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Thrice reflects on 2002’s ‘Illusion of Safety’ before local anniversary gigs

In February 2002, Irvine-based rock band Thrice was on the rise. The quartet caught the attention of indie labels with its 2000 debut, “Identity Crisis,” and word was rapidly spreading about its fast-paced and wild live performances.

By the time its sophomore release, “The Illusion of Safety,” was out on Van Nuys-based indie label Sub City Records just two years later, the guys had major label reps showing up to sold-out club gigs and were asked to go on tour to support more established punk rock acts such as Face to Face and Anti-Flag.

“That record put us on the map, at least locally, and it’s when we really started to notice like wow, we’re starting to see something here,” Thrice drummer Riley Breckenridge said during a recent video chat. Breckenridge, along with his bassist brother, Ed Breckenridge, and longtime friends vocalist-guitarist Dustin Kensrue and lead guitarist Teppei Teranishi originally formed the band back in 1998. The group is commemorating the 20th anniversary of “The Illusion of Safety” by playing it from front to back during four consecutive evenings at House of Blues in Anaheim on Dec. 15-18.

“When that record came out, things started to feel more real for us,” he recalled. “It also seemed to my folks like being in a band had finally just legitimized itself. It was all happening so quickly that it was hard to be in the moment, but also hard to go long view with it like ‘What does this all mean?’ It was very whirlwind-y, for lack of a better term.”

The album officially dropped on Feb. 5, 2002 and featured singles like “Deadbolt” and “Betrayal is a Symptom.” Looking back, Breckenridge said that Thrice’s sound has definitely matured over the past two decades, as the band members are now more song-oriented in the sense that they’re heavily into dynamics and allowing some breathing room and space, versus getting up there and just letting it rip as hard and as fast as they possibly can.

“It’s OK for everybody not to be playing all of the notes all of the time and at the same time,” he said with a laugh. The band first dusted off these tracks when it played the album in its entirety at Furnace Fest in Birmingham, Ala., back in September.

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