Origin: Irvine, California
Genre: Alternative rock
Years active: 1999–2012, 2015
Identity Crisis (2000)
The Illusion of Safety (2002)
The Artist in the Ambulance (2003)
The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II (2007)
The Alchemy Index Vols. III & IV (2008)
Thrice is an American rock band from Irvine, California, formed in 1998. The group was founded by guitarist/vocalist Dustin Kensrue and guitarist Teppei Teranishi while they were in high school.
Early in their career, the band was known for fast, hard music based in heavily distorted guitars, prominent lead guitar lines, and frequent changes in complex time signatures. This style is exemplified on their second album, The Illusion of Safety (2002) and their third album The Artist in the Ambulance (2003). Their fourth album Vheissu (2005) made significant changes by incorporating electronic beats, keyboards, and more experimental and nuanced songwriting. Their fifth effort was a double album entitled The Alchemy Index (2007/2008), released as two sets of two CDs that together make a 4-part, 24-song cycle. Each of the four 6-song EPs of the Alchemy Index features significantly different styles, based on different aspects of the band’s musical aesthetic which reflect the elemental themes of fire, water, air and earth, both lyrically and musically. The band’s sixth album, entitled Beggars, was released on August 11, 2009, and their seventh, Major/Minor on September 20, 2011. The most recent albums feature a refined combination of the band’s different experiments and explorations.
Each album released by Thrice has had a portion of its sales proceeds donated to a new charitable organization.
First Impressions and Identity Crisis (1998–2001)
Dustin Kensrue and Teppei Teranishi knew each other from school and had played in a band called Chapter 11. Teppei recruited his skate park friend Eddie Breckenridge to play bass, who then brought his brother Riley on as a drummer. In 1998, before their first show, they realized they needed a name. Hard-pressed for time, they decided to go with the name ‘Thrice’ out of desperation. Thrice was initially an inside joke between the band members, and they were going to use it only temporarily for their first show. However, they began to gain fans with the name, and people started to associate them with it, so they were forced to keep it.
In 1999, the band self-released an EP titled First Impressions which was the product of a two-day session at A-Room Studios with Brian Tochilin. Only 1,000 copies were made and the band members sold them out of their cars. Working with Death by Stereo’s Paul Miner, the quartet recorded 12 tracks, and by April 2000, the group had released Identity Crisis on Greenflag Records. A portion of the album’s proceeds were donated to a local charity called Crittenton Services for Children and Families. More support gigs and local buzz followed, and Thrice sparked the interest of Hopeless/Sub City’s Louis Posen. In 2001, Posen signed with the band, reissued Identity Crisis, and sent the group out on tour with Samiam. Tours with Midtown and Hot Rod Circuit followed.
The Illusion of Safety (2002)
from The Illusion of Safety – “Deadbolt” shows Thrice’s early main style of fast-riff music.
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Thrice re-entered the studio with producer Brian McTernan to record its Hopeless/Sub City debut, The Illusion of Safety. The album was released in February 2002 and the band toured extensively to support it, opening for Further Seems Forever and Face to Face before embarking on its first headlining tour later that year. The band again donated a portion of the album’s proceeds, this time choosing a non-profit youth shelter in South Central Los Angeles, A Place Called Home. The band’s donations were matched by their label.
The album received generally positive reviews and garnered the attention of several major labels. The band eventually signed with Island Records, who had agreed to match Thrice’s charitable donations in the same manner that Hopeless/Sub City had. That fall, the band toured with Hot Water Music and Coheed and Cambria before returning to the studio.
The Artist in the Ambulance (2003–2004)
In 2003, the band released its Island Records debut, The Artist in the Ambulance. The album’s title is in reference to Burn Collector by Al Burian and is meant to reflect the band’s desire to do more than make music and contribute to society through their charitable donations. A portion of the album’s proceeds were this time donated to the Syrentha Savio Endowment, a financial aid organization for breast cancer patients. First pressings of the album were packaged in a digipak-style case with postcards containing lyrics and notes from the band.
The album spawned two singles, “All That’s Left” and “Stare at the Sun.” Both songs, and their accompanying videos, received modest airplay, with “Stare at the Sun” being featured in the video game SSX 3, published through EA Sports BIG Electronic Arts, and the band found themselves playing at larger venues as the year progressed. A co-headlining fall tour with labelmates Thursday and opener Coheed and Cambria sold out across the United States, as well as a stint on the Honda Civic Tour with Dashboard Confessional, The Get Up Kids, and Hot Water Music. The song “The Artist In The Ambulance” was featured in the video game Test Drive Eve Of Destruction.
Throughout 2004, the band continued to tour in support of The Artist in the Ambulance. Island Records issued a promotional disc (that features an alternate version of “The Artist in the Ambulance”) in early 2004 that would become the basis for If We Could Only See Us Now, a CD/DVD package outlining the group’s career. Named after a lyric from “So Strange I Remember You,” the CD portion contained live tracks from a performance at the Apple Store and various B-sides. A slot to promote the CD/DVD came on the 2004 Vans Warped Tour.
