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Fun And Games For Breaking Benjamin On Nintendo Tour

Of the Oakland Press

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Being a young band on a tour sponsored by Nintendo is a match made in rock ’n’ roll heaven for Hawthorne Heights.

“I heard they hook you up quite well,” says frontman JT Woodruff, whose group is headlining this year’s Nintendo Fusion Tour. “We’re all pretty big gamers, so we’re all looking forward to that.

“We really, really want one of those new Nintendo Wii (gaming consoles) that aren’t out yet. It would be nice if they could hook that up.”

But Woodruff and company also are just happy to be hooked up on a tour of any kind. The Dayton, Ohio, modern

rockers are in the midst of legalities with their label, Chicago-based Victory Records. The band sued Victory in August, claiming ethical and fi nancial improprieties. Victory has countersued, accusing Hawthorne Heights of trying to break its contract and sign with Virgin Records by “saying anything — no matter how untrue or defamatory” about the Chicago-based label.

“We’re not really allowed to talk about it much,” Woodruff, 28, says of the legalities. “It was a long time coming. ... We just weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on certain things, and we weren’t getting paid what we were owed, really. So we had to make adjustments.”

Without a label to promote its sophomore album — “If Only You Were Lonely,” which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard charts in March — or its new single, “This is Who We Are,” Woodruff says Hawthorne Heights has set up a DIY operation until the legal matters are resolved.

“We just hired outside people and are paying out of pocket to keep the ball rolling for us,” he says, adding that the band has converted the back lounge of its tour bus into a studio to start working on material for its next album during the Fusion tour.

“One thing a lot of people don’t know about our band is that we were doing all this stuff before got signed — booking our own shows, promoting ourselves online, just trying to get our band heard. Our career is very important to us. Just because there’s an unfortunate legal battle going on doesn’t mean we’re going to stop doing anything we wouldn’t have done in the fi rst place.”

Hawthorne Heights headlines this year’s Nintendo Fusion Tour at 7:30 tonight at the State Theatre, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. The concert also features Relient K, Emery, Plain White T’s and the Sleeping. Tickets are $20. Call (313) 961-5450 or visit

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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