In 2009, I wrote a blog post that I had no idea would become the most-viewed thing I had written. It was called “Jonny Craig is a Piece of Shit.” Back then, I thought I was the only one who had shitty experiences with him in person. But it is consistently viewed to this day, do you know why? Because “why is Jonny Craig an asshole?” is a popular search term. Occasionally, someone will leave a comment on that post, too. Most of those comments are from ex-fans who want to share their own horror stories with me, but there are also the scathing ones from rabid supporters, telling me I’m pathetic, that he doesn’t owe me anything as a fan, and that I’m clearly butt-hurt.
Look. I’ve only been butt-hurt once in my entire life, and that was when I lost my footing on a pile of pumpkins at Trax Farm and wound up sitting on a stem. True fucking story for all of you pumpkin porn fanatics out there.
Anyway, the catalyst of that post was meeting him for the second time during the Dance Gavin Dance/Emarosa Squash the Beef tour. He was standing behind me at the bar in Mr. Small’s and literally all I wanted to do was tell him how much I enjoyed Emarosa and what an impact their music had on me emotionally, how it stimulated my creativity (back then, I had based some of my paintings off their lyrics), and how interwoven it had become with my life. I wasn’t trying to sit on his lap (let’s face it, I’m too fat, much ugly for him anyway) or make him sign shit. I wasn’t trying to pull him away from his alcohol for a photo session. I just wanted to say nice things to him for < 30 seconds, God forbid. It took every ounce of courage I could muster just to even say hello to him, after years of allowing his voice to be the personification of my dysfunctional friendship with my ex-BFF Christina.
But he just stood there and stared at me, making it clear that I was boring the shit out of him, so I mumbled, “Enjoy your stay in Pittsburgh” and walked away with my head down. It was humiliating and I know that he was making fun of me as soon as I walked away.
Because that’s what douchebags do.
When you put so much stock in a person like that, raising them up on some shaky pedestal, creating images of them in your mind, and then the reality of their personality shatters everything you had built up, it’s devastating. Maybe that sounds pathetic, but music has always been how I have coped with things. It enhances all of the good times and softens the bad. So now when the singer of a band that had made me feel so good has single-handedly made me feel AWFUL, well, it was a little emotionally traumatic.
It’s amazing how we deify these underserving people in the name of fandom.
He sounded like shit that night too. Drunk, stumbling, forgetting lyrics. It was my friend Alisha’s first time seeing Emarosa and her succinct review was: “They’re terrible!”
No, Jonny Craig is terrible.
I vowed to be done with him after that, and I was doing well until Emarosa released their next album in 2010 and I couldn’t resist. I still hated him. But I felt if I could separate my personal feelings for him from the music, I would be fine. Besides, wasn’t that what all of my detractors were telling me to do in certain harsh terms on my blog?
The problem is that as soon as I hear his dumb voice, I melt. It has nothing to do with him. I forget what a douchebag he is and all I can remember is how good it feels to be that into music. And it somehow kept me psychically connected to Christina, even when we were no longer speaking. It always goes back to that anyway.
Meanwhile, Henry was totally annoyed. He doesn’t get the whole “OMG JONNY CRAIG SINGS LIKE AN ANGEL!” argument, and it drove him nuts how I would turn into a 30-year-old fan girl at the mere mention of his stupid name. You know how I have pretty much based this entire blog on hassling Henry, right? I mean, unless this is your first time reading it. So if he hates Jonny Craig, then I am going to FUCKING BE OBSESSED with Jonny Craig.
My obsession can be broken down like this:
5% immaturity // 10% mental illness // 10% sincere love of his voice // 75% desire to drive Henry into an early grave.
(I triple-checked to make sure that added up, btw.)
And let’s face it: I thrive on being obnoxious.
I ran with it. Jonny Craig became my shtick. I made a Jonny Craig Christmas tree topper. I had my friend Maya make me a Jonny Craig doll. I hung up pictures of him around my office at work (if you go to the Law Firm and start questioning people on my floor who Jonny Craig is and they don’t know, then obviously I must never talk to that person, ever). This whole time, it was helping me cope with issues that Christina had left me with. I know, some people would just get therapy. But I’ll just sit over here and hug my Jonny Craig doll. Because projection is normal. Right?
The MacBook scam happened. The detox. The rehab. I was prepared for this to be the end of the Jonny Craig story, but then he started dating a girl who seemed to really change him, or at least, she was trying. And the crazy part was that she didn’t seem like a basic groupie. She seemed pretty intelligent, which one might argue about since she got involved with JC in the first place, but love is blind, you guys. I’m with Henry, aren’t I? Of course, I had to keep up my Crazy Jonny Craig Fangirl Persona and act like a nutcase when they got engaged (I think I might have even referred to her as Jonny’s penis-cozy in one of my faux-fits, what the fuck is wrong with me), but really–I hoped that she would save him.
Because as much of a loose cannon as he is, he really is a bright spot in a scene overflowing with generic, formulaic background noise.
All of these things I was willing to overlook because the music meant that much to me. I was so excited when Henry reluctantly agreed to drive five hours to Allentown last weekend so that I could see Jonny’s new band, Slaves. But then when I was going through his twitter feed to get screen shots of the nasty things he was saying about Emarosa (I wanted to have those as visual aids for my Emarosa blog post; can you stand how thorough I am?), I ended up seeing some terrible things.
