Savoy Brown – Live In Central Park 1972 (1985)

FrontCover1Savoy Brown (Originally Savoy Brown Blues Band) are an English blues rock band formed in Battersea, south west London, in 1965. Part of the late 1960s blues rock movement, Savoy Brown primarily achieved success in the United States, where they promoted their albums with non-stop touring.

The band was formed by guitarist Kim Simmonds and harmonica player John O’Leary, following a chance meeting at Transat Imports record shop in Lisle Street, Soho, in 1965. In naming themselves, the group put together two words that conveyed an interesting balance of opposite sentiments and approaches. The word “Savoy” came from an American blues label, Savoy Records, as the members of the band thought the word “Savoy” sounded elegant. They added “Brown” because they thought it was an extremely plain word. Overall, the group called itself the Savoy Brown Blues Band to tell listeners that they played Chicago Blues-sounding music.

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The original line-up included singer Brice Portius, keyboardist Trevor Jeavons, bassist Ray Chappell, drummer Leo Manning and harmonica player John O’Leary (O’Leary appeared on record with the band on its initial recordings for Mike Vernon’s Purdah label). Portius was one of the first black blues musicians to be a part of a British rock band.[citation needed] Jeavons was replaced by Bob Hall shortly after the band’s formation and the arrival of Martin Stone on guitars. Not long after Stone’s arrival, O’Leary left the band as a consequence of a dispute with Manager Harry Simmonds. This line-up, sans O’Leary, appeared on the band’s 1967 debut album, Shake Down, a collection of blues covers.

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Further line-up changes ensued, with founding members Portius, Chappell and Manning departing along with recently recruited guitarist Stone over a short period of time. Chris Youlden and “Lonesome” Dave Peverett would become the band’s new vocalist and 2nd guitarist respectively. Initially Bob Brunning and Hughie Flint (from John Mayall’s Clapton-version Bluesbreakers) filled the bassist and drummer positions on the single “Taste and Try (Before You Buy),” but they were subsequently replaced by Rivers Jobe and Bill Bruford. Within a fortnight of Bruford’s arrival in the band, he had been replaced by Roger Earl (Bruford went on to huge success later as Yes’s drummer). This line-up recorded two albums in 1968, Getting to the Point, and Blue Matter, which demonstrated Youlden’s rise as a songwriter alongside Simmonds. It was this line-up that released the single “Train to Nowhere” in 1969. A Step Further was released later that year, and introduced bassist Tony Stevens replacing Jobe. They developed a loyal core following in the United States, due to songs such as “I’m Tired,” a driving, melodic song from the album.

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Following the release of Raw Sienna (also released in 1969) Youlden departed the band. Raw Sienna had marked the first time that a single line-up of the band had recorded successive albums without any changes in personnel. The band recorded their next album, 1970’s Looking In, as a four-piece, and following this album Peverett, Stevens, and Earl left to form Foghat with guitarist Rod Price.

Simmonds continued the band with Dave Walker on vocals, Paul Raymond on keyboards and guitars, Andy Silvester on bass, and Dave Bidwell on drums – almost the complete Chicken Shack line up.

“More even than John Mayall, this band was the great mean—that is, the mean—of the purist (as opposed to heavy) wing of what we in America once called British blues.” Christgau’s Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981)

They were one of the bands that UK Decca (US London/Parrot) stuck with through the lean times until they started selling records; it took four or five albums until they started to sell in the US. In the late 1960s and 1970s, the band managed to break into the Billboard Hot 100. The 1971 release Street Corner Talking included the songs “Tell Mama” and “Street Corner Talking”. Superstardom perpetually evaded them, though, perhaps in part because of their frequent line-up changes. Despite that their next album, Hellbound Train (1972) was a Top 40 album for them in the US. In January 1974, the British music magazine, NME reported that Stan Webb was joining Savoy Brown, following the break-up of Chicken Shack.

