A return to semi-normalcy came around the second week of November. After a week of canceled or postponed shows because of a tragic car accident, it was time for Hawthorne Heights to get back to work, and back to touring.
The Never Sleep Again tour features bands from Victory Records - Silverstein, Aiden, and Bayside, as well as Hawthorne Heights. On the early morning of October 31st, after playing the night before in Colorado's Boulder Theater, the bands were in separate vehicles heading toward The Great Saltair in Magna, Utah, for a Halloween show. While passing through Cheyenne, Wyo., Bayside's van skidded on a patch of ice and flipped over, killing drummer John "Beatz" Holohan and injuring bass player Nick Ghanbarian.
The tour was put on hold for a week. Hawthorne Heights drummer Eron Bucciarelli kept fans up to date throughout the week with posts on the band's Web site.
By the weekend of November 5th, Heights' merch company had pressed and shipped memorial T-shirts to the band.
"We had our merch company, called Entertainment Merch, design a shirt with all our band names on it, kind of commemorating the tour with John on the back and all the tour dates and everything," singer/guitarist JT Woodruff told Pollstar. "Our merch company is really good. [They're] not charging us to print them or anything. And we're giving all the profits minus cost to the Bayside Fund and to John's family."
The tour continues through December with Bayside as an acoustic duo. Meanwhile, Hawthorne Heights has to keep its momentum going.
The band has quickly become a flagship project for Victory Records. Its debut, The Silence In Black And White, sold more units out of the gate than the label's previous record holder, Taking Back Sunday. The debut is already gold with 600,000 units sold and it is predicted to reach platinum by Christmas.
A headlining tour is on the way, then the Kerrang! Festival in January. The next album drops in late February, coinciding with a run of secondary markets with Emery, Anberlin, June, and Bleed the Dream.
Then there's a tour in the works with Fall Out Boy in small arenas.
Obviously, Hawthorne Heights is moving quickly. During the last throes of '03, the band had neither a notable manager nor an agent, and was self-booking turnaround tours from Dayton, Ohio, to cities like Philadelphia.
"We would all get online, get on all the Web sites we could, find all the bands in other areas and all the clubs and everything," Woodruff said. "Our biggest tour was two or three weeks. We'd play 14 terrible shows to 15 kids, but that was 15 people who got turned onto our band."
The group also put together its own press kit.
"We tried to make it look really professional, and Eron did a really good job with that," the singer said. "Then we all looked up management and booking agents for our favorite bands."
The Agency Group was sent a kit, of course. Jeremy Holgersen repped a lot of bands in Heights' genre including Glassjaw, Static Lullaby, and alexisonfire. He recalls getting a burned demo CD from either the band or Victory prexy Tony Brummel.
Meanwhile, TAG's Mike Mori got the same CD from the band's lawyer.
"Mike and I were talking to them at the same time so we said, 'Hey, why don't we do this together?'" Holgersen told Pollstar. "We picked them up June or July of last year but we knew about them since November of 2003. They were on tour with Silverstein at the time; we got them out on tour with Mest.
"The headline tour we just did we split in half but we're both involved on the day-to-day," he added. "We're talking to the same promoters. It depends on the tour; we split duties accordingly. We'll talk about the big picture and we'll get on the phone together with the band and manager."
As the interview with Woodruff came to a close, the singer mentioned that Pollstar acted as his personal compass.
"Pollstar is how I've looked up where we're going and when we're going there," he said. "That's how a lot of my family knows, too. It's a lot more reliable than Ticketmaster because Ticketmaster only carries certain shows. Pollstar carries everything from each band."
"One time we got on [Pollstar.com] and, you know how you have featured tours scrolling on the left? We saw our name on there and it was like, 'Whoa.' We've seen a lot of our idols up there so it was really cool to see our name up there, too."