Current Thrice tour last before indefinite hiatus

Teppei Teranishi is talking about normal people, a category in which he doesn’t include himself.

Normal people have a 9-to-5 job, sleep at home most days out of the year and tend to know what they’re going to be doing a month from now.

After more than a decade on the road as guitarist for post-hardcore prime movers Thrice, Teranishi has never known this kind of life.

But he’s about to get acquainted with it, as the band has announced that its current tour will be its last before an indefinite hiatus.

Teranishi sounds more resigned than excited about it all, a man who understands why things are the way they are – just don’t ask him to be happy about it. “It’s a super-bittersweet kind of thing for me personally, because I love what I do,” the guitarist says of his band’s decision to take a break, not attempting to hide the disappointment in his voice. “I love playing music. I love playing shows and touring. I mean, it’s all I’ve done for my entire adult life. So that’s really all I know. But at the same time, I have a family now. I have two kids, and it’s really hard to leave.

“It’s been building slowly for the last several years,” he continues. “Dustin (Kensrue, singer/guitarist) has three kids as well. Basically, it was kind of his call. He found another steady job to take for the time being, so he’s going to settle down and be at home.”

For a lot of listeners, music serves as an escape from reality – and the same could be said for the people who make it.

But what happens when reality refuses to be eluded?

This is Teranishi’s dilemma.

Throughout the course of their 13-year career, Thrice has gradually ascended to rock ‘n’ roll’s middle class with their equally emotive and intricate take on progressive punk, generally favoring texture over testosterone, hopefulness over teeth gnashing, while still coming with a decidedly hard-driving sound.

Along the way, they’ve notched top 20 albums, become a solid touring draw capable of headlining large theaters and earned the status of a critically lauded act.

Thrice records such as 2002’s “The Illusion of Safety” and the following year’s “The Artist in the Ambulance” have become touchstones of melodic yet muscular, thinking-man’s hard rock.

But they’ve always been a decidedly blue-collar bunch, able to pay the bills through steady road work.

This is the reality for modern-day musicians: Record sales no longer provide an escape from day jobs.

It’s concert ticket and T-shirt sales, or it’s signing a timecard like the rest of us.

Teranishi knows this, which is why starting a new group isn’t really an option for him at this point.

“Music is always going to be a huge part of my life,” he says. “I have no doubt that, at some point, I’ll start writing music again. The unfortunate part is that it’s not like I’m going to be starting another band and doing that in lieu of Thrice or anything like that, because you’re only able to make a living these days through touring. And that’s kind of the part of the job that’s been putting a strain on us.”

On the eve of his band’s final tour for who knows how long, Teranishi is trying to remain optimistic.

He sounds a little bummed at times, but his voice also brightens periodically when he talks of the future.

It’s easy to understand his ambivalence; after all, the guy has been in Thrice since high school.

He was in community college, taking art and music classes, when the band finally got to the point where it could be a full-time gig.

They never thought they’d get as far as they have.

“When we started the band, we honestly didn’t have any huge aspirations of being able to do this as a living, we were just doing it for fun and because we liked it,” he says. “We were fortunate enough for it to be able to snowball into an actual career. In that sense, it’s been a pleasant surprise the whole way.”

Now, he says he’s ready for more surprises.

“In a way, it’s kind of refreshing,” Teranishi notes. “We all get to spread out and explore some other things and other interests and just get to live life in a little more of a normal pace for a bit. I’m just kind of taking things in stride and seeing what comes from the break. But obviously I need to find something to supplement the income when we’re not touring.”

Teranishi has a home studio, where Thrice has tracked albums in the past, and he will probably spend more time there as well as focus more on a leather-crafting enterprise he does on the side.

He believes Thrice will get back together again.

He just doesn’t know when.

“We’re definitely not breaking up,” Teranishi says. “We do have intentions of still doing this. We just don’t know exactly what the future holds.”

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@ or 702-383-0476.

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