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Catching Up with Eron Bucciarelli

18 September 2016

Have you ever wanted to “get signed” to a record label? Is your band actively trying to get airplay on the radio or to join the summer festival circuit? Do you dream about selling millions of records to screaming throngs of teenage girls? Well if so, I feel it’s my responsibility to offer you a word a caution via this interview. The reality of “getting signed” is widely understood and the facts are suppressed in obscure legalese and non-disclosure agreements.

A friend of mine from back home named Eron Bucciarelli wanted his band to get signed. He wanted it badly and he worked for it too. Eventually his band did get signed and all of those stupendous things that come with getting signed came to him. But he paid a hell of a price to get there, and that’s what part of this interview is all about.

Before Eron moved to Ohio and played drums in Hawthorne Heights, he was just a hardcore kid from New Jersey. I met him in the mid 90s in Princeton New Jersey and we became friends pretty quickly. I knew him by his nickname, which was Booch, and that’s still what I call him today, so that’s what I’m going to call him during this interview. You probably can’t call him that, but I can because we’re tight bros from way back when.

Some of you may be scratching your heads as to why am I interviewing an emo band but I assure you that the lessons of this story transcend emo and DIY and rock music itself. If you make music, you might one day find yourself in a similar bind. Who knows, maybe this interview will help you better understand the mechanics of the music industry and how it can crush the hopes and dreams of the very people who often worship it.

I hadn’t seen Booch or talked to him since like 1999, but that doesn’t change our friendship, it doesn’t have any bearing on anything in the past. I just turned 40 years old this year – I’m wrapped up in family life and work responsibilities and I have little free time for much of anything. Unfortunately, that is the current state of too many of my friendships. Most of us have family and work obligations that take precedence over record collecting and shows. Old friends fall out of communication too, it happens. We might catch up via email or Facebook but we’re not teenagers anymore, so we don’t see each other at school or at work, we don’t have time to stand around in sweaty clubs for hours on end on a Wednesday night. Life goes on. And that’s the way it should be. When Booch and I sat down for this interview, it was like we were picking up exactly where we left off in the 1990s.

I had heard a thing or two about Booch’s band over the years, but to be honest this show was the first time I’d ever seen or heard Hawthorne Heights. I kinda willingly ignored the third wave of emo that took place between 2000 and 2004. Thankfully I was too old for the Makeout Club dot com, those awful Spock haircuts, the white belts and the taking back of all of those Sundays. My experience with emo ends with bands like Mineral and Saetia. I didn’t know much of anything about Hawthorne Heights other than the fact that they were on Victory Records and that kids loved them. I was happy for Booch because he’s a solid dude, he paid his dues and he was making a living doing something that he loved.

Morrissey says psychology plays tricks on our minds, especially when it comes to fame and fortune. He famously quipped that “we hate it when our friends become successful”, and there is definitely some element of truth to that statement, however witty and sage-like it may seem on first glance. Several of my friends “got signed” in the late 1990s, although none would be recognized if they walked down the street, but some are still cashing those royalty checks nonetheless.

Around 1998 or 1999 it dawned on me that some of the people around me were in semi-successful bands or were being courted by indie labels. It’s a strange feeling, especially when you’re young. But in all fairness, I loved it when my friends became successful (at least 85% of them) because I genuinely thought they deserved the accolades they were getting. On a personal level it was weird to watch this happen. “Getting signed” changed some of them in drastic ways: some for the better and some for the worse.

Booch and I are both from central New Jersey, which is beautiful but it’s basically an unromantic, cultural dead zone. I love New Jersey, but a lot of the people who live in central New Jersey honestly believe that entertainment has to come from New York City or Philadelphia to be meaningful or relevant to their lives. Most of them ignore the art and music happening in their own zip codes, because, well, they are conditioned to do so. The media tells them that their art is formless and because of their relative proximity to the Philly and NYC region, they surrender to the pre-existing arts of the big city, which by the way, they are shunned from taking part in because of their bridge and tunnel status. Let’s not even get started with that essay. Because when Eron and I were teenagers, we didn’t buy that big-city-art-is-the-only-art theory. At all.

We were interested in making our own ideas heard, and it just so happened that we knew some of the same people and we were both drummers. So that’s how we met. Eron and I hung out in Princeton, which attracted tons of angry young kids during the mid 1990s. On any given night you could walk down Nassau Street and run into ten to fifty punks. We booked our own shows at an all ages venue called the Princeton Arts Council. We had a diverse group of bands playing all kinds of music, many with competing philosophies. But that never got in the way of the larger goal.

The kids that hung out in Princeton at that time came from as far away as White House Station (which is in Hunterdon County) and from as far south as Bordentown. That’s an hour ride by car or train; just to sit on a bench or see some crappy local bands play cover songs. Every kid knew every other kid. It didn’t matter if you were female, male, straight edge or stoned or actively taking opiates. Didn’t matter if you were young or old, rich or poor. Sure, there were cliques. But at the end of the day, we all looked out for each other.

I’ve never experienced any other scene like that ever and probably never will again. Some of that can be attributed to our age. When lots of kids come up together like that, they do tend to pool their resources and their energy together. We were lucky enough that we had a place were we could do that. Princeton and the Princeton Arts Council was our home away from home. We were lucky to have places that allowed our terrible bands to play loud, that put up with our loitering and let us sit at the bar all night drinking coffee without ordering any food.

Princeton, if you’ve never been there, is a liberal, progressive city in central New Jersey that is home to a world-renowned Ivy League school. It is also home to a great college radio station (WPRB) and a world-class record store, The Princeton Record Exchange. It’s a walking city, easily accessible by bus and train. The university owns the east side of Nassau Street, but the west side resembles something of a mash up of Newark with San Francisco. At that time, there were no venues for punk rock or hardcore anywhere near us, with the notable exception of City Gardens in Trenton. But even that had limitations.

City Gardens did not book younger bands (even as openers) and the amount of shows they booked came to a crawl in 1994. City Gardens ended with a whimper, but maybe it was for the better. Besides, most of the kids who wanted to go to shows were absolutely terrified of Calhoun Street. Rightfully so. It was a dangerous place and the rent was cheap, which was perfect for fledgling punk in the 1980s, but became a serious liability in the 1990s. When I first started going to shows, City Gardens was an exciting place; near the end it became utterly ridiculous. Instead of telling stories about the bands we saw there, we spent our time discussing who got beat up, who got their car broke into in the parking lot, who had two black eyes, who got tossed in the dirt by a bouncer. It was time to move on, and almost everyone embraced this sad truth.