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In the late 1970s, Simmonds organised the band with singer Ralph Morman, formerly of the Joe Perry Project, drummer Keith Boyce and guitarist Barry Paul of Heavy Metal Kids fame, and bassist John Humphrey. This line-up recorded the 1981 Rock ‘N’ Roll Warriors album, which gave Savoy Brown more success than the group had seen since the mid-1970s. The single “Run to Me”, a cover of a song originally recorded by Smokie, became Savoy’s highest-charting single in the United States, peaking at number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100 on the week of 31 October 1981. That year found the band performing several major arena shows in the US alongside Judas Priest, and recording a live album at the Rainbow Music Hall in Denver. Greatest Hits – Live in Concert was released at the end of the year, featuring “Run to Me” as the sole studio track, as the single had appeared previously only on the German version of Rock ‘N’ Roll Warriors. Despite the success of this line-up, Simmonds was once again on his own by the Spring of 1982.

Singer Dave Walker returned to the group in the late 1980s and recorded two studio albums and one live album as lead vocalist, but left the group for a second time in 1991. All three of these projects featuring Walker were well received by longtime fans. During the 1990s Simmonds continued working with various line-ups of the band, including a brief stint with future Molly Hatchet lead singer Phil McCormack.

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While the band is still active, touring the world and recording regularly, only Simmonds has stayed since the beginning. Original member and harmonica player John O’Leary is still active on the British blues circuit with his band Sugarkane. After leaving Savoy Brown for the first time in the 1970s singer Dave Walker joined Fleetwood Mac for one album, and in early 1978 became the temporary lead singer for Black Sabbath. Bassists have included: Andy Pyle, who played with Mick Abrahams from Jethro Tull in Blodwyn Pig, then later with The Kinks; John Humphrey, who would go on to work with many major artists, including Carole King; Gary Moore; and Andy Silvester, who played with Wha-Koo after Chicken Shack. Savoy Brown also provided an outlet for keyboardist and guitarist Paul Raymond, who later went on to join UFO. Drummer Keith Boyce reformed Heavy Metal Kids and is currently active with that group. Singer Ralph Morman disappeared from the scene in the mid-1980s until emerging in 2011 with plans for a solo project. Guitarist Barry Paul became a successful studio owner in Los Angeles. Singer Jimmy Kunes, who fronted the band during the mid-1980s, is currently the singer for the reformed supergroup Cactus.

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Savoy Brown contributed the song “A Man Alone” for the soundtrack to the movie Kickboxer 2.

In 2008, “Train to Nowhere” was used, and figured as a clue, in the TV series CSI: NY, in Season 4, Episode 10 – “The Thing About Heroes”.

Their first album for Blind Pig Records, Strange Days, was released in 2003.[2] The band released another record, Steel, in 2007.

Their album, Voodoo Moon, was released by Ruf Records in 2011.

In 2015, billed as Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown, their album, The Devil to Pay, reached number four on the US Billboard Top Blues Albums chart. (wikipedia)

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And … Savoy Brown is still alive and well … recording, ztouring (next year they wiull do another tour through Europe !).

And here´s another pretty good live recording … not the best audio quality, but still a important document of this period of Savoy Brown:

Savoy Brown “live” in Central Park in 1972. They were a vibrant boogie blues band during this period and this long play rocks. I love “live” albums by good bands and this is no exception. Lead guitarist Kim Simmonds was in a groove at this time and the rest of the band seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Some bands are in their element when they are in concert and Savoy Brown are certainly one of those bands. No studio producer tricks, no synthesizers, just musicians being musicians. Gotta love it. I would have loved to have been at this concert primed and ready. (by rod45)

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Personnel:
Dave Bidwell (drums)
Paul Raymond (keyboards, guitar, vocals)
Andy Silvester (bass)
Kim Simmonds (guitar)
Dave Walker (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Let It Rock (Raymond) 5.29
02. Announcement 0.41
03. Shot In The Head (Vanda/Young) 4.46
04. The Saddest Feeling (Raymond) 3.59
05. Can’t Find You (Raymond) 3.28
06. Tell Mama (Simmonds/Raymond) 6.33
07. Love Me Please (Simmonds) 7.49
08. Hip Shake (Harpo) 7.21

