Needed a weekend to sit down and hammer this one out. I feel like I owe everyone a little explanation. I hope I keep it little.
I have been dreading this post for a while now. Not because I have anything I am afraid of saying, but more because there is so much to say that it is honestly hard to begin. The reality is, I have recently left my band Fight From Above after being a founding member some five and a half years ago. I have had a lot of people ask me through either the blog, facebook, texts and such what happened. Many of my friends saw the band’s email about me leaving to pursue Olympic biathalon training, and while that is only partially true (less than partially), I wanted to say a few words about the band and all of you that came to support me over the years.
The most important thing to put out there is that this decision was incredibly hard. To play on stage at the Troubadour in front of a packed house with people singing the lyrics to songs you put so much into is a feeling unparalleled in other facets of the private sector. I first played on stage at 4pm on a Saturday at a bar in Canoga Park that ceases to exist in front of eight people. The rush was insane and I have chased it for fifteen years. My high school band (of which Dave was a part) played with some of the biggest regional punk bands of the time. I remember getting hung upside down in the parking lot behind the Cobalt Cafe by the horn section of RxBandits. I remember listening to demos in New Found Glory’s tour van and the members of Midtown helping me fix my amp when it exploded on stage. Faced with a national tour we couldn’t afford or going to college, we took the suburban route and got our degrees. It had left most of us wanting more.
In college, I met a Hawaiian kid who was hell with a guitar. I hadn’t played mine in two years when a two hour drunken soliloquy in the parking lot resulted in us forming a band together. We called Dave, of course, and a really cool and cute girl who surfed, shredded bass and worked at the restaurant I was waiting tables at came along too. We played a bunch of drunken shows for which I was the lead singer. We played a show in New York and got bombed at a random high school party. We destroyed several backstage green rooms. I am not even sure how that band broke up, but some of it must have had to do with me getting sick. The truth was, it was always about finding a band for Justin Miner, who despite being my friend was one of my favorite musicians. I grew up loving the words of Chris Conley of Saves the Day. Now I was playing music with my own version of him.
That’s when Fight From Above was born, in the same parking lots at USC where we met. In 2005 when the college experience was ending, we had just written our first song and found ourselves on the lawn of a fraternity I can’t remember the name of watching the Phi Delt house burn to the ground. Miner wrote the lyrics to “28th Street Fire” and we were on our way. Two albums later, airplay on KROQ and STAR 98.7, placements on Real World and the Hills, hundreds and hundreds of shows up and down the coast and million stories deep, I am saying goodbye. It was just time to go.
For all the good and the bad, it was the best time of my life. It just represented the joys of the sloppiest years of my life. I started my career in the band, I met my fiancee in the band. Really, it’s been a big part of me for the longest time. I think in a lot of ways it always will.
I went the other night to see them play for the first time without me, a wonderful KROQ sponsored set at the Roxy. I heard the old songs and sang along from the crowd shaking my ass like I meant it. I heard the new songs I had worked on and found the remnants of what I’d written, but also found the wonderful new updates to the whole set Jeremy Miner made. Their new closing song was pure hotness. It made me glad that this awesome band was one I have roots in.
So, let’s wrap this up with the big question and answer. First off, why? I have had readers and friends (one in the same in my book) ask me what happened. To be honest, it was something coming for a long while. It was not any one thing, but if I had to say, it was just me moving in a different direction. I believe in the band and I know that soon they will need to hit the road in very, very big way. They deserve to and the country deserves to see the band in person. My career in advertising is something I fell in love with and recently I took a new job that I want more than anything to be successful at. It deserves my full attention, just like the band deserves the full attention of it’s lead guitarist. Believe me, no one was happier for me than my former bandmates, who now, I can simply refer to as my friends again, which is what they always were in the first place. Going the other way, no one will be happier to see them tour the country when the time is right.
Beyond that, I am about to get married (Dave is my best man, Miner and Krook, groomsmen). I have this blog and my contributions to LAist (which I have fallen pathetically behind on). I am finishing a script I am under contract for and am three chapters into my novel “California Boy”. There is so much I feel I still have to do and hopefully I use my time away from the Fight wisely, to see these things through and keep moving myself forward as a person.
This was every bit the “amicable” split the band described it as. I have spent quality time with all the guys since I left and I look forward to a lot more of it. As for Jeremy, Miner’s brother and my replacement. I have known him for years and he is a completely great dude and twice the guitarist I ever was. This is a great upgrade for the band and I have every confidence they will grow and improve with the new line up. I will be there to see it happen. I wish him the absolute best of luck. He told me at the Roxy he had big shoes to fill. Jer, your feet are plenty enormous for the job. It’s all you, big guy. I am stoked you get to play on stage with your brother.
To my fans (if there are any) or at least all you who asked what happened, I want to let you know if you came to see me play, I urge you to keep going to shows. The band works hard and the friendship and energy they put out there is all genuine. It comes from hours of practice and hours of hanging out. It’s more than a band, it’s a part of this city. I will be there and you better believe if one of them is sick, it will be me filling in. Who knows, maybe one day through whiskey eyes I’ll stumble out from backstage and sit in for a song or two.
For now, I am going to put my heart into my job, my friends and my writing. There’s a lot to do. I won’t rule out playing some music again someday, but for the immediate future it’s full steam ahead towards the aforementioned.
For those of you who my five years of incessant promotion did not reach and now are curious about the band, here are their upcoming tour dates:
And if you want a lil sneak peak at their new album, here’s an acoustic video they banged out downtown where we all met each other: