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Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows/Craig Owens -- 02.15.12

Interviewed by: Jake Denning (03/10/12)
It took a lot of hard work to be able to schedule this interview, because seemingly everywhere I turned...all leads for contact led to dead ends. Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows, also known as D.R.U.G.S., is fronted by former Chiodos lead vocalist Craig Owens; Owens remains to be an extremely popular person, as he rarely is able to go anywhere without being asked for an autograph or a photo. Nonetheless, Craig remains humble and is appreciates the fact that people want these things from him. It's been a year since D.R.U.G.S. released their self-titled debut album, and things continue to look better and better for the band: sold out shows on the AP tour, dates on mainstage at last summer's Warped Tour, and now a proper headliner of their own.

I sat down with Craig Owens for a half-hour before doors opened at the Hawthorne Theatre in Portland, OR -- another sold out show.


First off, welcome back to Portland, OR -- how are you today?


I'm doing well, I'm trying to adjust to the weather a bit, it's a bit colder; we've been in the sunny skies for the past week and a half, we did Florida, Texas, and California, and then we hit Seattle last night and then we're here in Portland tonight. We're getting used to the climate change, but ultimately, I really like Portland -- I like how young it is.

How's it feel to have D.R.U.G.S. be on it's first headlining tour?

Really good. The reaction has been amazing, and the whole camp is real stoked. Every crowd that we've played to has really blown us away, there hasn't been one market that was underwhelming or anything like that. We have a week left, so we're going to finish strong, there's some big markets, and then we'll head back to Michigan.

The tour is called "S.I.N.", which stands for "Strength In Numbers"; what's the significance of this name?


We really wanted to do something that was representative of a positive thing, something moving forward, something that we possibly could use in the future. We wanted to use an acronym that made sense with what we wanted to do; in the beginning, we wanted to do this, but we just didn't have enough time. We've been back and forth with labels and management, switching around with all these different people.

Originally we really wanted to involve alot of non-profits with this, and we wanted to make it more of a movement in music, make it "A night with us" as opposed to just a tour; unfortunately we weren't able to do it because of miscommunications and people just not being able to handle their shit. Thankfully if we do it in the future again, it'll hopefully be more focused on non-profits and stuff, and creating positivity through music, and everyone's making sacrifices, the other musicians and the fact that we're all working together, as opposed to giant competition that it can turn into on the road.

Speaking of non-profits, what are some of your favorites? One of my favorites is Invisible Children

Yeah, Invisible Children's awesome, they're all really awesome people, and they have a really great cause. I like Keep A Breast, I think they're great...there's so many to name. I did Toys For Tots at home during Christmas time; I got a letter from a girl that had cancer, and she was asking for the hospital in Michigan for "Pillow Pets" for all the kids, so they could rest their heads on something warm in the winter time. That letter really broke my heart, and we filled up an SUV with a whole ton of duffle bags of all these Pillow Pets and brought them to the hospital 2 hours away. Anything you can do that's going to bring positivity and pleasantry to the world, and help someone less fortunate than yourself, really.

You're joined on this tour by Hit The Lights, Like Moths To Flames, and Sparks The Rescue; what led for you to invite these bands to join you on this tour?


In general, we wanted to make it an eclectic mix, but also in the same vein, you know? There's nothing worse than going to a show and hearing four bands that all sound the same, I think that gets so boring, coming from someone who's been to alot of shows. My favorite tours are ones that all sorts of personalities, different kind of people; none of us are out here doing the same thing, we're all out here doing our own little thing. I think that's important when it comes to personalities clicking, you should always mix it up and remind yourself that there's a world outside your own, musically speaking. So with this tour we wanted to make it a fun eclectic mix full of hard working bands that were full of good people.

You just recently announced that your bassist Adam Russell has left the band; obviously it's not an easy situation, but have you found a new player yet?

No, but our friend Tai Wright is out right now. I think we're going to take it a step at a time, and see where it leads us.

Let's take a look back at your debut album that came out a year ago; when you were about to release this record back then, did you anticipate the reaction that the record has received?

