Dashboard Confessional stops in Oklahoma City for the Taste of Chaos tour 

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Oklahoma City Thunder fans watched as the Golden State Warriors pounded away at the team’s series deficit during May’s Western Conference Finals.

Dashboard Confessional frontman and guitarist Chris Carrabba, an admitted fan of the National Basketball Association (NBA), was among that army of Thunder faithful.

“The last two games, I just sat there like, ‘I can’t believe it,’” he said.

The face of one of the early 2000s’ first emo bands to break into radio recently made music headlines after he announced Dashboard Confessional was writing a new studio album, its first since 2009.

Carrabba still found time to take in the NBA playoffs, despite time demands readying new tunes and preparing for the Taste of Chaos tour, which stops June 30 at The Criterion, 500 E. Sheridan Ave., with Taking Back Sunday, Saosin with Anthony Green and The Early November.

He grew up cheering for Michael Jordan, a transcendent sports star unlike any other the league had seen. Watching greatness is part of what draws him to the Thunder, a team featuring two of the world’s best athletes.

Another reason for his fandom is an interest in Kevin Durant. The 2013-’14 NBA Most Valuable Player has been one of Carrabba’s favorites since the days he wore a Longhorns jersey for the University of Texas.

“He’s a big guy — a giant guy — who can shoot like that but real graceful, almost like [Dallas Mavericks forward] Dirk [Nowitzki],” Carrabba said. “Human beings just aren’t supposed to be constructed the way he is.”

Carrabba said he has an equal amount of respect for Russell Westbrook.

“He’s getting stats that are like, ‘Point guards don’t get those stats,’” he said.

Scene revival

There was a time when bands like Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional dominated the mainstream music spotlight. Carrabba said the success they experienced became a wellspring for emo bands that followed.

The scene came on strong and fast — maybe too fast. He compared its rise and fall to the way the Golden State Warriors became an NBA power within only a few years.

“People didn’t hate on Golden State last year, but now they hate them,” he said.

A very different sound commanded alternative airwaves when Dashboard Confessional started out in the late 1990s. Creed, Limp Bizkit and Korn lead brash post-grunge and nu-metal movements, but that heavier sound was losing its novelty. Dashboard Confessional’s 2000 debut, The Swiss Army Romance, provided the emotive gear-change. Jimmy Eat World further defined the momentum shift in 2001 with the success of its fourth album Bleed American.

The scene expanded into the mid-2000s. Carrabba said he doesn’t know if it was too much commercialism in the music or too much general popularity, but whatever “it” was, there was a lot of it.

“We were extremely popular in a counterculture scene,” he said. “Then we got too popular in the mainstream — I’m speaking only about my band — to maintain the counterculture fans. Then we became less popular in the mainstream because we went away and the counterculture picked us up again. It can be cyclical.”

Carrabba said contemporary acts Sorority Noise, Julien Baker and Modern Baseball lead a second wave of the sound’s revitalization.

“I see good results,” he said. “It’s a vibrant time after a dormant period where there [were] not a lot of bands playing that kind of music.”

New material

Last summer, Carrabba and company hit the road with Third Eye Blind. It was Dashboard Confessional’s first tour in several years. The band didn’t intend to make a new record, but the experience reawakened the group.

“When we finished the tour, I was just filled with songs. We started writing and recording but not thinking we were making a record,” Carrabba said. “Then you look up one day and you have 20 songs and you’re like, ‘Well, what am I doing here if I’m not making a record?’”

Carrabba has not set a firm timetable for a new project. The band waited this long, so it might as well make sure it creates a project fans will be proud of.

“When it’s done, it’s done, and when it’s right, we’ll put it out,” Carrabba said.

Dashboard Confessional released “May” on May 19, its first new single in seven years.

The band’s return to touring has given a generation of fans a chance to experience something that might have eluded them in the past: Dashboard Confessional’s live show.

Carrabba said many fans were a little too young to experience the act’s concerts in its heyday. The singer advised guests to arrive early to shows because that is when he mills around and gets to know fans. He wants to connect with the people who have given him so much in his career while he is refocused on Dashboard Confessional.

“That’s where my heart is completely right now,” he said.

Print headline: Hands up, Chris Carrabba crafted the latest Dashboard Confessional album between Thunder playoff games.

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