In the fallout of City Gardens shutting its doors, somehow Princeton absorbed us. I can’t even remember how this happened, but Nassau Street became the designated meet up zone for the younger generation of skinheads, punks, straight edge kids as well as every kind of weirdo and foreign national you could imagine. We congregated in any public place until the police would chase us away. We would eat, sleep and talk all night in those public places. And when we got chased out, we would walk over to the university, the graveyard or the battlefield (cite of George Washington’s famous Revolutionary War battle) and set up shop. There was so many of us that the police could not contain us. We would take over Palmer Square like animals. It was awesome. Princeton was a real melting pot, as opposed to the safe, organized melting pots shown on television and in movies where every race is statically represented and every person is thoughtfully kind and politically correct. At our best, we were united and respectful of each other’s collective differences. At our worst we were catastrophically ignorant and naïve of those differences.

In 1993, Princeton had two things happening musically. First on that list is the band The Spin Doctors. One or two of them graduated from Princeton High School. The school even mounted a plaque in their main hallway that praised their landmark, “Pocketful of Kryptonite” record. This was an embarrassing fact in 1993; I can’t even imagine how embarrassing it is for the kids who are attending the school now.

Secondly, they had John Popper from Blues Traveler. He lived in an apartment above a boutique on Nassau Street and would occasionally appear. Usually it was late at night, but he was spotted many times walking down Nassau Street. I’m name-dropping all of these third wave hippies for a reason – to explain that the scene in Princeton literally rose out of nothing. There was no precedence for punk or DIY or hardcore (hell, even rock music in general) in Princeton happening until the kids made it happen.

Booch was one of those kids. Booch was pretty active in terms of setting up shows and playing in bands. I had been to his house once or twice. He lived in a modest house in Princeton proper, I remember meeting his mom once and she was super nice. Booch played drums, he was one of six punk drummers in western New Jersey. Believe me, we counted them. He was better than most, quick with the snare rolls and heavy on the floor tom.

I met up with Booch and his band Hawthorne Heights at the Hi-Dive in Denver Colorado and spent the better part of my day with the band – just hanging around the club and talking. Later, I watched their 65-minute set in front of a tightly packed club before we went downstairs and wrapped up our interview.

I parked my car and walked over to the Hi-Dive. It was early. Like way too early. The doors weren’t open yet and so I waited outside. A bouncer stuck his head out of the door. He said that the band was walking around Broadway and that they would be back soon. The door guy was nice enough to let me into the venue early before anyone else. So I got a drink and chatted up the bouncer, turns out we knew some of the same people here in town. Later I walked over to the merch area for the touring bands and checked out the spread. Each band had one table set up with shirts, records, etc. and none of them were there manning the tables, so I had a good ten minutes to pick over everything. Soon enough, all of the bands made their way back to the venue, but Booch was noticeably absent from their group.

I started talking to the guys in his band (whom I had never met) and they all seemed like nice dudes. All three of them were energetic and enthusiastic about the show, despite the crushing summer heat. They explained to me that they had just returned from a Japanese tour and went into some pretty funny tour stories, none of which I taped unfortunately.

A few minutes later, Booch walked in with his bass player, Matt Ridenour. We went over to the bar and had some drinks. I looked at his Youth Of Today tattoo on his bicep as he took a shot of whiskey. We had a good laugh about that, one that was perhaps long overdue.

AJ – So tell me all about Hawthorne Heights. How is this tour going?

Eron – Good. Real good.

AJ – Good, glad to hear it. We’re gonna have to get into some war stories. But first – are you still keeping up with hardcore?

Eron – Yeah. It’s so funny how the real old school bands are making a comeback. Bands like Sick Of It All and Cro-Mags. I got to see the Cro-Mags when we were recording our fourth album. We were out in Los Angeles and they were playing at The Key Club.

AJ – Awesome.

Eron – Yeah it kinda was. Totally different kind of experience. Because I saw the Cro-Mags when Harley was fronting them, when they had that guy from the B-52’s playing drums. It wasn’t the same thing. But this was, you know. Mackie, Craig from Straight Ahead. It was great.

AJ – Definitely. So Booch, you’re a little famous now. That’s kinda weird, but it’s a good weird.

Booch – I’ve traveled the world with Hawthorne Heights. So it’s pretty great yeah. I feel like you kinda run into little pockets of creativity and we had that in Princeton. If you look at not just our circle of friends that we grew up with, but other people that came from around Princeton, how many other successful bands or successful actors. You have Blues Traveler, you have Phish (ed note: only one of their guitar players, the one who quit in like 1986), Spin Doctors, John Lithgow went to Princeton High School. It’s a fertile area for people creating things. And lots of other people too, and they seemed to reach higher levels than anything that our group of friends achieved. So I don’t know if it’s just that environment, the way the people are raising them kids, if they’re pushing them to do more and more, particularly in the arts.

AJ – That’s true. And it could be a case of perfect timing, too. And we had the means to earn money for drum sets and put out records.

Booch – Exactly. I think where we were located geographically was the perfect place. It was a 30-minute train ride to Philadelphia and a 45 ride into New York City. And then you also had a great place in our own town – the Princeton Arts Council. Some of the best shows that I’ve ever been to were at the Arts Council.

AJ – Yeah, for 1996 and 1997, those two years – the Arts Council was the best thing going. There was that VFW Hall in Fieldsboro, they had some good shows around that time too. We had some interesting venues in the wake of City Gardens closing down. But yeah, the Arts Council is one of my favorite venues ever, I have very fond memories of that place. And the parking lot of course. Saw lots of weird things go down in that parking lot. The sound inside that place ruled, too. That giant wooden stage just like amplified everything. That place was undervalued. It brought a lot of young people out to see what was happening in their own backyard. Do kids still care about what’s happening in their own backyard?

Booch – Yeah. Now I think it’s a little easier for anyone to pick up an instrument and record themselves. As opposed to when we were teenagers. That’s sort of the downfall of technology and how easy it is become to record and release music. It’s come full circle. At first it sort of democratized the music industry and leveled the playing field. It totally took the wind out of the sails of the major labels. But now things are different.

A wild Bucciarelli appears on the cover of this Floorpunch record

AJ –Very true. Now, corporations are people and teenagers singing in their bedrooms are popular artists. Where does the old model of the celebrity fit into that?

