(Photo: Nicole Rork)
DESTROY REBUILD UNTIL GOD SHOWS frontman Craig Owens is announcing a series of holiday-themed midwest solo shows to take place next month in Chicago, Ohio and his home state of Michigan. Owens and his band are currently on tour with Hollywood Undead and Asking Alexandria through November 20th.
The solo shows, says the singer, will be “filled with all of the classic stuff that I sing but also a ton of Christmas songs. I’ll be doing thematic fun stuff again each show like we did with the recent ones I did, like the pajama night, 90s grunge, but with holiday-themes, and I’ll again announce all the details through my twitter account.”
The final solo show dates for 2011 are:
Friday, December 16: The MX TP / Grand Rapids, MI
Saturday, December 17: The Grog Shop / Cleveland Heights, OH
Sunday, December 18: Mojo’s / Chicago, IL
Monday, December 19: The Crowfoot / Pontiac, MI
Once these are completed, Owens says he’ll be taking a break from solo gigs until late 2012 if not longer, wanting to focus his energy on writing new material, performing with D.R.U.G.S. and building his acting career. He’ll be studying acting in the upcoming months at the Howard Fine Acting Studio in Los Angeles home of such leading men as Brad Pitt, Will Smith and Chris Pine and his first role, in the horror movie K-11, is currently in post-production and will see the light of day in 2012. His decision to pursue movie and TV roles is not as a flight of fancy and, as Owens explains in this interview with AP, it’s been something that he has wanted to do since he was a kid.
Interview: Mike Shea
First of all, how are you?
I’m good! I’ve just been really busy, like usual. This tour [with Hollywood Undead] started a week ago but before that I was at home kind of laying low and focusing on myself. Then I ended up doing some producing and co-writing with My Arcadia and some In Fear And Faith stuff. I had them in the studio there in Michigan and we made some great music together. We made a 4-song EP with My Arcadia and then the new single from In Fear And Faith, called “It All Comes Out (On The Way Down),” which comes out November 8.
What’s this studio thing about?
It’s called 37 Studios and it’s based out of Rochester Hills, the city where I live. My friends Matt Dalton, Nick Sampson and I all work together. We have several different producers that come in and out of the studio working on a variety of projects. I’m looking to produce bands, especially ones from the Midwest that are willing to drive to Michigan to work with me. Already, my producing schedule is booked from the beginning of this month through February—it’s crazy how fast this is growing.
You did a series of seven solo shows in late summer; how did those turn out?
They were amazing. I sold out every single show except for Chicago. It was so awesome to connect with the fans. I pulled out some older Chiodos songs that I had missed playing, to be honest. It was just really nice to connect with fans that I hadn’t seen since Warped Tour. I missed that connection you get as a performer and I missed playing live and I really wanted to fill that void fast. I was so overwhelmed with the number of kids that came out and the reaction we got at those shows.
Are there going to be more solo shows in the future?
I’m going to take a break with the solo shows until at least next fall. I want to hone in and begin to start to write the new D.R.U.G.S. material. It may even be longer than that before I do any of those shows again. I really want to dig in with D.R.U.G.S. and focus on that. I don’t want to wear myself too thin anymore. I’m very aware of that these days.
What brought that realization to you?
It was just the constant traveling. When I got back from performing with D.R.U.G.S. in Australia it just turned into every single weekend having to fly out for some new thing. I’m always looking to push the limits on myself. I was maintaining solo shows while producing when I was home and then the acting thing and it was just wearing me too thin. I want to be sure that I’m giving my all and my number one project to me is D.R.U.G.S.
That’s why I’m okay with doing these final four solo shows. We’ll keep them intimate and special and we’ll do holiday music that I’ve never done before. I think it’s going to be really fun and a good way to summarize and cap off the year.
The response by fans to you performing Chiodos material at those solo shows was pretty crazy. Were there any surprises that came out of those moments?