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LinerNotes

More from Savoy Brown:
More

Dave Bidwell

Paul Raymond

Bottle Rockets – Live In Heilbronn Germany July 17 (2005)

FrontCover1The Bottle Rockets were an American rock band formed in Festus, Missouri in 1992, and was based in St. Louis, Missouri. Its founding members were Brian Henneman (guitar, vocals), Mark Ortmann (drums), Tom Parr (1992–2002, guitar, vocals) and Tom Ray (1992–1997, bass guitar); the most recent lineup consisted of Henneman, Ortmann, John Horton (joined 2003, guitar) and Keith Voegele (joined 2005, bass, vocals). Most members of the band have contributed to their catalog of original songs, as have Robert Parr (Tom’s brother) and schoolteacher Scott Taylor (who writes lyrics for some of Henneman’s tunes).

As noted in the New York Times by William Hogeland, the Bottle Rockets’ songwriting has been likened to Woody Guthrie’s folk style in spirit, smarts, and satire. The band’s lyrics encapsulate the common experiences of the everyman, and are set to rousing and searing rock ‘n’ roll. The band has been named as one of the leaders of the ’90s alt-country/roots rock revival, alongside Uncle Tupelo. The strong social commentary of their songs reflects the influences of Woody Guthrie, Neil Young and The Replacements.

For much of the Nineties, Missouri’s Bottle Rockets were the torchbearers for smart Southern-style rock.(Mark Kemp, Rolling Stone)

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The Bottle Rockets released their self-titled first album in 1993. The Brooklyn Side followed on East Side Digital, in 1994, to resounding critical acclaim. In 1995, the Bottle Rockets then signed with Atlantic Records, which re-released The Brooklyn Side. The single “Radar Gun” was a hit on rock radio—reaching No. 27 on Billboard’s rock chart—and the band toured extensively to support the album. The band appeared on the television show Late Night with Conan O’Brien performing one of their original songs as well as being featured in a comedic skit. The relationship with Atlantic Records turned out to be difficult. Most of the original staff who promoted The Brooklyn Side had been laid off or fired from Atlantic. The release of the Bottle Rockets’ next record, 24 Hours A Day, was delayed until late 1997. The band parted ways with Atlantic in 1998.

The Bottle Rockets are featured in the PBS documentary The Mississippi River of Song: The Grassroots of American Music. In the series, which is narrated by Ani DiFranco, Brian Henneman says that he and the band are “reporters from the heartland” writing stories about their friends. Their music combines singer-songwriter poignancy with authenticity, commentary and wit. The Bottle Rockets performed live at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC at the premiere for the film, and also appear on the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings soundtrack.

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Bottle Rockets then signed with Doolittle records, which later became New West Records. Doolittle released an EP of outtakes from 24 Hours A Day called Leftovers in 1998. About this time, Tom Ray was replaced on bass by Robert Kearns. The Bottle Rockets’ fourth full-length record, Brand New Year, was released on Doolittle in 1999. “Power hooks and muscular guitar fights that would make Skynyrd proud” and “’70s power rock with a dirty edge—sort of ZZ Top meets Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Bad Company” is the calling card of Brand New Year.

The band again had problems with their record label, and did not record anything else until Songs of Sahm, a collection of songs by Doug Sahm, which came out on Chicago label Bloodshot Records in early 2002. Shortly after finishing this record, Parr left the band. Bottle Rockets toured as a three-piece for a while, and recorded their fifth full-length record Blue Sky (which was released in 2003 on the Sanctuary label), before adding multi-instrumentalist John Horton to the band.

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Kearns amicably split with the band in the spring of 2005. After a brief search the Bottle Rockets named Keith Voegele as their new bassist. Voegele is from Saint Louis and has played in bands including the Phonocaptors.

