Jan 192016

Alternative Press finally posted the video of Craig Owens performing a brand new song, and it’s super exciting for me because Henry, Robbie, Nikki, and I were there, in the same room, watching with drool as this was filmed last month. (Well, maybe Henry wasn’t drooling; he probably waited until later and let it all out in private.)

That was such a beautiful day. I’m happy to have this video so that we can all relive it! Can’t wait to see what Craig has up his sleeve for 2016.

Dec 272015

It had been a minute since I was last at the Grog Shop in Cleveland, so I was pretty stoked. The Grog Shop has provided some great times for me and also is where I was first introduced to Strongbow in 2009. That was a gamechanger.

This is where Craig Owens was playing his acoustic set on December 16th, and it had all the promises of being intimate and beautiful.

Henry, Nikki, Robbie and I got there before doors opened. We had been standing for a bit in line when we realized some older lady was going around with a notepad, interviewing the people in line in front of us. I mumbled to my group, “Oh god, let’s not make eye contact. This lady looks—HI YES I WILL ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT CRAIG OWENS!” My  tune changed as soon as she approached us because I LOVE TO HEAR MYSELF TALK.

Not really.


She was kind of creepy, I’m not going to lie. She said she goes to all of his shows and does this, makes a list of why all of the kids are there, and then she gives it to him at the end of the night. She made it sound like they are tight, and who knows—perhaps they are. But she was still kind of annoying.

I made some past-tense comment about Chiodos and she snapped, “He’s still in Chiodos. They’re still together.”

Oh. OK.

(I really don’t think they are. But she clearly knows it all.)

Then she said something about how she wants him to play “3 AM” but she knows he won’t because he doesn’t plat Chiodos songs at his solo shows, which made me raise my eyebrows because he certainly has in the past.

“Isn’t it interesting to hear a man’s POV of a one-night stand?” she asked us in regard to the meaning behind “3 AM” and we all just  nervously laughed until she finally moved along.

The doors opened around 7 and we traded in our toys for meet-n-greet wrist bands and then I pushed away imaginary people on my mad dash to claim us seats at the bar. Henry gave me that “why are you running?” smirk.

BECAUSE I AM ALWAYS IN A HURRY? How is he not accustomed to this by now. I hate him.

And then I found out that they didn’t have Strongbow and sighed a sigh to end all sighs. They had some kind of cherry cider though so I got that and it was beautiful. Henry was the DD so he just sat there nursing his water while the rest of us went to town. That’s what you get for being a dad, Henry.

The first band to play was a local group of seemingly high school-age kids (I think they might have been slightly older but we’ve already established a few blog posts back that my eyes are third-rate) called Trusting Obscurity. They had a girl singer and I will give them an A for effort: they had enthusiasm and moxie.

But they weren’t really for me. Or Robbie. Or Nikki.

(I didn’t ask Henry though because he doesn’t have opinions.)

They were mostly alt-rock, did a decent Paramore cover (“That’s What You Get”) and a questionable Fall Out Boy one (“Sugar, We’re Going Down”) and then a mixed bag of originals. I thought the girl had a pleasing voice, kind of husky, but their set was kind of long and I was getting antsy. And then they did some bastardized reggae banger and here’s a fact about me: I don’t like reggae. SORRY MARLEYS.

I just can’t with the reggae.

Me and Sober Hank.

From the moment the second band started playing, my eyes dilated with pure hearts. whenskiesaregray were the perfect blend of hardcore and emo, reminiscent of The Saddest Landscape and Pianos Become the Teeth, and I thought I was going to catapult off my bar stool. I was so into it, that it was making my ribcage hurt.

It was like someone handed them an Erin Will Love You starter kit and they followed it step-by-step:

Their set was over entirely too fast.

We were talking about how none of us were very fond of the first band.

“Yeah, that first band played way too long,” I cider-shouted just as the singer walked by.

She might have heard. I don’t know.

About whenskiesaregray, Robbie said, “They reminded me of that one genre…you know, like The Number 12 Looks Like You and…”

“Circle Takes the Square!” I added, because I always have to add. If you’re not adding, you’re subtracting, OK?! Get on my math level.

“But what’s that genre called?” Robbie asked, and Henry at this point had the glazed-over eyes that he probably had all throughout high school too.

“Grindcore!” I remembered a minute or so later, and Robbie was like, “Yeah!” and Henry looked like he was having really bad flashbacks to the days when I was really into grindcore. (For example: THE LOCUST.)

Too Close To Touch was next and they were your basic post-hardcore type of band and in a perfect world, I would have been all over them. I don’t know if I was just way too excited for Craig or if I was losing consciousness from inhaling the French whore perfume of this one aging, over-dressed scene queen who kept sauntering past, but I don’t really remember much of their set. Plus, I was on my second drink — a real life beer — and another fact about me is that I drink so infrequently these days that two ciders/beers is going to more than do the trick.

I think it was right after this band when we Facetimed with Chooch and Nikki got really excited and came running over to say hi to him; Robbie, you better watch out! I know that Chooch was fine back home with Judy, but I still hate it when we’re apart for too long.

Until we reunite and start arguing three minutes later.

Before Craig came on, we all got up and found good spots near the stage. Robbie and Nikki went straight for the middle of the crowd, but I dragged Henry over to the right and we parked ourselves right between French hooker and her friend, Other French hooker. I was prepared for them to start screaming like Japanese girls at a Corey Feldman concert, but when Craig came out and started playing, they stood there, motionless and with stony faces.

Very weird.

OK, here is where I eat crow. I had really lost interest after the last time I went to one of Craig’s acoustic shows. It was boring, I thought it was weird that he kept doing Hulk Hogan-esque “I can’t hear you!” motions with his hands, and I was irritated that we drove through a snowstorm (true story, published in 2011) to essentially hear a roomful of teenage girls sing the songs instead of Craig. I was really worried it was going to be that way again. But nope. Craig came out, strapped on that guitar, and sang his fucking face off.

The ratio of Craig Singing : Fans Singing was exactly proportionate to what you want if you paid to hear one of your favorite singers sing his songs. I was OK with the singalongs. The vibes were positive. Craig seemed absolutely jubilant. His voice was on point.

And the setlist was diverse and spanned his career perfectly: from Chiodos to D.R.U.G.S, to Cinematic Sunrise to his recent collaboration with Before Their Eyes:

He and Pete teased the new song that we got to hear earlier that day at the Alternative Press office, but then at the last minute they stopped playing it, laughed, and went on to another song. I felt kind of smug because we had been lucky enough to hear that song multiple times in one sitting and it is a glorious jam!

He ended the show the same way he had the other times I had seen him solo: by jumping into the middle of the crowd and closing it down with “Baby, You Wouldn’t Last a Minute…” which will always be my favorite Chiodos song.

(Because Craig doesn’t perform Chiodos songs when he’s out on his own.)

Afterward, we ran over to the merch tables, where a line was forming for the meet and greet. Even though we had already met him earlier, my stomach was churning. But I at least wanted him to sign the tour screenprint that I bought, because why not.

“Look, that lady’s giving him the list she was writing in line,” I laughed, and we all watched as she basked in the attention Craig was giving her. “Jesus, that’s going to be me one day, isn’t it?” I groaned rhetorically. Ugh, she was SUCH A MOM.

We were pretty close to the front, so before I was fully ready, it was our turn. Nikki and Robbie went first and Nikki, true to her word, asked Craig if he’s ever met Justin Bieber. (She’s a pretty big Belieber.) I know you’re dying to know the answer: Craig has not ever met Justin Bieber.