Dustin Kensrue and Teppei Teranishi of Thrice performing at a Fopp instore signing in Southampton, UK
Thrice spent much of the first half of 2005 working with producer Steve Osborne on the follow-up to The Artist in the Ambulance. Thrice released Vheissu in October 2005 with “Image of the Invisible” as the first single. The album’s title was taken from the Thomas Pynchon novel V., and featured a wider variety of instrumentation than used in the band’s previous albums, including the use of strings, electronics, and a Rhodes Piano. Many of the album’s lyrics also feature biblical, spiritual, and abstract themes.
For the band’s donations related to this album’s sales proceeds, Thrice chose novelist Dave Eggers’s charity 826 Valencia, a tutorial program for underprivileged children, which promotes literacy and aids teens in developing creative writing skills. In return, Eggers created the cover art for Vheissu.
The band toured extensively in support of the album, including headlining the 2006 Taste of Chaos tour and performing “Image of the Invisible” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. In April 2006, the band released “Red Sky” as the second single from the album. The accompanying video was directed by Tim Hope, who had previously directed videos for Coldplay and Jimmy Eat World. Instead of releasing just a single, Thrice opted to release the Red Sky EP in support of the single, which included two previously unreleased tracks and four live tracks.
The Alchemy Index (2006–2008)
from The Alchemy Index – “Digital Sea” shows Thrice’s incorporation of new instruments, such as synthesizers, and the vast difference in their sound compared to their earlier albums.
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In September 2006, the band announced plans for a new album (later titled The Alchemy Index) on their official website. The album was conceived as a series of 4 EPs, each of which represents an element of nature: fire, water, air, and earth. The band maintained a studio blog titled “Alchemy Index” throughout the recording process.
During the recording process, the band announced that they were leaving Island Records, citing a difference of opinion on the band’s future direction as the reason for the split. The band joined Vagrant Records on August 9, 2007.
On October 12, 2007, Thrice released the first two songs from the Alchemy Index in their entirety through the band’s MySpace page. The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II was released on October 16, 2007 and sold 28,000 copies in its first week. It debuted at number 24 on the Billboard 200 chart, and it topped at number five on the iTunes top-selling albums. To promote the new album, Thrice toured with the bands MewithoutYou and Brand New, and followed with a series of Canadian shows with bands Say Anything and Attack in Black. The second half of the project, The Alchemy Index Vols. III & IV – Earth & Air, was released on April 15, 2008.
The final song on each disc is written in the form of a sonnet, depicting the relationship of man with each of the particular elements. Each of these songs is in iambic pentameter, with a concluding rhyming couplet. These final couplets also contain the same vocal melody and chord progression as each other, although they are in different keys.
Thrice toured with Circa Survive and Pelican in Spring 2008 to support The Alchemy Index, which had now been released in full. The third-to-last show of this tour—the May 28, 2008 show at the House of Blues in Anaheim—was filmed for a live CD/DVD titled Live at the House of Blues. The live album spans 2 CDs and a DVD with live footage and an exclusive interview in which the band answers fan-submitted questions. In Fall 2008, they embarked on a tour supporting Rise Against, along with Alkaline Trio and The Gaslight Anthem.
On January 4, 2009, the band announced on its website that writing had begun for the follow-up to The Alchemy Index, with the title announced as Beggars on June 15, 2009. A July update to the band’s website revealed the release date to be October 13, 2009. However, after the album was leaked several months in advance, the band announced on their website on July 23, 2009 that the album would be released exclusively to iTunes on August 11. The physical CD was released on September 15, 2009. Bonus content included two b-sides from the Beggars sessions, two remixes, and a studio rendition of their cover of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter”.
Feeling that the band’s previous two projects (The Alchemy Index and Vheissu) had a “sleepy feeling” to them, Thrice wanted to make a record that was “a little more upbeat and energetic.” Thrice’s members also hoped to save money and spend more time with their families by building a recording studio in guitarist Teppei Teranishi’s home. Originally, the band expressed interest in tracking the record live (i.e. recording the full band all at once, instead of each instrument individually and mixing together at a later time) in the home studio; however Thrice later abandoned the idea of recording this way. Instead, the band recorded songs with “similar vibe[s] musically, and tonally” in the same session. Several wooden devices were constructed by the band for the home studio to make the recordings “sound better.” The self-produced album was released through Vagrant Records.
Thrice played The Bamboozle Left festival in April, and played selected dates on the summer’s Warped Tour. Throughout the Warped Tour shows, Thrice played “All the World is Mad,” “At the Last” and “The Weight.”
The song “All the World is Mad” is featured in the Vagrant Song Pack for Guitar Hero, which was released on July 23, 2009. “Deadbolt” appears on Guitar Hero 5.
