Manchester Orchestra would like to officially announce the departure of their beloved drummer, Jeremiah Edmond. They've given us dibs on first word and below you can find an exclusive interview with both Jeremiah and lead vocalist, Andy Hull explaining the full situation.
So, tell me what's up. I hear you are leaving the band, which is tragic because we are all going to miss you. But tell me, how did you come to this decision?
Jeremiah: Basically, there were several things building up to it. The most important one on a personal level would be that I was getting burnt out from being on tour constantly. I've been married for two years, and I've spent a majority of those two years away from home. [I'm] ready to finally build a life with my wife at home. Support her more than I have been. She would never ask me to [leave] the band and has always been supportive, but for me on a personal level, it was being ready to be home.
And then on a professional level, I had been so busy on the road constantly touring that there as just no way for me to give Favorite Gentlemen the attention that it needed to get to the next step. I felt like I wasn't able to give artists like Kevin Devine and All Get Out the attention they needed to get their releases off the ground as much as they could be. I feel great about how they've done, especially Kevin, but I felt as though they could've done even more. If I could focus full time and really give it more attention, and there is just no way to do that with the tour schedule that we have.
So I really had to look at what it would take to get to the next step with Manchester [Orchestra] and what I would have to to sacrifice to get to the next step. For me, those things didn't balance out. It would mean sacrificing more time at home and sacrificing taking Favorite Gentlemen to the next level, which has really become my main focus and my main passion more so than playing drums. Once I really balanced that out in my head, it just made sense to take a step back.
It's interesting that you talk about Favorite Gentlemen because I've always wondered how you guys manage both the band and the label. It always seemed like quite a feat.
Jeremiah: Really doing it all myself, it was becoming impossible. With Manchester stuff, I did a lot of the day-to-day things with management and up until recently, tour managing the tours myself. When we made the jump to the bus, I thought, maybe this will make it easier to find time to really get work done. And it really didn't, especially when we are overseas. It was nearly impossible to get anything done. For me, I have to be productive to be happy. I don't enjoy sitting around and relaxing as much as I should.
When I wasn't able to accomplish things that I'd like to accomplish and need to accomplish – the responsibilities I have towards our artists – I would get frustrated. And then I'm not happy, and being not happy on tour just isn't good for anybody.
How does one break the news to their band? Did they have an idea that this was on your mind?
Jeremiah: It was terrifying. I went over it in my head a million times on how to tell the guys, hoping they would understand and not misunderstand that it was something that happened with one of them. I got together with Andy and talked to him first. I told him that I needed to step away from touring and that I wanted to focus on the label. I was done with being on the road and burnt out and needed to be home to accomplish the things I wanted to do. He was incredibly supportive and got it right away. He obviously wasn't happy about it, but he really understood. I let him break the news to the rest of the band to give them a minute to adjust to it. Everyone was bummed out or shocked a little bit, but everyone was incredibly supportive and got it.
I expected this to happen at some point, and everyone saw this coming eventually for me, but I don't think anybody saw it this soon. It took a minute to sort through everything, but everyone was really encouraging, which was great for me because I was terrified that they would take it the wrong way.
And just for the record, we can say it was definitely not because of any bad blood.
Jeremiah: No, no. Honestly, the past couple months of touring has been the best of us getting along in a long time. There wasn't any bad blood or anything like that. It was me coming to terms with the fact that playing drums wasn't my passion and my focus now. I was incredibly happy with the things we accomplished as a band and I love playing in the band, but now things have taken priority over being in the band. Being married, obviously. That's my first priority. The label; that's my passion now. Since I was 14, I've been releasing tapes for the local bands I was friends with. Now I have this opportunity, and I need to act on it now.
What is the band going to do now?
Jeremiah: I broke the news to them in September. For the past several months, we've been treating it as I'm retiring from touring but everything else is still up in the air. As of now, we plan on having some friends fill in for the next couple tours. And then they are hoping to record a new album in the summer. Our friend Ben Homola, who drum techs for Brand New and every once in awhile tours with Kevin Devine, he'll fill in for some dates. Len Clark from Colour Revolt will fill in for some dates. We're not so much looking for permanent replacements now.