When it was my turn, I just gushed endlessly about he’s been like, an icon in my family for years and my kid has quite literally grown up listening to him (I showed him this picture on my phone, even though we gave Chiodos a copy of it at the 2013 Warped Tour), and he made all the right “I’m interested in what you’re saying” facial expressions and hand gestures. Nikki took this picture so here, I have proof that I’m not always invisible:

He signed my screenprint and said that he was really happy I bought one, that there were only 100 made (I got #3!) and that no two are exactly the same and again, I blew my chance to mention Loma Prieta, Hotel Books, or any of the other 6 unique topics I had on the tip of my tongue instead of opting for the typical fan-gushing. I am the actual worst at talking to musicians.


The lighting was terrible in this corner. I tried to take a group picture of Nikki and Robbie with Craig using the flash, but it was even worse. I wish we could go back and have a do-over!

You know what they say, you guys: those who meet Craig Owens together, stay together.

What a fucking epic day. I’ve been going to so many shows by myself lately, and it felt really great to have a crew there that night. Even Henry said, “Yeah. It was good” when normally his highest praise is “it wasn’t bad.” Henry actually said the g-word!

Going to work the next day sucked, but it was totally worth the exhaustion. Cleveland, you’re so close, yet so far away.

Dec 212015

We tried so hard to keep it a secret, but Robbie pretty much figured out right away that me, Henry and Nikki were taking him to Cleveland last Wednesday for the Craig Owens show. Henry and I weren’t sure if it was going to work out at all, since it was in the middle of the week, but Nikki super slickly went behind Robbie’s back and asked his boss to give him the day off. Once that happened, Henry bought the tickets and then we tried to come up with a plausible explanation as to why we were going to Cleveland on a random Wednesday, but stupid Bandsintown alerted Robbie that Craig Owens was playing that night, so he knew. It’s a lot easier to pull one over on our gullible 9-year-old, so I sometimes forget that everyone else wouldn’t just go along with a mysterious road trip without doing some serious investigating on their end.

Robbie loves Craig Owens even more than I do, so we thought it would be the perfect birthday/Christmas gift for him. Especially when our friend Jason mentioned that he could possibly get us access to the video session that was going to filmed earlier that day in the Alternative Press office. That meant we had to leave early on Wednesday, which really set off the alarms in Robbie’s head. Nikki said he was practically bullying her into telling him what was going on.

Surprises are so delightful!

We left an hour later than originally planned because Henry is the worst. Do you know how hard it was to sit in my house waiting for Henry to come home, when there were all these awkward vibes because everything was so suspicious?

< insert boring drive to Cleveland here. >

We arrived in Cleveland sometime after 1 and Nikki woke up from a nap.

“I had a dream that I asked Craig Owens how tall he is and he said he’s 5’10”,” she said. We all agreed that we felt like he was taller than that, so Robbie quickly googled and announced that Craig is, indeed, 6’2″. I wonder if Craig ever thinks about all the rando conversations his fans probably have about him on a daily basis. I mean, even Henry has talked about Craig’s hair A LOT over the years. He’s kind of obsessed with it and will always be the first one to notice if it’s changed since the last time. His only takeaway from the D.R.U.G.S. show we saw in 2011 was that “Craig’s hair is darker.”

We had just enough time to grab coffee and a quick poke through my favorite store of all time, Flower Child:

I had just ended a conversation with the owner about how much I love her shop and how I cried real tears when I was there a month ago and it was closed, when Henry got a text from Jason that said, “Get here NOW.” Henry barked, “Let’s go!” and whisked us out of the shop, which probably looked like we were the clumsiest shoplifters EVER. I can only imagine how suspicious we looked, tearing out of a shop that we had just entered a minute before, but I was too excited to be embarrassed.

“Where are we going?” Robbie asked nervously.

“We have to meet our friend Jason real quick. I have a case of root beer for him,” Henry stuttered.

I mean, that was partially true! Jason is a true root beer connoisseur and especially likes it bottled. So Henry brought a case of root beer from the Faygo Factory for him. This is why Jason likes Henry better than me. Well, that and because Henry doesn’t bring up Jonny Craig every single time we hang out with Jason.

And Robbie knew something was about to happen. He met Jason last year when we were in town for a Chiodos show at House of Blues; Jason met us at Melt for a quick hello and Robbie remembered that he was affiliated with Alternative Press, so even though there is no signage outside of the building that houses the office, it didn’t matter.

The jig was up!

“Don’t freak out,” I whispered over my shoulder as Jason keyed us through the AP door and led us into a back room where cameras were set up and Craig Owens was sitting on a stool, strumming his guitar and warming up.

Robbie’s face looked like this pretty much the whole time: somewhere frozen between a smile and a stroke.

Jason got chairs for us and basically bent over backward to make sure we were comfortable—he is such a stand-up guy! As if he hadn’t already done enough for us, now he was trying to give us more things. We promised him that we were fine, and after reminding us to turn off our phones, he retreated back to his office, because deadlines.

I accidentally took this blurry photo as I was tucking my phone away:

Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset

Jason warned me that the chair he gave me was kind of broken, which didn’t stop me from leaning back in it, and further and further back until I realized I was falling. I caught myself before anyone noticed and made sure to lean forward for the rest of the afternoon because I didn’t want to be That Person who disrupted filming.

Ugh, that would be so typical of me!

Craig performed two songs with his friend Pete: one was a song that was so brand new, Pete was having difficulties because they literally had just written the music for it the night before. Craig said it will be released sometime in 2016 as part of his new, top secret project. TOTALLY PIQUED.

The second song was off the new Before Their Eyes album which he produced. Both song were fantastic, but that first one was a stunner. Those two songs were being filmed for Periscope, but we got to hear the first one several more times when he was asked to play it again but with a more detailed introduction other than just, “This is…a song” which is how he had originally introduced it, ha! I love Craig.

When he finished performing the songs, he walked back over to where we were sitting so that he could join his friend (NICOLE RORK who is an exceptional photographer and I was low-key fangirling when I saw her there) and come up with some facts for the 10 Things You Didn’t Know segment that he had also agreed to film.

“Did it sound OK, guys?” he asked us, and we were all like, “HHHHHHHNNNNNNNGGGGGGHHHHH YES.”

OK, Henry was way calmer than that.

I don’t want to give anything else away since these video segments haven’t been posted on Alternative Press’s website yet, but I just have to say that Craig is ridiculously interesting, multi-faceted, and extremely intelligent. Listening to him answer questions was riveting. All the behind-the-scenes minutiae was actually fascinating and I’m so humbled that we got to take it all in.

After about an hour of filming, he walked over to us and held out his hand.

“Hi, I’m Craig,” he said with a friendly smile and not the forced kind that Henry always adopts.

I’m sure internally, we were all like, “WE KNOWWW OMG!” but I feel like we kept it together and somehow managed to introduce ourselves without causing a nose bleed or biting off our tongues. He asked us how the drive from Pittsburgh was and Henry gave his stock answer, “Fine. Fine” while I blurted out, “BORING” and I think Robbie was just giggling at this point. Thankfully, Nikki was there to break the ice by telling Craig about her recent dream about him and his height.

“Yeah, I’m pretty tall!” he laughed. “Actually, all of the Chiodos guys are like, over 6 feet tall,” he added, and we were all like, “Oh wow,” with batted eyelashes and flirty giggles because CRAIG OWENS.

Somehow I was able to muster the courage and enough of my voice to thank Craig for allowing us to sit in on that. Thank you, Craig Owens, for being a true gentleman and so gracious to your fans.

