10 Years has gone from the grave to the cradle during the past few years.
The Tennessee hard rockers’ last album, 2015’s From Birth To Burial, seemed to be something of a last gasp when guitarist-drummer Brian Vodinh left the band after it was finished. “That title basically said we thought that could’ve been the last record for the band because no one was happy,” Vodinh tells Billboard. “The live show didn’t feel strong anymore. There were a lot of loose ends and a lot of behind-the-curtain drama.” But it turned out 10 Years ultimately wasn’t ready to call it quits after 16 years and seven albums.
The new (How To Live) As Ghosts — out on Friday (Oct. 27) and premiering in its entirety exclusively below — came about when Mascot Records reached out to the band about a new album, and frontman Jesse Hasek reached out to both Vodinh and guitarist Matt Wantland, who’d left 10 Years during 2009. After parting ways with guitarist Ryan “Tater” Johnson, who Vodinh says “had become a long-standing source of negativity and tension,” the trio hunkered down to make (How To Live) As Ghosts as a trio with producer Nick Raskulinecz.
“For the first time really ever we all got in a room and wrote this album as a group,” says Vodinh, who produced 10 Years’ two previous albums. “It was the most fun that we’ve ever had writing a record, and probably the easiest process, too.” Raskulinecz, meanwhile, came with ideas that make the 11-song set different than any of its predecessors.
“He had a vision for this album from day one,” Vodinh says. “He knew that he wanted it to be a bit more lean in production. He wanted it to be a more deliberate and more vulnerable 10 Years record. He wanted to strip away a lot of the 10 Years layering that we did. I can tell you we definitely have a tendency to overthink, myself included, so Nick was great. It was different, but we figured if Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters would trust Nick for multiple projects or Alice In Chains, who are we to not trust him? He made it feel fun and light and easygoing, and it never felt like a lot of pressure or stress.”
Having Wantland back in the group, especially during the writing process, also made a difference. “We got together prior to us both decided to come back full time and just sat down with a couple of acoustic guitars and we realized within probably 10 seconds that this is just right,” Vodinh says. “It really has that classic sound that the band started with. We started playing guitars together at 14, and even though we’re close friends again we communicate better through our instruments. We have this uncanny ability to sit in a room together in complete silence and create something.”
10 Years — whose lineup now includes bassist Chad Huff and Kyle Mayer on drums — is back on the road mixing headline shows with support slots with Chevelle and co-headlining dates with RED. And Vodinh voices confidence that the current incarnation of the band will have staying power beyond this album cycle.
“Everyone is just tighter and friendlier and it is so much more of a healthy environment than it used to be,” he says. “We’ve grown up a little more. We’re older, too. We have wives, kids. We’ve all settled down a little bit more. It feels like a whole new ballgame, and I joke and say I feel like I’m 17 again because this is the same excitement we had when we first started this whole thing.”