Thursday, August 7, 2008

Newsflash: Wolfmother Dismantle Themselves

Another day, another bit of less-than-spectacular music news. Wolfmother, possibly the most famous of those lupine-named bands that exploded several years ago, sent a notice out to their mailing list today. The news is as shocking as running into a bearded dude in Richmond, given all the rumors I had been hearing for months about the rift between the two departing members (pictured left and right) and he who remains in Wolfmother (center, naturally), but it still was a little sad to read. Here's the email in full:

"
Hi Megan,

Grammy Award winning rock band Wolfmother has announced the resignation of bass/keyboard player Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett effective immediately.
Singer/guitarist Andrew Stockdale now plans to find other musicians over coming months and to then begin making a new Wolfmother album.

Wolfmother toured the world virtually non-stop through 2006 and early 2007 on the back of their acclaimed self titled debut album. Longstanding frictions within the group then lead them to take an extended break during the second half of 2007 to consider their future.

In early 2008 they regrouped and worked on new material. Initially encouraged by those sessions, they committed to a handful of live shows to 'road test' the new songs and to try to find a way forward.
Those dates concluded with a headlining slot last Sunday at the Splendour In The Grass Festival in Australia's Byron Bay where rumours circulated about possible lineup changes.

Following that show Chris Ross decided to announce that he was leaving the band due to irreconcilable personal and musical differences. Myles Heskett has also decided to leave the band rather than continuing as part of a changed lineup. The pair has been working together on songs for some time and they plan to focus their energies on that new project in the future.

Wolfmother's self titled debut album is one of the most successful Australian rock releases this century. It has sold over 1.3 million copies and received multiple ARIA Awards and a Grammy – making them the first Aussie band to receive such an award in 25 years.

Other highlights for the group have included appearances at just about every major music festival in the world, sharing stages with Pearl Jam, The Who and The Strokes, and a special performance inducting the legendary Led Zeppelin into the UK's Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame.


Andrew Stockdale, Myles Heskett and Chris Ross will make no public statements at this time except to say that they are each really looking forward to making their new music over the years ahead.
In the meantime they simply ask all Wolfmother fans to please understand that in spite of their best efforts over a long period of time, they just could not find a harmonious way to work together and that has lead to the decisions announced today."

It remains to be seen whether Stockdale will reemerge with a new pair of partners, but even if he does, they'll never be the same band. I have to say that Wolfmother was one of the best live bands I've ever seen, and a good deal of that praise is a result of Heskett and Ross, both in terms of their musicality and their showmanship. The first time I saw Wolfmother, it seems so long ago now, Ross nearly bashed my head in with his keyboard stand, but I learned from that night in Brooklyn and never stood in front of him again. This afforded me a great view of his antics, leaping around the stage like a cracked-out bunny rabbit, as well as checking out Heskett mauling his drums with maniacal glee. Sure, Stockdale is a truly great frontman, but to be a great live band you've got to have a certain intangible chemistry working for you. And did they ever. I will remember them fondly, and best wishes to all of them in their future endeavors.

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