By MIKE CHAIKEN
Hawthorne Heights has hit the road with the Warped Tour, just in time to promote its latest album, “Zero,” which was released July 1.
Warped comes to Hartford’s Comcast Theater on July 14. The concert begins at 11 a.m.
Calling from a parking lot in San Diego, where the Warped Tour was two shows into its summer jaunt, the band’s drummer Eron Bucciarelli said the traveling rock festival was “great so far.” This is the band’s third trek with Warped, he said, “We’re no strangers… It’s been a lot of fun. We’re getting into our groove.”
As for why Hawthorne Heights opted to head out on the road for a third time on Warped, Eron explained, “For our fans, for our demographic, this is THE summer festival… It’s unparalleled… for the amount of people (it draws)… and the exposure for the band.”
“It’s the perfect summer tour,” said Eron.
Warped also stokes the fan fires for bands who are fans as well. Many acts take time out away from the stage to see what else is going on at Warped.
Eron said as the tour continues, personally, he’s looking forward to catching sets by tourmates The Architects (U.K.), letlive., The Wonder Years, and others.
For Hawthorne Heights— which also includes Mark McMillon on guitar, Micah Carli on guitar, JT Woodruff on guitar and vocals, and Matt Ridenour on bass—Eron said the Warped Tour gives the band a chance to build up interest in its new effort, “Zero.”
The album, the band has explained in press materials, swirls around a concept.
“It takes place in this dystopian future,” said Eron of the story of “Zero,” “where an oppressive regime has taken control… (using) mind control drugs.”
But, Eron continued, a resistance arises to battle the regime. That resistance is called the Zero Collective.
Eron said the album is told from the point of view of the leader of the collective, as he deals with the loss of friends and family. Along the way, said Eron, the protagonist reminisces about the way things used to be.
As for what inspired the album, Eron said elements were pulled from all over.
“Some of these things are touched upon in the news every day,” said Eron.
But Hawthorne Heights’s drummer said the band also looked to some classic books such as George Orwell’s “1984” and movies such as “Running Man” and “V is for Vendetta” for inspiration. The band also looked to one of the icons of concept albums, Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” said Eron.
“If you look at most concept albums, they’re epic masterpieces,” said Eron. “We wanted to do something larger than life.”
For Hawthorne Heights, “Zero” was definitely a change up from past efforts. “We’ve never took on anything with this scope,” said Eron. “But it got the creative juices flowing.”
“The time was right (to try something like ‘Zero’),” said Eron. And Hawthorne Heights received a lot of encouragement along the way.
The album initially didn’t start as a concept piece, said Eron. The first few songs pulled together of what would become the band’s next album were written without any particular context. That said, the tracks were relatable in a way. Eron said JT then wrote what would become the introduction to the album. From there, things begin to click. The band then thought, “Maybe if we make all the songs relatable to this character (the protagonist),” said Eron. “We started expanding on that concept and wrote a whole bunch of songs and adapted the originals to work within the concept.”
Some band such as Pink Floyd for “The Wall” and most recently, My Chemical Romance for its album, “The Black Parade,” built huge, epic stage shows to bring their concept pieces to life. They were productions that emphasized the broad scope of the musical efforts in the recording studio.
Will Hawthorne Heights follow suit?
“We’re still working on that,” said Eron.
There are some hurdles, Eron said. For instance, the band is booked on Warped for the summer, and the band’s set list, because of the nature of the festival, is relatively brief.
Beyond Warped, Eron said Hawthorne Heights is also likely to tour throughout the fall as a support act. Eron said a full-blown production for “Zero,” in that particular case, isn’t possible.
Beyond that for Hawthorne Heights, who knows? “We plan on doing a headlining tour.”
Hawthorne Heights and the Warped Tour come to Hartford’s Comcast Theater. The fun begins at 11 a.m. For more information, go to WarpedTour. com, LiveNation.com, and HawthorneHeights.com.