Booch – Well, here’s my pet peeve. Literally every band has something out there for you to listen to on the internet. And that furthers the issue, it sort of makes people want to download music for free. And it makes people not appreciate music like they used to, because there’s so much of it. There’s so much music being created today that it’s unreal.

AJ – Agreed. The amount of bands out there is overwhelming. Now that you have your own label do you find yourself dealing with downloading or other music industry bullshit?

Booch – In a way. But I don’t think there’s anyway to contain Pandora’s box anymore. Once a song is out there, it’s free. My thing is – those people who just download music without paying for it – don’t be an asshole and download from torrents. I mean, who still downloads from Torrents? Now that we have services like Spotify, RDO or Pandora which is a little more selective than regular radio – so there’s all of these companies who offer more legitimate avenues for people to listen to music and to discover new music. And at the same time some of them offer a social element too, which some people like to tie in with, link things to their Facebook, etc. etc. So at the very least it’s helping to spread the word about the band. But then artists still aren’t seeing shit from those plays. But at the very least, yeah, they’re getting a promotion out of it.

AJ – Is promotion enough these days?

Booch – It can work for you. We did a promotion with Spotify before our last album came out and they gave us a shit ton of banner ads and front-page placement. And so it’s like why the hell not do that – that’s where everybody is so. And we’re not going to get a dime out of Spotify so we might as well get a bunch of banner ads out of them for free.

AJ – Makes sense. Can we talk about Victory Records? I want to hear this whole story. So wait, are you allowed to talk about Victory Records?

Booch – Sure.

AJ – It’s not a sore subject or anything, is it?

Booch – No.

AJ – I know it’s old news but still I want all the juicy details. How did you meet Tony Brummel and how did your band get involved with Victory? I kinda missed that whole thing and I’m not even sure that I understand the whole story.

Booch – We were together as a band called A Day In The Life. That’s how this whole thing started. We released a full length on an independent label from Eaton Ohio, which is right around Dayton. And then we did a self released EP after that. And we had a bunch of lineup changes, Finally we arrived at this lineup that felt right. Then, we decided to change the name because it didn’t really seem right to carry on with that name. I was the second-generation drummer, Micah was the second generation guitarist and Matt was the like fifth generation bass player. And we didn’t want to play songs that people had written before we were in the band, from the first album because most of us had no input in that. So we changed the name and around that time we decided to get real serious about what we were doing. We all had the ambition and goal of being in a professional, touring band. Everybody had been in bands before. You know, like, done what you and I had done. They started off in punk and hardcore bands. But yeah, we finally got to this point in the band where everybody in the band was serious about dropping everything else. Albeit, very naïvely when you look back on it. To just quit your job, quit school or whatever else you have going on to make that leap of faith to think, “I can do this.” I mean, we waited until we got signed to make that leap of faith but. But looking back, that was still incredibly risky given how many bands succeed versus fail.

AJ – But yeah, Victory is legit.

Booch – Victory is legit. So I sent out like 30 press kits to different indie labels that I could think of. I didn’t bother sending any to the major labels because we didn’t have legal representation at that time. So. They would have just discarded it. So we sent them out, got some interest from labels. The first communication I had with Victory Records was just sort a generic letter saying “Hey, we got your demo, thanks for submitting it, if you don’t hear from us, then sorry.” That kind of thing.

AJ – Hmm. OK.

Booch – So about a month went by and we didn’t hear anything. Then, I get the same letter in the mail again. Same exact letter. So I knew something wasn’t right. I mean, it was great that they sent another letter. It proved that they hadn’t forgotten about us. But I realized it was kinda weird. So I took a stab – I literally guessed what Tony Brummel’s email address was and I emailed him. I said something like, “Hey I got this letter twice. Either you guys are keeping the demo around because you like what you heard and you’re trying to make a decision. I let them know what we had been working since we mailed the demo. Either that or somebody fucked up in the mail room.

AJ – Right. That happens.

Booch – Tony wrote me back the next day while I was at work and was like, “Hey, we love it, we want you guys to come up and do a showcase for us next week.” So I was sitting at my job, at my desk, shaking, just thinking, “Holy shit.” We had heard rumors about bad dealings with Tony with some of the other bands like Hatebreed and Thursday at that time, but I don’t think it affected us. So we said to each other, OK, let’s fucking do this. So we drove up to Chicago, which is like a 5 or 6 hour drive. We played the showcase and it was one of the most nerve-racking things we ever did. They rented out a private rehearsal space with a stage and a PA. So it was us playing five songs in front of just the Victory staff. And they just kinda stood in the way back, behind the lights. You couldn’t really see them but you knew they were there. So it was a “Don’t fuck up, don’t fuck up, don’t fuck up” situation for us.

AJ – Yeah, they turned the pressure on.

Booch – Exactly. So we finished the set. Tony wrote us the next day and he said they decided already. He said it was a unanimous decision and that they all loved it. He said he wanted to get us into the studio. And about a month later we were in the studio recording in Chicago. During that month we had to write the other half of the album because we only had like five or six songs up until that point. So we wrote. That’s how we dealt with that month. And one of those songs was “Ohio Is For Lovers”, which is arguably one of our most popular songs. We just kind of threw it on there as track 8. We thought they signed us because they loved our song, “Silver Bullet” and kind of assumed that would be the first single.

AJ –And so Victory paid for your studio time and your mastering?

Booch – Yeah, they paid for our studio time, mastering, they did everything. And they were great about promotions. I think we wrote the right album for the right time period and then when you couple that with all the marketing dollars that he pumped into it, it became incredibly successful. I don’t think we could have timed it any better. That album came out a year before radio emo became really popular. Like with Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance and all of that stuff.

AJ – Thank god I’ve never heard any of those bands. I can only imagine the horror.

Booch – But yeah so it all blew up at the same moment.

AJ – I guess that is perfect timing. When was this?

Booch – June of 2004. So it was right before the dawn of radio emo.

AJ – Radio emo. Wow. I never want to hear that term ever again.

Booch – (laughs) Yeah. Well, we just rode the wave. And it was awesome.

AJ – I bet it was. Good for you, I would have done exactly the same. For as much shit as I’m giving you, being in a radio emo band was a far better career than I had in 2004.

Booch – We certainly had no complaints. Our issues with Victory were, in retrospect, kinda naïve. I mean Tony would tell us, “Hey you HAVE to take this band out on tour with you.” And you know, it was always another Victory band. We would always have a kind of immature, teenage response to those requests. We would automatically say no. We were constantly butting heads with business decisions. Decisions that we really had no idea about, no idea how they could effect us. We were kinda flying by the seat of our pants with those guys, I mean, we had no experience or justification to fall back on for our decisions. It was all just an immediate reaction to Tony saying, “You HAVE to do this.”

