Following the 2014 death of lead vocalist Tyson Stevens, the chances that Arizona post-hardcore outfit Scary Kids Scaring Kids would ever reunite seemed slim. Even before the tragedy, the band had already broken up — they called it quits in 2010, on the verge of a third studio album that never materialized. But with Stevens’ untimely passing at age 29 from a likely drug overdose, a sense of tragic finality blanketed the synth-driven rockers’ sojourn as emo scene mainstays in the latter 2000s.

Yet the group will return early next year with a 15th-anniversary tour celebrating The City Sleeps in Flames, Scary Kids Scaring Kids’ debut album. It’s also a 10-year reunion for the act, led by three core musicians returning from that 2005 lineup: keyboardist (and fabled stage diver) Pouyan Afkary, guitarist Chad Crawford and drummer Peter Costa. Joining them will be bassist Jordan Flower and guitarist Don Vedda. The band’s roster finds its completion, however, in the addition of vocalist Cove Reber, formerly of Saosin and, most recently, the creative force behind Dead American. He’s the singer who’ll be figuratively filling Stevens’ shoes to belt out the memorable lines from that nostalgic album. See the upcoming tour dates down toward the bottom of this post.

According to the band, it’s the only way the tour could occur. After Stevens’ death, the group harbored no such will to reform. But when Crawford released a tribute song for Stevens two months ago — which doubled as Scary Kids’ first new material in nearly a decade — it prompted a flurry of fresh requests for a reunion. Asked by one associate what it would take to get the band back together, the members said they could only imagine doing it with Reber on vocals. He filled in for the group in 2009, covering for Stevens during some Warped Tour dates.

“We had no plans of reforming or ever doing a reunion tour,” Afkary told Loudwire last week. “Previously, it just never felt right; we broke up for a reason. But when Tyson passed away, there really was that moment where it truly felt like it would never happen again. That was difficult because we had kind of struck gold and did what so many people dream of doing, which is finding success in music with all of your closest friends from high school. To see that we had made it so far, and then for it to fall apart, it was pretty disappointing.”

He continued, “When we were asked by a booking agent how we could arrange this, it was like, ‘Honestly, we’d have to get Cove to be the singer. We really can’t think of anyone else that we would want to do the tour with.’ Next thing you know, Cove’s texting us, like, ‘Dudes, let’s do this!’ He was super on board, and it just came together naturally. We didn’t expect it to happen, so we didn’t really fight for it. But then everything just started locking into place. Every hypothetical that felt a bit far-fetched for us just worked.”

It’s a fortuitous situation for the sextet that started in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert, Arizona, back in 2002. What began as just another hard-driving garage band became one of a particular strain of emo’s most identifying outfits. Early EP After Dark got them signed to Epic Records imprint (and hard rock landmark) Immortal Records. The City Sleeps in Flames followed in 2005, as well as a self-titled effort issued two years later. But after the band imploded in 2010, and especially following Stevens’ death, a reunion seemed an implausible possibility.

“We’re not on a group chat or anything,” Afkary explained. “We’re not hitting each other up all the time, asking when we’re getting back together. Obviously, when you bond and become close with people, you still have that connection, but there’s not constant communication there. It was also completely out of left field that Cove was not only interested but also available to join us. We all have such busy lives these days and are doing very different things.”

What some of them have been up to includes Afkary moving to Los Angeles and returning to school. The Scary Kids keyboardist studied cinematic arts and has since produced music videos and commercials. In addition, Afkary was recently involved in Fable Studios’ virtual reality experience Wolves in the Walls. (An adaptation of a Neil Gaiman story, it’s now available to view on the Oculus Rift line of VR headsets.) As for Crawford, he founded rock group West Ghost and became a parent. (“I’ve been all-in on dad life at the moment,” the guitarist shared. “Just being a homebody and taking care of two kids.”)

But come January 2020, the focus will be on Scary Kids Scaring Kids’ first performances in ten years. They’ll be playing a majority of their 2005 album, along with other fan favorites thrown in for good measure. It’s a momentous task to undertake, considering the band’s past, not to mention the responsibility involved in measuring up to listeners’ expectations.

“The hardest thing is thinking, like, are we respecting Tyson’s memory?” Afkary admitted. “Hopefully, we’re doing the right thing. People have a certain memory of what the band is, and, obviously, nostalgia plays a part in that. We have to live up to that. You’re going to remember things, if you enjoyed it, better than what they actually were. So we want to go on stage and respect the memories that fans have. But we need to perform above and beyond those memories so that it doesn’t disappoint.”

As for what the future holds, the band demurs at the mention of new music, notwithstanding September’s tribute to Stevens entitled “Loved Forever.” But Afkary caught himself when flatly refusing the possibility. After all, the anniversary trek behind The City Sleeps in Flames was nary a blip on the group’s radar until recently.

“We’re looking at another leg in the States,” the keyboardist said of the upcoming reunion tour. “Beyond that, we’re open to considering more dates. But there’s nothing really after that. We’re revisiting a memory as opposed to kindling something new. But you know what? Never say never. Up until a month ago, I said we’d never do a reunion tour to anyone who asked.”

Tickets and VIP packages for the concerts listed below are on sale now.

Scary Kids Scaring Kids have partnered with the To Write Love on Her Arms organization for the upcoming tour. There will be a collaborative t-shirt available at shows with all proceeds going to the organization, and To Write Love on Her Arms will have an on-site presence at each show to speak on mental health issues. To learn more about the organization, click here.

Scary Kids Scaring Kids January 2020 U.S. Tour Dates

Jan. 13 – Orangevale, Calif. @ Boardwalk
Jan. 14 – Fresno, Calif. @ Strummers
Jan. 15 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ 1720
Jan. 16 – Anaheim, Calif. @ Chain Reaction
Jan. 17 – Phoenix, Arizona @ Press Room
Jan. 18 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ Fremont Country Club
Jan. 20 – El Paso, Texas @ The Green Door
Jan. 21 – Dallas, Texas @ Trees
Jan. 22 – Lubbock, Texas @ Jake's Cafe
Jan. 23 – San Antonio, Texas @ Paper Tiger
Jan. 24 – Houston, Texas @ Scout Bar

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