Hawthorne Heights: Can't Sit Still!
Katelin Healy
12/11/2006 10:13:46 PM

"We won't bite!"

Walking up the steps of the black bus that was home on the road to Hawthorne Heights, I heard guys laughing. A floaty happiness began to ease my nerves… this was after all Hawthorne Heights, the band that scored a consistent top forty and lower on U.S. Rock charts with singles like “Niki FM,” “Saying Sorry,” and “Ohio is for Lovers.” Their last album, If Only You Were Lonely, struck Gold in sales and reached the coveted #3 slot on the Billboard 200, which in the music business, is quite the resumé.

Hawthorne Heights wasn’t headlining their own tour just because a couple of catchy lyrics happened to mesh with some chords. No, this was legit: proven musicianship, great showmanship, and a loyal and growing fanbase.

The atmosphere of the tour bus was welcoming and without pressure as they crowded around a table, watching a DVD of a live Nirvana concert and joking around. J.T. Woodruff, lead singer, and drummer Eron Bucciarelli settled into a side couch for the interview.

“We won’t bite!” JT said, making a teasing “rawwr” noise.

Or will they? The music certainly does.

Hawthorne Heights is a particular breed of band. In the limbo before their third record begins the long road to Best Buy CD racks, the members of Hawthorne Heights are focused, but ready for a new level of creativity and also respect in their business of entertainment. Willing and polite, Eron and J.T. shared everything from favorite video games to what transforms random writings into the next Hawthorne hit.

NT: Since you guys are on the Nintendo tour with The Sleeping, Emery, Plain White T’s and Relient K, what are some of your favorite video games?

JT: (with a flare of drama) My current favorite is Donkey Kong vs. Mario 2, Attack of the Minis…I’m more of an old school gamer. I really just like regular Mario games.

NT: You’re based out of Ohio but did you know each other before you started playing seriously together?

JT: No, we were in bands around our local scene in Dayton, Ohio and we just kinda met up and got together.

Eron: Matt and Casey had known each other, I guess they went to a high school across town, JT knew Micah and they started playing, the drummer they were playing with at the time quit and I joined. Our bass player at the time knew Casey and when that bass player quit Casey joined.

N.T.: You have two albums out now, but are you just going to finish up the tour and take a break or start recording again?

Eron: We’re working on a new album right now, we have a studio in the back (he motions to the back of the bus). We’ve got about four or five songs written for the new album and we will hopefully record early next year.

NT: Do you ever get tired of just playing the hits or do you have favorite songs on your albums?

JT: I don’t really think it matters to us, we write the songs we are happy playing anything anybody wants to hear. We all have favorites and we know that everybody has different favorites so we try to play as many as we can.

NT: How exactly does your writing process go?

JT: Well I write all the lyrics so I’ll just write them sporadically here and there, but then we all come up with musical parts and then turn them into songs, piecing them together with the lyrics and we just keep adding.

NT: Are you ready to go home for the holidays? How is it touring with so many other bands? Are you fans of them?

JT: I think we are all good friends, each band has a mutual respect for one another and at the end of tour everybody is ready to go home, obviously. I mean, it’s six to seven weeks with the same people

Eron: We really like all their music so it that’s why we asked them to come out.

NT: What are some bands from back in the day that inspired you to become involved in music? And when did you realize you wanted to play in a band?

Eron: I definitely, from the moment I picked up the drumsticks knew I wanted to be in a band, back in the day I was really inspired by bands like Nirvana, Led Zeppelin and I listened to a lot of hardcore but those are the two bands that really got me into music.

JT: I still like bands like Green Day who kinda got me into this style of music a long time ago, I listen to older bands like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin stuff like that. I didn’t start playing guitar till a little bit later, I didn’t really even care about being in a band, its my favorite thing to do but I started doing it a lot later than everybody else.

NT: So when did u start playing? When did you pick up your drumsticks…and your guitar?

Eron: I was thirteen.

JT: Nineteen.

NT: What do you guys want for Christmas?

JT: We are in this weird position where we just tour and we can get what we want if we need something. We will get it if we go shopping, we are really easy to please. All we really want is a little time off to visit our friends and family.

Eron: We want our lawsuit to be over for Christmas. [They both laugh knowingly about the current situation and lawsuit with label, Victory Records. In Early 2006 Victory Records sent out statements asking fans to sabotage the sale of Ne-Yo Records by relocating handfuls of CDs in chain stores. These statements were sent to fans through the Hawthorne Heights MySpace page and fan mailing list. In addition to claiming that these statements were made without consent of the band, Hawthorne Heights has said that Victory made sure they didn’t see any money in royalties from their first two albums.]

NT: Oh you and Victory Records! Sorry about that!

JT: It’s just an ongoing process, we are just ready for it to be over, one way or the other.

NT: Do you write a certain message into your songs? Anything political?

JT: I’m not a very political person, I do care about issues and everything, I don’t really like to write that into songs because that kinda just typecasts you, you’re saying, ‘well, these are my views and I wanna force them down your throat.’ That’s just not really our style. But you know…I’m a democrat. (shrugs) I think it’s awesome for the people that have been doing stuff like that but it’s just not my thing lyrically. We’ve just never been… (laughs and looks at Eron) we don’t get into debates or anything…

NT: What would you do if not playing in a band?

Eron: I would still be working in the music industry on some level, that’s what I was planning on doing the band kinda took off, maybe something behind the scenes.

NT: So you didn’t go to high school together, did you like high school? Hate it?

JT: We were all just playing in local bands together and happened to have similar interests and it worked out, I loved high school.

Eron: I definitely hung out with a lot more people that went to neighboring high schools, I lived in a pretty preppy area and I was friends with all of them, the ‘Hey how ya doin’ kind of friends but I didn’t really care for high school.

NT: What was your last purchase? Last thing you bought from a store…

Eron: Mine was….my winter coat

JT: I bought a pair of Nikes, I really like Nike shoes.

NT: What’s the hardest thing about tour?

Eron: It’s tough being away from home, it wears on you physically a little bit…

JT: Always having to eat out, even if you’re eating at the absolute nicest healthiest place ever you’re still eating some kind of processed food.

Eron: You get sick a lot, especially living on a bus where the air is constantly being recycled, but…at the end it’s just fun playing live every night to new people who know the words and can appreciate something you helped create, it’s an amazing feeling.

JT: We’re all happy that this is what we get to do for a living. We get to have fun. You also have to think about it in two ways: when we’re out here we miss home, but when we are home sometimes we miss touring. We are happy that we get to do both.

Eron: Either way, we can’t sit still.

Taking a step back, it’s clear that being in a band isn’t all fun and games. Band members must be committed to a common goal, and yet honest about their individual needs to fulfill roles other than that of bass player, drummer, front man or lead guitar. When they pull this off, being artists, friends and decent people on top of rock stars, a good amount of perspective slaps a healthy guarantee on their future. As the boys-turned-men of Hawthorne Heights know, there is so much more than the stage. It’s about the music behind the glamour and strobe lights and the people that put you there, singing every line.


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