AJ – OK.

Booch – But he actually did know what was best in terms of marketing was concerned. We didn’t realize that at the time. I still have issues with his accounting practices, but I don’t want to get into that. On the other hand, he promoted the fuck out of us. We had more promotion out there than any other Victory band, and as a result, our tours and record sales were a lot better. While we didn’t necessarily get the paycheck that we felt we deserved directly from the label, we were out there earning that money.

AJ- OK. So then it was sorta fair.

Booch – I think as a business guy, Tony knows what the fuck he is doing. Without question. And he does a lot of things that bands want their labels to do. And a lot of labels, for one reason or another, don’t do that kind of stuff. Some of it is just common sense stuff…like making sure that the tour that your artist is out on – that they have posters hanging up in the venues that they’re playing and in the local record stores. Just like basic street team stuff that most labels, you would think that they do it but they absolutely don’t support their artists. That’s our experience with Victory in a nutshell.

AJ – So where does the Victory lawsuit come into play?

Booch – (laughs) Which one? There was several lawsuits back and forth between us. And then in addition to that, one of our managers tried to sue us as well.

AJ – At the same time as the Victory lawsuits?

Booch – During that era of lawsuits, yeah. It resulted in us filing for bankruptcy because we just exhausted all of our resources in legal fees. We had, at one point, half a million dollars in legal fees just for our lawyers. Which was just insane, we were getting nowhere. Every lawsuit is like a chess game. When you attack somebody, they’re going to attack you back. So there was the first lawsuit, then the countersuit and then breach of contract lawsuits and that kind of stuff. It became a huge mess.

AJ – I’m sure it was.

Booch – Nobody ever tells you, and our lawyer at the time didn’t tell us either, but nobody tells you the ins and outs of the legal system. He painted this rosy picture for us, basically, something to the effect of, “Alright, your band is going to file this lawsuit, it’s a no brainer, and there’s all these gray areas in your contract so the judges are immediately going to rule in your favor. We’ll file for a preliminary injunction, which basically means that if the judge agrees with your argument, you’ll win.”

AJ – Wow.

Booch – So we thought it was the deal of the century. We thought, OK great, we’ll win the lawsuit easily, then we’ll sign a multi-million dollar deal with a major label. At that time we had a couple major labels interested in us, like Virgin Records. We believed the lawyers. We thought it was going to be awesome. Then we did this tour sponsored by Nintendo. This was right before the first lawsuit. It was called the Nintendo Fusion tour. We figured, why not do this tour now. Suddenly we had Nintendo funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars into this tour so we didn’t need Victory Records support and promotion. Would it have made a difference? Probably. But we had enough money pouring in from Nintendo that we really didn’t have to worry about it. So the plan was to finish up the tour, then go directly into the studio to write and record our next album for the next label, whoever that might be. It was unknown at the time. But it didn’t turn out like that. The lawyers didn’t tell us that we were about to play this protracted chess game. And in the legal field, it’s easy to figure out the formula. It’s basically – he who has the time and money will wear their opponent down. And it doesn’t matter if you’re right in any position because there are so many different stall tactics and motions and filings that can happen that nobody ever tells you about. We were simply worn down. They wore us down to the point of surrender. And then, on top of that, our guitarist passed away while we were out on tour. It was too much for us to handle. So we had this confluence of all these different, huge issues just weighing on us.

AJ – I can imagine what that did to your band, but what did that do to each of you individually? Were you able to practice and communicate with each other during that time or were just overwhelmed by all of it?

Booch – We were pretty overwhelmed by it. We would get together to practice every once and while. To just distract ourselves. Because really, the only thing that lawyers couldn’t take away from us was our music. We couldn’t record anything, because we were tied up with the legal issues. If we did record anything at that time it would have been in contention with all the lawyers. So we just sort of hung out and wrote, worked on some new material.

AJ – So you waited it out, just like Black Flag did with Unicorn when they had their lawsuit.

Booch – Exactly. Sometimes we had practices that were productive. Other times we didn’t even pick up our instruments, we would just sit around talking or venting. Because it was a lot of shit to deal with for kids in their mid-20s.

AJ – Sure. The death of a band member is a big burden to carry around. Plus the lawsuits. Not only were you new to the game, trying to make the best of your situation with Victory but then you experienced money pressures at a time when you thought it would get easier for the band. I think it’s amazing that you guys survived that. Most bands probably would have walked away from a situation like that.

Booch – It was tough. I would be lying if I said we didn’t consider breaking up and just throwing in the towel and saying, “Fuck it.”

AJ – Were people pressuring you guys to break up? From Victory or from your legal team?

Booch – Hmm. I don’t remember if any of our attorneys actually said those words but it was definitely on our minds. It sounds cliché, but our fans really did support us during that time. We leaned on them. They pulled us through that situation.

AJ –Shit, that’s crazy man.

Booch – Yeah.

AJ – So all the lawsuits ended, you walked away from Victory Records with some mixed feelings. Did they still own the right for the records that you made for them?

Booch – Yeah.

AJ – And they’re keeping your back catalog active?

Booch – Yeah. We don’t have any problems with Victory now. It’s all been smoothed over. I’m sure Tony is still making money off of those records. I heard a song from our second album on that show Jersey Shore.

AJ – (laughs) Oh the irony. My favorite thing about that show is that none of those people are from New Jersey, but they have come to represent a kind of personality type that only exists there. How does that make you feel, when you’re trying to get your Munchos on and relax and then you hear a song you wrote come on television?

Booch – It’s cool. I’m OK with that. We’ve had some good placements of our songs too. We had a song from our fourth album, which we released through Wind Up Records, featured on the AMC show Comic Book Men. And we had another song from that record played during the Indianapolis 500. That was kind of weird, but yeah, it was nice.

AJ –So what kinds of things has your band done internally to get beyond all of this. Let’s get specific. Is all of this stuff ancient history now or?

Booch – Hard to say. In some ways it is ancient history. I think that every show, and every time we record it’s always in the back of our minds to a certain extent. What would have been the outcome if we had made different decisions, had we not sued our label or gotten rid of this booking agent. Things like that. We don’t ask ourselves those questions but they exist in our minds. We’ve made a bunch of questionable business decisions and those will always haunt us. We’ll never fully recover from that era, even if we should come into some kind of success again. You can’t go through experiences like that without it fundamentally changing your character.