I want to say “yes” but not really. If anything, I was just reminded how much those songs touched people’s lives and what the songs meant to them. All of that reignited the old material for me. I just missed playing them because they were different chapters of my life. I liked revisiting those with people that came up with me and helped me get to where I am today. It’s just really nice to go back to those moments and look out and see these amazing fans support me through whatever I’m going through. This year is proof that I’m not going to go away and that my songwriting is going to continue on. I’m just not going anywhere. I’m also not shunning the past, though, believe me. I’m very accepting of it and I understand the situations that I’ve been in. I’m accepting the past and looking forward to the future.
You just turned 27 this past August. Are you feeling like you’re where you wanted to be at this point?
It’s really difficult to say because when you look at things from a young man’s mind, like five to 10 years ago, I’ve been such a driven person that I wanted the world by now. I think that now I’m in a place where I’m very happy and I’m very content for once. More than ever before. I still haven’t done what I need to do and that is to get to the top and stay there. Now, “the top” is defined by different definitions for different people and down deep, for me, I feel I still have something to prove.
The show we did in Mesa, Arizona recently took me back to 2006-2007-era Chiodos. I just felt it onstage. We just have so much more still to prove with D.R.U.G.S. We’re still just beginning. It was just like back in the day—here we are opening up for another tour with half to three-fourths of the crowd singing along. We’re just working our way up and paying our dues again. We’re just thankful we’re still here and that people care. There’s still a long way to go. We just started, really.
Okay, let’s talk about your choice to pursue acting. Some fellow musicians would probably scoff at that as when musicians usually decide to get into acting, it’s seen as trying to go Hollywood and become a red carpet hog. What drove you to this direction? You are a big horror movie buff but the choice to really get into movies is another thing entirely.
First of all, I don’t do anything I don’t feel passionate about. Acting was some that was very present in my early life before I decided to give myself 100% to the music world. I did a ton of musical theater growing up and that’s kind of what I pictured myself doing when I was growing up.
Then I had friends that introduced me to this whole new genre of music and then I was sucked away. I believe that life goes full circle and I believe in destiny too. I may have been focusing on my career in touring and writing music but that’s not the only thing that I am. It’s not what consumes me day in and day out. I spent a lot of time off watching movies. I’m one of those IMDB people. (Owens’ own beginner IMDB profile can be found here.)
I’ve always had this massive obsession with storytelling in the lyrics I write. On the first Chiodos record, me and Brad [Bell, Chiodos keyboardist] were writing from a movie perspective. The song, “The Words ‘Best Friend’ Become Redefined,” is basically a horror movie. That’s what we through of when we were writing it together. The name “Chiodos” comes from Killer Klowns From Outer Space.
People that really know me know that this acting decision isn’t disingenuous. I don’t think many fans realize how much acting comes with being a musician sometimes. When I’m on stage, that’s not how I act all the time. It’s an overwhelming feeling sharing what it was that I was feeling when I wrote these songs. It’s the same thing with scripts and movies—it’s tapping into you in a different way. This just gives me a different outlet to show different personality traits that I wouldn’t be able to show normally because I’m always under such a microscope anymore. In today’s music scene, if you’re not a smiling human being all the time you’re quickly demonized and picked apart. It’s just a different way to share with the world. It’s very therapeutic.
To be clear though, I just want to say that I’m not looking to be in the next Fast & Furious. I’m hoping to develop a very fun career. I won’t do any role that I won’t love. I want to do horror stuff. I want to do stuff that intrigues me. I’m doing this because I love to not because I need to.
Your fans are going to want to know this—what’s the plans for new D.R.U.G.S. material?
We have plans to release two new songs in the month of December. They’re not officially named yet but the demo names so far have been “Sharks” and “We’re All Crazy.” “Sharks” was a demo that we had previously from the D.R.U.G.S. record that we [John Feldmann, Adam Russell and Matt Good] revamped and rewrote. “We’re All Crazy” is a song that we wrote in the studio one day in August after Warped Tour.
We’re also planning to release a new D.R.U.G.S. EP early next year and we’ll be doing a headlining tour in January through February of 2012 too. I’m so excited to get back out in front of fans and play new material. alt