(I love that there’s a Cure issue two above Robbie’s head in this picture!)

Before walking out to the parking lot with us to get the root beer, Jason asked again if we needed anything. “Any magazines? Anything at all? No, you’re good?” he asked, and we assured him that he had already done so much for us. Seriously, thank you Santa Pettigrew!

We were about to leave when Craig passed us in the parking lot. Thank god Nikki had the good sense to ask him if we could take his picture with Robbie. He very jovially agreed, at which point we all just stood there.

“Erin, take the picture,” Henry hissed. SORRY! I was in a Craig Owens daydream bubble. Henry’s burly tone snapped me out of it and I was somehow able to take the picture without fumbling for my phone.

We told him we’d see him later that night, and with a big smile, he said, “I hope you’re wearing your singalong pants!” I laughed along with everyone else, but I couldn’t help but feel a tiny pull of paranoia.

“Do you think he said that on purpose?!” Nikki whispered on the way back to the car, knowing that Craig and I had a…disagreement on Twitter four years ago because I wrote a bitchy blog post about how I went to his solo show and he let the audience sing most of his songs while he just stood there and held out his microphone. Look, my cat had just died and I was really emotionally fragile OK?! Nothing could have made me happy on that night.

But this particular night was about to be so much better. And we determined later that he probably didn’t mean anything by his singalong pants remark, thank god!

Afterward, we had about 90 minutes to kill before the actual show. We drove to Coventry in search of food, since none of us had eaten anything since breakfast, not like it mattered, because it probably would have gotten puked up anyway. (I mean, except Henry’s. Nothing fazes Henry.)

Big Fun is next to Tommy’s, so we popped over at dinner, hoping to find some toys to buy for the show. Anyone who brought a new toy or stuffed animal to the show got a meet and greet wristband. Even though we already had our time with him that afternoon, we wanted to do our part in helping out underprivileged children. Except Henry. He was like, “I don’t need no meet n greet bracelet, fuck off!”


Saul Berenson is big fun.


We wound up just going to a nearby Target, where I bought Candy Land, and Nikki bought a Mr. Potato Head and an exorbitantly-priced stuffed pony, which Robbie picked out with complete disregard to the price tag.

“Oh wow, that sucks,” I said when she told us how much it ended up costing her. “Mine was on sale for $4.”

Mine was on sale for $4!” Nikki mimicked, and we all laughed. But then we all agreed that it was nice to do something charitable but Henry wouldn’t know what that’s like.

Doors to the Grog Shop weren’t open, so we stood in line where I thought about all the things I should have said to Craig.


Things I Wish I Had Said To Craig:

  • OMG I’m super stoked for the new Hotel Books that you produced!
  • I love Lomo Prieta too! I saw them open for Pianos Become the Teeth last spring and they blew my mind!
  • Do you like Artifex Pereo????
  • What is your stance on the whole Blue Swan music movement and would you ever consider working with any of the bands in that genre?????
  • And in response to his ironic Juggalo tattoo inside his lip: HENRY WORKS IN A FAYGO FACTORY!
Dec 162015

Today, we’re going to Cleveland with Henry’s son Robbie and his girlfriend Nikki for the Craig Owens solo show at the Grog Shop. It’s been a minute since I’ve seen Craig solo and I’m excited but super nervous because he’s always been one of The Big Ones in my life, you know? Some of his words are tattooed on my arm, so to say that I think highly of him is kind of an understatement:


My all-time favorite Craig Owens experience was back in 2009 when Alisha and I went to see him, also at the Grog Shop. That was such a fun day and one of my favorite memories of Alisha, so today is making me miss her tons!

I love his solo work, but I will always love him in Chiodos the best. Chiodos was like the gateway drug into me becoming a scene kid back in 2006, so I’m sure Henry has mixed feelings about Craig too, haha. I just pointed this out to him and he did that laugh-without-mirth thing that he does when he wants everyone to know that he hates his life and nothing is amusing.

This is what I live for.

May 232014


Standing in line for the House of Blues doors to open might have been the most scared I’ve been in quite some time. Henry, Robbie and I wanted to kill some time first, and that was when we went to the cupcake place down the street from the House of Blues. On our way in, we passed an older man, dressed all in black and wearing a backpack and what appeared to be some sort of vest. He was shouting all kinds of religious things to everyone and no one; there was just something about him that terrified me. Like, we all kind of laughed about it, but I had this annoying spot of dread percolating in my gut as we dipped into the cupcake shop.

Ate cupcake. Forgot dread.

Immediately after leaving the cupcake shop, we passed him again, and this time he was shouting something about “Lord, please give me the strength not to kill every motherfucker” or something equally as terrifying.

“What if the Lord doesn’t give him strength??!” I cried to Henry and Robbie.

“Then I guess we’re dead,” Henry said matter-of-factly as we staked our spot in the Chiodos line.

“He’s just some crazy homeless guy,” Robbie reassured me. “He’s not going to do anything.”

HE DID NOT LOOK HOMELESS TO ME. He looked like some kind of revolutionary socialist who may have been piggybacking a bag full of Glocks and bombs on his pissed off back. Henry said he was also berating the government in his Tourette’s-like outbursts, so that made me feel even more scared.

He just kept walking back and forth, shouting these horrible “prayers” into the sky, never making eye contact with anyone. My heart was pounding. I DID NOT WANT TO DIE. Not before finally seeing Emarosa again, you guys, ugh.

(Spoiler alert: I survived.)

“Can we please call the police?” I pleaded.

“For what? He’s not doing anything,” Henry scoffed.

“He’s making people feel threatened!” I cried.

“Only you!” Henry countered, while Robbie just stood there and laughed because valuing your life isn’t cool anymore I guess. And then Henry started laughing too!

“That’s fine, but I’m using your stupid body as a shield if he starts firing at us,” I said bitterly.

I can’t remember the last time I felt so exposed but it might have been that time I was fully exposed in front of people.

Meanwhile, Robbie was more concerned about the fact that the scene boys in front of us weren’t actually inhaling their cigarettes.  That kept me distracted for a minute, as well as when a security guard came over and told us to not stand in front of the doors of the Tourist Center. Yes, that’s what you should be concerned with, Security Tard. Not the scary, one-man-militia roaming around the streets of Cleveland. I’m sorry, but I’m pretty much afraid of every last motherfucker I see on the streets these days, OK?

The doors finally opened around 6:30 and I was about to start bum-rushing scene kids in order to slip inside the safe House of Blues womb.


The House of Blues is one of my favorite venues. It’s fancy and I want to steal all of the art work. Plus, I just have really great memories of seeing shows there. Henry loves it because there’s balcony seating, which I am usually OK with at House of Blues because it’s not just old people up there—and the view is killer.


We thought Robbie would be like, “SEEYA” right away. And he was….but only because he wanted to go to the bar and get a beer. But then he came back! He actually stayed with us the whole time! Unlike when me, Henry, Christina, Blake and Robbie all went to see Chiodos together in 2008 and Blake and Robbie did the whole “cartoon run” in an effort to get away from the Lame Adults as soon as we were inside the venue. Well, I think it was probably mostly Lame Henry they were trying to avoid.

God, that was an incredible night. Also, that was back when Henry hated Chiodos and it was his first time seeing them live; he hated his life so hard that night and stood next to the exit the whole time. That obviously made it even more fun for me. You should click on that link I posted up there if you want to see Henry in a bandanna looking like there is a pine cone up his asshole.

I like 23-year-old Robbie better than teenager Robbie, though, because he bought me a hard cider! Thanks, Robbie!