After the Bottle Rockets’ promising eponymous debut, having a radio hit (“Radar Gun”) on their second album, extensive touring, and resounding critical acclaim, the band endured a decade of subsequent hard luck (including having their career held hostage to a staggering series of record companies they’d had contracts with that folded and/or floundered, a UPS strike holding up distribution of one of their new records, band personnel changes, and family emergencies during prominent tours). Concurrent with the band’s business difficulties, grunge and alternative rock meteorically came to prominence and dominated popular culture, becoming the corporate mainstream rather than the alternative. As a result, the music industry effectively abandoned traditional rock artists who were building a legacy of work, in favor of marketing trendy carbon-copy quick-commercial-turnaround acts. The path Henneman and the Bottle Rockets had been on seemed to disappear.

Despite those struggles, in 2005 the Bottle Rockets stabilized from the upheavals with their good nature and trailblazing edge intact. Founders Brian Henneman and Mark Ortmann got the band back on course, along with the newest additions John Horton and Keith Voegele, the current line-up of band members. The band also re-hired their manager from the early days, Bob Andrews.

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The Bottle Rockets’ first live album Live in Heilbronn Germany was released in February 2006. The double-disc set was recorded on July 17, 2005 at the Burgerhaus, Heilbronn-Bockingen, Germany with the band’s current roster. It was released in Europe on CD and vinyl by Blue Rose Records.

Bloodshot Records released the band’s next album, Zoysia, recorded in Ardent Studios in Memphis with producer Jeff Powell, in June 2006. Zoysia (zoy-zhuh), a metaphor for tolerance and centered values and common ground, is a hardy grass, plentiful in Festus/Crystal City and Saint Louis, Missouri, where these hardworking musicians grew up. After years of misleading portrayals of the band’s music as “hillbilly”, the band’s catalog proves otherwise with themes of maturity, generosity of spirit, neighborliness, insightful self-reflection, personal roots and modern society, individualism, pride of place, slow-mending hearts, and post-9/11 reality through the filter of a couple’s romance. After more than their share of hard knocks, the Bottle Rockets continued with their trailblazing edge intact with Zoysia.

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It would be a mistake to claim that Missouri’s answer to Neil Young’s Crazy Horse has gone soft but their first release in more than three years shows greater range and reflection than is typical for the rock-solid quartet. The opening “Better Than Broken”, the brooding “Happy Anniversary”, and the acoustic wistful “Where I Come From” all evoke the aftermath of romantic upheaval…. “Middle Man” could be the band’s signature tune defining a sensibility that is Middle American in more than geography. The sage wisdom of frontman Brian Henneman’s “Blind” and the twang of “Feeling Down” show the band’s countrier side while “I Quit” has the groove of retro soul. Yet the guitar finale of the seven-minute album-closing title song [“Zoysia”] finds the Bottle Rockets as explosive as ever. —Don McLeese

Zoysia received rave reviews worldwide including a spot on novelist/audiophile Stephen King’s Best Records of 2006 list in Entertainment Weekly magazine.

The band celebrated its 15th anniversary throughout 2008. Instead of extensive touring like in previous years, the band played only 15 shows in select cities during the entire year.

The Bottle Rockets’ reputation as the underdog spokesmen translated into a collaboration with fans in 2008. Fans of the Bottle Rockets had a voice in the band’s 15th Anniversary Tour, having been invited to design set lists for the 2008 tour from the Bottle Rockets’ catalog plus one cover song suggestion. The band hand-picked a fan’s set list for each of the special anniversary shows and entered the set list winners in a year-long contest to win one of 2 grand prizes, a $1500.00 custom Golden Rocket guitar by Creston Electric Instruments or the “Bottle Rockets for life” prize package.

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The results of the first such collaboration were detailed by Roy Kasten and Barry Gilbert in their reviews of the performance, in the Riverfront Times and the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, respectively.

