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Hawthorne Heights Drummer on Overcoming Record Label Drama and Going the Indie Route

Earshot Media

Hawthorne Heights have lived through the kinds of highs and lows that would make for an epic episode of ‘Behind the Music.’ The Ohio combo has gone through everything from hit singles and sold-out tours to record label lawsuits and even death. In 2007 the band’s lead guitarist, Casey Calvert, was found dead on their tour bus after succumbing to an accidental prescription drug overdose. After an acrimonious parting with their original label [Victory Records], Hawthorne Heights signed on with Wind-Up Records for their fourth album, 2010’s ‘Skeletons.’ But that union proved to be unsuccessful.

“Wind-Up put us into the recording studio with Howard Benson and spent a lot of money on that,” says Hawthorne Heights’ Eron Bucciarelli. The drummer is on the phone with Noisecreep from his home in Ohio. “Everyone was excited and the label really believed in the band. Unfortunately right after the album came out, things turned bad. The label pretty much had been a hobby of the owners who were this mega-rich couple and now were going through a divorce. As a result of that our advertising budget got cut in half. So while our die-hard fans knew about the record and bought it, everyone else didn’t even know we had something new out. ‘Skeletons’ was a big flop because of that,” says Bucciarelli.

The drummer then tells Noisecreep how the Wind-Up deal finally ended. “We started working on new material during the Christmas holiday last year. A couple of months ago some people from the label called the band and were pretty honest with us. They said that it was obvious that the situation wasn’t working out and that they were hurting for money. They also said that our record sales weren’t really balancing out on what they still owed us financially. We told them that we weren’t getting all the attention that we felt we deserved.

“So the label presented us with an option to get out of contract and we jumped at it. We’ve been around for a while now and we’ve figured out how to properly promote ourselves. We know what it takes to market the brand that is Hawthorne Heights and we can do it more effectively than the traditional business model can do,” says Bucciarelli.

With that independent spirit in mind, Hawthorne Heights decided to keep the business side of the band close to home. The group launched their own imprint record label, Cardboard Empire, on which they will self-release an upcoming series of new EPs. The first in a planned series of three EPs, ‘Hate,’ will be released on August 23rd and can be ordered at this link.

Watch ‘Hate’ trailer from Hawthorne Heights

“We’ve been self-managing ourselves for the better part of nine months or so. I think if you look at the state of the music business right now, everyone is scrambling trying to figure out how to survive. So now that we’re doing everything ourselves, we can control all of the aspects that make money for the band. That includes stuff like pre-sale and ticket bundles. We wouldn’t have been able to do that on a traditional record label. I think we’ve taken a disappointing situation and made something good out of it. We’re excited about the future.”

Tour dates:
Aug 20 – Buffalo, NY @ Club Diablo
Aug 21 – Toronto, ON @ The Rockpile
Aug 22 – Cornwall, ON @ Murphy’s Inn
Aug 23 – Foxboro, MA @ Showcase Live
Aug 24 – Uncassville, CT @ Mohegan Sun – Wolf Den FREE SHOW, 21+
Aug 25 – Rockville Centre, NY @ Vibe Lounge
Aug 26 – Allentown, PA @ Crocodile Rock
Aug 27 – Lebanon, OH – Venue 42
Aug 30 – Marietta, OH @ Marietta Brewing Company
Aug 31 – Vienna, VA @ Jammin Java
Sep 01 – Myrtle Beach, SC @ Pirates Cove
Sep 02 – Charleston, SC @ The Oasis
Sep 03 – Augusta, GA @ Sector 7G
Sep 04 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits
Sep 05 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
Sep 07 – Orlando, FL @ Backbooth
Sep 08 – Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum
Sep 09 – Tallahassee, FL @ Floyd’s Music Store
Sep 11 – Birmingham, AL @ Zydeco
Sep 12 – Tupelo, MS @ Goodtime Charlies
Sep 13 – Little Rock, AR @ Juanitas
Sep 14 – Cookeville, TN @ Amps and Ramps
Sep 15 – Whitesburg, KY @ Tourism Building
Sep 16 – Indianapolis, IN @ ES Jungle
Sep 23 – Westland, MI @ The Token Lounge
Sep 24 – Kalkaska, MI @ The Kaliseum
Sep 25 – Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s Rock Club
Sep 27 – La Crosse, WI @ The Warehouse
Sep 28 – Mankato, MN @ What’s Up Lounge
Sep 29 – Sioux Falls, SD @ The Vault
Sep 30 – Minneapolis, MN @ Station 4
Oct 01 – Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium
Oct 02 – Billings, MT @ Manny’s
Oct 04 – Pocatello, ID @ The Venue
Oct 05 – Spokane, WA @ The A Club
Oct 06 – Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven
Oct 07 – Umatilla, OR @ The AAP House
Oct 08 – Reno, NV @ The Alley
Oct 09 – Oakland, CA @ New Parish
Oct 10 – Simi Valley, CA @ 118 West
Oct 11 – Los Angeles, CA @ Key Club
Oct 12 – Bakersfield, CA @ Jerry’s Pizza
Oct 13 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Sanctuary
Oct 14 – Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
Oct 15 – Cheyenne, WY @ The Bananza
Oct 16 – Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
Oct 18 – Lubbock, TX @ Jake’s Sports Cafe
Oct 19 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s
Oct 20 – San Antonio, TX @ Jack’s Bar
Oct 21 – Houston, TX @ Scout Bar
Oct 22 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
Oct 23 – Oklahoma City, OK @ The Conservatory
Oct 24 – Ames, IA @ The Maintenance Shop
Oct 25 – St Louis, MO @ Old Rock House
Oct 26 – Springfield, MO @ The Lemon Drop
Oct 27 – Terre Haute, IN @ The Venue
Oct 28 – Evansville, IN @ Boney June’s
Oct 29 – Grand Rapids, MI @ MXTP

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