So the first band to play was The ’68 and I was stoked for them. I had managed to not hear any of their stuff beforehand, but I love the singer Josh’s old band, The Chariot, so I knew in my heart that I would love his new band. And they came out like two fucking hornet nests, you guys. Can you imagine how hard it must be as a two-person band to keep the crowd entertained? I know that the White Stripes are like OMG DARLINGS of music snobs worldwide, but man, when I saw them in…2002? 2003? I was bored to motherfucking tears. We only went because I had been reading about them in NME and obviously I had to like them because all of the indie rags were telling me to. Wrong. I still don’t like their music to this day.

But The ’68 fucking killed it. They were loud and grungey and grimy with short intervals of Josh Scogin being a fucking charmer in between songs and a drummer who paused to eat a taco. Fucking old school rock and I felt like I was back in 1995. Occasionally, I would glance over at Henry and found him SMILING. I know he liked it because the other night, we found a full set they played in Vero Beach, FL on this tour and he actually sat there and watched it and made comments. Henry is finally starting to like music, you guys! I’m going to buy him some ’68 merch for his birthday.

Hopefully they have booty shorts.

(Not from the Cleveland show, but whatev.)

Second band was Our Last Night. They didn’t do it for me, which is nuts because I loooooove post-hardcore so much that isn’t much in that genre that I don’t like (which is actually pretty embarrassing because there a ton of shitty bands in the post-hardcore parade). I didn’t hate OLN, but there’s always that one band at a show that makes me eyes glaze over, and they were it this time. However, they did a cover of that asshole Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” and actually made it listenable! Major points for that.

And they were energenic, so yay cardio!

Third band: Hands Like Houses, woo!


This was my third time seeing them and they started off strong, but Trenton lost his voice by the third song because he wasn’t feeling well. And I mean, he LOST his voice. He was so frustrated, that he turned around and punched a cymbal and then thought people in the crowd were saying shit so he called them cockbags and then apologized. It was really weird and I felt super embarrassed for him. The rest of the band just kept playing and smiling, especially the one who reminds me so much of Tim Curry and has an awkward ponytail. I’m obsessed with that one.

“Poor Trenton,” I said to Henry after their set was done. “I want to give him a hug!”

“Maybe Jason will,” Henry laughed, pointing to the side of the stage where our friend Jason was talking to Trenton. Somehow I feel like that isn’t in Jason’s job description.

“Oh well, at least we’re seeing them again next week in Allentown,” I hinted around, hoping that I could trick Henry into thinking he had agreed to take me four hours away to their show with Slaves the following Sunday.

“Yeah, or maybe he’ll still be so sick, the tour will be canceled,” Henry said hopefully.

Fuck you, Henry.

Next was Emarosa and I’m sorry guys, but that has to be its own entry because I am going to squeeze my hormonal emo tears all over those motherfucking words and you will ask yourself, “WHY do I keep reading this bitch’s shit?”

While I was crying after their set, Henry excused himself and went downstairs to buy me an Emarosa shirt because he is A Good Boyfriend. I pretty much spent the rest of the night hugging it.

And then, Chiodos. My beloved Chiodos.


What can I say about them that I haven’t already on this blog? They are my fucking jam. The bread and butter of the post-hardcore scene. Forever a part of me. (Literally: I have their lyrics tattooed on my arm.) I have seen them in my city, in other cities, in large arenas, in small venues, outside in 100 degree heat, with Craig Owens, without Craig Owens, in a room marginally larger than the first floor of my duplex, acoustically, at a record store signing, and several times with just Craig.

And it’s perfection every time.

(Well, except for the last Craig Owens’ solo show which was mediocre and my blog post about it started a Twitter feud with him. Fond memories!)


When it was announced in 2009 that Craig had been kicked out of Chiodos, I never thought they would reunite. There was lots of animosity, jealousy, competition. It seemed that Craig was doing well with his new band D.R.U.G.S. and while Chiodos seemed to have lost a good bit of their fan base, I thought their album with Brandon Bolmer was brilliant.

I honestly never thought that Craig would ever be back in Chiodos. But it happened, and when I first got to see the newly reunited band last summer at Warped Tour, I was in audio Heaven. Personal feelings aside, Craig is a fucking SHOWMAN. That guy gets on stage and, doing nothing more than a simple God-stance, he has an entire crowd lapping from his hand.


I really miss guitarist Jason Hale. but I love what Thomas Erak (ex-Fall of Troy) has brought to the table, on the new album and on stage. He’s been providing background vocals on some songs and it really breathes new life into them. Plus, he’s just overall fun to watch.


They played a good mix from three of their albums (not surpisingly, nothing was played from Illuminaudio, the album they did without Craig), with the addition of “Thermacare,” which is fucking mindblowing to hear them play together. (There was a lot of controversary over this song, which you can read about here if you give a shit about band drama. Which I do so that makes me assume everyone else does too when I know that they don’t.) It felt so wonderful, like a fucking massage, to hear Craig’s screams again. The screaming parts & heaviest songs are my favorites. Sometimes I wish there was more screaming.



Bottom line: Craig Owens belongs in Chiodos. And when, toward the end of the evening, he turned toward the audience and said simply, “Chiodos is back,” I started to cry. But…that’s nothing new.


Apr 022014


The new Chiodos album, “Devil”, was released yesterday, in perfect tandem with the stress volcano that was waiting to erupt from within my head. Henry was a good boy and bought it for me while I was at dumb work yesterday and not only did I fall asleep with it playing in the bedroom, but I have been listening to loudly all morning and you know what? COME AT ME, BRO. Ugh, I feel so much better, and I didn’t even have to punch more holes in my house.

You might know that Chiodos is one of my favorite bands. Top 5 for sure. I have Chiodos lyrics on my arm, a framed picture of Craig Owens on my wall, and about 87 paintings that were inspired by their songs. At one point in my life, I was writing about them so much that I had to give them their own category on this dumb blog.

Things got weird for awhile there when Craig was basically fired and replaced with Brandon Bolmer, and then Craig went on to start his own band. I loved the album that Chiodos released without him, and I also loved the album that Craig released with his new band, D.R.U.G.S., but it made me feel so sad, guilty and uncomfortable at the same time, like trying to assure both parents that I still loved them equally after a divorce. (I mean, hypothetically. I didn’t give a shit at all when my parents divorced.) It didn’t help that Twitter allowed the fans to witness in real time the thinly-veiled barbs that were being flung between the two camps.

But in 2012, they reconciled. And now they’re CHIODOS again. And this album, their first with Craig since 2007, was worth the wait. It is everything: brutal, hard, melodic, soft, pop, post-hardcore, raw, beautiful. It has their signature sound, but it so much more well-rounded and mature, the proper transition from Bone Palace, which is one of my favorite albums of all time. I listened to Bone Palace on Sunday in the car, after having purposely not played it in quite some time, and it felt like having a little piece of me mended when I didn’t even realize it was broken to begin with.

And with “Devil,” it’s like being home again. I can’t wait to see them next month in Cleveland! (WITH EMAROSA AND HANDS LIKE HOUSES, I might die.)

You know what the best part is? I asked Henry a few days to please be serious and admit that there is at least one band that he enjoys seeing live (excluding Ted Nugent–“OMG I ONLY SAW HIM ONCE, GET OVER IT!”) and without even hesitating, he said Chiodos. So I of course translated this to mean that he won’t be mad if I buy him a pair of Chiodos booty shorts for real.

To conclude, my favorite thing about Chiodos is that they can go from this:

to that:

…like it’s no big thang. When the screaming starts at the 56 second mark, I feel like my neuroses are being enveloped in the most tender bear hug ever. I can think of several people I’d like to send this song to, if you know what I mean.

