Hawthorne Heights Biography
The band found success with both of their first two albums, with 2004's The Silence in Black and White achieving Platinum certification, and their 2006 album If Only You Were Lonely achieving Gold certification, after it peaked at #1 on the Billboard's Independent Albums chart and #3 on the Billboard 200 charts. They are also well known for their 2006 single "Saying Sorry", which reached Gold status and peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. The band's third album, Fragile Future, was released on August 5, 2008, surprisingly through Victory Records again, after a lengthy legal battle between the two parties. Hawthorne Heights released their fourth studio album with Wind-up Records (who also represent popular acts such as Creed and Cartel) on June 1, 2010. The album's title is Skeletons. It is their first album with band member Micah Carli employing unclean vocals.
Formation, The Silence in Black and White and If Only You Were Lonely (2001–2006)
Originally known as A Day in the Life, their first record was a demo entitled Four Bullets for One Girl. After one album (Nine Reasons to Say Goodbye), an EP, Paper Chromatography: The Fade from Dark to Light (which was later re-released as part of the compilation From Ohio With Love), and significant line-up changes, the band changed its name to Hawthorne Heights. On the DVD portion of The Silence in Black and White, drummer Eron Bucciarelli states that the band took their current name from the author Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Main article: The Silence in Black and White
Their first album The Silence in Black and White, was released in 2004. The album was slow to build sales at first; however, soon the video for the song Ohio Is for Lovers began getting airplay on MTV, and the band enjoyed breakout success at radio as well as a growing nationwide fan base, and the album became Victory Records' highest selling debut. The Silence in Black and White peaked at number 56 on the Billboard charts.
Main article: If Only You Were Lonely
When their second album If Only You Were Lonely was released on Feb 28, 2006, it debuted at number 3 on the Billboard charts, powered by the lead single "Saying Sorry" which has received regular airplay on MTV, VH1 and Fuse. The band performed on the 2006 Nintendo Fusion Tour.
Death of Casey Calvert (2007)
While on their headlining tour with Escape the Fate, Amber Pacific, The Secret Handshake, and The A.K.A.'s in Washington, D.C., guitarist Casey Calvert was found dead on the band's tour bus on November 24, 2007. The band had kicked off their U.S. tour just the day before in Detroit, Michigan. Toxicology and autopsy reports state Calvert died of combined drug intoxication. The official statement issued by the band says that Calvert died in his sleep and that his body was discovered before the band was to do a sound check prior to a show at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. The band was devastated. They spent a few days mourning, reflecting, and writing a song about the incident. The song eventually became "Four Become One" on their album Fragile Future. They also dedicated another song to Calvert called "Sugar in the Engine". In the end of the song, JT Woodruff can be heard speaking of Calvert.
According to the results of an autopsy performed by the office of the chief medical examiner in Washington, D.C, and released in December 2007, Calvert's death was accidental. Dr. John Mendelson, a pharmacologist at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, told MTV News that "Cases like Calvert's are so rare that they're almost nonexistent. It's so rare that you can't even put a number on it," and that "It's exceedingly rare that 26-year-olds die of anything medical. This kind of death is one in several million." Both citalopram (also known by the brand name Celexa) and clonazepam (also known by the brand names Klonopin and Rivotril) are prescription drugs, the former an antidepressant and the latter used to treat seizure disorders and panic attacks.
Drummer Eron Bucciarelli issued the following statement: Fragile Future (2008–2009)
Hawthorne Heights released a demo for their new song "Come Back Home" on their MySpace page in 2007. A reprised version of the song became one of the twelve tracks that were selected for the band's third studio album. A second song was released on their Myspace, a cover of the Smashing Pumpkins song "Bullet with Butterfly Wings", which was contributed to MySpace Tribute to The Smashing Pumpkins. This cover song, however, did not become a track on the album.
Hawthorne Heights and Victory Records patched up their relationship and the band's third album, Fragile Future, was released with the label on August 5, 2008. Jeff Schneeweis produced the album.
Hawthorne Heights performed at Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution 2008 tour this year on the Revolution Stage with former labelmates Atreyu, Armor For Sleep, Street Drum Corps, and 10 Years. Joining Linkin Park on the Main Stage was Chris Cornell, The Bravery, Busta Rhymes, and Ashes Divide.
From the time of the incident we suspected a possible drug interaction as the cause. Casey wrestled with depression for as long as we knew him. He saw numerous doctors and took an ever-changing array of medicines to get better. He finally had his depression under control. According to the toxicology report, the cause of death was due to a fatal interaction between depression meds, anxiety meds and an opiate. Opiates being mentioned along with the term 'substance abuse', coupled with 'rockstar' stereotypes immediately conjure up images of hard drug use and addiction, which simply couldn't be further from the truth in Casey's instance. What the toxicology report doesn't show is that prior to us leaving for tour, Casey had a root canal, and was prescribed Vicodin (an opiate) for the pain. Once again, Casey was not involved in anything illegal nor was he a substance abuser.
