Chat with Riley Breckenridge
Breckenridge, a former collegiate baseball player at Pepperdine, is a huge sports fan and manages to follow all his favorite teams while touring the world with Thrice. When his dream of being a professional baseball player was crushed due to injuries, Breckenridge joined his brother Eddie in Thrice and the rest was history. The band has sold well over 1,000,000 albums and their most recent offering, "The Alchemy Index Vols. III & IV", debuted in the Billboard Top 20. After you finish chatting, head over to myspace.com/thrice to purchase the new live CD/DVD "Live at the House of Blues" which is being released the same day.
Thrice got their start in Irvine, Calif. In 1998 and have since released seven albums and garnered a large following of fans and critics alike for their intricate and complex sound that crosses multiple genres.
Send your questions now and join Breckenridge on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. ET!
MORE: Musician chat archive
Riley Breckenridge (3:02 PM)
I'm here and excited to be taking a break from the MLB Winter Meetings blog on ESPN.com. I'm freaking out because nobody is moving!
John- Newark DE
Growing up did music take a back seat to baseball? If you didn't sustain such injuries would you be banging the skins in Thrice?
Riley Breckenridge (3:04 PM)
I kind of took up music because of an injury I had. I blew my knee out and blew my ACL and MCL playing football. I was out for about a year and needed something to fill my time. When I went to college, I put drums on the back burner and focused on baseball. I was 5'9" with a surgically reconstructed knee so I shifted back to music and Thrice really took off. There is only room for a few David Eckstein's out there.
As a former ballplayer and current drummer, do you think being right or left handed as a drummer is an advantage, like being a southpaw on the mound? Your music rocks. I know you are a Halos fan, but go Dodgers. Sorry bro.
Riley Breckenridge (3:05 PM)
You would want to be ambedextrious but there is a chance that because I'm so right-side dominate it has made it harder for me to be ambidextrious. You see some of the most amazing drummers out there ... Dennis Chambers .. Carter Beauford ... somtimes they play open handed and it frees them up to do more things. I want to bring my left hand along but it has been a hard thing to learn because I'm so right side dominant.
Christine, Chicago, IL
Hi Riley, I'm a displaced Red Sox fan here in Chicago. Back in 2004 season, The Dropkick Murphys released their version of "Tessie." As a Halos fan and a tremendous musician, would you ever consider writing a song for your team? Good luck to your Halos and Go Sox!
Riley Breckenridge (3:07 PM)
I'd love to. We actually had a cover of ours (Send Me An Angel) and I was sitting at a game with my dad watching them prep the field and it started playing. That was a trip. Their song right now I think is Calling All Angels by Train. I know they are huge but that song does nothing to get me fired up. They've been playing the hell out of that song so I would be stoked to write a replacement.
Travis Rountree (Carrollton, Texas)
Would you change where you are at now in your musical career to continue the sports dream you once held, now knowing how much your music means to millions of people?
Riley Breckenridge (3:08 PM)
I don't think so. I'm having such a good time doing what I do. Being able to be creative and make a living is a blessing. There are times I think about what I could have done but I'm a pretty big fan of living in the moment and trying to make each day it can possibly be. In that regard, I couldn't be happier.
What is the best an worst thing about touring?
Riley Breckenridge (3:10 PM)
The best thing is being able to travel and meet musicians and other people you can connect with through music. I never thought I would be traveling the world and playing music or even just traveling at all. The worst part is being away from friends and family. I miss out on weddings, the birth of a friends child, my dad's birthday, etc. That is pretty rough but it comes with the territory.
Riley, what would be the song playing before you step into the batters box?
Riley Breckenridge (3:11 PM)
It would be "Bleed" by Meshuggah. Definitely. There is a lack of heavy rock music that gets played. It's always rap or a country diddy. Not enough rock.
Scarecrow ( Prievidza, Slovakia)
Do you listen to your records oftenly or not at all?
Riley Breckenridge (3:12 PM)
Actually we don't listen to them much. When you are recording and mixing the record you are listening to it so much you go numb. You get burnt out. I usually put the record to bed after that and then maybe listen to it once more right before it goes on sale. Otherwise it's just revisiting songs to learn them better right before a tour.
I know you hit Wrigley this year, have you been to Citzen's park in Philly yet?
Riley Breckenridge (3:13 PM)
I have not. I got to see the demolition of Veteran's Stadium though. We drove to a hotel across the street and were up 15 stories watching it implode. That was pretty amazing.
Colin : Jamestown, New York
What is your favorite part of the DVD you just released?
Riley Breckenridge (3:14 PM)
It's hard to pick one moment but the fact we made it in one night and the show went off without a hitch is a huge accomplishment. A lot of times bands will have a ton of cameras and they cut shots out or remix or add stuff later or it's a compilation of shows. We played for 2 hours and you see all 2 hours unedited. It's a straight up, legit show.
Jake ( Anaheim, California)
what would your most uncomfortable interaction that you've ever had with a fan?