AJ – Agreed. But hang on a minute, you said “success again” but you really shouldn’t say that. The kids who saw you when they were 13 years old, they’re not going to give up on you. Some of them are here tonight, only now they’re like drinking age. The wheel is still turning my friend.

Booch – Sure. I meant like, mainstream success.

AJ – I hear ya. Selling out the Hi-Dive is pretty good though. None of my bands have sold out the Hi-Dive or been on MTV.

Booch – I appreciate the success that we have. I really do. What is that big theater that is here in Denver?

AJ – There’s The Gothic, The Bluebird, The Fillmore.

Booch – That’s the one. The Fillmore. There’s a big difference between selling out The Fillmore to 5000 people to the 200 people that might be here tonight. That kind of thing. I’m aware of that. Those numbers.

AJ – I get it. How could you not be? To ignore that would be a catastrophic failure for both your business and for your creativity.

Booch – There’s always that “what if” lingering in the back of our minds. We touched a pretty high level of success at one point.

AJ – Wait a second though. If your band keeps going and you stay true to the path that you’re already on, things will be fine. You have your own record label, you’re still writing and recording your own records, you’re still out on the road touring, you have already forged the path to your own success. Think about a band like Bad Religion, who went through several lulls, namely the late 1990s and the mid 1980s.

Booch – Yeah, I think every band goes through those lulls. For us, it’s a just a matter of taking all of the lessons we have learned, both good and bad, and using that knowledge to move forward. And do things our own way, as we see them to be correct.

AJ – Absolutely. That is the most important thing you can do with the rest of the time that you’re going to invest in this band.

Booch – We have a lot of success still. We’re still very fortunate that we walked away from that era and that we can still get along and create and tour as a unit. This is how I make my living. This band IS my job. It’s been ten years strong.

AJ – But you’re putting in the work. That’s why things are still moving. The day you stop putting in the work, it’s over. You’re not being handed things, instead you and your band are fighting for them. Good for you.

Booch – That’s one of the biggest mistakes that bands make. Bands still continue to fall into that trap. They get signed to a label and think they don’t have to do anything. They think the ride is over and that the label is going to do everything for them. I can’t even tell you how many bands we’ve toured with that have been on indie labels, where at the end of the tour they’ll break up. Because they find out that it isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be.

AJ –Sure. Young musicians have a terrible time understanding what record labels even do. Their perceptions are so wrong that it’s almost funny.

Booch – A lot of them have these preconceived notions of getting signed, and they assume it’s all hookers and blow backstage.

AJ – Wait, are you suggesting that there are no hookers and there is no blow? This changes everything. Well here’s the thing. The people who think like that are idiots. There are here today and gone tomorrow most of the time. But you’re doing the right thing because you’re still committed to that path that you’ve created.

Booch – We’re trying.

Step Off demo tape, Eron played drums in this band in 1997

AJ –Let’s dish it out about Saves The Day. You and I could write a book about the early history of that band. Maybe we should.

Booch – (laughs) Actually I was thinking about them the other day. We were listening to one of their albums on the way driving down here from like Idaho or somewhere. But I’ll be the first to admit we have oddly parallel careers. Saves The Day took off out of the gate but then they went through their lull too. Now it feels like they are coming out of it, like there’s this weird nostalgia for that band, as I think that we’re getting a bit of that nostalgia too. Like you said, those 13 year olds are growing up.

AJ – Exactly. I mean, you kind of always have an affinity or at least an ear to the ground for those bands you liked when you were 13. No matter how old you are. When I hear that Ozzy Osbourne or Depeche Mode has a new record or video, I’ll check it out. Even though I’m so far removed from youth oriented music culture. I don’t follow them on Twitter or Facebook, I don’t listen to the radio or watch much television, but somehow I still find out when Megadeth puts out a new record. Kinda funny how that works. I think as Americans, we’re just hard wired to reminisce about our youth. We worship at the altar of the young, and so, our own experiences as a young person come to define who we are as a person.

Booch – Totally.

AJ – Your fans are finding nostalgia easily too, because a lot of the culture and music is still somewhat present and accessible. When we were teenagers in the 1990s, the 1980s were like forbidden territory. People would laugh at you in the 1990s if you admitted to liking Aztec Camera or if you wore clothes that actually fit. I’m not sure if those kind of culture gaps exist for young people anymore, thanks in part to our obsession with the goddamn shitty internet. Now music is omnipresent and everything exists in perpetuity, right along side each other.

Booch – Yeah, the music you listen to in high school becomes YOUR music. Chris Conley (singer of Saves The Day) has his own label and they’re doing their own thing as well.

AJ – Do you keep up with all those guys?

Booch – Not really, no. In fact I don’t think I’ve seen Chris since Bryan was in the band.

AJ –So yeah, that was a long time ago.

Booch – So yeah I haven’t seen many of them. Not since I moved away for college to Ohio.

AJ – Those guys really had a good thing going.

Booch – Yeah, it’s kinda weird that we haven’t seen each other. You would think that we would have crossed paths but we haven’t for one reason or another. It seems like the year when we did Warped Tour, they weren’t on the tour that year. Things just never lined up right. I can remember calling Chris on the phone, asking him for help to get us signed.

AJ – Really? What was his reaction to that?

Booch – This was right before we changed our name to Hawthorne Heights. They were still on Equal Vision when I made that request. Now, in retrospect, I think for a little while I was upset because he didn’t offer to help. I guess I felt like he owed to me, that kind of thing. Because we go way back. But now, I realize that he probably couldn’t do much of anything to help other than maybe giving me some pointers.

AJ – Well they had the money to propel themselves forward. That’s one part of it. And they got very lucky with timing and people. They got signed to Equal Vision because Sean McGrath from Hands Tied took them to a barbeque at Steve Reddy’s house. This was in summer 1997. So while they were filling up on veggie dogs and playing lawn darts with Ray Cappo, Steve kinda half jokingly asked if they would join the roster and they said yes without even discussing it. That’s the story that I heard from Justin anyway. We hung out shortly after that barbeque and he explained how things went down as well as how excited and frustrating it was to not have an active voice in the affairs of the band.

Booch – Interesting. I didn’t know that.

AJ – Why do you think bands like Hawthorne Heights and Saves The Day are still out there working and trying, when so many other bands have given up? What is the chemical difference between bands that stick it out and those who give up?

