Story of The Year have parted ways with their longtime bassist Adam Russell. They have also posted a letter to their fans about their plans for the future (don’t worry, they are not breaking up.) You can read the letter below.
What a journey this has been.
The places we’ve been, the people we’ve met, the music we’ve created- it’s all led us to the right here, the right now. We’ve spent endless hours contemplating the future, wondering where we go from here, wondering if if we should keep the fire burning, or let it die and move on with our lives like so many of our peers have.
The music industry has changed a lot in the last 10-15 years. The industry that we knew when we first signed a record deal in 2002 no longer exists. There are no more giant record deals, no more of the excess you might have seen on VH1 Behind the Music or read about in the Zeppelin or Motley Crue books. The digital revolution created a new paradigm, and it’s had a dramatic effect on the people who make the music you listen to. Simply put, the fact that you can get (or listen to) any song, at any time, for free, changed everything. And change is never easy, especially when you are stubborn & slow to react like the music industry was.
Here’s a dose of reality, SOTY fans:
We’ve been a band for ten plus years, sold over 2 million records, played in something like 30 countries, and in recent years the members of Story of the Year would have made more money waiting tables or serving coffee. That’s the truth. 99.9 % of artists would make more money having a lemonade stand in their parents front yard.
We aren’t kids anymore. We have wives, kids, house payments- real life shit. Every member of this band has questioned how much longer they can do this. We’ve left our families for months at a time, sometimes coming home with what would equate to minimum wage. Or less. We’ve spent the last 5 years clinging to that last bastion of hope that we would have that hit song that would connect at radio or become a viral sensation and catapult us back up the mountain. We’ve had our fingers crossed for years, (so have the wives), that each next tour or album would be the answers to all of our prayers. It didn’t exactly work out that way.
So here we are.
Yes, the music industry has changed. But it’s NOT all doom and gloom! Not even close. The beautiful thing about being a band in 2014 is that we’ve never had more control over our own destiny. We have more power and a more direct connection to our fans than ever. We can pick up an iPhone and reach you all, instantly. That’s fucking magic!
So what do we do?
We’re going to completely re-think the way we operate as a band and business. Re-think the puzzle. Some of us have other bands, some make films and pictures, some build stuff, some will produce music, some work in radio. SOTY will not be our sole endeavor moving forward, because we can no longer sustain as grown ass men with real world responsibilities on SOTY alone. That’s the truth.
Adam will no longer continue on this journey, as it doesn’t fit with his life plan moving forward, and that’s absolutely okay. SOTY has always been about more than music- we support our friends round’ here- and we wish him nothing but the absolute best. Please do the same, because that’s our boy.
The rest of us will carry on. This band has given us more than you will ever know. And besides, it’s just too much fun! That feeling of walking out on stage, or writing a song that can change someone’s life- we won’t walk away from that. We will keep the torch burning bright. This is a beautiful time to be a creative person, despite the growing pains and financial insecurities. The old days are gone. No one is getting a big record deal, but so what? We can record music for 1/20 of what it used to cost because of technology. We can deliver it directly to our fans because of the internet. This is only possible now. If this were 15 years ago, we would have no choice but to hang it up. But we don’t have to, and we’re not. We are going to make records that we want to make, and play shows that we want to play. And in between we will do other things. SOTY will go on, because our band rules! There is no more pressure. It’s going to be just like it was when we were 15, and we played & recorded music for the simple love and joy of it. And then we’ll play some shows. Play a festival in Belgium or South Korea. Do a little Japan tour. Play solid USA markets. Spend a week in Australia. What we won’t do is spend 13 months a year on the road away from our families just to scrape by, stressed the fuck out because if we don’t have that magical song then we’ll be dropped from the label. No more of that. We are working class musicians, changing our business model.
That’s where we are, and it feels great.
We are planning a record now. Songs being written as we speak. And we plan to continue releasing records until we are skeletons. Between albums we will play shows & tour when it makes sense, and when we aren’t doing that we will pursue other endevours and be husbands and fathers. No more rock star myth. No more of this false, entertainment industry standard of only showing the best hand. We want to show you warts and all. Show you what being a working class artist entails. Fuck all that other bullshit. This is, and always has been about friendship and a mutual love of music. We are inspired as ever, ready to rock harder than ever. Here’s to a new era of creativity. A new era of re-ignited passion and possibility. Here’s to the next adventure!
We love you humans, and we know you are with us. Now let’s rock some shows!