When Craig Owens' new manager asked him what kind of ambitions he had moving forward, top of the singer's list was "make things right with the Chiodos guys" after his acrimonious split from the Michigan rock band in 2009.
Now it's happened.
Both Owens and drummer Derrick Frost, who also left in 2009, have regrouped with keyboardist Bradley Bell, bassist Matt Goddard and guitarists Pat McManaman and Jason Hale. The reunited Chiodos, which formed in Davison in 2001 and released two albums with this lineup, is taking things "slowly" according to both Owens and Bell, but both are pleased with the reunion and optimistic for the future.
"I didn't exactly expect (Owens) to reach out to me like he did, and I didn't know what everyone's reaction was going to be," says Bell, 29. "I know there were some bitter feelings out there, but I guess we were all willing to let go of the past and kind of reconcile everything."
Owens, 27, adds that, "These guys were my best friends growing up in high school. I missed my friends. I missed the music a lot. I think we both needed to now that the other was respected and appreciated and get back on that friendly level. Things are going really well."
Chiodos had recorded a third album "Illuminaudio," with another singer and drummer, who both left earlier this year when the other members decided to take some time off for their personal lives. Rochester resident Owens had started another band, D.R.U.G.S., which is currently on its own hiatus after releasing a debut album in 2011 (the other members quit after the Chiodos reunion was announced), and also acted in the film "K-11," which debuted earlier this year.
Owens and Bell say the group's first meeting back together, at a photo shoot in late June, was "awkward," but a rehearsal the next day in Rochester "felt great, like getting back on a bike" according to Owens. Chiodos played its first show on Aug. 9 in Flint and has weekend dates booked into mid-October. The band is also including a song called "Thermacare" that it was working on prior to the split, which Owens says "was going to be the next step for Chiodos and where we were headed," and which Bell predicts "could be a good starting point to go into a new album."
"We want to see how these shows go first and see if we're ready to take the next step," says Bell, who's started an advertising and video production company with Goddard in Davison. "We haven't really sat down and created a song together, but we've been sending each other a lot of parts and showing each other what we've been working on. If all the shows go smooth, I'd like to hopefully get in a studio in early winter."
Owens, however, notes that "there are some heavy conversations that still need to happen before we get in a room and decide to start moving forward. I think we're being extra cautious in a positive way, not a paralyzing way, taking the right steps to move forward in the right way so we can make (Chiodos) as special as it was before."
Chiodos performs as part of the Motors and Music Experience at the Pontiac Silverdome, 1200 Featherstone Road. Other performers include Stone Temple Pilots, Ice T, Shiny Toy Guns, Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights, Hush, Trick Trick, Iamdynamite, Bear Lake and others, DJ sets by Mayer Hawthorne and the Detroit Lions' Dominic Raiola, and other attractions. Doors open at 11 a.m. Tickets are $35 general admission, $70 VIP. Call 248-439-1640 or visit www.motorsandmusicexperience.com.
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