We're a punk band that is not very, but trying hard to be, internet savvy.
Two days after getting back from Fest 10 Jon texted me, “we need to talk.” Like so many other aspects of existing in a band, the anticipated subject matter of one of these “talks” was the same as if it had been in its more common context of a romantic relationship. You know before you know but you have to wait before you know. Conveniently already at a bar, I ordered another drink and announced to my friends that my band had just broken up.
The following day I met Jon for coffee and he, never the most garrulous member of the band, skipped the small talk and regrettably announced that he was quitting the band. There are myriad reasons to quit The Riot Before, and he listed a few good ones. We chatted for a few minutes about our futures while finishing our coffees and then got up, shook hands, and went our separate ways.
Though The Riot Before has been made up of thirteen different musicians over the course of its eight year existence, Cory, Freddy, and Jon were by far the most important and influential members. They performed on Rebellion and Fists Buried in Pockets, they were on stage during the vast majority of our five-hundred plus shows, and they sacrificed their time, their money, their personal lives to make this band work for as long as it did. The band is permanently indented with their influence, so much so that, with all three of them now gone, it would be both insensitive and dishonest to stand alone on something built by a group and obstinately declare it The Riot Before. So I won’t.
Sitting alone in my dorm room playing guitar way back in 2003, I could never have imagined that those poorly strummed power chords were the beginnings of a sound that would resonate for the next eight years. And I really mean that. I grew up in a small farm town in a part of California that bands tend to avoid, and so for most of my life the act of simply attending a show was normally so far out of reach that I never thought it possible to get the chance to be the show. That I would be a part of over five hundred shows in ten different countries, well, that was a reality that at one time really was even beyond the grasp of my imagination.
I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to everyone who made this improbable band a reality for so long. Thank you to those of you who put on our shows, put us up in your homes, put out our music, and just plain put up with us. Thank you especially to everyone who came out to a show, from the shaky, stage-frightened start in Isla Vista, to the triumphant sea of fists and bodies at the Fest, to all those in between. Thank you to everyone who sang along with us. Thank you to those who will continue to do so in your cars and bedrooms. Thank you for making us feel welcome in your town, whether there was a large crowd or three was. Thank you to all the bands we were so very fortunate enough to share stages with. We would never have made it this far if we had not been so surrounded by such inspiring, talented people.
I am so very grateful for these years defined by this band called The Riot Before. It’s the best thing I’ve ever had the chance to be a part of, and the bar is very high indeed for all future endeavors.
Regarding the future, at this point I can’t image mine filled with anything but stages and songs. I have to figure out the latter first, but once I do I have every intention of bringing them to a stage near you.
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