For years, it bugged Motion City Soundtrack frontman Justin Pierre that he couldn’t fully replicate the sound of the band’s records live. “Some people can go on day after day; they can just yell, scream, do whatever, not do anything, and then they sing, they sound perfect and brilliant. And those people have upset me because I want to be that guy,” Pierre tells Rolling Stone. “And unfortunately for me, I’m not that guy.” But as MCS get ready to kick off a tour in support of their major-label debut, the Mark Hoppus-produced My Dinosaur Life, Pierre is finally growing more comfortable with the unexpected elements of a live show.
One unexpected event has already struck: Pierre lost his voice while on tour overseas last month, and though vocal rest and a few days off at home in Minnesota to recharge have helped, Pierre says it’s still not where he’d like it to be as the band prepares to play the first show on their “Dino Initiative” tour tonight. Named after Lost‘s Dharma Initiative — a move fitting for the band’s pop sound and frequently tongue-in-cheek lyrics — the month-long trek will find MCS mixing longtime live staples with tunes from the new record, culminating with a set at the annual Bamboozle festival.
Two nights before Motion City Soundtrack play their own material, they’ll tackle a set of Nine Inch Nails songs as a part of the fest’s Hoodwink pre-show (Say Anything will cover the Misfits and Saves the Day will perform Weezer’s Pinkerton at the fest, too). While the band as a whole are fans of Trent Reznor and Co., Pierre reveals bassist Matt Taylor is in charge of MCS’ tribute set, which will likely include “Closer,” “Head Like a Hole” and Pierre’s personal favorite, “Perfect Drug.”
“I don’t know if people would put Nine Inch Nails and Motion City Soundtrack in the same room together,” Pierre acknowledges. “But it actually feels like it makes a whole lot of sense that we’re doing this just based on the material of what the songs are about. It’s crazy how much I relate to them even now.”
While the NIN songs likely won’t appear in MCS’ set, Pierre says fan requests via Twitter and band meet-and-greets may help determine the songs played each night. Even still, some songs from Dinosaur may not make the cut — or will they? “We want to play them, but we want to do it right,” Pierre says. “Or maybe we’ll just wing it and see what happens.”