On July 29, Brand New announced that Thrice would be playing on select dates of their Fall North American tour. Multiple shows were sold out, and the band notably performed a cover of The Beatles’s “Helter Skelter”. After this leg of the tour, Thrice began a tour with The Dear Hunter, but they had to play without guitarist Teppei Teranishi who left due to a family emergency.
In 2009, while on the Vans Warped Tour in Houston, TX, the band autographed a Gibson Guitar for the non-profit Music Saves Lives and assisted in their goal of raising the nation’s blood supply.
Thrice posted a poll for fans to vote for which song from Beggars to use for a music video. “All the World is Mad”, “The Weight”, “Circles” and “In Exile” were the choices for the poll, with “In Exile” narrowly beating “The Weight” even after some voters hacked into the system to try to choose the winner. The live-themed, black and white music video premiered on MySpace Music on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2009, their first live video since 2002’s “Deadbolt.”
Thrice’s Spring (2010) tour with Manchester Orchestra was unfortunately cut short on April 23 when Dustin Kensrue had to leave because of an illness in the family.
Major/Minor and hiatus (2011–2012)
In an interview with Blare Magazine on June 16, 2010, Kensrue revealed that each member has been writing music for a new Thrice album individually, and that “pretty soon” the band will enter the studio to write and record an album collectively.
On April 20, 2011 Thrice announced on their website that their next album was ready to go and studio bound. The album was recorded in May 2011 at Red Bull Studios, with most of the parts being recorded there and the band adding overdubs and “tweaking” a few things in Teppei’s home recording studio (New Grass Studios) in the days after recording at Red Bull Studios.
The new album, titled Major/Minor, was released on September 20, 2011 through Vagrant Records.
Following Thrice’s spring 2012 tour, the band went on hiatus. In the group’s public statement, Kensrue stated that “Thrice is not breaking up,” and that the band will be “taking a break from being a full-time band.”
Thrice, accompanied by Animals as Leaders and O’Brother, began their farewell tour on May 4, 2012 in San Diego and ended it with a 33-song solo show on June 19, 2012 in Santa Ana. The tour’s setlist song pool was determined by a fan vote on their entire song catalog (excluding First Impressions). Thrice’s second live album, Anthology, was released on October 30, 2012 on two CDs and as a quadruple 180 gram LP box set limited to 3000 copies, and features 24 songs recorded at select shows along the tour.
Thrice’s last interview aired on June 18, 2012 just one day after the band wrapped on their farewell tour. JC from theFIVE10 Radio spoke with Eddie and Teppei.
Hiatus activities (2012–2014)
Riley Breckenridge plays drums in a grindcore side project called Puig Destroyer with Ian Miller (KWC), Jon Howell (KWC, Tigon), and Mike Minnick (Curl Up and Die). Their self-titled demo is composed of six songs clocking in at about six minutes, which is the number of Yasiel Puig (66) of the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom the six song demo is inspired by. The name is a reference to both Puig and grindcore band Pig Destroyer. The demo was released on a 7″ 45rpm vinyl by The Ghost Is Clear Records.
Eddie Breckenridge joined the alternative rock band Angels & Airwaves in June 2014, which also features current/former members of Blink-182, Nine Inch Nails and Hazen Street.
Reunion shows (2015-present)
On December 22, 2014, the band posted an image on its website showing the view from behind the mixing desk, facing the band performing, overlaid with the text “Thrice 2015.” Two months later, Thrice began announcing their inclusion in several 2015 music festivals, including New Jersey’s Skate and Surf Fest in May; Montebello, Quebec’s Amnesia Rockfest in June; Folkestone, UK’s Hevy Music Festival in August; and three sites for Riot Fest, Denver in August as well as Chicago and Toronto in September.
Dustin Kensrue released his first solo album, on Equal Vision Records on January 23, 2007, titled Please Come Home. The album opened at 142 on the Billboard 200 with 5,800 copies sold. The follow-up was Christmas album, called This Good Night Is Still Everywhere, released in 2008 and featured two original Christmas songs and covers of Christmas carols.
Dustin Kensrue revived his solo career by joining Lee Neujahr (drums), Phil Neujahr (Bass), and Jonny Sandu (synth), in order to form the band, The Modern Post. The Modern Post released their first EP in 2012 called Grace Alone. Next, Kensrue released a worship album on his own, entitled The Water & the Blood, on September 30, 2013. In July 2014, Kensrue announced that he was working on a follow-up to This Good Night with a five-track Christmas EP including a re-working of “This Is War”.
Teppei Teranishi is in a side project with Chris Jones called Black Unicorn. Chris Jones also played drums and electric guitar on Dustin’s solo album.
Dustin Kensrue provided guest vocals and Teppei Teranishi played guitar/provided production on The Out Circuit’s album Pierce The Empire With a Sound.