Ohio is for rockers

F or twelve years, the ultimate destination for hard rock and heavy metal fans has been the Rock On The Range music festival held in Columbus every May. This year’s festival boasts a diverse lineup of 60 bands that touches on nearly every major rock subgenre, including Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Body Count, […]

Hawthorne Heights and Underoath
play Columbus’ Rock On The Range


Hawthorne Heights (L to R) Matt Ridenour, J.T. Woodruff, Christopher Popadak,
and Mark McMillon. Photo: John Fleischmann.

By Justin Kreitzer

For twelve years, the ultimate destination for hard rock and heavy metal fans has been the Rock On The Range music festival held in Columbus every May. This year’s festival boasts a diverse lineup of 60 bands that touches on nearly every major rock subgenre, including Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Body Count, Power Trip, Quicksand, Code Orange, Greta Van Fleet, The Bronx, The Used, Andrew W.K., and Turnstile.

Also performing is Underoath, favorites of the early 2000’s screamo/metalcore scene. They recently reunited and released a new album titled Erase Me. Of local interest, the Troy-born metalcore crew Miss May I will perform, as will Dayton’s own emo-punk heroes Hawthorne Heights.    

The Dayton City Paper spoke with JT Woodruff of Hawthorne Heights about their new album, longevity and more.    

DCP: How excited are you to play the Rock On The Range stage to a
“hometown” crowd?

JT Woodruff: We are 100% amped to be included in a world-renowned festival like Rock on the Range. It’s the biggest show every year in Ohio, and we couldn’t be more excited to play it.

DCP: I know many fans are excited to see you perform, but what bands are you most excited to see at Rock On The Range?

JTW: There are so many great bands and a lot of awesome friends. I would say that we all like different bands on the fest, but Tool, Senses Fail, Underoath, Stick To Your Guns, Like Moths To Flames, Andrew W.K., Code Orange, Turnstile, and The Used are all incredible. Can’t wait to try and catch as many as possible!

DCP: Your new album, Bad Frequencies, was recently released and tackles aging and fleeting youth. You have been through a lot over your 14-year career. What drives you to keep going?

JTW: It’s easy to get mired in negativity, but I can’t really live my life that way. There are always more positives than negatives; you just have to look at it that way. The worst parts of life just highlight the best parts of life. We only get one chance, so we have to be adventurous while we are alive. You can’t hold back. You have to be true to yourself, roll the windows down, and let the wind take you away.

DCP: Besides the fan-expected hits, what is your favorite song to play live and why?

JTW: We love playing all the fan favorites, because we love the crowd reaction. We want the fans to get what they pay for, and we are happy to do it. We have a few curveballs on this tour, and we are excited to dig a little deeper. We will be playing a few songs that we haven’t played in six years. Putting out a new album means new songs in the set, which is always exciting.

Additionally, the Dayton City Paper spoke with vocalist/drummer Aaron Gillespie of Underoath about their return from hiatus and their new album.

DCP: The new album, Erase Me was recently released and the inclusion of four-letter words and denouncing of your previously held religion seems pretty polarizing. What has the response been like from fans? 

Aaron Gillespie: My first thought is this—you can’t step into the same shoes you wore 10 years ago, artistically. The second thing is, we don’t use incendiary language to polarize people and we use language because we felt like it needed to be used. I think you can say a curse word just to say it, you can say it for comedic reasons or you can say it because you have to. You can use it to get a point across. As far as the fans go, we don’t ever have the intention to hurt anyone but I think the only art is honest art and we try really hard to be honest. As for a spiritual journey, we have all learned to ask questions and develop different belief systems.

DCP: Besides the fan favorites such as “Reinventing Your Exit,” what is your favorite new song to play live and why?

AG: We haven’t played my favorite new song yet, which is “I Gave Up.” “It Has to Start Somewhere” is probably my favorite from the new album to play live. I’m excited to see how the songs evolve in a live scenario. I feel like when you play new songs they take on a new life in a live setting.

DCP: What fellow Rock On The Range bands are you most excited to see?

AG: I am a massive Maynard James Keenan fan, Tool is a huge deal to me and the new A Perfect Circle record is really interesting…it’s so chill. I’m so excited to see them. I’m friends with a lot of the bands playing; I’m excited to see people. As far as bands to see, it’s A Perfect Circle.

Rock on the Range takes place Friday, May 18 through Sunday, May 20 at MAPFRE Stadium, 1 Black and Gold Blvd. in Columbus. For more information, visit RockOnTheRange.com.

 

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Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at JustinKreitzer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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