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Q+A: Craig Owens From D.R.U.G.S.

Ben Patashnik
Ben Patashnik 22 February at 11.58

With the release of new album ‘D.R.U.G.S.’ Craig Owens has finally closed the door on his past.

No one really saw this coming, if we're honest - renowned flake Craig Owens gets his shit together, gets sober, assembles an all-star dream team (Matt Good from From First To Last, Aaron Stern from Matchbook Romance, Nick Martin from Underminded and Adam Russell from Story Of The Year) and releases the best album of his entire life.

Last month Rock Sound hopped on a plane to Los Angeles to talk to the band and work out if they really are quite as good as they think they are (clue: they are), and with 'D.R.U.G.S.' finally being unleashed on the world we wanted to dig that little bit deeper with Owens.

In the next issue of Rock Sound - onsale March 30 - you can read a lot more about Owens and D.R.U.G.S., and the band are on tour at the beginning of March. Expect them to be back before year's end, though, probably for a festival or two...

Now the record is out and you can look back on the whole process, has it gone like you expected?”
Says vocalist Craig Owens: “It’s exceeded all my expectations, actually. I didn’t expect the response from fans to be so positive and overwhelming, and the way my team has worked together has really impressed me in the way they stepped up to the plate. Everyone involved has done what it is that they do. It’s been an amazing journey and it’s just the beginning.”

What will you be doing on the day of release?
“I’ll be in my home state of Michigan. I have a radio interview in the morning where I’ll play some songs acoustically, and then I’ll go down the street to my local mall and we’re going to do a signing, and then we’re having a release party at my local venue. Was it important to start the story at home? Absolutely. I have a lot of pride for my home town and I trust the people here – if they accept, usually the rest of the world will.”

Last time we spoke you said you had a real ambivalence towards being at home because of what happened with Chiodos – is that still the case?
“It’s been worked through – I’m in a much, much better place than I’ve been for maybe my entire life. I have a new avenue in life.”

Presumably you’ve got the next two years of your life mapped out…
“Yeah, and the weirdest thing about the past year and a half is that it wasn’t planned out. I’ve had my entire life since I was 15 planned, so it feels good to know where I’m going to be in two months.”

How are you shutting out the haters this time?
“It’s really easy. With my sobriety comes a lot of happy thoughts; I didn’t just decide to stop doing drugs one day – with it comes all of these different tools you have to use in order to keep feeling good about yourself and one of those is to not take things personally. Everyone is on their own personal journey and everything they say is just a reflection of how they feel and what they’re going through. That’s all it is and I feel so good and confident and secure with myself that I can read the negative things and laugh it off.”

If I was speaking to you two years ago that would have been the last thing I’d have expected you to say…
“I feel like a new man. Actually – I feel like a man for the first time. I’m not a young kid who’s being easily controlled, I can stand up for myself and I’m content with who I am. I feel like I had to step up to the plate for my band and for my career.”

Who are your role models?
“My grandfather. The way he presents himself and lives and how content he is with his entire life – he grew up in a similar way to me, worked extremely hard and reaped the benefits. He grew up poor with the love of my grandmother, lived in Italy and travelled all over because he was in the military, had four kids who all had to live in tiny houses and now he’s very well off because he worked his ass off. And he teaches me every day through loving my grandmother and teaches that my integrity and morals should come before everything. The last two years that made a lot of sense.”

How much contact did you have with him when you were not on the right path, as you might say?
“I spoke to my grandmother much more previously; he and I had been close but we never really talked. When I grew up and decided to be a man we started talking and become a lot closer. We communicate a lot now.”

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