But so far this one is my favorite:

I have a feeling we’re going to be listening to this album in the car for a long while. Good thing Henry and Chooch like Chiodos, too. (LOL, like I would actually care otherwise.)

Jan 282014

I was at work last night when Chiodos sent out an email with a video for a song off their upcoming album. I listened to it immediately and it was the summer of 2007 again (in all the best ways) and, please don’t think I’m turning soft and overly-sentimental, but I swear it felt like I was being put back together. ESPECIALLY WHEN CRAIG OWENS SCREAMS.

I actually loved their last album, the one with Brandon Bolmer. I will love Chiodos no matter how they have at the helm, but to have Craig back with them, oh you guys. I am so stoked to buy this album!

After work, I made Henry listen to it. “I started crying when I first listened to it,” I confided in him.

“Why?” he sighed, used to this by now.

“BECAUSE IT’S JUST SO GOOOOOOOOOOOOD,” my inner teenager wailed. And it was just what I needed, too. It makes me want to start doing the painting/short story thing I used to do what seems like another lifetime ago. I guess it really was another lifetime ago. My job has really snuffed out whatever iota of creativity I once had. Oh, Catch-22, you fucking hairy cocksucker, you.

You’ve broken everything I love and I can’t wait to be myself again. — Yes. This. SO MUCH OF THIS RIGHT HERE.

In related news, remember when Henry the Miser wouldn’t buy me a Chiodos hoodie so I had to make my own?

Jul 262013


this was my first warped tour. I saw Itch which was the best band ever! I met chiodos for the second time—it was awesome! we gave them the picture of me when I was two and now I’m seven and Derick said two to seven crazy!


there was a lot of free shit meow meow meow. we passed the Vans tent and the guy said Hey Kid here and he gave me this band dana. I loved going on the water slide I said DADDY CAN I GO ON THE WATER SLIDE :(


I went in the wtf tent which tells about a bunny that they tested make-up on ”it was sad” there was a jacket with baby dolls mommy said it was creepy. I found a doll foot later from the wtf tent!



I said to mommy “f*** the nonsense of your healthcare”

[Ed.Note: I don’t know where he heard that, but he said it ALL DAY LONG & his middle finger was also part of this new routine. One day at Warped Tour and he already has punk ethics.]

look how mad dumb dumb daddy is he’s so mad he had to hold my stuff the whole day muh ha ha ha ha and spend money just for shirts :( he was sad because ted nugget wasn’t there


at the band Handguns they said circle pit! And I called it the psycho hole. I felt sad when warped tour was over I had the best day ever ha ha ha my cat shirt say’s that!


Jul 242013


Sometime around noon, Craig Owens and Bradley Bell of Chiodos did a little acoustic show in the Acoustic Basement tent. Craig is a hot commodity in this scene, so the crowd was spilling like hot and sweaty guts out of the tent. Chooch couldn’t actually see Craig from where we were standing, plus we were all smashed together with a throng of sweaty kids and lost interest, so Henry opted to take Chooch to the inflatable slip n’ slide while I quietly dropped tears from my eyeballs as Craig strummed some of my favorite Chiodos/D.R.U.G.S./his own solo songs on his guitar while Bradley accompanied him on keyboard. It was, in spite of the face-melting heat, one of the most sublime performances I’ve experienced at Warped Tour. Absolute perfection, and I noticed that Craig had made subtle tweaks to his vocals on certain parts of songs that just really gave it a whole new feel.

Attention all of my worst critics, who were once the best of friends…

I got this from someone’s YouTube, and while the quality is what you’d expect from an iPhone recording, I wanted to post it anyway so that I can go back and remember the moments that made the hairs stand up on my arms.


Later in the afternoon, Chiodos did a signing at their merch tent. I was anticipating this, so I came prepared with a copy of a picture we took of Chooch with Chiodos back in 2008 when they did an in-store signing at a record store in Columbus, OH. They weren’t even performing, just doing a meet and greet, and I still made Henry drive the 3+ hours because OMFG CHIODOS!!

Anyway, I thought it would be cool to give them a copy of it and have Chooch re-meet them now that he’s at an age where he can remember it.  While we were standing in line, one of the kids behind me tapped me on the shoulder and, pointing to Chooch, asked, “Excuse me, but is that him in the picture?” I said it was and he and his friend were all, “Oh, that is so cool. He’s so lucky!” And Chooch smiled all proudly because HELLO HE HAS A COOL MOM, THANK YOU. Maybe now he’s starting to recognize that shit.


When we were next, Derrick Frost, their drummer, took the picture from me after I explained that Chooch had met them when he was almost two-years-old. He looked at it and said, “I remember this!” And I don’t think he was bullshitting me! “Is this for us? Can we have this?” he asked, and when I said yes, he said, “This is getting hung up on our bus!” We bought Chooch a shirt earlier from their merch tent, so Derrick signed it and then passed it down the table to Matt.

“Do you want a poster too?” he asked Chooch. So Derrick signed the poster too and then write “2 to 7 — crazy!”

Derrick has actually been my favorite member of Chiodos ever since that day in Columbus, and I was so so so happy to see him again! He re-joined the band around teh same time Craig came back, which was like the cherry on top, really. He’s just such a good, decent dude. (And, just like in 2008, basically the only one of them who spoke to us, haha.)

We weren’t allowed to take pictures, but I made Henry stand off to the side, which probably didn’t look too out of place because he has that “Creepy Corner Dweller” image anyway, to try to take some covert photos.


Classy bra straps, FTW, Erin.


“You’re not going to like this picture,” Henry warned. “Because your hair’s wet.” (There was a brief rainstorm that was so fucking appreciated because it cut the humidity down and the rest of the day was so much more tolerable. Plus, it made jumping to the Wonder Years even more fun!)

Right, Henry. THAT’S the reason I don’t like this picture of me. It’s not at all because of my hunchback (which I don’t really have, I swear! I would be honest if I did), awkward stance or stupidly huge nose.

But I know, I know. It’s not about me, it’s about Chooch’s big moment, blah blah blah. And wouldya look at him cheesin’ up there!


Meanwhile, Chooch was a repeat customer at the misting station and inflatable slip n’ slide, which ended up being our saviors of the day and totally prevented a Big Butler Fair Psycho Heat Stroke relapse.



 After one of their slip ‘n’ slide field trips, Henry brought Chooch back to me shirtless, which is how he remained for the rest of the day all because some dudes told him to take his shirt off. (Not in a gross, sleazy way, but in a “You’ll be able to slide better” way.” Chooch was really well-received by the older bros all day! I can’t tell you how many random high-fives were requested of him.)



The guy in the weird straw hat was the Warped-appointed slip ‘n’ slide regulator all day, so he and Chooch became pretty chummy (according to Henry, anyway; I was only there with him three of the 87 gabillion times he slid across a slide commingled with scene-sweat and water). Also, the guy behind Chooch was giving him some kind of tip. He must be a seasoned veteran, because the only tip I know to give someone is “run! now…slide.”

Also, the guy behind Chooch is hot.


Warped Tour is for making franz with trannies before Chiodos’ set.


Waiting for Chiodos dangerously close to crotch-sweat.


Henry’s serious, non-smiling review of Chiodos: “They were good. They are always good.” This is also what Henry looks like when he’s enjoying ice cream, sex, and being tickled.

I can’t wait until Chooch is older so I can ask, “Hey Chooch, remember that time you were sitting on the edge of a garbage can during a Chiodos show while some kid was puking in it?” And he’ll say, “What? No!” And then I’ll pretend that it didn’t happen.


