Whether He Is We, Her, Him, or Someone Else, This Has To Stop.
Impossible situations are very real, and never fair. Sometimes the best or most logical solution to a problem is still lose-lose, and sometimes just making it out alive is a win. Nothing about He Is Weís current trials and tribulations are remotely fair, to any party involved. With finger-pointing, judging, and miscommunication running rampant, itís time we let emotion go and realize everyone is doing the best they can.
Most know by now that Rachel Taylor has endured a very serious disease for some time now. Ankylosing spondylitis has caused all kinds of issues for the singer, including ďpain, nausea, panic attacks, migraines, and a lot of other really cool stuff that isn't fun to talk about like vomiting.Ē Prescribed two chemotherapy drugs and the medical advice that touring was a death sentence, the tough conclusion was that Rachel could not go on the road. Thatís where the agreements end and the disparities begin.
Famous author John Maxwell said ďLife is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.Ē Truer words have never been spoken, and few are as relevant to this bandís current state. Faced with the impossible, each party involved has publicly reacted, and for the most part has made the best of the situation. For Rachel, the tragic but required response was to ground herself, focusing on her health first. Fans everywhere reached out and expressed their love through heartfelt tweets and comments, and though all were upset, most agreed to support the bandís yet-to-be-announced new live vocalist. Touring without Rachel was, at the time, not considered a travesty, but rather an unfortunate truth. A difference of internal opinions made for chaos in the coming days.
Asking an artist to step away from her music is akin to separating mother and child. The attachment fans have to a musician or song are miniscule to the authorís relationship with said music. That said, some sort of adoption was needed to save the baby. In her blog, Rachel intimates that despite her disease ďthe touring plans were made.Ē Though she has not explicitly said so, we can infer she believed that the band should pause during her recovery, a valid opinion and reasonable request of a lead vocalist. Plenty of bands have paused while a member recuperated, or dropped current plans as a result (He Is We dropped off an All Time Low tour due to Rachelís declining health). Whether it was her partner Trevor or their management, clearly others disagreed and believed the band should continue on in some capacity, Rachel or not.
It seems like an odd comparison, but Of Mice & Men notably underwent a similar story. Frontman and founder Austin Carlile suffered a heart condition that would require months of rehab, eliminating any chance of touring. His response: bring in a sub. The band enlisted Jerry Roush (Glass Cloud, formerly of Sky Eats Airplane) to fill-in, as not touring during their albumís debut was deemed catastrophic for the growing band. Itís not an uncommon solution: Thrice brought Nate Patterson of The Receiving End Of Sirens on tour to replace guitarist Teppei Teranishi twice in response to family emergencies, and countless other bands have made similar decisions. Sometimes the show must go on, an ideal some in the He Is We camp clearly prescribed to. With that in mind, Stevie Scott was introduced as the bandís new touring vocalist, with the note that Rachel was very much still in the band.
The focus has shifted to a social media he-said, she said; a bloodbath of opinions on who wronged who. Through several tweets and her blog, Rachel has expressed feelings of neglect and possibly betrayal, stating ďI had no idea what was going onĒ and ďthey can have the He Is We name if they want it, I refuse to let that stop me from being honest and true to you guys.Ē A highly confusing back-and-forth from Trevor and Rachel via public statements made the situation impossible to judge; both sides made comments that seemed unfeasible, and both made what appear to be valid points. If Rachel was truly unaware of the plans, thereís an issue. If Trevor wanted to continue the bandís tour schedule despite his partnerís possibly permanent inability to tour, thereís an issue. No solution would completely appease every party, an understandable conundrum. Rather than empathizing with the difficulties, a war of #teamrachel vs. #teamtrevor has erupted, shaming a band built on positive messages and good will.
At this point, all involved have been wronged. Trevor and/or management not allowing Rachelís participation in determining the future was a disservice. Rachel publicly criticizing a band sheís still a part of is a disservice, creating questions regarding He Is We and making her future involvement awkward at best. Whether everything or nothing is true, itís time all be forgotten. Each party acted in what they felt were their best interests, and complaining about the past, no matter how recent, solves nothing. If Rachelís accusations are accurate, itís time that all made amends (preferably internally Ė the apology is owed to Rachel, not the public). If Rachelís feelings are that she can no longer be a part of He Is We, itís time that decision be made. Itís woeful that these life-altering conclusions must be made suddenly and in poor health, but all involved have acted in a way that requires immediate attention so Rachel can heal, the band can continue, and the fans are eased. For everyoneís sake, start the ceasefire.