Mar 012011

Imagine finding out two of your favorite bands are going on tour together. You run around the house screaming for a little bit, and then you buy tickets and feel really good about that for the rest of the day. Then you look forward to that night for weeks. No need to even put it in your calendar – that date is seared into your brain.

Imagine waking up the morning of the show, letting consciousness fully immerse you, and then realizing that the show is tonight. Your heart does that roller-coaster flip-flop and you kind of can’t stop smiling. You realize you’re feeling a little under the weather, your throat hurts and it’s the kind of day you’d spend laying on the couch, but no way are you missing motherfucking Chiodos and Emarosa. No fucking way.

Now, imagine being en route to the show. You’re maybe a mile into the drive when you start scrolling through Twitter (don’t worry – you’re the passenger). You’re flicking through the timeline at warped speed, mostly out of habit, mostly because it’s the same old shit. But then your eyes latch on to four simple words and no way, no how can they un-see what they just saw. It’s instant scarification to the retinas, worse than the Tazmanian Devil tattoo on your mom’s tit.

Jonny goes to Rehab.

Four simple words, but you know. You know with every fibre in your being that this is referencing Jonny Craig, the singer of Emarosa. So you click the link that the Absolute Punk twitter account provided, and sure enough, you quickly learn that that motherfucker has been shipped off, not exactly to rehab, but to detox. But then you think, “Maybe this is a joke. Maybe this is Jonny fucking with everyone.

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Maybe they got it all wrong.” But then you continue to read and see that the source is the reputable Alternative Press, and even though you’re reading this out loud to your boyfriend and laughing, there is bitterness entwined with it and your heart has been left crushed, festering and pecked by crows on the road a half mile behind you.

Part of you is glad you learned this ahead of time, that your anticipation of seeing one of your favorite singers is snuffed out now, in the car; you’ll have time to get over it, to sort through your emotions, to make sense of it. Except that even though he is your favorite singer, you hate his guts, so you spend all night ranting and punching your boyfriend in the stomach because you are so angry that he’s just another talented scumbag who cares more about the fucking high than his career, his band or his fans. So angry are you that you can’t stop shaking and yelling, “OH MY GOD I HATE HIM SO BAD!” and then doing that cold laughter thing that scares your boyfriend because he just knows that one day that laugh will be accompanied by the brandishing of a bloodied machete. And you realize you’re being selfish, that you should be happy he’s getting help, but you paid money to hear his fucking honey-dunked voice, because that’s YOUR crack. And imagine that you’re a parent now, and you work an evening shift, so the opportunities to go to shows have become few and far between, but when one arises you snatch it out of the air and hug it close to your chest. You have a right to be selfish. Because you know he’s not sorry. You check his twitter and see that all he’s doing is complaining that it’s cold in California, not apologizing to his band for being a fuck-up and leaving them in the lurch, or telling his fans that he’s sorry for letting them down. His latest shenanigans are one giant shit that he stood up to admire before flushing. And everyone he hurt in the process is the toilet bowl.

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And then you realize that there might not be a “next time.” This notion is a detonator for your ire and you kick the wall. You’re pissed because this is typical Jonny Craig. Unreliable, inconsistent, a loose cannon. And perhaps that’s part of his appeal. You follow his career because he’s a sideshow, a trainwreck. You love to hate him.

But you love to love his music.

Imagine a few weeks ago, reading some fan’s account of buying a Macbook from Jonny and then never receiving it. And then seeing more scorned fans coming out of the woodwork in droves, saying that they too were scammed, most to the tune of $800. You don’t really believe this, even though Jonny is a ginger douchebag who you sometimes dream of punching in his circus peanut dick, he’s not that stupid to scam his fans on TWITTER, right?

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Well, apparently this was all true and the final straw for his record label, who shipped him off to California over the weekend to enter a detox facility and is now reimbursing everyone he robbed. He didn’t do this on his own accord – he was forced to get clean. So he’ll be in the place for as long as it takes to get the heroin and crack (awesome) cleaned out of his system and then he’ll be released into a world where he doesn’t know how to function, so he’ll find new ways to score the hard shit and the cycle will start all over again, because he doesn’t want to get clean, his record label wants him to get clean. And then you know what? You start to think about worst case scenarios. You think about this dumb fuck with the golden voice throwing it all away, holing up in some crack house, pulling out his teeth and fucking dying. And then you start to cry, even though you hate him, because all he is at this point is another example of wasted talent. That’s when you realize that the anger spewing from your pores is just a flimsy mask for what you’re really feeling: heartbreak.

In spite of the maelstrom of emotions chewing an ulcer into your gut, you go to this show, and when Emarosa takes the stage with a fill-in singer (Tilian Pearson, formerly of Tides of Man), you respect that they’re still there, and you ignore the proverbial egg on their faces because they don’t deserve this. And you applaud for them harder than you ever have before.

Please get your shit together, Jonny.

Oct 212009

When I met The Cure’s Robert Smith nine years ago in Canberra, Australia, the experience was so great, so life-changing, that I still to this day have not been able to write about it.

When I met Emarosa’s Jonny Craig last Wednesday night at Mr. Small’s, the experience was shitty and slightly crushing, and because of that, it’s about to be written.

