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Chiodos Singer Stays Busy, Healthy

Of the Oakland Press

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As long as Craig Owens stays busy, all is well.

And all is very well for the Rochester-based singer and song writer these days.

Owens, best-known as the frontman for Davison-based modern rockers Chiodos, has two other bands going at the moment — the psychedelic-flavored Cinematic Sunrise with keyboardist Bradley Bell, the high school choir class friend with whom he founded Chiodos, and Ice & Glaciers, a kind of underground rock “supergroup” that will release a debut EP this summer. He’s also in the midst of a solo tour and envisions a solo album “in a year or two.”

And, oh yeah, he’s writing songs for the next Chiodos album, which the group will be working on in earnest after Owens’ pair of solo shows this weekend in Pontiac.

“Busy isn’t too busy for me,” says Owens, 24, who also harbors some literary ambitions that are currently subsumed by his musical activities. “The busier I am, the happier I am. I love doing what I do. I love creating music. There’s no better feeling.

“So there’s no reason to stop while I’m young and still have the energy to do it.”

The work is also what keeps Owens alive — literally.

Last July 20, two days after Chiodos played the Detroit stop of the Vans Warped Tour at Comerica Park, Owens — who’s fought a long-term battle with bipolar disorder, manic depression and anxiety attacks — attempted to commit suicide by overdosing on prescription Xanax at his Rochester condominium. He was found and taken to the hospital, then went into rehab.

The episode was triggered by “some personal stuff,” he said at the time, and he was buoyed by an outpouring of fan and colleague support in its wake. But mostly, Owens says, it’s keeping a “full plate” of work that keeps him on an even keel.

“I’m great, absolutely great,” he notes, crediting his “workaholic” ways to the influence of his mother, who gave birth to him when she was just 17. “She’d wake up at 4 (a.m.), clean, do laundry, all of that, before she went to work at 7. “She was always cleaning, doing laundry, making dinner ... it’s something I really looked up to. It taught me to value the idea of working hard.”

Owens also enjoys working in different ways. He says the solo tour is allowing him to play “kind of an array of everything” he’s ever done, including songs by all his bands and “solo stuff I have in my back pocket.” The strippeddown nature of the show has given him some new insights into his own music, “whether it’s melody parts that were kind of subtle or actual meaning behind the lyrics,” but he’s had to get used to playing without the frenetic mosh pits that usually occur during Chiodos’ fierce performances.

“It definitely felt weird at first to not see kids go absolutely crazy and sit there and be attentive instead,” Owens says with a laugh. “But it’s been pretty fun. It’s a learning experience, and I’ve really just been having a great time. It’s pretty exciting and something new.” He is, however, excited to plug back in with Chiodos to hunker down on the follow-up to 2007’s “Bone Palace Ballet,” which debuted at a surprising No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart when it was released. Owens reports that the band has about seven demo tracks ready for him to put lyrics to, and he expects to make good progress during the couple of months before Chiodos starts a run on this year’s Vans Warped Tour on July 1.

“All the guys are really excited; we can’t stop sending each other e-mails about how excited we are. I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s going to pop out,” Owens says. The plan is to work in Michigan for the time being, though other locales may be considered for the final recording sessions after the Warped Tour dates.

Meanwhile, fans of Owens’ music will get to hear the first work by Ice & Glaciers, which also features Chiodos bassist Matt Goddard, Cinematic Sunrise guitarist Nick Martin and members of Emarosa, Pierce the Veil, and The Receiving End of Sirens. The group recorded five songs in 10 days during December in Seattle, and Equal Vision Records — Chiodos’ label — will be releasing the EP.

“Ice & Glaciers was basically just an idea I had,” says Owens, who sang on a version of Poison’s “Fallen Angel” for the new MxPx covers album “On the Cover II.” “I wanted to write music with a bunch of my friends who are also some of my favorite musicians. No one believed it was going to happen until they got their plane tickets. It was a fun project to do.”

Owens says there are also a dozen “poppy, light-hearted rock” songs written for the next Cinematic Sunrise project, and there’s already some material squirreled away for the eventual solo album. It will all get done, Owens promises — eventually.

“My plate is so full,” he says, “but I love it. I absolutely love creating. There’s no better feeling than writing a record and watching all your hard work into an album. I just want to keep doing that.”

Craig Owens, The Color Fred and The Silent Years perform Friday and Saturday (April 10-11) at the Pike Room in The Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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