Justin Pierre has vowed to stop using the drugs and alcohol that once dominated his life. He's instituted a strict diet and workout routine that's helping him live healthier.
"I masturbate a lot and eat a lot of jelly donuts," Pierre says, speaking via phone from his home in Minnesota. "That's most of my day."
Pierre is lead singer and guitarist for Motion City Soundtrack, a power-pop indie rock group that has attracted an international following with its first two albums, I Am the Movie and Commit This to Memory.
The five-piece's next effort, Even if it Kills Me, is due out in September. While the first single, "Broken Heart," sounds more poppy and generic than most of the band's previous work, the album is notable in at least one way: It's the first full-length Pierre has made while staying relatively sober.
"This healthy-living thing is fairly new," he says. "Over the last few years I've been on and off, trying to get in shape. I can't say I've been sober this whole time, but recently it's been more focused."
Part of Pierre's regimen includes yoga, weight training and, um, healthy eating. On the road, he tries to avoid screaming, mostly drinks water and strives to sleep eight to 10 hours a night.
This from the guy who was so intoxicated during the writing of Commit This to Memory that he had to detox on a friend's couch for four days before entering rehab.
"If there was an award given out for drug users, I guess I would be one of the top winners," Pierre says. "Now I'm a non-practicing drug addict. I'm trying to stay as sober as possible."
"I've found that without being sober, nothing else works," says Pierre, who admits writing a couple songs from Memory while drunk. "For me, I have to prioritize it. Some days are easier than others. But if I don't keep that at the top of my list, I don't get anything done."
While Motion City's music sometimes suffered, health concerns finally motivated Pierre to change. He has asthma, and noticed he couldn't catch his breath as quickly during tours.
But for someone committed to a self-help routine, Pierre isn't a flowery, feel-good, alternative-medicine type. In fact, he downright mocks it.
"It has been a white-knuckle ride for the past couple years," Pierre says. "Only recently I've been, I don't know if "giving in' is the right word. But giving to receive and all that shit."
"I want to believe in this stuff," Pierre says. "I just don't understand it, really."
Thirty-plus years living one way makes it harder, but Pierre's surrounded himself with positive influences. One friend he tours with is practically straight edge. Another person cuts himself off after a few beers.
"Which I don't understand," Pierre says.
He adds: "This body and mind have been trained to have a destructive lifestyle. I guess now I'm trying to train it to be content with mediocrity." firstname.lastname@example.org
Motion City Soundtrack with Sherwood, The Higher and The Forecast
Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer St., Denver
Saturday, July 14, 7 p.m.
Tickets: $20, all ages; visit ticketmaster.com.