Booch – Maybe it’s just a matter of not wanting to get a real job. We don’t want to bite that bullet.

AJ – (laughs) I can respect that. So what would you be doing right now if you weren’t playing drums professionally?

Booch – I’m not sure but I’d be working in the music industry. Actually I have a patent pending. Something I’ve been working on and trying to develop.

AJ – No shit?

Booch – Yeah.

AJ – And you got married and you have kids right?

Booch – Yeah, I’m happily married and a have a daughter.

AJ – Awesome. Congrats man, that is great. I’m happy for you.

Booch – Thanks. I’m actually flying home to see them here in a few days. We have a few days off coming up. And then we’re going right to Japan.

AJ – Does your wife support this career path and how it takes you away from the house frequently?

Booch – She does. She is very supportive but it’s tougher now that we have a kid. But our daughter, she is getting older. She walks around the house and she can communicate, tell you what she wants now. That is great, but there is also that need for stability and income. Before we had her, my wife was absolutely supportive but now, things have changed. There’s a whole new dynamic to it.

AJ – That makes perfect sense. I can remember being at your house and meeting your mom and dad in the 1990s. They seemed really supportive of you even back then. What do they think about you playing in a band professionally?

Booch – My parents have always been super supportive of me and of my music. So yeah, we have no issues there. There was something that I read awhile back. I’m trying to remember where I read this but I can’t. But anyway, this thing said that the blue collar worker strives for their kid to have a college degree, and then the person with the college degree wants their kid to have a masters degree, you know, to become a doctor or a lawyer and then the lawyers child wants them to become an artist. So maybe that’s why we had so many young artists in an around the Princeton area. My parents, they both have their doctorates, they have Ph.D.’s in philosophy, so they pushed me towards a life that was like, “Sure, do whatever you want.” They want me to make myself happy in life.

AJ – That’s awesome. Let’s talk about the hardcore bands that you were in before Hawthorne Heights. Do you look back on the 1990s fondly?

Booch – Sure. Those were some of the best moments of my time in high school and they totally had a profound effect on who I’d become as a person. They changed what my ambitions in life were and I don’t regret a second of it. I loved all the bands I played in. Do you look back on it fondly?

AJ – Hmm I dunno. Sometimes. Nostalgia can be kind of poisonous though. I try not to dwell on things. Sometimes the mood strikes me I can smile about old bands and feel OK about it. Other times I want nothing to do with it. It’s a mixed bag.

Booch – Yeah that makes sense.

Flyer for the Princeton show on June 28th 1994. Despite what the flyer says, Mouthpiece played a show at City Gardens like two days before this, so it wasn’t their only show that year.

AJ – What was the first show you went to?

Booch – The first show I went to was Mouthpiece, Endpoint and Shift. In Princeton, in the basement of that church.

AJ –Yeah I was at that show too. That was June 28th, 1994. It was at St. Paul’s church on Nassau Street.

Booch – I think Bunkbed played too. It was a great show and it totally changed my life.

AJ – Wow. Crazy. We were both there but I hadn’t met you yet. I have a roll of film from that show that my friend Jamie gave to me, that’s probably why I remember it so well. I remember there were a bunch of Catholic priests who were walking around the basement nervously. I’m not sure if they realized what they were getting themselves into when they offered up their basement. All of the sudden, 100 kids appeared out of nowhere and took over their rectory. That was a crazy night. My friends and I had just started going to Princeton and there were so many people and bands and interesting stuff happening. I don’t remember the opening bands too much but I really liked Nation In Transit and I still do, those guys were doing something really different. Bunkbed was great too, they were always having fun on stage.

Booch – Crazy. Yeah, it was an awesome show. From then on, things changed. I picked up the Mouthpiece CD and it was like an immediate switch from Nirvana and Pearl Jam to hardcore, it got into my blood. I have a funny story about that show too. The drummer for that band Gaslight Anthem, he’s from New Jersey and I can remember talking to him outside. He always wore this backpack and he would be wearing these gigantic jeans, like size 70 pants. But yeah, we would always see each other at the same shows. I can remember him being right next to me in the pit during Mouthpiece. I don’t know if he would remember that, but I do.

AJ – Yeah, New Jersey was totally a small world. Everyone kinda knew everyone. And if you didn’t know them, you knew someone who did know them.

Booch – Definitely.

AJ – I’m trying to remember your hardcore band Step Off. I remember the demo tape but I’m not sure if I ever saw you guys live. The details are kinda fuzzy. So it was Justin from Saves The Day, John O’ Neal and you. Just a three piece, is that right?

Booch – Yeah. Justin sang and played guitar. We recorded our demo at Why Me? Studios.

AJ – Right. With Joe DeLuca.

Booch – Yeah. I kinda want to do something with the demo. Because yeah, not many people know that there was a band with someone from Saves The Day and Hawthorne Heights together. I think it’s a really cool part of that music scene that I think people might appreciate. I’ve had this goal in the back of my mind to do a compilation of more popular bands, like the first bands we played in. Something along those lines. Maybe donate the profits to a charity. I think people would be into it and they might appreciate it. Really it’s just a matter of finding the time. But yeah, Step Off, we were trying to sound like Gorilla Biscuits. And we did a Judge cover, too.

AJ – Yeah that’s right. You guys played “I’ve Lost”. I remember that Justin had this huge box of blank cassette tapes that he bought for Step Off, he got it from Disc Makers or some place like that. All of the cassettes were exactly 7 minutes on each side so you guys could dub your demo tapes. And there was a bunch of leftover tapes but my band couldn’t use them because we couldn’t fit our demo onto a 14 minute tape. Weird the shit you remember. Justin wouldn’t let anyone touch the tapes anyway. I think he spent an entire weekend just photocopying and dubbing 200 copies of the Step Off demo in his basement. But here is where my memory fails me and things get really fuzzy. After Step Off broke up, you played in another band, right?

Booch – Yeah I was in a few bands after that.

AJ – The last time I saw you play drums was at the Warzone show in Manville. Do you remember that band? You guys opened.

Booch – I don’t know that I played that one.

AJ – What? Really? Do you remember Mike B from Ewing?

Booch – Who? No I don’t think so.

AJ – I am freaking out LSD style right now. You weren’t in a band with Mike B from Ewing? Yes you fucking were.

Booch – No. I played drums in a band with Christian Acker. You remember him, right?