I first met him a year ago in Buffalo when I was there for the Pierce the Veil tour. He was disingenuous, monotone, and seemed to be bothered that Christina and I had the audacity to bug him while he was idling behind the merch booth. This was after he had urged his (twenty) fans to come see him after the set. I had heard stories that he was a dick but thought, “Yeah, but I’m an adult. It should be different.” It wasn’t different. Maybe the fact that I’m older even made it worse, who knows. Christina tried to Novacaine the situation by pointing out that he seemed to be high, that maybe we just caught him on an off night.

So last week, when I saw him and Will from Dance Gavin Dance enter the bar area during Of Machine’s set, I decided to test Christina’s theory. I waited for Of Machine (who killed it, as did Of Mice and Men) to finish up before approaching Jonny, who was sitting at the bar mere feet away from me. We made eye contact as I rose, but by the time I took the TWO STEPS over to him, he had suddenly become extremely interested in his phone, like the fucking White House had just Tweeted him.

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 As I said hello, he and Will conversed solely with their eyes while I stood in front of them frozen for what seemed to be hours and I suddenly understood the  term “pregnant pause” because I felt that in that time I could have easily got fucked and carried a bastard-child to term, and let me tell you I’d rather go through all the nausea and the hip-spreading and the nine-month sobriety than have to ever be snubbed by some golden boy of the scene. Knowing without a doubt that this wasn’t going to end well, I said hello again and something fucking cliche about being excited for Emarosa’s set and somewhere during this awkward verbal spewage, he gave me the limpest handshake, loosely gripping nothing past my fingertips, and I wanted to say something like, “You know, this is how the Amish fuck” but he wouldn’t even look me in the eyes and at that point, I thought, Well shit, I’m not going to exalt this pompous motherfucker, so I muttered something like, “Enjoy Pittsburgh” or some other Board of Tourism staple and sulked back to my stool. It couldn’t have been more clear that he wanted nothing to do with me at that moment, ever, and made no attempt to even pretend like he gave a shit about anything some lowly life form such as myself had to say.

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I’m not some giddy, hyperventilating pizza-faced 15-year-old girl with braces trying to fuck him. I’m a thirty-year-old woman trying to show this piece of shit some respect, and he should be doing the same. I wasn’t looking for an extended tour of Emarosa’s van, for him to halt his entire universe  in order to show me his appreciation by giving me head against a dumpster in an alley; I wasn’t even expecting to take more than a minute of his time.

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All I expected was for him to hear what I had to say and at least pretend like it meant something to him, so that I didn’t have to walk away feeling like a blown-off asshole.

When I sat back down, Alisha – who had been within earshot –  said something to the effect of, “Are you fucking kidding me?” I just shrugged and said, “I don’t have time to care. The fucking Penguins are playing tonight.”

Jonny proceeded to sit at the bar (not talking to fans) during the next two bands (Tides of Man and Of Mice and Men), not stepping away from his booze until god forbid his band was ready to go on.

And god bless his band members – they’re really fucking energenic and passionate musicians. But Jonny ruined the set. His voice was off. He was showboating. He was wasted. He had the nerve to rant about respect. It was Alisha’s first time seeing them and I felt bad, because my exchange with him had tampered with the way she viewed him.  And who does he think he is anyway, motherfucking Bono? If there were 100 kids in front of that stage during his set, I’d have been surprised. He should consider himself lucky he got THAT many people to care.

In some cases, I could brush it off. Band members are humans too and they can’t be expected to make time for every single fan; I know this. But it wasn’t like there was a throng of maniacal fans shoving CD inserts in his face and hanging off his shoulders for photos. Because Jonny’s music, his voice, has had an impact on me, it really was a let down. It sucks to know that I’ve spent hours listening to old Dance Gavin Dance (he was the original singer before they kicked him out and Emarosa took him in), letting his voice (which has always been like hot tea in a cavity to me) super glue the synapses in my head when I felt like I was at the end of my rope and I can’t tell him that because a) he wouldn’t care, b) he doesn’t even deserve to know at this point.

I watched him after he left the stage, watched him bypass all the kids on the floor and come straight back to the bar. I won’t lie, Emarosa is a young band with young fans. There were very few of us in the bar area. He should have been out at his merch table, where his fans – the kids – could have talked to him. If he wanted to get wasted at Mr. Small’s without having to “deal” with fans, then he should have brought a bottle of fucking Patron with him and drank himself into a stupor backstage, far away from the feelings of the people who have spent money on t-shirts and albums and shows, where he could send out a hundred misspelled Tweets in private begging for his fans coming to the shows to bring him packs of white Fruit of the Loom t-shirts, size small. Yes, this is what he tweets about and you know what? I’m not your fucking mother, get your own fucking mommy to buy you t-shirts, you  supercilious  beady-eyed fuck stick. Seriously, I have never seen eyes so small and close-set, except on a fucking mole. In fact, he should take the stage by popping out of a mound of goddamn soil, that fucking ginger Napoleon. Who the fuck does he think he is? He hasn’t been in the scene long enough to be able to get away with acting this exultant (shit, he isn’t even HOT enough to pull that off), but even then, there are guys like Craig Owens and Anthony Green who command respect yet are so gracious and appreciative of their fans, because they get it. THAT IS HOW THEY GOT TO WHERE THEY ARE. Oh, and also the fact that their lyrics aren’t vapid exercises in mediocrity.

Clearly Jonny Craig has a circus peanut dick.

Dance Gavin Dance was fierce as shit, though.