I kept trying to think of eloquent ways of saying this; lines of flowing prose that evoke all kinds of emotions from the readers, but…I’m just gonna get straight to the point. After a lot of thought and consideration, I have decided to leave my band, Nonetheless.

It was not an easy decision. For five years I’ve defined myself in part by my role in the band. For five years I’ve been Bean (my stage name, for those who didn’t know), the wild and crazy bass guy, the man just as likely to lie down on the stage while playing as he was to jump into the crowd, the black guy in the hard rock band. That was about 33% of my entire identity, sitting equally alongside “father/husband” and “drop-dead sexy cup of cocoa”. It was a source of energy, a relief from stress, a wonderful creative outlet, a breeding groud of friendship, and overall just a nice way to spend time. It was a welcome escape.

As time goes on, though, your life begins to shift. Your focus, your priorities, they tend to become more or less prominent as situations change. And for me, the situation that was undergoing the most change was the growth and development of my kids. I’ve written many posts about 9YO and the troubles he has, but less about 5YO because…well, he doesn’t have the same issues. However, as they get older, there is an issue they both share – they want their daddy. Their reaction to me leaving 3 nights per week moved from apathy to disinterest to curiosity to outright disappointment, and the sighs of “Awww” when I walked out the door got harder and harder to bear. In addition, 9YO’s ADHD makes it incredibly hard for him to focus on homework at night (after the medication has worn off), and the nightly battles were taking their toll on DWW on those nights when I’d disappear into the darkness. I needed to make a change.

I can’t deny the obvious, though. The simple fact is that this decision was made easier by the disarray the band’s been in since earlier this year. Funny stories aside, we’ve had exactly two gigs this entire calendar year, with a lot of unfulfilled hopes in between. It hadn’t been anyone’s fault, and I’m certainly not casting blame anywhere…it is what it is. We found a great new guitarist, and thought we had a singer, but that didn’t work, and we went through several months of auditions and possibilities and uncertainty and just general lack of cohesive focus. While this alone wasn’t enough to push me to my decision, the combination of both situations proved to be too much for me to ignore.

Although I’ve stepped away from the band, I do so with no regrets. We were absolutely fantastic on stage. Locally, very few could compare with the energy, the emotion, or the skill we brought to the stage. Nonetheless could make the room form a mosh pit to a ballad, and we did that more than once. The intense sense of power and fulfullment we got from the fans was without equal, and was addicting like the most potent opiate. The vibratory buzz I felt each time before stepping on the stage made me feel like a superhero about to take flight, each time and every time. We never mailed it in. We never half-stepped. We never gave less than our ultimate best, whether there were 150 people in the room, or just 3 (which happened once). I know in my heart that, as a band, we had absolutely nothing left to prove to others, and maybe only a handful of things to prove to ourselves. I can walk away knowing these things, and knowing that I loved each of my bandmates as though they were blood relatives, and that it was that love and caring that made us who we were. If you’ve given your all, and can be proud of the results, there’s no room for regret.

And I love them still. My decision isn’t at all personal, and isn’t based on any individual’s actions or deeds. It’s purely a decision from within. This isn’t the stereotypical messy band divorce, full of acrimony and accusations and avarice. There won’t be an airing of dirty laundry or a list of wrongs or even backhanded insults aimed to make me look or feel better. It’s just the drifting apart of two parties due to a change in climate, not unlike an iceberg breaking away from a glacier. Even though leaving is incredibly bittersweet, there’s far more sweet than bitter.

To all of you who supported the band – by coming to shows, or buying CDs, or even just by listening to the music on Myspace – I thank you sincerely. And I urge you to continue supporting the band, should they decide to go forward, just as I intend to support them. My fondest wish is for their success, no matter what path they take.