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Agalloch’s breakup remains clouded by drama

Agalloch
Photo by Veleda Thorrson

We posted a few days ago that the great Agalloch has sadly broken up, and shortly thereafter Invisible Oranges posted their own remembrance of the black metal boundary-pushers. While it does appear that the band is in fact broken up, some drama surrounding the exact details has been going down.

In frontman John Haughm’s follow-up to his initial breakup post, he mentioned that Agalloch, while not technically broken up, had been “reduced to its founding, visionary member.”

It seemed like that left some room for interpretation as to what the status of the band actually is, but Haughm then deleted the post, and a revised version of the band’s original statement went up, clarifying, “The name Agalloch has been permanently laid to rest.”

Lead guitarist Don Anderson has since released his own statement, implying that the band may not see eye to eye with Haughm on this whole breakup situation.

This was not my decision.

I did not want this.

I still maintain it was not necessary.

I’m sorry it had to be this way. I am personally devastated and have not felt this level of grief since my father passed away ten years ago. So, if you are sad, upset, pissed, or bitter—I share these feelings with you. I know Agalloch deeply touched a lot of people. And I honor that by grieving in solidarity with all of you. Agalloch was an incalculable part of my identity and I’ll be walking as half a man for some time now.

So it seems that not everyone is cool with this decision by the founding, visionary member.

Meanwhile, always present when there’s shade to be thrown, Krieg‘s founding visionary Neill Jameson weighed in via a Decibel editorial, taking some major shots at Haughm:

Hours after he fired his band, he called himself “visionary.” The fucking hubris of this even took me by surprise and I’m used to people making wild claims about themselves to somehow appear more of an important or strong figure but this shit took that trope and ran with it, unfortunately not out in front of a bus. There was mention that Agalloch might continue or that the future was uncertain which made the situation so apparent even Helen Keller could see it and agree that it was horseshit. It can be construed as saying that the other three members of the band—some of which had been with Haughm for well over a decade—weren’t important in the grand scheme of things. And not only does that do them a great disservice, since without them he wouldn’t have been able to tour or record these albums, it’s also a giant dick move to publicly shit on your friends, people who have stood by you since before anyone gave a fuck about you. It shows a lack of class and character. It’s poor fucking form.

The whole piece is highly entertaining and well worth a read (“As a caveat I have to say that I’ve never cared for Agalloch’s music; I’ve had the first Ulver record since it came out and that’s all I need.”)

We’ll see how this whole thing shakes out (and if Haughm indeed resurrects Agalloch with a new lineup). But it seems pretty clear that this thing has gone down under less than amicable circumstances.

Read Don Anderson’s full statement below.

Dear Everyone,

Usually statements like these open with expressions of gratitude for the fans, friends, colleagues, and people we’ve worked with. There is a sort of form to the break-up letter that long-running bands produce: “thanks everyone that has supported us over the years, bought our records, came to our shows,” and so forth. Then the apologies arrive from fans, friends, and family members: “we’re so sorry to hear this. We hope you are ok.” But, I can’t start like that—it seems too mechanical. I can’t start that way because it is I who should apologize to all of you.

I am sorry you won’t ever hear new music from Agalloch. I am sorry our fans in Latin America, China, Russia, Japan, Australia, will never see us play. I’m sorry I won’t personally meet many of you after a show and talk about music, movies, school, and share a shot of bourbon. I’m really, really sorry because I had every intention of continuing.

This was not my decision.

I did not want this.

I still maintain it was not necessary.

I’m sorry it had to be this way. I am personally devastated and have not felt this level of grief since my father passed away ten years ago. So, if you are sad, upset, pissed, or bitter—I share these feelings with you. I know Agalloch deeply touched a lot of people. And I honor that by grieving in solidarity with all of you. Agalloch was an incalculable part of my identity and I’ll be walking as half a man for some time now.

I want to thank many people. I am terrified of forgetting anyone as my mind isn’t all that clear today. So, for now, I really want to thank the fans from the bottom of my heart. My favorite activity was meeting all of you after a gig, or before a gig. The spiritual connection you and I shared during a show was the closest I, an atheist, have ever felt to God. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

You might think our music helped you through the dark times in your lives, but all along you were helping me avoid the darkness.

Sincerely,
Don Anderson
New York, May 14, 2016

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