I don’t even know how to explain what these guys do to my heart. But I will tell you that during the summer of 2007, Henry and I came sickeningly close to breaking up. He was even looking for an apartment. I spent a lot of time during the month of August listening to the All’s Well That Ends Well album and furiously painting; that summer, the song “Baby, You Wouldn’t Last a Minute On the Creek” became kind of my anthem.

SPOILER ALERT: We sorted things out. Ever since then, Chiodos is one of the few bands that we both like and Henry doesn’t bitch about having to go see. Even though Craig Owens got shitty with me on Twitter because he didn’t like what I wrote in my blog about his solo show in 2011, I still fucking love this band and cheered when I found out that the rest of the guys made amends with him and invited him back as their singer after giving him the boot in 2009.

 And now Chooch likes them even more, after meeting them again and getting to watch them perform live for the first time ever, and has been singing Thermacare ever since. It’s this really special thing, you guys, to be able to share this with Henry and Chooch, because it’s normally me, all by myself, obsessively loving music and it gets kind of lonely sometimes in my world.

How can I explain this to normal people…it’s kind of like when you go to church as a family, I suppose. That’s what this day felt like to me: the two people I love the most (ugh, shut up, Henry) with me at my favorite place ever, worshiping at the altar of life-saving music.

 I hope Chiodos stay together for a super long time.



Here’s Chooch with his framed poster. Henry’s mom was talking to him about it yesterday and she asked him what he said to the band.

“Nothing,” he said. “I was shy.”

And it’s true, he really was! For the first time ever, Chooch was rendered speechless. He really is just like me. I’m about to be 34 and I still get all flustered and weepy when I meet bands and then end up not saying anything and regretting it forever.

Warped Tour in general might have been the Best Day Ever, but the Chiodos parts were the best moments ever.

(This is probably the best, not to mention the worst idea that I have ever had >>> basically everything in my life, ever!)

Feb 132013


The weather was way too nice on Sunday to sit around crying about my club foot, so we went to Jefferson Memorial for a family walk (Henry is not a fan of these). The subject of Bloody Mary came up and Chooch just kept pressing me for more and more information. I was like, “I don’t know! She’s some bitch who comes out of the mirror and scratches your face off! What more can I say!?” So then he took my phone and emailed Andrea, figuring she would have some sort of greater insight on the matter.

(Andrea, aren’t you pleased to know that you’re the go-to girl for these things?)

“Chooch look! It’s a woodpecker!” Henry cried, swiveling on his heels and pointing toward tree tops. I started to groan. “What?!” he snapped.

“Oh nothing, just acknowledging that you’re being a know-it-all as usual,” I said with a fake yawn.

“Sorry if I want my son to learn about things other than Bloody Mary and Minecraft!” Henry retaliated. Hey, I’m not the one who taught him about Minecraft.

Some older man was sitting in his car with the windows down, watching Chooch’s antics and laughing. I knew, just KNEW, that he was going to try and engage us with words as we walked past. I was right. He was saying something about how don’t we all wish we had that kind of energy, and I almost said, “I DO, but some motherfucker broke my entire will to live with a bowling ball yesterday!” Instead, I just smiled and told him to have a good day.

“That was weird that he was just sitting there!” I whispered (loudly) to Henry after we passed the car.

“Maybe he was parked next to his wife’s grave!” Henry snapped, all defensively. God, maybe they belong to the same beverage cult or something.


Henry didn’t notice this plane in the sky, or else Chooch and I would have choked on an ear sandwich about what kind of plane it is. You know, since Henry was in THE SERVICE and loves talking about PLANES.


Look at my poor, broken Big Green Glasses in the background. :( They’re missing an arm (is that what you call the part that goes behind the ear?) but I still wear them even though they’re lopsided and give me a headache.

Elsewhere, Henry and I have been on a roll with these pendants! I’m hoping to have a good stock built up for that Crafts in the Crypt show next month, and then who knows what. I really don’t want to get into selling these on Etsy. The greeting cards are one thing, but Etsy is a bitch to deal with. Henry was supposed to set something up LAST YEAR so I could sell shit on my own site, but that was project #879 that fell between the cracks.

If you’re interested in any beforehand, let me know and we’ll figure something out!


This is not the best picture, but the image is part of mural inside the Bayernhof Music Museum. When I was there last November with Corey and Kristy, the curator caught Corey and I giggling over it and said, “They’re SHOEING A HORSE,” with an exasperated sigh.

I mean, there IS a horse in the picture….


My friend Sean wanted a Frown of the Day pin, so we made him this fabulous Cafeteria Anger Frown. He put it on immediately and people at work were like, “OMG I WANT ONE!”

That’s a lie. No one said that.


Silly Willie* Silhouette.

(*Willie is actually short for Wilhemina. She’s Marcy’s daughter and has zero personality so I don’t talk about her much.)



My friend Brandy found this Chiodos shirt when she was thrifting and sent it to me! I almost died! It’s too small for me, but it fits Chooch perfectly and you better believe he rubbed it in when he wore it to school yesterday.  And apparently, after he taught his entire first grade class about Bloody Mary, he went on to teach them about Chiodos, too.

Thank god his teacher likes him. (He’s a joy to have in class, she said. HAHAHA.)


This is me, your host of Oh Honestly, Erin, modeling the Malachi pendant.


I gifted the rosary I stole from the hospital chapel to Apple Head. It was too small to fit over her big ass dome, so I had to help her step into it last night.

I think that’s about it. Except for another foot injury that happened on Sunday night, but I’m waiting for Chooch to write his part of it first. He’s as averse to guest-blogging as Henry is, though.

Apr 262012


Chooch constructed a model of Jonny Craig out of Legos and then what appears to be a stage with an audience.

“I put Daddy under here so he’s stuck and now he has to listen to Jonny Craig forever.”

Fuck, did I derive so much glee from that.

I love the cap of ginger atop Jonny’s broad Lego dome.

In other news, Craig Owens is back with Chiodos, wtf. Even though he is my nemesis now, I’m still beyond stoked and was all overheated at work after I found out. My friends at Alternative Press even had the smarts to check in with me to make sure I was still breathing after the news was twitter-bombed.

In other-other news, Chooch is getting his tonsils out on July 2nd. :(

Jan 022012


On December 17th, Henry and I were Cleveland-bound again, this time for the Craig Owens solo show at the Grog Shop. You might know that I have had a long-standing love affair with Craig Owens’ music ever since he was in Chiodos, even though I feel that I’m starting to out-grow him a little bit at a time. (I love his new band, but there is this braggadocian cloud he’s been riding lately that I’m just not a fan of. It’s really hard to explain, because he acts all Kumbaya at his solo shows, but when he’s on stage with his band D.R.U.G.S., I kind of want to vomit into a hobo boot.) Regardless, Craig still has a way of warming my soul so I thought it would do wonders considering the depressed state I had been floundering in.

Plus, all that time to irritate Henry while he’s trapped in the car with me and the constant rotation of Jonny Craig projects oozing from the speakers, making me fan my face? You can’t get that kind of joy in regular therapy.


Henry’s favorite part of the trip was all the piles and piles of snow that began to appear as we drew nearer to Cleveland. He knew that it was supposed to snow later that night, but didn’t know that it had already previously snowed the night before. I did know this and made the mistake of casually saying that I had seen snow pictures from some Cleveland people on Twitter and Henry was all, “YOU KNEW ABOUT THIS?” like the fallen snow was code for me taking his mom to get a clandestine piercing.

