Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional

10/31/2003 at 02:43 PM EST

How did you end up pursuing music full time?
Some of the people at the school (in Boca Raton, Fla.) really believed in me. Like this woman, Deborah Nash, the vice principal, she was my boss. And she was a huge, adamant believer in what I was doing. I had this break period and I had an office, so I would just play my guitar and write songs. And she would eavesdrop and ask me to hear my demos and stuff.

She finally gave me the ultimatum. She said, "You're doing a wonderful job here. We love you. And because of that, we will guarantee you a job here. But you should leave and follow this through."

Are you surprised by the reaction when people sing along with your lyrics?
People reacted well, right away. In the beginning it was just because they were all my friends and they were all there when I was writing it. They all knew the songs. Immediately, it grew.

What do all your former students think of this?
They call me Mr. Chris. That's what they've always called me. A lot of them have bands and stuff now. Some of them are in college. There's a group of them, they're probably seniors in high school, and they have a band called No Reply. I have their CD, it's good.

Would you ever go back to teaching?
I think I'd go back. But there are so many other things I want to do.

Like what?
I want to write songs for other people. I know that it's not a skill that I've honed yet, but I think I will figure it out.

Anything else?
I'm becoming a good typist. I decided, when we had that big debut on the charts (No. 2), that's gotta be the death knell. I didn't even think it was going be in the Top 10. That's gotta be the pinnacle of our little flash in the pan ... so I figured I'd pick up a marketable skill. So I'm all set for my temp work.

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