The Used‘s self-titled debut album, released in 2002, was an instant success, earning a gold certification in the United States and establishing the band as one of the most prominent Alt-rock bands in the scene. Over the years, the band has continued to release hit albums, including In Love and Death, Lies for the Liars, and most recently, Heartwork.
Their style has continued to evolve with each new release. Despite these changes, the band’s unique sound and emotional delivery remain constant.
Since their emergence in the early 2000s, The Used left an indelible mark in the music world. Their impactful records, raw performances, and dedication to important causes have earned them a devoted fan base and cemented their place in the scene. It’s no surprise that fans are eagerly awaiting their newest releases. The Used just released their latest single, “People are Vomit” this week, and their latest album, Toxic Positivity, is set to release this May. Stream it here.
This week, we caught up with guitarist and backup vocalist of The Used, Joey Bradford!
Check it out in this exclusive Q+A below.
HOW DID YOU START OF PLAYING GUITAR WITH THE USED?
Joey: I was a big fan growing up as a kid. I vaguely knew the guys from touring. I had found out from a friend of a friend that they were looking for a new guy and I reached out to their manager.
I didn’t expect to get the job, was really just excited to get to jam with the guys. Management called me and asked if I wanted the job. And then, in a blink of an eye, I’m coming up on five years in the band and I’m still tripping. And not one bit of it has worn off yet.
HOW DID YOU START AS A MUSICIAN?
Joey: I started out in a classic rock band when I was a teenager and filled in for a few metal bands here and there. That was kind of my first touring experience.
I was always a touring bass player, despite constantly filling in on guitar. So, when the opportunity to play in The Used came about, I was out of my element, but here we are!
WHICH OTHER BANDS HAVE YOU PLAYED IN?
Joey: I played in another band called Hell or High Water years ago. We toured with The Used, so I got to meet the guys briefly. I filled in on bass for a Static Lullaby, played guitar in Atreyu for a bit, and played guitar for Thrice for a couple weeks.
That was my main gig before The Used; filling in for anyone and everyone.
WHAT GUITARS DO YOU PLAY IN THE USED?
Joey: So I have all Music Man Stingrays. They’re all set up the same. They’re just in different tunings. I also put EverTunes on all the guitars as well.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR CUSTOM, ALL WHITE STING RAY GUITAR?
Joey: I’ve always wanted an all-white guitar. I remember seeing Death Cab for Cutie had a tour where everything they had was full white.
I reached out to Music Man and I was like, “what do you think? All white headstock, I want the fretboard white, the whole thing.”
And they killed it. I mean, this guitar is incredible. More than any guitar I’ve ever had in my life, people freak out over this thing. They’re always wanting to play it and always compliment me on it. And I have to tell ’em the story and I’m like, fretboard, or no deal.
It’s such an iconic-looking guitar. Totally stoked about it.
DO YOU USE THE SAME STRINGS ON ALL OF YOUR GUITARS?
Joey: I do actually. It works out nicely. I use the Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottoms on all five of my guitars in different tunings, and they hold up incredibly. We do play a drop A# song on a different Stingray Guitar and we use a little bit heavier gauge on that, like a .54.
WHAT RIG ARE YOU USING FOR LIVE SHOWS?
Joey: My live show is run through a Bad Cat Lynx-X. And then that runs through a Helix pedal.
I’ll dial in the amps and all the settings to match the guitars. And if I want to change out a guitar, I don’t have to worry about changing an amp or anything. The stingray is such a wide-range guitar. So, I’m able to use it for literally everything we’re doing.
BEST TOURING MEMORY?
Joey: This last tour that we did with A Day To Remember was amazing. The hangs were just nice.
We were coming out of the post-covid touring where we couldn’t really hang out with the other bands. The drummer basically became part of our band.
ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON ANY OTHER PROJECTS BESIDES THE USED?
Joey: I have like a million things that I do, really. As far as guitar, my main job is playing and writing in The Used.
I have tons of other stuff, but mostly I produce and co-write with lots of other artists. I manage 7 artists and run a recording studio that I rent out on my property.
We’re co-writing and producing 4 or 5 jams a week. And it’s me playing on most of the stuff and using all my Music Man gear to do it!