AJ – Yeah. The skinhead guy? He was in a band called Phanatik. He gave me a copy of their demo tape in Palmer Square. That guy was super nice. A solid dude all around.

Booch – Yeah, that band Phanatik. I played in that band with Christian for like a minute.

AJ – Crazy. I didn’t know that.

Booch – Yeah I recorded a demo tape with them. Mike D from Breakdown was in the band. I literally just recorded the demo tracks with them and nothing else. Never even played any shows together. That was cool, it was a fun band. And then I tried out for this band Common Ground. Do you remember them?

AJ – I don’t remember seeing them but the name rings a bell. Weren’t they from North Jersey or something?

Booch – We practiced but for one reason or another we never played a show. Then after that. I dunno. There was a time when I was starting a band with Sean McGrath from Hands Tied. Not many people knew about it. But it was supposed to me on drums, Chris Conley on guitar and Sean was going to sing. It was supposed to be a Gorilla Biscuits style hardcore band.

AJ – Are you talking about the band that became Five Star? That was Sean’s band.

Booch – I don’t know. I don’t even remember Five Star. This is the first time I’m hearing about this.

AJ – Yeah, it was right after Hands Tied. I think it was when they got back from that European tour, Sean started a side project called Five Star. It’s a blur though. I could be wrong about those dates. Sean was definitely singing for a band called Five Star around that time though. I think they recorded a demo tape too, but I never heard it.

Booch – Weird, I have no memory of that.

AJ – Yeah. Sean and I definitely spoke about the band. Not sure why they fizzled out though. I think Anthony Anastacio was in that band as well. So this Sean and Chris and you band, did you record anything?

Booch – No. Things just didn’t come together. It didn’t work out. We practiced once or twice at my house and that was it.

AJ – Strange. Hardcore is so incestuous like that. When people get tired of each other, they just play with the next set of friends. Hardcore is similar to jazz in that respect. We’re a bunch of tramps. What was the first band you played in?

Booch – Oh man, that’s kind of another weird story. I was in a band with the singer from that band Vaux. He went to Princeton High School, and that’s how we met. The band was from Colorado but he was originally from Princeton.

AJ – Super weird. I’ve never heard them but I’ve heard of them.

Booch – Yeah, he was the first singer in the first band I played in.

AJ – And then he moved out here?

Booch – Yeah I guess.

The audience for Mouthpiece in Princeton, June 28th 1994. Photo by Jamie Rowe, printed with permission.

AJ – Damn that band upstairs is getting loud. I have to yell my questions to you now. So on this tour that you’re doing now, are you guys a part of a package tour?

Booch – The first band is a local band but yeah the rest of the bands we’re on tour with.

AJ – Tell me about this tour. How are things going?

Booch – It’s hit or miss. Some nights are better than others. Just like any tour.

AJ – Before you got here I was talking to your bass player and your guitarist upstairs. They were really nice dudes. Your roadie told me that you guys just drove down here from Wyoming. I’ve been there a hundred times and I’ve played shows there too, so I have to ask. What the fuck were you guys doing in Wyoming? That in itself seems like a error in judgment.

Booch – Well we played a show right outside of Casper. It was like an outdoor festival with a foam party.

AJ – A foam party? You guys played at a foam party in Wyoming? When was this?

Booch – Yeah. It was yesterday. It was a non-stop booze fest. And it was like, holy shit what did we get ourselves into. But yeah it was a fun time. It was a very late night. We’re still recovering.

AJ –I’m sure. So what do you guys do with all your millions?

Booch – (laughs) Well our guitar player Mika just reinvested his money into building a studio. So that’s been great. We don’t have to worry about recording costs anymore. The rest of us just squandered any money we made when things were going well. So we’re very fortunate in that respect.

AJ – Let’s talk about your label Cardboard Empire. Are you actively trying to record and release music?

Booch – Yeah, we just signed our first band. They’re called Failsafe and they’re from Manchester. And we’re really excited about it. I wish we had someone financing us so we could promote them, but right now we’re just trying to feel things out. Being an independent label affords you all kinds of liberties, so that aspect is really working well for us. The drawback is, yeah, you don’t get the marketing or the video budget.

AJ – Where does the capital from this label come from? Does it come directly from you guys?

Booch – Yeah. Technically we own like five companies, we split everything up. We make our money from touring and from music sales now. We’re not selling as many records as we used to before, but we’re actually seeing profits from those sales directly in our pockets.

AJ – Because Tony Brummel isn’t skimming your kitty jar?

Booch – Yeah, there’s no middleman. We distribute all of our music online and if you want a physical copy, you have to get it from us from seeing us live or directly from our webstore. It kind of goes back to the hardcore shows days, that whole thing where you have to purchase the record while you can or else you miss it. CD’s aren’t as cool as vinyl records but yeah we put out our first independent release on vinyl and we’re going to work on making more music on vinyl as well.

AJ – Yeah I met a 17-year-old kid recently who got hired at a company I worked with. He plays in a screamo band and he was telling me all about their CD’s. I asked him about vinyl and downloads and he said that he still buys CD’s. I guess kids have the option now to just download everything or listen to it on YouTube, they don’t ever have to own a physical copy of anything. He said to me once, “Why would anyone buy a rare record when you can hear it for free on YouTube right now?” and I didn’t have much of an argument. I was like, “You little shit.”

Booch – It’s kind of sad. But things are more accessible, so that might be the trade off. I think it’s going to keep evolving. It’s going to progress to a point where you don’t own anything; you just pay for a license to have it on your laptop. That’s basically Spotify right now. Pretty soon there won’t be a need to store anything on your hard drive. Everything will just be available to stream. Everything. Books, music, movies.

AJ – What about the bands who give their music away? What happens to them in the wake of this progress?

Booch – I’m all about giving things away but I don’t think “pay whatever you want” works nor is going to last. We did a promotion where we gave away downloads of our last album and it worked great. We had like 7,500 downloads in a matter of days. But content is king. Any website requires content to survive. Being that we own the content, we try to leverage that for our exposure. We had it featured on Pure Volume for a week. We try to be smart about it.

AJ – On top of all of this really fun, awesome, money-making, rock n’ roll foam party stuff you have the beast. What about that?

Booch – The beast?

AJ – Yeah, the beast. Fame. Like when you walk down the street and someone recognizes you…

Booch – Uh, that doesn’t happen.

AJ – Fuck you it doesn’t happen. It happened tonight. I saw it. That girl outside saw you and she was like, “Look at me! Sign my t-shirt!”

