Fred Mascherino



With Bend To Break, Fred Mascherino–known for his work as lead guitarist and co-vocalist/songwriter for Taking Back Sunday–has turned out one of the most exhilarating and gutsy solo projects in years. Operating under the guise of THE COLOR FRED, the first recording under his nom de rock was artfully executed with the help of legendary producer Lou Giordano (Sugar, Paul Westerberg, Sunny Day Real Estate).

A triumph in every sense, the disc finds Mascherino where he belongs–out in front and wearing his heart proudly on his sleeve. From the urgent, three-minute firecracker “Get Out” that launches Bend To Break, to the six-minute, lighter-ready opus “Don’t Pretend,” the Coatesville, PA-bred, Northern Jersey-based musician has created an accomplished and conscience-invading album. And while TBS fans will be delighted to know THE COLOR FRED is in the same musical realm, its debut doesn’t mirror the world famous band Fred Mascherino has played with since 2003.

After road-testing the new material with the likes of Dashboard Confessional this past September, in advance of extensive touring commitments slated for well into 2008, audience reaction to THE COLOR FRED was enthusiastic to say the least. Many had already been exposed to the disc’s advance single, through the project’s MySpace page. Truth be known, the contagious, full throttle allure of “If I Surrender” is hard not to sing along with.

While THE COLOR FRED had been in Mascherino’s plans since before he joined Taking Back Sunday, his solo project was put on the backburner with that band’s meteoric rise. In the wake of two gold records while in the band–2004’s Where You Want To Be (Victory) and 2006’s Louder Now (Warner Bros.)–and their subsequent touring commitments, it wasn’t until the Spring of 2007 that Bend To Break truly took shape.

“It was pretty rough finding the time, because I went from one tour into getting the record ready and recording it,” Fred admits. “And that backed right up into Taking Back Sunday playing on [Linkin Park’s tour] Projekt Revolution. So I basically passed on a two-month break but it was totally worth it.” Recorded over a four- week span at Millbrook Studio in Upstate New York in close proximity to Alfred Hitchcock’s estate, Mascherino says, “We were in the middle of nowhere, which was fun, but also ideal because Lou and I were uninterrupted. We were brothers in arms and we totally trusted each other.”

“I played all the bass and guitars on the record. I also had a little help with some backup vocals by P.J. Bond, who will be playing bass on the road,” Mascherino says. The album’s recording sessions was rounded out by drummer Steve Curtiss, who will also be in tow when THE COLOR FRED embarks on extensive roadwork to support Bend To Break.

Fueled by Mascherino’s musical pedigree, which includes a Jazz Performance degree from Temple University, THE COLOR FRED is the next logical step in the songwriter/guitarist’s sonic evolution. Fronting punk act Brody from 1992 – 1999, Fred took his early musical cues from revered bands like Dag Nasty, The Descendents and Jawbreaker on a series of indie releases for labels like Creep and Harvcore. When his attention shifted to Breaking Pangaea in 2000, the beloved emo trio’s output was chronicled in a pair of releases for Undecided Records and cemented with the 2003 Phoenix EP on Equal Vision.

Once again teaming with respected label Equal Vision (Coheed and Cambria, Saves The Day, Chiodos), a worldly and wise Mascherino is celebrating his achievements as he looks forward. If the explosive and contagious admission “Complaintor” is sure to draw the interest of fans, its one of eleven inventive, exciting and honest tracks awaiting your attention.

Turning that energy into the musical triumph that is Bend To Break has had enormously positive results. “I couldn’t be happier with how it came out,” Fred enthuses. “I’m proud of what Lou and I did and I wouldn’t really change anything about it. I’m excited for people to hear it and enjoy it and feel like they’re listening to something that is honest. I’m hoping that the fans who have been with me for the last several years will continue down the road with me. Of course, I’d like to reach some new people, too.”

Mascherino is also quick to point out that the CD packaging is 100% recycled material, with an inlay tray made of cornstarch. The green lifestyle is evident in the 1982 VW Rabbit he owns, and which runs on veggie oil, not to mention the carbon offsets he bought for recording. He also plans to offset as much of his imminent touring commitments with THE COLOR FRED as possible.

“I like to keep everything I do as close to carbon footprint zero as possible,” he says. “The guys at Equal Vision had to search far and wide to make my packaging goal a reality. But it’s well worth it. It’s really important to me and if everyone else did it, it would make a big difference.”

So what about the curious moniker for his solo endeavor, which elicits the same sort of chuckle that rock fans had a dozen years ago when Dave Grohl unveiled his then-solo project The Foo Fighters?

“The people who know me, knew it was a good fit, because it kind of makes you smile,” Mascherino says of The Color Fred. “I do write about some dark issues, but I try to always take it from a positive angle in the end. I try to be a positive guy, so it’s okay if people hear the name and grin. It’s supposed to get that reaction.”