Chiodos wsg ‘68, I’m William Cutting, Martyr for Madison
The Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids
April 1, 7 p.m.
$20, $23 day of show
pyramidschemebar.com, (616) 272-3758
Free music in its many facets can be difficult to fully appreciate nowadays, but breaks norms for musical outreach. Michigan’s Chiodos will adhere to the free model for hometown fans after recently creating its own label imprint on Razor & Tie: drk/lgt. A free physical copy of the band’s upcoming album, Devil, will be given to attendants of its brief album release tour, beginning in Grand Rapids on the album’s release date, April 1 (no joke, but you do have to purchase a ticket).
“Our record is far deeper than dollar bills,” guitarist Thomas Erak said in his Devil production video. “It’s more about friendship and loyalty and how long I’ve known these dudes…”
Chiodos has had anything but a stagnant run over the last several years. In 2009, founding vocalist Craig Owens was replaced due to struggles with the band, but returned — along with once-departed drummer Derrick Frost — for a fresh take on Chiodos and the friendships within it. Although founding guitarist Jason Hale had departed for good in 2012, the band was quick to call on Thomas Erak as a longtime friend and replacement guitarist. Devil will be the band’s first album since 2010’s Illuminaudio to feature Owens and Frost, and the first to feature Erak.
“If anybody can do the job, it’s definitely me,” Erak said in a phone interview with REVUE.
Erak’s confidence is bolstered by a resume of shredding in other bands such as The Fall of Troy, which toured with Chiodos during the two post-hardcore bands’ debut albums on Equal Vision Records, contributing to Erak’s fondness for Chiodos. His influence in Chiodos and on Devil — and likewise, their influence on him— comes from his perspective as both a fan and developed guitarist since those days.
“I’m really excited about Devil,” Erak said. “Like, really really excited about it— for many reasons. It’s a really diverse, interesting record and I got to play in a lot of ways that I’ve never been able to play on a record. ...It’s a whole different world, so I’m coming from a whole different place, playing-wise.”
Traditionally at the front and center of his of musical endeavors, Erak took a new stride in joining Chiodos as a step down from the spotlight, reflected in some of the songs on Devil.
“Songs like ‘3 AM’ and ‘Under Your Halo,’ for me are coming from a totally different area to play in as a guitar player but really fun because it’s all about the song," Erak said. "It’s not about coming out and doing a bunch of acrobatics and impressing people. It’s the song and the statement that it’s making.”
While Devil certainly makes use of Erak’s past talent and breaks the norm for Chiodos — the new “Bhevis Bullock” a bursting sledgehammer of Chiodos aggression— the norm is just as broken for Erak in ways that could astonish followers, but aligns with themes meshed within Devil and the band’s fresh start.
“I can’t do the same thing all the time, man,” Erak said. “I mean, who would want to, being a musician and an artist? Why would you want to do the same thing over and over?”