Hawthorne Heights was formed from big dreams – its members wanted to play music they were passionate about and take a shot at being a full time band. In two years, they have become much more than that; they have staked their claim as one of the leaders of the new rock scene. Their Victory Records debut, The Silence in Black and White, hit the music world with a bang in 2004, breaking sales records and receiving gold record status during the summer of 2005. The album continues its march toward platinum certification, supported by non-stop touring, television appearances and massive video support from MTV, Fuse and online giants Yahoo! Music and America Online. On January 10, Hawthorne Heights is proud to present their DVD, This Is Who We Are, featuring live concerts, behind the scenes footage and much more. The DVD sets the stage for the release of If Only You Were Lonely, their powerful sophomore album, in stores February 24th.
If Only You Were Lonely is a tour de force, showing remarkable achievement from a band that has scarcely left the road since their debut album was released. Written partially on their bus during last summer’s Warped Tour, the disc is produced by veteran David Bendeth, known for his work with bands like Breaking Benjamin and Towers Of London. Musically, it tests the limitations of the emo and screamo music genres, adding deeper and darker subtle guitars and a more diverse selection of material. From the uber-catchy emo tracks they are known for to more metallic offerings and even a piano ballad reminiscent of the Beach Boys, Hawthorne Heights sought to built on the foundation laid on their debut album and expand from there. Influenced by bands that range from Led Zeppelin to Quicksand to Nirvana, Hawthorne Heights’s brand of radiant and fiery post-hardcore is expansive and textural, and their triple guitar attack alone sets them apart from the rest. “With JT, Casey and Micah all playing guitar, we can add a lot of layering effects and intricacies to our music along with legitimately pulling in different musical styles,” said drummer Eron Bucciarelli.
Signing to Victory Records was the first step towards realizing their goal of playing music for a living. Forming in Dayton, Ohio in June of 2001 under the name A Day In The Life, the band decided to rename their previous musical endeavor due to lineup changes and evolving musical styles. With the final lineup in place, Hawthorne Heights began playing out on several self-booked tours, sharing stages with bands like Descendents, From Autumn To Ashes and Coheed And Cambria. On a Saturday in November 2003, Victory Records’ President Tony Brummel played Hawthorne Heights’ demo. Hearing what he knew were hits, he invited them to Chicago to showcase for the label staff. Things went well, and they signed a record deal with Victory Records shortly thereafter.
Hawthorne Heights recorded “The Silence In Black And White” over four weeks in Madison, WI at Smart Studios and in Chicago, IL in February and March of 2004. The Silence In Black And White contains songs of frustration, personal growth and romance. Upon release, the album broke the Victory record for highest selling debut album, beating Taking Back Sunday with a first week of 3,458 sold. As the industry paused and took notice of this previously unknown band, they hit the road, opening for label mates Silverstein. After their first headlining run the band accepted a slot on Take Action Tour ’05. The record continued to sell in leaps and bounds, blowing away expectations, no matter how highly placed. After winning Yahoo! Music’s Who’s Next contest, AOL Sessions came calling, and Hawthorne Heights joined legends like Green Day and Robert Smith in their catalog. MTV and Fuse added their first single, “Ohio Is For Lovers” into rotation, and the sleeping dinosaur that is Alternative radio slowly began to stir, with stations across the country supporting the single, which ultimately entered the R&R Top 40.
By the summer of 2005, the band began filming the video for their next single, “Niki FM” – an homage to the 80’s cult movie, “Say Anything.” With just days to spare, they joined Warped Tour for the rest of the summer, using off days to play radio festivals and perform for a screaming crowd on the outdoor stage at Jimmy Kimmel Live. “Niki FM” went on to become ubitiquitous on MTV and Fuse, climbing into the top 40 on R&R’s Alternative Charts.
Following Warped Tour and the completion of If Only You Were Lonely, Hawthorne Heights kicked off a headlining tour of North America and the United Kingdom called “Never Sleep Again Tour”. They invited Silverstein to play in direct support – a bit of thanks for their help in the beginning. Bayside and Aiden also joined the tour, and the four bands set out to rock large clubs and theaters in October, November and December of 2005. Tragedy struck in the second week of the tour, in the early morning hours of October 31st, Bayside suffered a terrible van accident on icy roads in Wyoming. Drummer John Beatz was killed and bassist Nick Ghanbarian broke his back. All four bands had grown incredibly close, and the three remaining swung into action, starting a fund-raising campaign, selling Bayside’s merchandise and guaranteeing their pay on the tour. "It was completely surreal and we were crushed," Hawthorne Heights frontman JT Woodruff said. "You never think anything like that‘s going to happen to you or your friends. We had driven the same route five times in the past year in pretty much the same van with the same trailer.”
The solidarity under such sad conditions was inspiring to witness, and the outpouring of support from fans was overwhelming. Despite the circumstances, the tour was an unprecedented success, landing Hawthorne Heights on the cover of the touring industry’s trade publication, Pollstar. The “Never Sleep Again Tour” closed out with a sold out performance at Chicago’s House of Blues, which was filmed for a DVD to release later in 2006.
Hawthorne Heights celebrate the release of their DVD, This Is Who We Are by headlining the Kerrang! tour in the U.K. If Only You Were Lonely hits stores while the band headlines dates in the U.S. with label mates June before joining Fall Out Boy and All-American Rejects on a stadium tour in March and April 2006. They will continue their path toward world domination, one broken heart at a time.