Apparently now on top of sitting around looking pretty, I have to keep tabs on the weather. I’m so overworked in this relationship.

Getting lost, sliding in snow, PISSED.

By the time we made it to Coventry, we were starving and running out of pre-show time. There’s a Winking Lizard near the Grog Shop and we settled on that, because we had eaten there before and I was reaching that point where I was so hungry that I honestly didn’t know what I wanted and we were about to come to blows. Henry ordered a chicken caesar salad and I honestly did a spit-take. I mean, it’s unusual for men to order a salad to begin with, but Henry? HENRY? BLUE-COLLAR HENRY? I have not once in my life seen this man eat a salad unless it was atop a blood-dripping burger.

“What are you suddenly watching your girlish figure?” I asked him.

“No, my stomach is still messed up*,” he mumbled. So what does he do? He orders a salad and a side of wings. He threatened to make me cry if I took a picture of him and his salad.

*(I still think I brought home some kind of Bavarian virus from the music box museum.)


I felt like living large so I ordered some gingerbread cocktail in spite of Henry’s pursed lips and shaking head. It was pretty much the worst thing I have ever imbibed this side of an egg cream, which made Henry go on a tirade about how I just wasted $6 and I was like, “Jesus, I’ll offer to wash the dishes if your piddly Faygo salary can’t afford a $6 cocktail, go cry in your pussy caesar salad.” It’s just a matter of time before one of us tries to stab the other at a restaurant.

We had just enough time to run down to Big Fun after dinner, which is one of my favorite places to shop in Cleveland. I was hoping to grab some last minute Christmas bullshit for Chooch, but the most annoying people in the world were in there (most of them were probably en route to the Craig show, I’m sure) so I got fed up. I was also going to buy a pair of reindeer ears, because Craig had tweeted earlier that he wanted all the boys at the show to wear Santa hats and all the girls to wear reindeer ears, but then you know what? I got this sudden jolt of self-righteousness and said, “Fuck this, I’m too old to be playing sheep.” So I put it back and got some giant rubber mustache for Tommy and Jessy’s dogs. Next time Craig does something I tell him to do in a tweet, we’ll talk.

Besides, I hate being like other people. I enjoy being the plain old lady at the back of the show. Reindeer ears would only distract from that.

20111228-175938.jpgWe got to the Grog Shop just as the first opening band was starting. I grabbed us a spot at the bar and immediately began chugging Strongbow. It was either get drunk or be emotionally vulnerable and cry through the whole show. It was bad enough there was one acoustic emo band after the next playing all kinds of wrist-cutting melancholy.

I don’t remember much about the opening band. They were local and their name had something do with Wolves. But the second band, Envoi, came out and I was immediately taken by the singer.

“He is so fucking hot and totally my type,” I hissed at Henry. By this point, Henry likely could have achieved a buzz off my breath alone. I like to slam back some Strongbow, ok?

Henry didn’t respond, so I repeated myself.

“He’s not that hot,” he muttered. At first I thought maybe he was just sulking, but he’s typically a pretty decent wingman so I was confused. That didn’t stop me from tweeting things like, “I can’t wait to date rape this singer after the show, just as soon as I chuck my kid’s carseat out of the backseat.” I mean, I had it so bad that I kept latching on to Henry’s bicep and squeezing, while making purring sounds that probably made everyone around me uncomfortable.

After their set, I kept my eyes on him, willing him to come over to the bar. He had huge gauges and was wearing a slouchy beanie and scene glasses – TOTALLY MY TYPE, RIGHT GUYS? Henry was still frowning over my latest conquest.

Finally, he did end up coming over to the bar, and squeezed in right next to where I was sitting. I was so stunned that I swiveled by seat away from him and mouthed to Henry, “WELL IS HE HOT OR WHAT?” Henry was firm in his stance and said, “No, not at all.”

I quickly spun my head around, letting my eyes scan him just long enough to determine that, oh fuck, Henry was right. This guy was so not hot at all. Not even his sex-voice would have been enough to win me over after finally seeing him close up.

“My eyes are really bad,” I said, returning to my can of Strongbow. At least I know I can still trust Henry as my wingman, even when he wears my pink Delia’s scarf.

20111228-180015.jpgThen we were totally making fun of this flapper-wannabe with an angel halo head topper and she totally ended up being with Craig’s “band.” I think she just stood there playing the tambourine. I was not impressed. But before I could find that out, we had to get through two more bands, one of which was My Arcadia, a female-fronted band we recently saw at Warped Tour. I liked them better this time, though I did admit to Henry that I wished the singer was just a smidge hotter. She had good stage presence at least.

Sometime before Craig took the stage, our friend Jason arrived and Henry immediately turned into a sycophant. He’s so ridiculous when it comes to bromances. He practically clotheslined himself against the bar, trying to get the bartender to put Jason’s Boylan’s on our tab.


20111228-180040.jpg“Can we go now?”

20111228-180733.jpgCraig came out and chose to cover Bieber’s “Under the Mistletoe” as his opening song. I thought it was a joke at first; who wouldn’t? He slowed it down and made it all breathy and serious; I kept waiting for him to stop abruptly and say, “Sike, naw!”

But no. He was serious. This was unironic. I seemed to be in the minority, considering that all the kids in the crowd were going ape nuts over this. I kept frowning at Henry and rubbing my chin, like this was going to help me suddenly make sense of things. It just sounded absolutely ridiculous.

At least the next song was “Lindsay Quit Lollygagging”, and I adore that song so much, you guys. It takes me back to a pre-pregnancy time. But for some reason, I kept finding ways to make everything about Speck, so I started crying, and since I was drunk, it was that stupid half-sobbing/half-laughing psychotic meltdown which usually leaves me wanting to punch people and there just happened to be a group of 4 or 5 asshole chicks next to me who I always see at Craig/Chiodos shows and I’m pretty sure they’re from Pittsburgh and I just really hate them. They do all these horrible exaggerated Glee-movements while drunkenly singing along with flipped-back heads, but this is just when they’re not SCREAM-CONVERSING with each other over top all of the songs.

The last time I felt like fighting while drinking Strongbow was at a Chiodos show in Columbus, only this time it was two jocks standing behind me, talking shit on the Penguins (too bad they won the Stanley Cup a month later, motherfuckers).

Anyway, I think I lost some love for Craig that night. He talked too much and there were times when he was borderline cult-leader up there on that stage. And he’s all “OMG I LOVE MY FANS” to such an extreme degree that it’s almost hard to believe his sincerity. I really don’t like feeling this way! But he leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth now. And also, I paid to hear him sing his fucking songs, not all the kids in the audience. I really dislike that he only sings three words and then gives away the mic.

Meanwhile, Henry’s caesar salad began knocking on the exit door, so he took off for the nearest bathroom, after refusing to poop on the prison-like Grog Shop commodes. I didn’t see him for at least four songs. Which ended up being most of the set, since the Grog Shop double-booked and Craig had to be off the stage around 9. Totally fucking weak. I knew this ahead of time, but I guess I assumed all the other bands would have cut their sets short to give Craig more time. And I also feel like Craig wasted so much of his set on stupid songs.

I really wanted to hear “Bibles and Badges” and we all know it’s all about me.

He did a few D.R.U.G.S. songs (none I particularly care for), “Intensity in Ten Cities” (not my favorite but at least it’s Chiodos), a Cinematic Sunrise joint and a song off the mediocre solo EP he put out a few years ago. Pretty disappointing show, but I was still happy to be out of the house, drunk, and having some quality time with Henry. (I know, right?) And it’s always a treat to see Jason.

