Guitarist Found Dead Before Show in D.C.

Casey Calvert, left, with Hawthorne Heights band mates Eron Bucciarelli, JT Woodruff, Micah Carli and Matt Ridenour.
Casey Calvert, left, with Hawthorne Heights band mates Eron Bucciarelli, JT Woodruff, Micah Carli and Matt Ridenour. "Just last night he was joking around," a Web posting by the band on Saturday said. (By Ethan Miller -- Getty Images)
By Theola Labbé
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 26, 2007

After Thanksgiving dinner with his family in Ohio, Hawthorne Heights guitarist Casey Calvert boarded a bus with his band mates Friday morning to start their "Wintour 07," a grueling schedule of back-to-back concert dates that was to include a show in Washington on Saturday night.

But the fast-rising indie group, which finished up a show in Detroit on Friday night, never got a chance to perform for local fans. D.C. police were called to the 9:30 Club in Northwest Washington about 2:30 p.m. Saturday and found Calvert unconscious on the band's tour bus, according to Officer Junis Fletcher, a police spokesman.

Calvert, 25, was pronounced dead at the scene, Fletcher said. Police are awaiting the results of an autopsy.

Family, friends and fans were reeling from the news.

Fan tributes poured in at the Hawthorne Heights Web site,, where band members Eron Bucciarelli, Micah Carli, Matt Ridenour and JT Woodruff announced that their "quirky and awesome" best friend had "passed away in his sleep."

"At this time we're not sure what exactly happened. Just last night he was joking around with everyone before he went to bed," the band members wrote in a posting dated Saturday.

The group, which has released two albums since forming in 2001 and has had several singles in regular rotation on MTV and VH1, sought to head off any rumors about Calvert's death.

"We can say with absolute certainty that he was not doing anything illegal. . . . We don't want his memory to be tainted in the least," the band members' posting said.

Reached at the family home in Middletown, Ohio, Calvert's stepmother, Tammy Calvert, said the family was in shock and mourning.

In addition to his stepmother, Casey Calvert is survived by his wife, two stepsisters and his mother and father, Tammy Calvert said.

Calvert picked up a love of music from his father, Greg, a member of Gary and The Hornets, a 1960s band that once performed on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." His father played bass, but the younger Calvert preferred guitar, his stepmother said.

He loved Dr. Seuss books and Tim Burton films and was so fastidious about his health that he was a vegetarian, she said.

He married about a year ago. His wife is a schoolteacher, his stepmother said.

"He was a very good and kind young man, and right now there aren't any answers," she said.

Staff researcher Rena Kirsch contributed to this report.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company