I think we kindof did, I actually think we did, and that's the first time I can say that. I'm still thankful and overwhelmed, and there's never going to be a point where I'm not modest to the point where I can't believe that someone would spend their hard-earned money on a record, 20 states away -- that's an amazing feeling. I'll never take this for granted.

At the same time, we've all had high expectations coming into this, and we all wanted to write a record full of good songs...and that's what I think we've done. Moving forward from here on out, we're going to be taking a bit more an organic approach; I think everybody will see stuff shining through, because we've all grown together and understand one another, as opposed to the clusters that went into making the record.

When you look back at that record, what are you most proud of and why?

I think the honesty on it. Lyrically, I've gotten a lot of shit for it from hardcore fans that were fans of my older stuff, and that expected some of my more poetic and dark novel-esque type of stuff that i've done previously; they understand though.

I just wanted to be a bit more open and honest this time around, and not hide every word in metaphors; I played the double person in a lot of the songwriting. There's so many hidden things in the record, and I think it goes over their head, because they're paying attention the simple lyrics and picturing me, as opposed to the story itself and stuff like that.

Looking back, I'm really proud of how honest I was on the record. I feel like I got a lot of demons off my chest, and it's nice to play every night and kindof continue that "microphone psychiatry".

You recently released a new song titled "Scream If You're Crazy", what inspired this particular song?

I think it's about people getting out of their bubble; once you leave the "comfort zone", and start walking through the fear and fire that the world kindof has to offer...it be a little overwhelming and you can lose your mind. I feel like this song is an anthem for people that may get the same anxiety, and on a mental level feel the same intensity you go through when you walk outside that bubble.

For me personally and kindof moving forward with this new lifestyle, i've really experienced things in a new light. And for all the kids that feel like their outcasts out there, and outside their comfort zone, this is a song for people to listen to when you do feel a little bit crazy...because everyone does, whether you'd like to admit it or not.

Alot of your fans would say they'd connect with you lyrically, and it helps them get through the day. If you had the opportunity to connect with a fan that was going through a particularly rough time, what would you say to them to encourage them?


I guess it would depend if I've gone through that specific struggle that person's going through or not. But in general, bad things happen; this is something i've said previously before, and I don't want to sound like a broken record, but bad things happen: you can sit and pout about it, or get up and do something. Typically when people even hear that, they want to get up and do something.

I think it's all about positivity, not necessarily all the time, keeping it "posi" and smiling all the time -- I'm not trying to sell the whole "posi-core" thing. When you're going through struggles like that, the world can seem so much darker than it really is inside your head; a good friend of mine always tells me to "stay out of your head, because your mind is lying to you". I just think sometimes we forget the ways that we're wired, and the things that we beat into our subconscious, and that people need to get the confidence to be themselves and persevere through whatever they're going through. Typically I would just say that waking up every morning and being the best person you can be is all you can really do, and as long as you try your hardest, then you're not going to feel bad at the end of the day.

You've been a musician for quite awhile, and rough times come along the way. That being said, have there been times you've felt like you wanted to quit music? If so, what has kept you going?

Yeah, absolutely, I think every musician feels that; shit, I feel like everyone feels that once a tour! There's been times where i've thought about taking a break, but there's never been a time where music didn't seem like it was important to me, to where it wasn't an outlet. There have been a few days in my life where i've maybe said that maybe music isn't the best thing for me, that would be a better description I guess. If I ever quit music, I would do it because the lifestyle isn't comparable to one that I need to live, in order to be happy and healthy and sober; that would be the only thing that would stop me. I want to be 70 and making folk records in my basement.

If there's a point where you take a break from music, have you thought about writing a book?


Yeah, absolutely, it's something I've talked about doing and something that I dove into for quite some time. It's something that I didn't really finish and follow through with as much as I should have, and that's because of the things that I was going through at the time. But yeah, absolutely -- there will be a book, and I'm assuming it'll be within the next 5 years i'm assuming. There's so many different ideas I have, and i'm not going to do anything if it's not the best thing that i've ever done, you know? That's my mentality from here on out, and I just want to make sure that if I write anything or I team up with someone to help me write it or whatever it is, that it's done the best way that I possibly can...and that takes time, and right now i'm focused on the band right now.

