The prospect of a new Chiodos album — “Devil,” due out April 1 — is “something that’s becoming more normal” for returned frontman Craig Owens.
Owens, who co-founded the group in 2001, was gone for three years before returning in 2012. The split was acrimonious, so the reunion was treated delicately, and with no stated plans for a new album.
“That wasn’t the intention to begin with,” keyboardist Bradley Bell, Owens’ songwriting partner, tells Billboard. “When we first started talking we just discussed doing reunion shows to see how it felt and make sure that, if it is the end of the story, we’d put a period on it to make it feel good instead of dot, dot, dot. Everyone around me was telling me (a new album) was inevitable, and eventually it felt right. When Craig reached out to me to write, I knew that it was actually true the whole time.”
Check out the premiere of new Chiodos track, “3 AM” below:
Owens concurs that the short bursts of reunion dates cemented things for the group, which also saw the return of original drummer Derrick Frost in 2012 and the arrival of new lead guitarist Thomas Erak this year.
“We’re trying to do things right,” he explains. “We had a lot of work to do, with ourselves and then with everyone, our relationships and all of that. It wasn’t so much that, ‘We’re gonna wait a couple of years…’ It’s just the way things worked out — for the better, I think. I feel like I’m finally fitting back into the Chiodos puzzle and that the public perception of Chiodos is back to where it was before. That makes me happy, because I think that’s the most genuine Chiodos there was.”
“Devil,” which Chiodos recorded with producer David Bottrill in Woodstock, N.Y., and is releasing via its own drk/lgt records and Razor & Tie, finds the group both retrenching and expanding. Fans will hear the musically intricate elements of 2007’s critically lauded breakthrough “Bone Palace Ballet” but also songs that are more straightforward and direct — among them “3 AM,” a hard-rocking lament about the perils of putting career ambitions before personal relationships which Owens considers “the most honest and vulnerable I think I’ve ever been in a song.”
“I think I had something to say and was in the right place to say it this time,” Owens recalls. “For a good six months when we started talking about the new Chiodos record and started talking about the next phase of what it is we were gonna do, I couldn’t really sleep. I grabbed my guitar and went downstairs at 3 a.m. one morning, the sink was dripping in the background. And I thought about the Beatles song, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps,’ and I was thinking about how simple it is and how you can just sing about the things that are really happening in your life…without hiding what it is I”m trying to say. It didn’t have to be this metaphorical epic or anything like that. I think it’s a song a lot of career-oriented people and workaholics out there — and musicians — can relate to.”
“3 AM” is one of six “Instant Gratification” tracks from “Devil” that Chiodos and are making available to fans who pre-order the album. The songs “Why The Munsters Matter” and “Ole Fishlips Is Dead Now” came out Feb. 18, with “Duct Tape” (March 4), “Behvis Bullock” (March 11) and “Under Your Halo” slated for coming weeks. “That’s a lot more songs than we think any band has ever done for a campaign like that,” notes Mathew Reiffe, Razor & Tie’s vice-president of Digital Sales. “But (Chiodos) has a very active and dedicated audience, and we want to superserve that audience and…really send the message about what the band is up to and that (Owens) is back and really get them excited leading up to the (album’s) release.”
Chiodos begins a pre-“Devil” tour on Feb. 27 in Toronto and currently has dates book through May 21, including a March 13 performance at the South By Southwest Music + Media Conference during mid-March in Austin, Texas. Summer plans are currently being determined.