Justin Beck plays bass and guitar on the band’s new album, but live he sticks to 6-string. His current stage go-to is a Music Man StingRay, but he also keeps various Les Pauls in his arsenal—like this one he played on the 2003 Warped Tour.
Photo by Dan Locke/Frank White Photo Agency

In the past, Glassjaw often played songs live for years before they got recorded. But for Material Control, almost all of the songs were untested onstage.
One song was an old song from probably, like, 2000. It’s the third song on the album, “Citizen.” It was a song that, for whatever reason, didn’t make it to a record. And then the only other piece that was really kind of old was “Golgotha.” The music, all the stringed instruments, and vocals were brand new, but the drum beat was a beat I had from ’99 or 2000.

Billy Rymer played drums on the album. What did he bring to the sound?
Billy’s fucking superhuman. As schooled and proficient as he is, he still has a little Keith Moon in him, where he’s just bat-shit fucking crazy. And it definitely helps the songs feel human and organic and punk rock. If we had a different drummer, the record wouldn’t have breathed the way it does. So I think Billy brought a level of youth and anxiety to help keep the flow the way it should’ve flowed.

And he tracked the whole record in one day. We really literally went in thinking, “Let’s just do each track twice and move on.” And this kid fucking did it! He could’ve kept on going another 24 hours. The kid was insane.

The band has often used unique methods to get music to fans. For this album, you actually sent a free collection of flexi-discs to a lot of your fan base. In the age of Spotify and downloading, why something so unique?
It’s just connectivity, you know? It’s just knowing your people, knowing who your fans are, and speaking the right dialogue. And for us, that music kid is someone similar to Daryl and myself. And if somebody we like spoke to us like that, we’d be fucking over the moon. We’d love it. So something like that was just a simple form of reciprocating and showing fans a level of appreciation. It’s like, “Thanks for waiting.”

“You’re always trying to throw in some flair—something that emotionally lifts you and pulls you down, then pulls you
left and right.”

A previous surprise for your fans was giving away your EP Coloring Book right after the release of the singles-collection EP, Our Color Green. Are there any recordings in the archives that fans should be waiting for?

There’s definitely some B tracks and other ideas that are brewing. The hardest part is that the public is still very much trained to fully acknowledge an LP versus an EP. But now, with the new LP out of the way, I think the gloves are off. So it’s like, “Dude, you want to drop a song tomorrow?” And we could drop a song tomorrow. If anything, more is going to come, because now we can do it piecemeal without people giving us shit that we didn’t drop a full-length record. Now will probably be the most fertile season for us, in the upcoming months to years.

What’s next? Will you guys be touring?
I think we have some tours coming up—nothing too crazy. And after that, especially with our current lineup, I think, we can do anything at this point. I feel it’s, “The record is done, now let’s do a jazz EP or whatever the fuck.” It could be anything. The impulse writes the narrative moreso than something like a big master plan. And our drummer Chad Hasty and our bass player Travis Sykes … I mean, these kids are real musicians. These kids are Berklee kids. So the things we could do now are limitless.

You guys are fiercely independent and you’ve been together for 25 years. What keeps bringing you back to Glassjaw and how do you maintain its energy?Because I’m running out of music to hear. I’m running out of shit for me to listen to, and no band does what I want to hear. So it’s a complete selfish, personal conquest and hobby. I like to hear the music in my head that nobody is doing.

Justin Beck wields his Music Man StingRay RS 6-string in the official video for “Shira,” from Material Control. It’s his main stage guitar, although he primarily relied on a Gibson Les Paul Deluxe for recording the new album.