At one point, he brought his puppy Charlie out so everyone could say hello and all that did was make me sad again. “SHE’S GONNA DIE SOMEDAY!” I was screaming in my head. I miss my fucking cat so bad.

The last song he sang was “Baby, You Wouldn’t Last a Minute on the Creek,” one of my all-time favorite Chiodos songs. He left the stage and had a bunch of guys hold him up which was cool, but that just made it easier for him to give the mic to the crowd. HI CRAIG, CAN YOU SING ONE SONG IN ITS ENTIRETY? At least let me get a quarter of my money’s worth? Cut the summer camp bullshit, please. He kept stopping during every song, putting his hand behind his ear and screaming “WHAT?” while holding the mic out to the crowd. I cringed every time.

I get that he wants it to be all intimate and shit, but then go for more of a Storyteller’s vibe and DON’T STOP SINGING.

Still, when he left the stage, I turned and walked back to Henry and Jason with my lip all protruding like a TV tray. Jason pantomimed straining to lift it up from the floor while Henry gave me that “Please don’t embarrass me by crying” mustache bristle. Afterward, we hung around and talked to Jason for a little bit before heading back to Pittsburgh, where Henry thankfully only needed to stop twice to tend to his explosive diarrhea.

(I also asked Henry some questions about his night at the show, which I will type up here tomorrow! And hey, don’t forget to tell me if you’re Team Poor Henry or Team Blame Henry!)

Jul 132011

Two of my favorite bands have new videos so please indulge me while I put on my giddy 16-year-old scene girl face and watch them repeatedly for days. I have a real post forthcoming, but I couldn’t resist sharing these.

Craig or no Craig, Chiodos is still so fantastic. Hopefully people will accept that they’re doing just fine, if not better, with Brandon Bolmer and then start going to their shows again. The one I went to last winter had a pretty dismal turn-out and these dudes deserve better than that, so get stoked for Chiodos you guys.

This is probably my least favorite song on Selfish Machines, but I still love it because even though it sounds so poppy, the lyrics are actually dark and pretty devastating. Vic Fuentes is such an underrated songwriter. Hope they make a video for “Besitos.”

(OMG Warped Tour is in 9 days!)

Mar 222011

We were on our way to take family photos in Mingo Park when Blake told me.

“Craig was kicked out of Chiodos,” he said from the backseat.

I laughed.

“No seriously, my friend Gavin just read it on MySpace.”

“No,” I said with firm disbelief, but I doubted my tone, like a wife being told her husband is cheating with the 17-year-old nanny.

It was hard to imagine a Chiodos without their charismatic singer, but I’ve had since September 24th, 2009 to prepare for what was to come. Chiodos have since acquired a new singer, Brandon Bolmer, and released a new album (Illuminaudio, which I reviewed here with all the emotion of a girl being stood up for prom). Craig has moved on to front and release an album with a veritable super group of sorts, Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows (D.R.U.G.S.). Both parties have seemingly moved on (“seemingly” being the operative word), so I knew I should, too, yet I kept finding reasons to avoid seeing this neo-Chiodos every time they rolled into Pittsburgh since that fateful fall.

“Oh, they’re with The Used. I just saw The Used last month.” (Weak.)

“Yeah, but it’s a week night. I’d have to call off work and I don’t have PTO yet.” (Lame.)

But then Chiodos announced their tour with Emarosa and the Pittsburgh date happened to be on a Sunday night in February. There were no excuses. I had to get this over with.

Then the D.R.U.G.S. album was released, so I had been listening to that pretty much ad nauseum in the days preceding the Chiodos show. Overwrought with guilt because of this, I began to cry in the car.

“You’re allowed to like both bands, you know,” Henry said, knowing exactly why I was crying. “It’s not cheating.” I’ll keep that in mind when I start seeing other people.

In a weepy little girl whine, I cried, “But it just feels so wrong! Craig belongs with Chiodos! THINGS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!”


Watching Chiodos that night in February at the Rex Theater proved that. I was already perplexed, a little off-balance even, after watching Emarosa take the stage beforehand without Jonny Craig, (a scenario which I only had a few hours to prepare for). Now I was watching another of my favorite bands with some impostor at the helm. And that guilt came back, because I was there to give Brandon a chance. I loved the new album, so why was my heart leaking poison into my veins? Why was I acting like one of those pernicious, fickle scene kids who turned their backs on Chiodos the moment Craig was gone? I was better than that, I was there for the music, not politics.

At least, that’s what I tried to convince myself.

I tried to fixate on Bradley lurching about like a crazed Frankenstein’s monster behind his keyboard, and the perpetually shoeless Jason in his spot stage-right, hoping that this would bring me some comfort and familiarity, but it wasn’t the same now that they were flanking some other guy at center stage.  I kept turning around and making sad eyes at Henry, who shrugged and gave me sympathetic smiles.

And the crowd! Smallest crowd of any Chiodos show I have ever been to. Scene girls were ominously scant at this Owens-less Chiodos show. Although I did see one that looked like Snookie.

And then they would play old songs, like “Baby, You Wouldn’t Last a Minute On the Creek,” and my chest hurt like it was being wrenched open by screamo dwarves and flooded with the memories of the last six years. Memories of being pregnant and listening to “Baby…”,  of the first time I saw Chiodos with Christina at Taste of Chaos, of Chiodos asking Chooch to be their mascot in Columbus. Warped Tour. Mr. Small’s. The Basement. Club Zoo. So many memories they’ve turkey-basted into my heart over these last short six years.

I didn’t want Brandon singing those songs. I didn’t want to hear him sing the words on my arm, words that aren’t his.

It was like walking in on your mom having sex with her ceramics instructor. You can’t undo it, you can’t unsee it, you can’t unHEAR it, and you know nothing will ever be the same again. But you’re torn, because part of you likes the ceramic instructor. She helped you make that shitty jack o’lantern when you were in fifth grade, after all.

Shitty jack o’lantern be damned, it filled me with aggression, this intense desire to start a fight. I set my sights on the fat screamer from the shitty local band that opened the show, but Henry kept giving me chastising head shakes.

“But I hate that fucker!” I yelled.

“Stop,” Henry kept calmly saying, until eventually, I did. Mostly because I was afraid he wouldn’t buy me a hoodie after the show if I kept acting out. And also because that screamer-fuck could have potentially killed me with one swift plow-drive.

I’ll be fair, Brandon did kill it up there with Chiodos. He’s got a fierce, solid voice and was just on. I’ll continue to support them, I still love every track on Illuminaudio, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to feel like a cavity being drilled every time he sings one of Craig’s songs.

It was pouring down rain when we left the Rex that night, and I inadvertently stepped in a shin-deep puddle, which seemed eerily apropos.


For the next week and a half, I experienced a post-show depression worse even than what past Warped Tours have inflicted upon me. I felt somewhat traumatized, like an orphan being taunted with the promise of adoption only to have her face coated with laugh-induced spittle. “We shouldn’t have gone,” I said over and over to Henry. “We just shouldn’t have gone at all.” I moped around listlessly for days, sliming everything I touched with my malaise.

I’ve had since September 24th, 2009 to prepare myself for this. But I guess it wasn’t enough time.

Jan 262011

HPIM0254, originally uploaded by appledale.

It was Christmas 2007 and Henry, as usual, had presented me with a big box of gift-giving FAIL. All I wanted that year was a Chiodos hoodie which was apparently way too hard for Henry to procure.

So I snagged one of his lame Everfresh Juice work hoodies and made my own fucking Chiodos hoodie. You can tell I was really pleased with it, too.

Oh memories.