The title of Chiodos’ debut album, All’s Well That Ends Well, could describe what the band has accomplished since forming in 2001, but there’s definitely much more to come.
Just as Shakespeare’s play of the same name tells the story of Helena, who used her wits and determination to complete two impossible tasks she was set up to fail, perseverance and focus has brought Chiodos success against the industry’s tough odds.
Frontman Craig Owens, keyboardist Brad Bell, guitarists Pat McManaman and Jason Hale, bassist Matt Goddard and drummer Derrick Frost have built a varied fan base through relentless touring from the start.
“We did 13 U.S. DIY tours. They got better [each] tour but not knowing day to day if you’re going to be paid, you’re out of your comfort zone,” Owens told Pollstar. “It really is kind of an intimidating thing to play outside of that. It’s a good slap in the face to remind you there’s a lot of work to do. We played in front of everyone that we possibly could.”
The band’s high-energy live shows have won over unlikely fans on the
Dave Shapiro of The Agency Group said he’d been an agent for about a year when he started working with Chiodos. That partnership continues to flourish.
“I was helping out Equal Vision Records doing some of their in-house booking and also [working with] some other bands on the side,” Shapiro told Pollstar. “There’s definitely something really different and special about this band.
“When System Of A Down broke, some people didn’t get it. They still broke through and connected with people. I feel Chiodos is a lot like that.”
Shapiro said it wasn’t easy to find the right bookings at first but he persevered.
“Musically, they’re so different. There’s everything from metal to pop, so the challenge was to figure out where they fit,” he said. “It was a lot of testing the waters, doing every kind of tour to see where we fit best.”
Co-managers John Daley of Channelzero Entertainment and Dave Taylor of Blood Company also saw potential greatness in the Michigan-based band after seeing its live show and work ethic firsthand.
“The first time we met them … Dave and I walked away thinking, ‘This is real.’ They talked about the team of the six band members so much,” Daley told Pollstar. “When there’s ups and downs, these guys have banded together and stuck to what they told us three-and-a-half years ago – they will do it together.”
“One of the things that made us [take notice] was the fact that these guys had really been doing a lot on their own,” he told Pollstar. “They knew it was going to be a long, slow, uphill ride as opposed to everything happening overnight. They were definitely ready to put the work in.”
Some of those ups and downs included Owens’ months-long hospital stay recovering from a near-fatal bout with pneumonia around 2003 as well as his ongoing private battle with manic depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety attacks.
Owens released a statement in July confirming rumors that he’d tried to commit suicide with prescription Xanax and that going through the experience with the support of family and close friends was helping him find his way out of the emotional abyss.
“Every day there are probably 50 to 100 e-mails or MySpace messages from kids thanking me. It reminds me that I have a little brother and twin little sisters,” Owens explained.
This isn’t something I would necessarily say they’ll go through, but when I talk to those fans, I picture them.
“The amount of support that I’ve gotten from our fan base and just other fans of music [has] definitely helped me get to where I needed to be mentally. It means a lot.”
Shapiro, Daley and Taylor agree the band’s popularity is also a result of all six members’ very different but complementary personalities that mesh onstage.
“I feel that in a lot of bands, there’s always people who stand out more than others,” he explained. “Every member of this band has a special kind of charisma. That’s the thing that’s amazing to me – that these six guys found each other. It was definitely fate.”
Chiodos is on a tour of the U.K., Germany, Japan, Australia and Hawaii in support of its latest album, Bone Palace Ballet: Grand Coda, that will keep the band busy through early March. Owens will then do a month-long solo tour before the band focuses on recording and getting ready for the Vans Warped Tour in June.