A Thorn for Every Heart

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"Atfeh" redirects here. For the Syrian politician and military officer, see Abdullah Atfeh.
A Thorn for Every Heart
Origin Chino Hills, California
Genres Rock, alternative rock, post-hardcore, screamo, emo
Years active 2003-2009, 2013–present
Labels Kickball / Interscope / Universal Music Group
Associated acts Hi-Fighter; Come On, Come On!
  • Kelvin Cruz
  • Joel Ryan Holt
  • Phil Nguyen
  • Justin Powell
  • Casey Hill
Past members
  • Aaron Peck
  • Jeff Harber
  • Joy Welling
  • Matt Mallouk
  • Tyler Mahurin
  • Matt Thorsen
  • Ryan Warrell

A Thorn for Every Heart (often abbreviated to ATFEH) is a post-hardcore band from Chino Hills, California.


ATFEH c. 2007-2008, from left to right: Justin Powell, Phil Nguyen, Kelvin Cruz, Casey Hill

A Thorn for Every Heart was started in early 2003 by Joel Ryan Holt (guitar) and Aaron Peck (drums). The original line-up of Holt, Peck, Kelvin Cruz (lead vocals), Jeff Harber (guitar, keys, backing vocals), Justin Powell (bass), and Joy Welling (violin) independently released their debut EP, Silence Is Golden, in late 2003. The EP gained them internet exposure and created an underground following,[1] leading to talks of a record deal with Interscope.[2] Due to musical differences, Holt (guitar/band co-founder) and ATFEH parted ways, and long-time friend Phil Nguyen joined the band in Holt's place. In support of the EP, ATFEH embarked on their first nationwide tour in 2004, during which Welling (violin) parted ways with the band due to personal differences. The band never replaced the violinist or added any other full-time instruments to the group's sound. ATFEH recorded their first full-length album, Things Aren't So Beautiful Now, with producer Shawn Sullivan (Bleeding Through, Reel Big Fish) in the summer of 2004. The album, featuring five reworked songs from the EP and five new songs, was released on October 19, 2004, through Interscope's subsidiary, Kickball Records. After recording the album, Peck (drums/band co-founder) also parted ways with the band, leaving the permanent drummer position open for a year afterward.

Over the next few years, ATFEH toured around the United States as both supporting band and headlining band, such as on their headlining tour in March 2006 sponsored by Purevolume. Openers have included From First to Last, Hit the Lights, and Boys Like Girls. ATFEH also toured with such bands as Fall Out Boy, Jimmy Eat World, Head Automatica, Taking Back Sunday, Emery, Boys Night Out, My American Heart, The Receiving End of Sirens, A Static Lullaby, and more. They played many festivals, such as Surf & Skate (2004), The Bamboozle (2005, 2006, Bamboozle Left 2006),[3][4] and two years of The Vans Warped Tour (2004, 2005). In 2005, they self-recorded (via their bassist and notable producer Justin Powell) two cover songs for major compilation releases: Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party" for the Punk Goes 80s compilation, and "Jellybelly" for The Killer in You: A Tribute to Smashing Pumpkins. Tyler Mahurin (A Static Lullaby, Hollywood Undead) was added as official drummer in 2005. ATFEH also appeared on Fuse's "Steven's Untitled Rock Show" on May 29, 2006.[5]

Impressed with the debut album's success,[6] Interscope spent the next couple years grooming the band for a main label release. The resulting second full-length album, It's Hard to Move You, was ultimately set to be released on July 31, 2007. It was mostly recorded with producer Matt Squire (Panic! At the Disco);[7] some tracks were recorded with Mark Hoppus of Blink-182. After years of writing/recording and numerous delays, It's Hard to Move You leaked online in its entirety on June 1, 2007. Soon after, Interscope closed its Kickball Records subsidiary, leaving talks of a main label move indefinitely in limbo and the album shelved ever since. ATFEH is currently trying to gain the rights to the record; a petition regarding the matter began circulating the Internet in 2015.[8]

Mounting issues for the band took a toll on Harber (guitar, keys, vocals), who parted ways with the band mid-tour in 2006. Mahurin (drums) left the band in 2007 to join A Static Lullaby. The two were replaced by Casey Hill and Matt Thorsen, respectively.

With the band's label status in disrepair and the line-up drastically changed, ATFEH took some time to regroup, and reemerged with their second self-released EP, aptly titled Pick Up the Pieces, which was released on July 1, 2008.

In early 2009, Powell (bass) announced that he, too, would be leaving the band, and Ryan Warrell served as the bassist during the band's final months. Cruz (lead vocals), the last member to be added to the original line-up, also became the last original member at the band's end. On March 20, 2009, the band posted a blog on their MySpace saying that they are going on an indefinite hiatus.[9] Hi-Fighter, a long-running side-project including Powell, Cruz, and Holt, also came to an end several months later.

Cruz and Powell went on to start the electro/pop/rock group "Come On, Come On!"[10]

Frontman Kelvin Cruz recently confirmed that A Thorn For Every Heart will reunite in 2013 marking their 10-year anniversary with the original members including Joel Holt, Aaron Peck, Jeff Harber, Kelvin Cruz, Joy Welling, and Phil Nguyen. The only original member not rejoining is Justin Powell.[11]

A Thorn for Every Heart has recently confirmed that they will be reuniting to play with fellow resurrected band and long-time friends A Static Lullaby on June 17, 2016 at the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood.[12][13]

Band members[edit]


Title Release Date Label
Silence Is Golden (EP) 2003 [self-released]
Things Aren't So Beautiful Now 2004 Kickball Records/Interscope Records
It's Hard to Move You 2007 Kickball Records/Interscope Records
Pick Up the Pieces (EP) 2008 [self-released]

† never officially released

Other works[edit]

ATFEH has been featured on compilations. Compilation tracks include:

External links[edit]