Chapter 14’s Chad Ackerman: The Gun Shy Interview

Chapter 14

It’s a rainy day in California and former Destroy The Runner singer Chad Ackerman — who is one half of American metalcore outfit Chapter 14 — is spending his time hanging out with his pal Jordan Mancino. Yeah, the kitman for As I Lay Dying Jordan Mancino. But Chad’s also taking some time out of his busy, rained-out Tuesday to talk with me about life, working with musical partner Tanner Sparks, and Chapter 14’s self-released debut offering, Like Trees In November, which is now available for purchase online…even with “Free Gift Wrapping.”

“We’re chillin’ because there’s nothing to do outside,” Ackerman tells Gun Shy Assassin, of his day with Mancino. Unfortunately for Chapter 14, there’s nothing much doing tour-wise, either. Well, not yet. Ackerman says that the band’s “been talking to different people but we haven’t really accepted or put anything in concrete yet” for 2011. Yes, the new year will see Chapter 14 playing shows…it’s just that Ackerman can’t talk about it yet. “But we definitely will be touring next year.”

For a band that formed in 2003, Chapter 14 has already gone through a bunch of line-up shifts. The duo has five ex-members to its credit, and they’ve even gone on hiatus. Ackerman tells Gun Shy Assassin that early on, the plan was to record a few demos and just tour, to help build up something of a fan base. Then, they were going to bombard all of the labels with their demo and blow the fuck up. It didn’t quite happen that way.

“Right before we were going to send out anything to anyone, our drummer got an opportunity to be As I Lay Dying’s drum tech so he took off and we kind of were on hiatus, so…,” Ackerman explains. “All of the original members of Chapter 14, they all said that if we ever toured or played shows, they wanted to play and they’re all super excited about the album.”

And Ackerman’s already excited about the follow-up. He says Chapter 14 basically “already have the full next album done, and we’re just kind of ironing out stuff. We write all the time so we have loads and loads of songs. We’re not waiting around at all.”

The band is not signed with a record label, and while some folks may look at that and write the band off as an indie act no one wants to back, Chapter 14 actually like calling their own shots. They would have it no other way, actually.

“The thing is, we’ve dealt with labels in the past, and I don’t want to say anything bad…we just decided now, especially because of this digital age [we’re in] and how downloading is and just how you can be your own business pretty much, we decided that record labels really couldn’t do anything for us, unless we were touring with Beyonce,” he says. “We’re going to keep doing as much as we can ourselves and we kind of encourage bands to do that now.”

They had no label interference while working on their album and recorded the disc they wanted to, with no deadline. “It was awesome,” Ackerman says, adding that the band hasn’t even had a hard time booking gigs despite the group’s lack of label affiliation. “Our main goal for this band is…we’re not trying to get super huge and make tons and tons of money. This is music we love to write, and we want as many people to hear it. We’re just going to keep writing and recording what we love and see what happens.”

Fans of Ackerman’s voice will be glad to know that he is also singing for an electro-rock band called Count Your Curses, who are based out of Arkansas. That group’s album — with Chad on vocals — will be out in the spring.

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About Chris Harris

Chris Harris is an internationally-published music journalist and writer whose work has appeared on the pages of Rolling Stone, IFC, Revolver, Alternative Press, and Radar. The former news editor for Noisecreep, Harris also served as co-host for the site’s weekly podcast, “Creep Show." Before that, he spent four years writing for MTV News.