While other artists have covered Bottle Rockets’ songs, including John Hiatt, (Hiatt recorded “Welfare Music” for Don Imus’ Ranch Record), Peter Blackstock of No Depression implores:

“…somebody, SOMEBODY record [the Bottle Rockets’ song] ‘Kerosene’ on your next album. Big band, little band, country rock band, rock band,…punk rock band,…somebody just get smart and give this song the respect, and legs, it deserves.”

In July 2008, The Bottle Rockets reunited with producer Eric Ambel (Brooklyn Side, 24 Hours A Day, Leftovers, Brand New Year) at his Cowboy Technical Services Recording Studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York for their latest album, Lean Forward (Bloodshot).

On May 2, The Bottle Rockets played a special concert at the High Dive in Champaign, IL that was filmed for an upcoming live concert documentary DVD release. The set list included “Hard Times,” “Done It All,” “Shame On Me,” “Give Me Room,” “Way It Used to Be” and “The Long Way” from the then-forthcoming Lean Forward album.

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Lean Forward was released by Bloodshot Records. The album charted on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart at No. 23.

On November 27, 2017, permission was granted to the Live Music Archive at the Internet Archive to add a collection for live audio recordings for public download and noncommercial, royalty-free circulation. As of March 2018, over 100 live recordings had been posted to that site.

On March 2, 2021, the band announced its retirement, for reasons as posted to its public Facebook account: “It’s with a sad heart that we announce this uneasy news: Brian has decided to retire from the Bottle Rockets. Although he’s in good health, he’s been feeling the passage of time and has lost interest in anything that distracts from or takes him away from home. Unfortunately, this means the Bottle Rockets can’t continue as we know it.” (wikipedia)

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“The Bottle Rockets-Live in Heilbronn” serves as a first-rate best of package up to the point of their 2003 “Blue Sky” album. Recorded in Heilbronn, Germany (I think that there were a whole lot of American soldiers stationed around there at the time) in July 2005, it offers a rousing overview of what makes the Bottle Rockets a great rock-n-roll: great songs performed with grit, intelligence, and fine-tuned precision.

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The sound quality is excellent and catch the Bottles Rockets on a night where they were definitely full of piss and vinegar. Among the highlights are two Neil Young covers, “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” and a long smoldering “Cortez the Killer”. The electric version of Welfare Music” is a welcome switch up, and “Alone in Bad Company” is a scorcher. On the downside, “Radar Gun” is missing(what!!!) and “Cartoon Wisdom” drags on way too long.
If you are a completist like me this release is essential. If you want a starting place to discover the Bottle Rockets this provides a thorough summary of exactly what they will offer. An offer that should not be refused. (by knocksquared )

Recorded live at the Bürgerhaus Heilbronn-Böckingen, Germany, July 17, 2005.

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Personnel:
Brian Henneman (guitar, vocals)
John Horton (guitar)
Mark Ortmann (drums)Keith Voegele (bass, vocals)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Intro: Happy Birthday 0.42
02. Trailer Mama (Henneman) 2.42
03. I Wanna Come Home (Henneman/Ray) 3.03
04. Alone In Bad Company (Flood/Henneman) 3.28
05. Slo Toms (Henneman) 2.50
06. Get Down River (Henneman) 3.17
07. I’ll Be Coming Around (Henneman) 2.39
08. 1000 Dollar Car (Henneman) 4.18
09. Blue Sky (Henneman) 2.21
10. Nancy Sinatra (Baird/Henneman) 3.11
11. When I Was Dumb (Henneman) 4.02
12. 24 Hours A Day (Taylor/Henneman) 4.05
13. Waitin’ On A Train (Parr) 3.15
14. Gas Girl (Henneman) 2.13
15. Cartoon Wisdom (Taylor/Henneman) 6.01
16. Sometimes Found (Parr) 4.29
17. Gravity Fails (Taylor/Henneman) 3.37
18. Kerosene (Taylor/Henneman) 4.13
19. Love Like A Truck (Taylor/Henneman) 4.53
20. Indianapolis (Henneman) 3.29
21. Gotta Get Up (Henneman/Parr/Kearns/Ortmann) 2.44
22. At The Crossroads (Sahm) 5.43