You're currently writing for another full-length album -- what can we expect from this next album? You said you got some demons off your chest with this debut album, possibly we can expect something a little bit more lighter lyrically on the next album?

Yeah, I don't really know...I don't know what the plan is as far as moving forward is at the moment. After this tour we're going to reflect and take a deep breath, and it's funny, a lot of bands don't seem to do that -- they tour like they're going to drop off the face of the earth if they don't; thankfully, we've been making music long enough to where I don't think that will be an issue.

On this record, it's time to go a bit deeper -- this record will probably be less straight forward lyrically, and more poetic. Also, this record will probably be a lot heavier; with that being said, don't expect all breakdowns and all that stuff...there's still going to be good songwriting. In this scene, this is where D.R.U.G.S. excels -- songwriting.

Someone wanted to know, would you be open to doing another Isles & Glaciers EP with just Vic [Fuentes] as the other vocalist? Obviously Jonny [Craig] isn't in the right place right now to be doing music
...

I'm not really sure, there's been murmurs though between all of us involved -- B South [Brian Southall], Myself, Matt, Mike, Nick, and Vic. Unfortunately Jonny isn't in a good place to do that, and I hope he gets better, because the kid is so talented and he could have the world in the palm of his hand if he just did it the right way; my thoughts go out to him and his family, because I can only imagine what they're going through right now, it's going to be difficult.

Ultimately, it all comes down to passion though; we all need to be passionate and stoked on it, or else it's going to be difficult to put something like this together. Would it just be Vic and I? No, we would throw someone else into the equation probably.

Is there anyone you would have in mind to fill that spot?

No; you know, we've tossed the idea around to see if we could put it back together, but that was just to see if we could do anything...there's no set plans right now. The best thing about something like Isles & Glaciers is that it was a group of people that knew what they were getting into when they did it. It was about people that had 10 days, 7 or 8 of my closest friends, put them in a room, some people didn't know each other, and that was part of the experiment fun part of it.

Another great thing about Isles & Glaciers is that it's not too planned, but we still have to be passionate about doing it, and everybody has their own thing going on: Pierce The Veil, what we've got going on, and what B-South has going on, a band called The Company We Keep with Justin from Motion City Soundtrack. Everyone has their own thing, and if Isles & Glaciers happens again, it'll be done the right way -- if Jonny is in a better place to be involved, he will be...if not, we'll get someone else.

Moving on to more of a lighter note, what's the craziest thing that a fan has done during a show?

Oh man, I don't even know man...

...well, how about just so far this tour?

This tour in particular...I dunno, you see a lot of crazy shirts, you just see a lot of stuff on tour, and you do a lot of crazy stuff when you're on tour...

...and people are sitting outside and around your bus for 6 or 7 hours...


Yeah! I was brushing my teeth outside today, and people were outside and yelling "wooooo! yeah!" and i'm thankful that people would care, but at the same time...i'm just a guy brushing his teeth; I guess it's just an interesting perspective, because I don't think of myself or us in that way...and I guess it's a little bit fun seeing the different types of reactions that you get, and you're thankful, and humbled for it, and you feel lucky that people would do stuff to get your attention in the first place.

You don't seem to get much privacy even when you're back home in Michigan. People leave stuff at your door, write you notes, etc. That being said, if you could go anywhere in the world by yourself for a week, where would you go and why?

It'd probably be Osaka, Japan -- I've always wanted to live there for a few months and write a record and see what it sounds like. I think each place in the world sound a bit different; Osaka is my favorite city in the world, or atleast in my top 5. I would love to just disappear...you can just lose yourself in the culture, because it's so different. Culture shock, you don't walk around and expect to read billboards or anything like that, it's really a cutoff from the world. So i'd like to see what kind of record i'd write in that setting, but as far as a week setting goes, I guess i'd just go hang out in Osaka and lose myself, and focus on me.

What is one book and one band that you'd recommend to anyone that listens to your band and why?


One book I'd recommend would be Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk again. It's amazing, and I think that anyone who listens to how desperate, open and honest, and how much of a cry for help the first D.R.U.G.S. record will really understand. I can't remember the quote specifically, but I think it goes something like "lonely people are led to other lonely people" -- it's actually about porn, and the lifestyle they live, and how sad it is; they miss so many beautiful and simple things, things we all take for granted. I think the overall theme of it is something that fans of the band can understand.

