Fred Mascherino doesn't really have a benchmark for success with his new solo project. After four years as lead guitarist for Taking Back Sunday, Mascherino simply wants something he can call his own.
"I'm just hoping it's something I can do for years and years," Mascherino says of The Color Fred. "When I was with Taking Back Sunday, it was hard for me to see five years down the road, because of how it worked and because it was something I didn't build myself.
"I intend on doing this project for years, so just being able to do that will be the success."
The Color Fred has been Mascherino's chief focus since he left the band he helped drive to two gold records. The Color Fred is similar in taste to Taking Back Sunday, but Mascherino's voice forms a less punky base.
The songs on his debut, Bend to Break, had been in the works since Mascherino started with TBS; he initially planned The Color Fred as a side project. He recorded the album before he officially left the band, and wound up releasing it within the same month that he said goodbye.
"They were really good times for me, with Taking Back Sunday," Mascherino says. "When we were going to the fourth record, there were a lot of things that were different in the band, guys living in different areas, guys not on the same page, and so I felt like we were struggling to write together. At the same time, I had already finished a whole album on my own, so I sorta felt like this new project was where the future was gonna be. It sorta spelled itself out in front of me."
Mascherino has been touring with former blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge, who now heads the supergroup Angels & Airwaves. (DeLonge won't be with Mascherino when he plays The Black Sheep.)
"We're both starting our new things and they're exactly what we want to do," Mascherino says. "We're sort of in control of what we want to do, so there's a lot of excitement because we're both in the same place.
"He sees where I'm at as where he was two years ago, and it's kinda cool to have that perspective, because we're both building something new now, and that's a lot different feeling than where I was at a year ago."
The band will be touring through the fall, after which Mascherino hopes to get back into the studio. When he started recording Bend to Break, he had more than 40 songs of solo material to work with. With his next record, he'll probably continue to whittle away at that, as well as work in some new songs.
In the meantime, Mascherino is just happy to be on his own.
"I'm thinking a lot more about the music now," he says, "and I like that this project has no expectations. I can write whatever style and not have to worry about what's been done in the past, as far as surprising anyone. There's a real freedom there."