The Used turns “positive regression” into new, guest-filled album, ‘Heartwork’

Credit: Brian CoxWhen The Used first entered the studio to record what would become their new album Heartwork, they weren't big fans of what they had written. Sensing that they could "do better," the "Bird and the Worm" rockers decided to scrap what they came up with, and start anew.

"There was a vibe this time [returning to] the studio of this sort of, I want to say positive regression, almost," bassist Jeph Howard tells ABC Audio. "Like, taking-it-back-to-our-roots feeling. We felt this weird inspiration, sort of, that we haven't had in a long time. And so, the idea of starting over was really exciting."

That bout of inspiration also led to what became one of The Used's most collaborative albums, featuring guest spots from Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182FEVER 333's Jason Aalon Butler, and Beartooth's Caleb Shomo. As a fellow bass player, Howard says it was "awesome" to work with Hoppus.

"First thing Mark did is come in and make fun of my bass, which is perfect," Howard recalls. "I play five strings and flatwound, and so he was like, 'What is this, a guitar?' as soon as he saw it. Which...for me, was hilarious."

Each of the guests on Heartwork make their presence felt musically, too. You can hear the bass pop of "The Lighthouse" and Barker's enormous drums hit on "Obvious Blasé," while Butler and Shomo's vocals on "Blow Me" and "The Lottery" sound appropriately ferocious.

"We want Jason, or we want Caleb, or we Travis, we want them to be themselves as much as they can be," Howard explains. "We're trying to write a song with them to let them shine as their own person, and to let us shine as The Used."  

Heartwork is out now.

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