Riley Breckenridge (3:16 PM)
I'm not the most outgoing so the best are usually when the fan engages me or has something nice to say. A lot of times you just go blank when you get the chance to talk to an artist so sometimes they will say HI to me and then just stare. I'm not real good at starting conversations so we just stand there and stare at each other and its pretty awkward. I'm getting better at coming out of my shell.
Chelsea (Marina del Rey, Ca)
Are you guys going to continue experimenting with different sounds in future albums or are you going to go back to your roots?
Riley Breckenridge (3:18 PM)
I don't know if we were ever stagnat in what we were doing long enough to have roots to return to. We are about constant experimentation and keeping it fresh for the people who listen to us. We will continue to try new things because that is what is so exciting about the creative process. We want to have that freedom of expression.
Mike Talavera Whittier CA
When I practice, I play along with thrice cd's. What bands did you play along with when you practiced?
Riley Breckenridge (3:19 PM)
A lot of Bad Religion. Metallica. Zepplin. I do a lot more playing along with record now than when we started. Now I'm into playing along with hip hop and electronic music just because it's like practicing with a metronome but there are more interesting things going on to play off of.
Hi Riley, i was just wondering what's it like being in a band?, you guys must get along well because you clearly work amazingly together. i just wanted to know whats it like to be the drummer in a band?
Riley Breckenridge (3:21 PM)
Going back to the question about me being kind of reserved, being a drummer in a band is the position best suited for that kind of personality. I like being in the back. I'm not usually that well lit up and I'm not the center of attention. I appreciate just being able to do what I do and not be recognized when I'm eating dinner somewhere. I get all the perks without feeling like somebody needs something from me all the time.
Matt (Apple Valley, CA)
Riley!! Who's the one free agent you want the Angels to sign? And isn't it about time the Halos gave Kendry Morales and Brandon Wood everyday jobs?
Riley Breckenridge (3:23 PM)
No brainer. Teixiera. It has to happen. If Tex is gone, Morales is going to get an everyday job by default. He's good but not sure he is ready to be an everyday player. Wood still strikes out a ton but I would like to see him earn the job, not just get it. .
Lauren from Seattle
nothing gets me more ampt to get out and play sports than watching an epic sports movie like Miracle or For Love of the Game. Do you have a favorite movie or muse that gets you enthused to play ball?
Riley Breckenridge (3:24 PM)
Probably The Natural. I think it is the first sports movie that I remember seeing as a kid. I was also such a huge baseball fan that I watched it over and over. It's still a great movie even now.
Riley, Who is going to win the BCS Championship game?
Riley Breckenridge (3:24 PM)
Florida. I wish SC was playing in it instead of against Penn State.
Vaughn, Salida, Calif.
What position did you play in college baseball?
Riley Breckenridge (3:25 PM)
My freshman year I redshirted and was working at SS and my sophomore year I moved to 3B and played very little. Then my junior year I transferred to a JC and played 2B.
The Brocean (Tustin, CA)
Riley... who is your most favorite baseball player of all time??
Riley Breckenridge (3:27 PM)
It's tough. I was thinking about this not long ago. I know as a kid I had favorite players but now I follow lots of players and teams and not sure I have a favorite. Maybe Jose Reyes. The Mets came out here and I saw him in person and was amazed by him. He has a cannon arm and can run for days and cause such havoc on the basepaths.
Sharif (Glasgow, Scotland)
Love you guys so much. When are you thinking of touring the UK so i can finally see you live!?
Riley Breckenridge (3:27 PM)
Right now the plan is to take the first half of 2009 off because we are making a new record but after that we probably will hit the UK.
Champ (Aliso Viejo CA)
you're not shedding any tears over k-rod leaving, right?
Riley Breckenridge (3:28 PM)
No tears. 12 or 13 mil is a lot to pay a closer. I'm from the school that thinks the title of closer is an overrated position. David Price proved that to a certain extent. He will be great for the Mets but we have two guys who are ready to step in and do a fine job.
Riley, you have probably been the biggest influence in my drumming career, and I noticed a lack of double bass in the past few albums. Are you a straight single-kick player now?
Riley Breckenridge (3:30 PM)
No. I still have the double bass peddle but I try to use it as tastefully as possible. The use of it can have a much greater impact if you pick your spots. Yeah, I have it but use it less than I used to I suppose.
Mark (Chico, Ca)
Have you met any professional athletes who are big Thrice fans?
Riley Breckenridge (3:31 PM)
Anthony Reyes is a fan and we sent him some CDs and shirts. When we came through St. Louis he was going to bring a shirt but he got traded.
Sean E. (Arcadia, CA)
Let's say 10 years from now, Thrice finally splits and you're all too and fat to keep playing (yes 40 is now old - deal with it!), do you ever see yourself writing for a sports column or perhaps coaching a kids baseball team? Thanks, love you loads.
Riley Breckenridge (3:34 PM)
I would love to do that. I would love to find a way to combine the two like blogging or something. Flea has a Lakers blog. I would love to do a sports column. As far as coaching, I coached freshman baseball at my old high school the year Thrice formed. It was fun but not sure I would want to do it again. I'd think about it.