Well what about the business end of the band? You're so much of the business man – the day-to-day stuff like you said. Whose gonna take the reins for that?
Jeremiah: Over the past several tours we've had our friend PJ come on and tour manage for us. We have a pretty set road crew. And Robert has been coming up and taken on a lot of the responsibilities.
Andy: So I hear you talked to Jeremiah?
Yes, I talked to him yesterday. I'm sad to hear he's leaving but I'm happy to hear it's not because of some inner band meltdown or that you all hate each other.
Andy: It was as easy as it could be for someone to leave their band. He wasn't like, I wanna quit. He was like, I can't go on tour anymore. I kind of look at it as, [Favorite Gentlemen's] roster is getting stronger and stronger, making some the best records they've made and that requires attention. It's a win-win if he can still be a part of the day-to-day stuff.
I asked him yesterday, you know, how do you even break up with your band? And he mentioned how nervous he was and then how he told you first.
Andy: He kept trying to get us to drink [laughs]. It was like 2:30 in the afternoon! I think we all took it a lot better than he thought we would. We love his wife and she's part of our family. And the guys that are filling in are just two of my favorite drummers and two of Jeremiah's favorite drummers.
I know there is a certain chemistry within a band, like a puzzle, and when everything is going well, all the pieces fit. Do how do you bring in new members and maintain that consistency?
Andy: If you look at, Robert, for instance, wasn't on I'm Like A Virgin and he was on Mean Everything to Nothing. I think our band is an interpretation of the goal of the other members overall. We've said and he's said it would've been more damage to our band if he was doing something he didn't want to do. That creative thing - I really like to make music with people that are constantly stoked about the music we are making, you know? If that flame goes out, you can't blame them for that. That's why we've been through 19 members since the beginning of this band.
At the same time, I wasn't really shocked or floored. That's cool, you gotta do what you gotta do. Jeremiah is such an influence on the daily shit, the business stuff, and he's still working day-to-day with us. He's still around. He's still there.
We're big collaborators too. With drums and all the way to everything, everyone throws in their opinions. Chris would write a lot of the drums parts earlier and then Jeremiah would add shit and then we'd all mix it with everybody. We were really writing a lot with Chris just because Jeremiah lived about an hour and a half from us. And it never bothered him. He never really looked at himself as a drummer, you know. You look at someone as a friend, then a musician. And then you move on. I'm definitely not scared about it. I thought maybe I would be.
Well that's good. I guess I get nervous when I hear about my favorite bands losing members. You know, what's gonna happen?
Andy: You know about that band and then the drummer is this complete missing piece. Jeremiah's gone but we've recorded with other drummers; most people just don't really know that.
So really, so him leaving the band isn't as dramatic as we are probably going to make it sound?
Andy: [Laughs] Exactly. We didn't want to say anything. But Jeremiah was like, you're playing next week, you should probably say something about it. We wanted it to be like the kid on Full House who didn't show up for two seasons. Or Morgan on Boy Meets World.
We just finished this full-length record with Manchester and Kevin [Devine]. It's eight songs and it's really fucking cool. Jeremiah was around for that stuff and there definitely isn't any weird vibes. He's collaborating on it. And if we can't do without him, we'll just make him do it in the studio. He can write with us, you know? We've been able to write really awesome shit without him before, and that's in no way a negative thing about him or his playing. He can just pound the shit out the drums. And he's really inspired by Len from Colour Revolt, whose playing with us now. It will be a really nice switch, to put your favorite drummer in your shoes when you've been invested in it so long.
And this is really just a note of progression.
Andy: Yeah, there's no telling. We will see what the next step is for us. Jeremiah said it as well – there is a possibility that I was hindering the ability of where the songs could go, and if that is the case, then I think you'll be able to explore lots of types of things. Which, I think, he has a point on. When you don't have a set drummer, you can really explore everything.
So, there is something I'd like to confirm that Jeremiah mentioned. He said you'd be recording a new Manchester album in the summer?
Andy: We are going to be recording it. In June. We're going to start putting those pieces together. In my head. I think lyrically, it's pretty conceptual and following a story, which is kinda cool.