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!)