Brandon (Galax, VA)
Thrice seems to be hanging together amazingly well. Any advice to an aspiring musician on how to keep good vibes and creative juices flowing?
Riley Breckenridge (3:35 PM)
You just have to be respectuful and trust in your bandmates abilities. Communication is a huge part of longevity. You have good days and bad but you have to work through the bad and celebrate the good. We've made it through 10 years and hope to keep going on.
New Metallica record, rule or fail? Same question but for Chinese Democracy.
Riley Breckenridge (3:36 PM)
The new Metallic is the best thing they have done since the Black album. Chinese Democracy .. this will earn negative points for my coolness rating .. but I was never in to GnR. I haven't heard it and probably won't.
Jazzy Kev from Kettering, UK
Will America ever really embrace soccer (the real football)? The rest of the world has. Give in to the beautiful game.
Riley Breckenridge (3:37 PM)
Since we haven't yet I don't think it's going to happen. I know Beckham coming over was supposed to change soccer in America but he played like 2 games and got paid a ton of money. I don't know why it isn't bigger but if it was going to get big here it would have already happened.
it's ok don't sweat it Riley, I haven't heard it either.
Riley Breckenridge (3:38 PM)
Nice. Thank you.
Riley Breckenridge (3:38 PM)
I know people who were fans but because it took so long they just don't care any more.
Chris (Baltimore, MD)
Whatever happened to your article in Alternative Press? It used to be one of (if not) my favorite sections to read and it just up and disappeared one day.
Riley Breckenridge (3:39 PM)
It was an advice column for people into starting their own band or were in bands. It just ran its course. I did it for almost 2 years and I was getting lots of repeat questions. There are only so many way you can answer "how do I make my band big?"
Steven (KC, MO)
Will Thrice ever release the songs that did not make it to the final cut of the Alchemy Index?
Riley Breckenridge (3:40 PM)
Everything that we wrote is on the Alchemy Index. There is nothing hiding that we haven't released.
Chris from Los Angeles
Would you rather play in the World Series or tour with Radiohead?
Riley Breckenridge (3:41 PM)
That's a good one. Man. Hmm. Given where I'm at right now I would rather tour with Radiohead. Just how much I could learn and how inspirational it would be would be amazing.
How do I make my band big?
Riley Breckenridge (3:42 PM)
(Laughing) I don't know. We are still trying. It's not a math problem. You can't figure it out. It happens or it doesn't.
Shawn (Exeter, Ca)
I heard on some interview that you write some of Thrice's guitar parts. How does that work?
Riley Breckenridge (3:43 PM)
Yeah. I'm not a good guitar player by any means but it is another way for me to get ideas out. My brain is more drawn to melody and I feel pretty comfortable writing on guitar. I've just picked it up being around the band and seeing how its done.
Riley Breckenridge (3:44 PM)
The ideas I come up with on guitar are just the basis for an idea and I pass them along to the rest of the band.
you mentioned you guys are going to write a new record! when will it be finished?
Riley Breckenridge (3:44 PM)
I think the plan is to have it recorded and mixed by the first week of June which would put the release date around the beginning of Sept. or mid Sept.
Marwan (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Alchemy Index on vinyl!? please say yes
Riley Breckenridge (3:45 PM)
Yes. But not until the beginning of next year. There have been some ups and downs with getting the packaging finished but it is done now and should have a release date soon.
Lindsey - NJ
Hotdogs or Cracker Jacks?
Riley Breckenridge (3:45 PM)
Hot dogs for sure.
Michele (Dallas, tx)
I recently went to an Austin show that had been canceled, then moved to a smaller venue, do you prefer playing at smaller places over the big arenas?
Riley Breckenridge (3:47 PM)
I do like the small venues. There is an intimacy in those small clubs where the crowd is literally 2 feet away. It's fun to play to a ton of people but there is nothing like playing to a small, sweaty club that you can't get anywhere else.
im a big thrice fan. love how you guys have grown from every album. big influence in my high school life thanks a lot. just a random question but have you guys ever thought about doing a reggea/surf album or something ha
Riley Breckenridge (3:49 PM)
Our experimentation extends to our musical influences and tastes. We all like Bob Marley and I had a Dick Dale CD back in the day. But don't expect a reggae or surf record anytime soon!
Brandon (Malibu, CA)
Thrice is highly involved with Invisible Children, and many bands are getting more involved with various charities. Do you see bands / music having the ability to play a significant role in changing the world?
Riley Breckenridge (3:51 PM)
The change you are talking about is going to have to come from a bunch of people getting proactive. We are involved to increase the awareness and we are lucky enough to have a stage to do that. We are trying to show that you don't have to be Bono or Bill Gates or Oprah to make a difference It helps to have money but anyone can make a chance. A lot of small action will lead to big action. It's been important to us to encourage people to get involved and realize they can make a difference.
Riley Breckenridge (3:53 PM)
Thanks for the questions! This has been really fun. It's been an honor to do this and I'm glad I had the opportunity. The DVD comes out today so check it out at myspace.com/thrice!