As for a band, it may not necessarily be something D.R.U.G.S. fans may be into, but i'd recommend a band called Norfolk from Bakersfield, California; it has a Radiohead/MUSE/Pablo Honey vibe to it. They have an album called The 71 Functions of Consciousness, the lyrics are really strong. It's an example of a band that's relatively unknown, that should be more well known; their talent level is far larger than what their success has shown them. I'd highly suggest everyone checks them out.

Lastly, what's next for D.R.U.G.S. in 2012?

I think right now we're going to take some time off after this Europe trip; we finish this tour, then we head there with Black Veil Brides. I think we're going to take some time to reflect, I think you'll hear more from us soon; everyone has their own lives, and we've been touring on this record for a year...and I know that's not very long for a touring cycle, but with the change in label and things moving around in the band, I think it's just time to take some time off, and we'll figure everything out then.

Anything else?

Nope, I think that's it. Stay in school!
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 26.
07:13 PM on 03/10/12
#2
nadiamota4l
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desperate for new Isles & Glaciers. the EP was beautiful. I agree that Jonny needs to be in a better place before pursuing things like that. Personally, if I&G is actually going to record more material, I think they should wait for Jonny if they can. The original line up was magical and dynamic. I wouldn't want that to change.
08:19 PM on 03/10/12
#3
Ricketts
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Sounds like DRUGS may break up. Honestly, I hope that's what happens. I love each of those dudes individually, but that record just didn't click with me. Maybe it was just the production. Either way, I hope Craig gets on with making some more music (preferably with Chiodos).
08:50 PM on 03/10/12
#4
valoo
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Sounds like DRUGS may break up. Honestly, I hope that's what happens. I love each of those dudes individually, but that record just didn't click with me. Maybe it was just the production. Either way, I hope Craig gets on with making some more music (preferably with Chiodos).
amen
10:05 PM on 03/10/12
#5
infinatalie
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if jonny can't come back for the possible I&G album, i say they get anthony green of circa survive. THAT would be a brilliant album.
10:16 PM on 03/10/12
#6
Sheluligans
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Sounds like DRUGS may break up. Honestly, I hope that's what happens. I love each of those dudes individually, but that record just didn't click with me. Maybe it was just the production. Either way, I hope Craig gets on with making some more music (preferably with Chiodos).

I didn't get that vibe at all. They've only lost their bass player who didn't record on the album. I'm hoping that their next album will live up to their potential.
11:00 PM on 03/10/12
#7
Jack Appleby
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Great interview Jake.
Also, great stuff from Craig - love when musicians are honest.
01:34 AM on 03/12/12
#8
Symphonicaxiom
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Looking forward to hearing more from whatever these guys do.
02:16 AM on 03/12/12
#9
NateFoundGlory
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I like the idea of a heavier DRUGS album with deeper lyrics. The debut bore the shit out of me.
07:45 AM on 03/12/12
ThrownAwayKyle
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i didn't get the vibe of drugs breaking up either. craig is determined, it definitely won't happen at this point. i am very very stoked for what has been said about the future stuff. more organic (hopefully less electronics and overproduction), a return to a better approach of writing lyrics, and a heavier sound. yes please!
10:30 AM on 03/12/12
Ryan Gardner
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I'd love another Isles release
11:11 AM on 03/12/12
StepsInADance
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So there's been some talk with Matt? I wonder what their relationship is now. I remember it seemed completely unfixable in that AP article they had last year.
11:26 AM on 03/12/12
Micah511
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I hope organic means more raw production wise. thats what killed that last record for me. work with a real producer this time please.
12:04 PM on 03/12/12
fly_guy
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Sounds like DRUGS may break up. Honestly, I hope that's what happens. I love each of those dudes individually, but that record just didn't click with me. Maybe it was just the production. Either way, I hope Craig gets on with making some more music (preferably with Chiodos).
They just lost a bass player haha that happens all the time, not a big deal
12:41 PM on 03/12/12
mrnubnub
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I have a question. Was this Invisible Children thing just a trolling attempt? Not trying to spark an argument
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