Michigan post-hardcore metal band Chiodos is back, but it is more than just a reunion of the original lineup. Playing and creating music together is all about moving forward for frontman Craig Owens. He commented that, “Right now, I am focusing on the man I want to be. I want to reconnect with Chiodos fans and step forward, with them, to my next move.”
Like many musicians, Owens felt out of place in high school. He existed on the fringes of social cliques and felt that he did not really belong in any of them. Music classes gave him direction, confidence, and kept him out of trouble. He describes the first time he performed on stage as an epiphany of sorts: “It was unlike anything I had ever felt before…the world felt like: Okay, I get it now.” Most importantly, it was where he met Chiodos bandmates, Bradley Bell (keyboards) and Matt Goddard (bass guitar).
Owens believes that it is his responsibility to reach out to young artists and says, “I am a music fan, first and foremost. I want music to [always] be better.” If a few words of encouragement can inspire the confidence beginners need to reach their goals, Owens is more than willing to provide them.
But learning, for Owens, does not stop with commercial success. He plays guitar, but would like to learn to play better through more practice. After a small part in the movie K 11, Owens decided to take more acting classes, but is turning down roles at this time to focus on Chiodos. He is drawn to the mysteries of psychology and the teachings of Carl Jung. Owens is also enjoying the inspirational writing of Mitch Albom while on tour.
Social injustice affects us all and Owens is no exception. He is concerned that women still do not have equal rights when it comes to wages. Owens states, “It’s more than important to me. It doesn’t make sense that women are paid seventy-five cents to a dollar less than men are paid for the same job.” By using what he does best, which is music, Owens wrote and recorded the song “Rebel Girl” to bring awareness of this issue to light. He went on to design a website that sells the track, donating 100% of the proceeds to the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, an organization that works to empower young girls and support equal wages for women.
The music of Chiodos is well known for addressing the tough issues. The song “Sunny Days and Hand Grenades” uncovers a harsh reality that suburban America tries to keep hidden. A song titled “3 am”, from the new album Devil is a poignant tale outlining the repercussions of a one-night stand. Here, Owens introduces a new perspective in the lyrics – “It’s what they never taught/ that you when lose what you love/you lose a piece of your heart” – demonstrating that men can suffer from casual hook-ups too.
Creativity does not exist in a vacuum. Unfortunately, Owens’ diversified creative projects have often been met with negative reactions from the media and some Chiodos fans. He explains that, “It’s much more simple to me. All it is, I get in a room full of my friends and make music. I like making music.” Owens, like his fans, has a strong emotional connection to Chiodos and realizes that it is easy to misunderstand the reasons behind his other pursuits. But he seeks to reassure fans, and says, “I am really looking forward to building up a stronger bond with Chiodos fans.”
Spending time with Owens allowed me to truly understand his passion for music and creativity. He is everything you see on stage: articulate, intelligent, and enthusiastic. The new release Devil is exciting and new, while remaining thoughtfully arranged to encourage new avenues of thought on relevant topics. While I am looking forward to future Chiodos music, I also find myself anticipating other creative projects Owens may pursue. But for now, I am grateful that we have the chance to enjoy their music once more. Owens says it best by telling the audience, “I just want you to remember one thing. Just one thing. Chiodos is back!”