Really awful things.
Jonny and his fiancée are currently going through a messy breakup, and he had a tweet that said if he saw her being raped, he wouldn’t stop to help.
He had another tweet saying that he never beat her when they were together but now he wishes he had. He deleted the original tweet but his retweet of this smart girl’s response still existed on Twitter:
This asshole seriously needs to have someone monitoring his social media accounts. Like, I don’t know, maybe his MOTHER?
“Really fucking nice guy, Erin,” Henry spat when I showed him.
(Even worse is that these asinine girls were tweeting things like, “Jonny Craig could have his hands around my neck and I would still love him.” Which of course he was retweeting because these are the things that make King Shit’s ego swell. Keep encouraging him, girls. Make your mamas proud.)
At this point, it was too late. We had already bought the tickets. Rented the car. Booked the hotel room. Whether we went to this show in Allentown or not, I had already inadvertently supported a misogynistic douchepig and it made me sick to my stomach. So sick that I had a mild panic attack standing outside of the venue that night and we almost didn’t go in. Henry had to take me back to the car so I could calm down.
Look, I don’t know his ex-fiancée, but as a woman, I can’t stand for shit like that and I will automatically have her back. This is the reason men run the fucking world, because they say shit like this and no one does anything. They’ll have tons of men cheering them on in between disgusting chugs of beer, wiping Hooters wing sauce off their lips with their unwashed football jerseys of rapist athletes.
There could be actual video footage of Jonny Craig beating a woman, and he will still have fans. I mean, Chris Brown still gets played on the radio, doesn’t he?
“I just feel like if I see him, I’m going to fucking punch him!” I kept saying over and over. I was so disgusted. I kind of wished that I had worn my Emarosa t-shirt, like I had joked about last week. I brought it with me and at the last minute, Henry agreed it was a bad idea because it wouldn’t be Jonny who noticed, it would be his legion of scantily-clad side broad hopefuls and I wasn’t trying to get clawed at by their nasty acrylics. Talk about a petri dish of I Don’t Wanna Know.
We went inside. I scowled at all of the meatheads in their Jonny Craig is My Homeboy shirts. I cringed at all the girls wearing barely nothing, knowing exactly why they left 89% of their clothes at home. I suddenly felt so protective of all these little girls.
Slaves took the stage and as expected, the crowd went nuts for Jonny. But for the first time ever, I felt nothing. I just stood there with my arms crossed, refusing to clap, refusing to do a single thing Jonny demanded. And then he dedicated the last song to his ex, Amanda. “Til death do us part, bitch!” he spat and everyone was like “Yay!” because that’s cool, right?
I looked at Henry and my eyes started to well up. I felt like such a traitor to women everywhere just by being there.
“I can’t do this anymore,” I said to Henry afterward. “I can’t keep supporting this asshole.” And I think that was the happiest I have ever seen Henry in the thirteen years we’ve been together.
Meanwhile, King Shit was standing a few feet away from us, going through the motions of showing his fans what a “changed person” he is by posing for pictures with them. Two moms (like, I know I’m a mom, but these were MOMS wearing mom jeans with their mom purses slung across their mom boobs) ran over to him, took his picture, and then ran back giggling to show their respective daughters, who didn’t look more than 15-years-old. The daughters predictably squealed and were dragged back over to him by their moms.
“I guess these old broads don’t know he loves demoralizing under-aged scene girls,” I yelled to Henry. Oh, it was sickening to watch. And then afterward, I saw someone’s picture with him on Instagram and the caption said something about how Jonny was rushing everyone along because there was “quite a horde” of fans waiting. I didn’t know “roughly fifteen people” constituted a “horde,” but OK.
I’m not going to lie: I’ve always looked at fans of Ronnie Radke and wondered, “How could these kids love a guy who is such an asshole?” And duh, hello. Look at me. Blindly supporting a dreg of society since 2008.
More than anything, I feel like I owe it to my 8-year-old son to wash my hands of this guy. What kind of an example would I be setting for him if not? He already knows the guy is a drug addict (but the piss test! it was clean! blah blah!) and just a flat out mean person, but I definitely don’t want him to think that it’s OK to make those kinds of violent comments about women, publicly no less, and still have girls falling over you. “Hey, this guy acts like a douchebag and my mom loves him, so…..”
So maybe, if you’re a Jonny Craig avenger reading this, some girl with low self-esteem anxiously awaiting your chance with him, some bro who thinks it’s cool to treat people like dirt, then you might think this is a lame reason to throw in the towel. And that’s fine. Because one person writing a blog post like this is not in any way going to hurt his career, don’t worry JC afficionados. But I have too much respect for myself and at the end of the day, it’s all about girl power. I won’t stand for comments glorifying domestic violence, whether they were empty threats or not—-doesn’t matter. This guy clearly needs help, and I wish his new bandmembers luck with all of the future statements they’re going to need to release, swearing that their singer “has changed” and “is clean.” Seriously, good luck with that, and I hope he doesn’t destroy your careers.
I think I’m going to tell my kid, when in doubt, to ask himself “What would Jonny Craig do?” And then do the opposite.