JT Woodruff has stated that "We won't add another guitar player or add another screamer", and that "In our albums, it'll always say 'Casey Calvert: guitar/vocals.'" Bucciarelli stated in another interview that, "We don't need another screamer...If the fans want screaming, they can provide it themselves."
Hawthorne Heights posted a blog through their MySpace profile stating that they had officially been signed to Wind-up Records, and had been writing and recording for a new record. The band revealed that while there is not a new member of the band and no replacement was made for Hawthorne Heights former unclean vocalist, Casey Calvert, the new album would feature a new "screamer". While on tour, Hawthorne Heights announced that Micah Carli would now be providing unclean vocals for the band.
As the album was being recorded, lead singer JT Woodruff and drummer Eron Bucciarelli named two songs from the record on several occasions, leading many to believe that they would be released as singles. Acoustic versions of the two songs were also said to have been recorded. The songs are entitled "Here I Am" and "Nervous Breakdown". "Nervous Breakdown" did become the first single from the album on March 23, 2010. On October 2, 2009, both Woodruff and Buicarelli posted updates on their Twitter pages saying that they had just finished gang vocals for the record. Woodruff stated "Just finished up doing gang vocals on a few songs. Return to hardcore!"
On October 14, an e-mail was sent out to the official mailing list telling fans that the new album would be titled Skeletons and would be released in early 2010. The e-mail stated:
"Lots of big HH news for you today folks! For starters, we will release our new album, titled SKELETONS, in early 2010! Secondly, as you should know already, we're kicking off Never Sleep Again '09 with Just Surrender, Monty Are I, Punchline, Anarbor, and Nightbeast on November 2! Get your tickets here and get them today because we will be giving away a limited amount of collectible download cards at each show which include one of our new songs, "Unforgivable" along with some other goodies. This is your first chance to hear some of our new music, so make sure you get your tickets early and get to the shows early, because once they're gone, you'll have to wait until the album comes out! We'll see you this Fall!"
As promised, download cards for the song "Unforgivable" were distributed while on tour. In addition, a song entitled "End of the Underground" has been performed live.
After the Never Sleep Again 2009 tour, frontman JT began performing several solo acoustic shows with songs he had written outside of Hawthorne Heights.
The track listing for the album was announced on February 5, 2010. Skeletons was released on June 1, 2010. According to JT Woodruff's February SayNow voice message (also uploaded on the band's Twitter), Micah Carli plays ukulele, mandolin, and various other "weird instruments" in the lute family for many of the bonus tracks on Skeletons.
Musical style and classification
Hawthorne Heights success comes from the sheer variety of genres it represents. The band has been referred to as post-hardcore and screamo due to their harder guitar riffs and occasional use of unclean vocals. Additionally, the band has been called emo and pop punk because of calm melodies and pop-like rhythm present in their music. The band is often described as post-hardcore, because this genre encompasses a wide range of musical styles, making it a general enough term to be applied to Hawthorne Heights' diverse style. Likewise, Hawthorne Heights' albums have been tagged as alternative rock by retailers (such as iTunes).
Eron Bucciarelli, the band's drummer, noted that the band's sound has "always been pigeon holed as emo or screamo" (although the later genre receives more controversy). In the same interview he stated, however, that the band prefers to be referred to simply as "a rock band". Regardless, ever since being known as A Day in the Life, the band has been categorized as emo. This is primarily due to the emotional topics found in the lyrics of prominent Hawthorne Heights songs (such as "Ohio Is for Lovers", and "The Transition"). In addition, their songs fit the stylistic definitions of emo music.
While commenting on the band's first album, The Silence in Black and White, Eron said that the "triple guitar attack" allows them to "add a lot of layering effects and intricacies to our music along with legitimately pulling in different musical styles." The album also includes feminine backing vocals provided by band member Micah Carli's sister, Graci Carli. This gave many of the songs a broader emotional spectrum not limited by gender.
Hawthorne Heights began to be recognized as melodic hardcore due to the release of If Only You Were Lonely. After "softening their lyrical stance, incorporating melancholy keyboards and adding upbeat melodies that were a perfect counterbalance to their screaming backup chants" their unique sound became more recognized.
Even after the death of one of the guitarists, the band continued to allow its sound to evolve. With the release of Fragile Future, the band continued to elaborate on the pop style they were already recognized for. Although no unclean vocals are used, the album "carries on their tradition of simple hooks and big pop-punk choruses." The songs from the album tread on "familiar power pop territory" also.
Their fourth album, Skeletons, stylistically reverts to "music similar to their first two albums", yet contains less unclean vocals and is much softer. The album, however, "refuses to stomp over old ground" by incorporating "electro" and "pop punk" elements into a few of the tracks. The album also "broke new ground by adding a unique electronica sound."