We caught up with Craig Owens of Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows (aka D.R.U.G.S) on the London date of their tour with Black Veil Brides. He filled us in on how the tour was going, talked frankly about the consequences of leaving Chiodos and surprised us with his love of the outdoors…
How’s it being back in the UK?
Amazing, really, really well. It’s crazy because you kinda forget how many people over here really care, you spend so much time in the States touring it over and over because there are so many different areas so when you come back over here it’s such a nice refresher. We’ve toured with Black Veil Brides a ton so we do appeal to their fans, and the combination of that combined with the appeal to our own fans has made it so we just dominate every show, it’s been really great. We have all of our fans singing at the top of their lungs and then the Black Veil kids are thinking “wait, why don’t I know this”, so it’s been really, really amazing and tonight will be nothing less.
So do you have a favourite thing when you’re over here?
I really love – I mean it’s cheesy – I really love the grass because it’s actually green. I really enjoy the outdoors here. We drove by one place and there was just a massive field of yellow flowers which had just blossomed and I was like I just wanna get out there. So yeah, I really enjoy the natural elements the UK has to offer.
It’s so nearby, you can go less than an hour away and you’re right in the great outdoors.
Exactly, it’s amazing, completely beautiful.
As well as our countryside, we seem to have quite a unique set of fans over here. How do find playing to this audience different than back at home?
I feel like they’re a bit more difficult to capture. I’ve always said that I feel like UK fans are really smart, and you can’t just win them over by walking onstage and looking good, you have to perform well too. You have to be the ultimate package and if you can’t deliver that, then it’s gonna be a lot harder to win over the fans here, especially when you’re supporting. People are very particular about who and what it is that they enjoy and what it is that they dedicate themselves to, so I guess you always have to be on your game. But yeah, they’re definitely a unique set of fans, very informed, very up-to-date and current.
They’re almost mini-critics themselves, in some ways they’re worse than journalists! Last year you toured the UK pretty much straight after you started out and now you’re back over here again. It must feel pretty amazing, right?
I know it’s ridiculous. I guess that’s the word I’d use. It’s crazy that we’ve only been a band for a year, literally, the first record came out last February, and now we’re playing to 5,000 people tonight and 3,000 people pretty much every other night, it’s pretty amazing. It’s just a blessing and something that I‘m really thankful for and don’t take for granted but it’s also something that I don’t take with a grain of salt. I think that I’ve worked for it, it wasn’t just handed over or given, something that I’ve had to take and I’m not done yet.
There’s still more for us to see.
Definitely, there’s still more people to see, more people to get in the crowd, more places to go!
Definitely, until you’re headlining here yourselves.
Exactly, I’ve supported here so many times by this point in my life.
So in the last year you did Warped and the AP Tour and then you did Strength In Numbers earlier this year yet you still managed to release some new material. What’s happening in terms of the second album?
Well there’s a lot of writing taking place, but I think most of all we’ve been at it non-stop. The [current] record came out a year ago and we’ve been writing it for almost two, and going at it for also two years including recording the record, and doing press up to the record and touring right up to the record, so it’s the end of our record cycle after this tour basically. We’re gonna go home and reflect for just a minute.
Take a breather?
Yeah, I told my managers the other day that I don’t want to talk to anyone for a week, don’t contact me for a week, I just need to breathe. And I’m obsessed with business, that’s the kind of guy I am, an overachiever and a hardworker. I’m worn thin by this point but I’d like to give my best these last two shows and then go home, reflect, and see what my next step is. Hopefully take time off until at least the summertime, until May at least.
A well-deserved break! Obviously writing can be a pretty cathartic experience, do you ever worry that you’ll run out of things to say, or putting yourself out there for too much scrutiny?
Sometimes but the best part about that is, the more vulnerable and nervous you are about something you write, means it’s better. All the stuff I’ve ever been nervous about releasing ends up being the most successful, so I think that when you rput yourself out there is the moment people can really connect, that vulnerability is what led them to rock and roll in the first place. I think without that, if you lose touch you just become a machine and numb, so if anything I try to tap into that even more and try and make myself feel more uncomfortable by being twice as honest or twice as forward. I think you can hear that in the new D.R.U.G.S record, I’ve been more so than I ever have previously.
Clearly it’s a risk that pays off. You’ve each been in different musical projects before, how did you meet and decide you wanted to work together?
For me it was the removal from Chiodos; I was just looking around and saw all the different projects that I’d done and just thinking “I can pretty much do whatever I want right now”. There wasn’t even a few days span before someone came to me offering me a record deal and everything, that was overwhelming for me. It’s crazy how sometimes the hardest things are the best for you, but that (the removal) was the best thing that’s ever happened to my career. It slingshot me into the new person that I’ve become today and I think that if I hadn’t been kicked out when I was, I may not have been relevant to the new generation that came up – there’s definitely a generation gap between Chiodos and D.R.U.G.S. If anything my life span was extended by ten years at least. I’m just thankful to be in music still, doing this for a living, to have my options open and to basically do whatever I want to do, it rules.
There’s a lot more to come. We’ve mentioned how tiny our country is compared to the US, tours out there can go on for months on end whilst over here they can just last a week. How do you deal with being on the road for so long?
You just do, you either deal with it or you don’t. Like anything in life you can make it a positive experience or a negative one, I try to make it as positive as possible. It can be difficult, my little puppy got sick whilst I’ve been over here as well as my aunt passing away before the first show, so it was really set up to be a hard time but I’ve made a really positive experience out of it. That’s all you really can do, otherwise it’s gonna be twice as long and you’re not going to have any fun.
Push yourself to work harder.
Exactly either you pout about it or you get up and make a good time out of it.
When you do your over here, do you have a favourite UK city to play?
Obviously London’s always great because of the population, the crowds are crazier, bigger, that’s just typical. England has so many different parts to it and there are so many different, cool cities like Leeds and I think each of them have different qualities and characteristics. It’s almost like in the States where from New York to California and Florida to Texas, they’re completely different worlds, and I feel it’s like that here too. There’s not a specific one necessarily, I really just enjoy them for what it is that they are.
Keeping neutral, smart move! Just to finish, what would you say is the band’s biggest achievement so far in its relatively short career?
I think, again it’s a bit cheesy, the fact that whenever a tough situation arises we’ve managed to overcome it, and I think that’s what the band represents. It created a new life for each of the individuals involved, it extended their careers much longer than they may ever have had and in the future they’ll do more. Without the acceptance of the younger generation, I don’t think it would’ve been possible, so the fact that we can overcome and stay true to ourselves night in/night out, no matter what comes our way, that’s pretty amazing. It’s mostly how far we’ve come in such a short time, because a lot of us have been here before, figuratively speaking , and it’s knowing how to get there, how to stay there, how to stay relevant, how to move forward. The band is so talented in knowing what to do during different situations and I think it’s down to our experience that we can overcome any obstacle that comes our way, because it’s what we’ve done for so long.
Written by: Sophie McLoughlin