CD 2:
23. Welfare Music (Taylor/Henneman) 6.44
24. Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) (Young) 6.21
25. Pot Of Gold (Henneman) 3.57
26. Lonely Cowboy (Ortmann/Parr) 3.28
27. She’s About A Mover (Sahm) 5.47
28. Cortez The Killer (Young) 12.32
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A message from Brian Henneman…

Well friends, it’s time. Time to say “so long”. I’m givin’ it up. Packin’ it in. Retiring. I’m done. Been thinkin’ about it this entire time off. I’m more certain of it than anything I’ve ever been certain of before. I’m turning 60 this year. Including my time with Uncle Tupelo, I have been doing this recording/touring thing for 30 years. I don’t consider myself too old to do it anymore, but I do consider myself too old to want to.

Every musician has their own shelf life for doing what they do. Some go on into their 80’s, some quit in their 20’s and never look back. Ol’ Number 60, that’s me. 60 o’clock, that’s quittin’ time for this guy. Kickin’ off my travelin’ shoes and slippin’ on my house shoes. Home is where my passion lies these days. That excites me now the way the band used to.

I have no problem at all with the band. That’s not why I’m leaving. It’s all about where I’m at on the walk of life. I no longer want to travel, don’t really have any burning desire to write songs anymore either. I just want to be a good husband. A good neighbor. A responsible homeowner. A little dog’s daddy. A guitar repairman. A guitar player in my kitchen, and in some local country cover band whenever that scene comes back around. That’s how I want to spend the rest of my days. I want to be home for supper and home for bedtime. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. I want to experience a “normal life” just as badly now as I did NOT want to in my youth. While I’m still healthy enough to enjoy it. Before I get ancient and impaired. Things change. That’s life. I’m ready and eager for change. Being home for a solid year made me certain of it. I don’t want to miss ANYTHING here anymore.

Mark, John, and Keith all understand where I’m at. That’s such a relief. But they’re damn good guys. The best. Those guys have been the greatest partners a man could ever have. Dedication. Devotion. Turnin’ all the night time into the day. No tellin’ what’s next for them, but knowin’ them like I do, I’d say the sky’s the limit. They all have the musical skills to do anything. A truly “hot shit” band. And, unlike me, they still have the desire to get out there and do it. And they are ULTRA professionals. Keep an eye out for ‘em. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised to see them show up in phenomenal places. I am rooting for them. Them’s my boys. My team. My life partners. Please support them. I know I will. They are the longest running members the band ever had for a reason. They’re the best on so many levels. I love them forever. Gotta salute Robert Kearns, Tom Parr, and Tom Ray too. All were members of the band I’m bidding farewell to. Everybody did a great job in their own time, in their own way. Everybody.

I gotta be honest, I’m not sad that this is really finally happening. It was bound to happen someday. What does make me kinda sad is that it’s already that day. WTF??? Where did that time go??? See? That’s my point. That’s what made me go through with this. Knowing how the time goes SO fast. I wanna get goin’ on this next phase, before it passes me by as fast as everything else did. I’ve finally reached an age where things get urgent. Available decades are gettin’ slim. Gotta find what you REALLY want and go for it. So I did.

I want to sincerely thank you all from the bottom of my heart. You all supported us for so long. I will never forget that, or take it lightly. I am forever humbled and grateful. It’s been fun, but now it’s done. Surprise ending, yes. But the band had a surprise beginning too, so it seems that’s just how we roll. Maybe the band’s not done at all. Who knows? I just know I won’t be in it. ‘Cause I’m done.

With a year off, and nothing on the books, this was the perfect intersection of time and timing. There would never be a time when leaving would disrupt less. That’s why I did it now. Didn’t wanna make a big deal outta my big deal. Wanted it to be as painless as possible.

So this is where the cowboy rides away. Goodnight now ladies and gentlemen. It’s the end of the show, now it’s time to go.

Maybe I’ll see ya at Home Depot or somethin’…