released a live album, Live and Acoustic at the Palace, in April 2016.

Musical style

The Used has been described as emo,[39][40][41] post-hardcore,[42] punk rock,[43] screamo[44][42][45][46][47] and heavy metal.[48] Bassist Jeph Howard has stated: "We just don't consider ourselves 'emo' or 'screamo' and we never have. We're a rock band that's all we've ever been."[49]

For Artwork, McCracken described their genre as "gross pop".[17] Allman described the album's style: "It's gonna be pretty raw. I think a lot of the stuff is very much more poetic and lyrical, and the sound is more retro and raw with less production". On their fifth album Vulnerable, Bert McCracken stated that there is a lot of hip hop influence, beats and drum and bass kind of stuff, but it is also still a The Used record with many soft and heavy, brutal, sharp, bright sounds, and the tempos are anywhere from ultra-slow to super fast and heavy.[50]

Band members


Touring musicians



Main article: The Used discography
Studio albums

Anger Music Group and GAS Union

Anger Music Group

AMG logo

Anger Music Group is a music group that was founded in Orange County, California in 2001 by Bert McCracken and The Used. They are partners with Hopeless Records who assist with worldwide distribution.[51][52][53] The Used founded Anger Music Group in 2011 after parting ways with Reprise Records. Bert McCracken describes the AMG as "a group that involves everything from managing to production to art design”. They originally planned to form their own label to be called Dental Records but the name was already trademarked so The Used decided on Anger Music Group instead. They formed AMG for more musical freedom that Reprise held them back from and because they wanted to do everything on their own from putting it out and paying for it. They decided to partner with Hopeless Records after determining that the workers of Hopeless had the most similar mind set of how the music world should be working.[53][54][55] Vulnerable and The Ocean of the Sky were released with the AMG logo via Hopeless Records.

GAS Union

GAS logo

GAS is an abbreviation for "give a shit" and is self described as "revolutionary" because it is the idea of music being free and where the musicians obtain all the money from the music and merchandise they create and the people that don't have anything to do with the creation of music or production of music get filtered out (ie; major record labels). The motto of the GAS is "Giving Music Back To The People". Imaginary Enemy was released with GAS Union logo via Hopeless Records.[56]



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