This is a really painful first blog to write, actually. I wish it could have been about some of the other dozen topics I had been kicking around the past week in my head but today kinda changed all of that.

At about 12:05pm today, I got an IM from photographer and close friend of Craig Owens', Nicole Rork, letting me know about a posting Craig had made to his website 18 minutes earlier where he admitted that he had tried to overdose yesterday afternoon (Sunday, July 20) at his home in Michigan. He went on to say in the post that he had been to the ER during that afternoon, was released and was planning to admit himself into a "mental clinic", as he described it, but that he was okay and that everything was going to be fine.

It was so strange because I just had received in the mail from a copy of the Chiodos Bros.' The Heartless Control Everything and was opening the box the moment Nicole IM'd me with the news of Craig. Just weird.

I then made a flurry of phone calls to his publicist, manager and Chiodos band mates, confirming the story and learning that Craig was already back home and resting with his family.

AP has a cover story with Craig coming out in a few weeks (I wrote it) and in it he describes how hard it has been for him to get used to the constant criticism a band receives as they get bigger. He's just a super-sensitive guy: in one sense, he cares immensely about you but in the other, he really does get hurt by many of the flippant negative comments posted on message boards. He's been struggling with this for quite some time and it's only gotten worse as the pressure has increased on he and the band to take it to the next level.

When I went up to his place to do the interview for the story, it was the first time I had gotten to spend more than a few hours with him and I really began to see that other side of him that not a lot of people have seen regularly: He's always full of ideas, his talents and heart are huge, and he can read anyone like a book, instantly caring about them. He loves horror movies, basketball and reads a crap load of books. The guy is just a decent person.

But he's had his struggles and now has a growing support group of friends and industry people that are surrounding him with help, love and advice; telling him to ignore the critics and believe in himself thoroughly- not just when it comes to his career (which is in full-motion currently.)

Chiodos performed an absolutely-killer set at the Detroit Warped tour last Friday (7/18/08), he has plans for more Cinematic Sunrise dates and a solo gig in Pontiac, Michigan on July 26th, and his record label is repackaging Bone Palace Ballet with a DVD and four new Chiodos songs for a holiday release. He has plenty of things to look forward to over the next few months.

When I was speaking with his management and band mates, they had asked me if we would not run this story about his suicide attempt as they had talked to Craig and he had decided to delete the post to his website. They just felt that this was more of a private matter and that he needed to deal with this with his family and not in the public eye at this point as it would have caused even more pressure on him and given him more questions to answer. So, I obliged and didn't run it today out of respect for Craig, despite his original posting of the news to his website for less than an hour.

Despite what you may think, this give-and-take between artists and press happens all the time. If you work with them in their time of need, they learn to trust you and the relationship you have with them just becomes more solid. It's that "off the record" trust that comes with being a journalist. I've been doing this for 23 years and it wouldn't have been the first time we had been asked for some privacy on a matter with an artist.

Later this afternoon, ran the story anyway with a link to the original cache from his website of his journal posting of the story. By 13 pages into the news post on absolutepunk, there were comments from posters saying he was a failure at killing himself, unsubstantiated rumor-spreading of Craig punching girls and further slagging on his band and he, personally.

I dunno, sometimes doing the right thing is just better and I know I'll be able to live with myself about not running it when I could have.

I hope you're well, Craig.