Photo by Daneil Belis
On a windy day in Los Angeles, outside the Wiltern, Smashed Chair caught up with Fred Mascherino from The Color of Fred. On stage the guy has a swagger that says he’s done the music thing before – being the former Guitarist for Taking Back Sunday. In person the guy is the complete opposite, with a super calm attitude on life. Though the interview was interrupted with fans screaming “It’s Fred!” the guy still managed to talk with us about pleasing fans, having a beard and being a sea captain.
Smashed Chair: They say Sinatra used to go into rooms and have people eating out of his hands in a few minutes. Do you think you have that going on?
Fred: I’m definitely no Sinatra, but I feel most natural when I’m on stage. I’ve been performing since I was pretty young. I don’t think there is anything else that I’m good at – like I’m the worst athlete and I’m the worst in school. I like to think that people are enjoying us on the stage.
SC: You sort of changed genres, are you at heart a folk type of guy?
Fred: There are a couple of quieter moments on the record, but I feel that songs like “Surrender” and “Get Out” are more Foo Fighters rock songs. I still wanted to make something that was appealing to the people who listened to my past bands – Taking Back Sundays and Breaking Pangaea.
SC: Just want to throw this out there – you’re probably the only guy who can pull off the beard look and not look shady.
Fred: (Laughter) I’m flattered. I normally didn’t have a beard until three years ago. Probably wouldn’t shave it off. I don’t know – it feels good.
Photo by Daneil Belis
SC: You don’t want to borderline on the hobo look. Would you say that you’re a fan of Angels and Airwaves – have they won you over as a band?
Fred: I’ve toured with them when I was in Taking Back Sunday and on the Warped Tour. I toured with Blink 182 a few years ago. We actually do admire the band – I probably watched them every night on the tour and I’m sure that they’ve seen us on stage. I’m actually kind of sad to see the tour end.
SC: Most rappers memorize all of their lyrics while they’re on the streets doing their thing. What’s your style for writing lyrics and songs?
Fred: I sit at my guitar and try to tell stories to myself. And when I feel that I’ve got something good, I write it down. Usually I can remember it – normally, I have a good memory for lyrics. I always have to be driven to write something – I don’t sit down and work on something over time. Normally I can feel it and then I write it all in one sitting.
SC: Would you say that, being in the spotlight, you have any anxieties?
Fred: No, I enjoy it. I started playing guitar when I was ten. My mom went on tour and played guitar when she was 19 – so it’s sorta something that’s in my blood. If I haven’t played in a long time, I’ll kinda get nervous or if I’m doing an acoustic show or something special like that.
SC: And Fred, would you ever become a Bono and get super involved in politics and issues like that?
Fred: I’m really passionate about environmental issues. The packaging on my record is 100% bio-degradable and it’s made of 90% of recycled material. And just how I live and what I drive and everything else is all part of who I am. And I want that to carry over into the project – I like when there is more than just music and there is some meaning behind it. I would never want to preach, and I would say that this is my thing.
SC:Would you rather be a cowboy, an astronaut or “an other?”
Fred: I’d think I’d want to be a captain of a boat – like a fishing boat or something like that. I’d like to be out on the ocean where you can’t see any land and sleep out there for a few days. And you know, JAWS style, but not that I wouldn’t want to see any sharks.
By Nathan Solis