Booch – Well. She was here for the show. She wasn’t walking down the street. She came here to see us.

AJ – Semantics. Nobody ever recognizes you? Is that what you’re saying?

Booch – More people have mistaken me for Adam Levine from Maroon 5 than they have recognized me as Eron from Hawthorne Heights.

AJ – (laughs) Alright. So how does that fame, however small, lay on you? Are you lying in bed at night, anxious because people know intimate things about your life?

Booch – No, it’s fine. It has its boundaries. I don’t add fans to my personal Facebook page or anything like that. I feel like that’s a barrier that I don’t want to cross.

AJ – I definitely respect that. As long as you’re comfortable with it, that’s all that matters.

Booch – It’s cool to be able to create something that people are so passionate about. It effects people on a much different level than it effects me. That’s probably the best part about being in a band. Successful or not. To be able to have a positive influence on someone’s life. That’s something that not a lot of occupations have available.

AJ – For sure. For some of these kids, when they have nobody in their lives who cares or nothing else to turn to, they turn to you. That is profound.

Booch – Yeah.

AJ – Have you had fans that have tried to breach the barrier that you have set up for yourself?

Booch – We’ve had our fair share of crazies.

AJ – Anything that is like landmark crazy?

Booch – (laughs) I can’t. I don’t want to point anybody out. There’s people who are really really dedicated to us. And so on one hand, that’s an honor to be that important in someone’s life. But yeah it has gotten scary in the past.

AJ – After you guys made that first record and were riding the train to arena-rock-town, would you have answered that question differently?

Booch – No. When we first started off, we just want to record and play and tour. Whatever happened that was above and beyond the music was fine, but it’s not something that we strived for. Everything else was just icing on the cake.

AJ – Well I think you had some good icing then.

We both took a sip of our drinks as the first band ended and watched them exit the stage and come downstairs all sweaty and exhausted. I looked over and noticed a flyer hanging above our heads in the green room of the Hi-Dive. On the flyer, a picture of Chris Holmes from W.A.S.P. as he snarls. The flyer was for an upcoming solo show and Holmes’ band would be here later that week.

AJ – Look at this guy, Chris Holmes. Remember him when we was floating in that pool all drunk with his mom watching during Decline Of Western Civilization? Pretty awesome guy. Speaking of fame being a beast. I think he wrote a song about that very topic.

Booch – Weird. That’s him? Why is he playing at the Hi-Dive?

AJ – That’s a good question. Maybe he’s also avoiding getting that day job.

I had a really great time catching up with Booch and I was glad to interview him. I enjoy interviewing my friends almost as much as I enjoy interviewing total strangers. I thought long and hard about the bands’ lawsuit with Victory and couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

Victory Records has long been the butt of jokes and ridicule from naysayers but they have somehow managed to weather the storm. The CEO and owner of Victory, Tony Brummel has been spit on by Dwid from Integrity, had songs written about him by MK Ultra, Good Clean Fun, Charles Bronson and Reversal Of Man (among others), and was involved in an internet spat with Matador Records head Gerald Cosloy. He is no stranger to controversy, let’s put it that way. I think it’s too easy to dismiss the label, mainly because I love Cause For Alarm and so, I have a bunch of their releases in my collection. I don’t know much about Mr. Brummel on a personal level, but I know he loves music and that millions of people own his releases and he’s still in business, so. He must be doing something right. I’d be hard pressed to think of any record label that has survived from that era other than Revelation. They’ve come a long way from that Billingsgate EP, let’s put it that way.

On the other hand, I took a cursory glance at Victory Records current roster of bands on their website and it made me feel like I was 80 years old. Every one of these bands looks and sounds almost identical; the labels formulaic pump-and-dump approach to marketing is the only real tragedy here. After staring at the press photos of these young white dudes, all standing around in the same exact pyramid formation; I can’t even differentiate between them. There is a profound sameness that is threaded through their roster, it’s either intentional or it’s accidental. It must be difficult to maintain a record label of this magnitude and to keep things fresh each year, perhaps this sameness IS their marketing strategy. Some of my favorite record labels liked Kranky, Denovali, ROIR – they put out a wide variety of artists to the degree that sometimes you have no idea what you’re going to get because each artist and each release is so different. With Victory, you can pretty much guarantee what you’re going to get. There is something to be said for that approach.

After our interview, we went upstairs. Booch got up on stage and I finally got the chance to see Hawthorne Heights and was truly surprised by the amount of people who showed up. Their set was diverse and energetic. Immediately after the show, tons of kids were mulling around the venue. The band smiled for pictures, presumably clogging up the instagram feeds of hundreds of young people in the Denver area. Booch and I were talking after the set and this young couple came over to him.

Kid – “Are you Eron?”

Booch – “Yeah. Hey! I’m glad you guys came out to the show. Thanks!”

Kid – “I’m also a drummer and you kind of inspired me to keep playing, to keep going. Would you sign my drum sticks?”

Booch looked at me and asked me to hold his bag while he signed autographs. I agreed, however weird that moment was. He then talked to this young couple for like five minutes about the bands touring plans; he openly discussed his drumming techniques. Booch is the real deal, he genuinely likes his fans and he appreciates them on a level that is very similar to the level we reached in 1997 in Princeton. There is a connection with the audience, this intimacy that he enjoys. Suddenly, as I was getting ready to head home, a group of girls asked if I would hold their camera and get a photo of them with Booch, which of course I did willingly.

During the following days when I was transcribing this, I thought about Booch as a career musician and I wondered what would happen to his band next.

It seems to me that in this economy, the only people who earn a living from music are the top 10% of artists. Isn’t that depressing? Music is a terrific hobby but it’s a shit show of a career, one that may suck you dry mentally and physically. These terrific people from the recording industry might also steal your ideas, call you names, sue your friends, write long-winded racially charged manifestos without your approval or permission, take your songs and/or spit you out onto a distant street corner with no money in your pocket.

We are so knee deep in bad music these days that there is actually nostalgia for emo already, a genre that barely died within recent memory. What does that say about young music fans? Not much if you ask me. Go watch any Hawthorne Heights video on YouTube and you’ll see comments like, “Man I used to love this song in 8th grade”. If someone said that about my band, I’m not sure how I would feel. That might be hard to swallow though. Because it’s hard to admit and recognize when a good thing has reached its conclusion. It’s even tougher to try to grab it by the tail and hold on.


AJ Morocco lives in Denver Colorado. His first book, Sleeping Village Appears Empty, is available on Amazon.


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