IF YOU REALLY want to hear it, in March of 2011, right when we returned back from our European tour, I acquired the knowledge of existing MCMB guitarist Daniel Alvarado’s intentions to quit MCMB before anyone else knew — and my intentions were to quit at the same time. Two years prior, when Daniel joined MCMB for replacement Kyle Ray, he quickly became one of my best friends. We connected on a magnitude of levels further than musical aspect. When the time came for Dan to announce his leaving, I was completely prepared to leave as well. However, something internally advised me against so. I was unsure why, but I felt duress to remain in the band, if not for my objective, it was for someone else’s, or maybe, quite possibly for the band itself.
That night, we (MCMB) sat upstairs in Alabama and everyone expressed our emotions, hopes, and ideas about the band and our reasons for being in the band. We then talked about our motivation for our presence in the band. I remember clearly, I didn’t have an answer for myself to want to be in the band or at least stay in the band, but I did not vocalize my intentions of leaving. When they asked why I was in the band, I told them, because I love playing music, which is true by the way, that answer was solid enough for the band to grasp yet vague enough that it did not pertain to MCMB specifically. Such as my exact sentiment. I don’t know why I suddenly had a change of heart that I did not quit that night. I really loved being in the band - I got to travel the world and play music, it’s a real dream, but still I felt like my time in the band was running short. At the time, my reasoning why my perspective altered was because, I was scared to see myself hold on to something, that wasn’t going to be there any longer. I didn’t want to constantly attempt to recapture prime heyday. I wanted to leave on top, rather being forced when there is nothing left. When Dan withdrew, it seemed to be an ideal time.
Anyway, Dan agreed to do the next four shows, which went up the east coast to The New England Metal Fest, and back down to Alabama. It was so strange saying goodbye to one of my best friends in which I had shared so many memories with and became so close to. Being in a band, such as ours, forces deep bond and intimate relationship because our presence among each other is dense and constant. All of us MCMB dudes had to sleep, eat, work, play, party, go to the bathroom, live together. We had unawareness of such a brotherhood we were building.
That Spring, I told myself, if I don’t leave now, I’ll leave directly after the next tour, which happened to be the summer tour. At that point in time, the band had been scheduled to fly down to Mexico for a few days, then come back up to do the summer co-headlining tour with Impending Doom. Following that summer tour, I was telling myself that I was going to go home, though I didn’t tell anyone else. I meditated to myself, doing the summer tour would be beneficial to me because it would give me time to get ready to be at home, possibly find a job, or sign up for more college courses to get my degree, which I’ve slowly been working towards ever since my beginning presence in the band.
I think that on that summer, I felt ready to leave. I made the right decision when I decided to stay and do the summer tour and to not leave when Dan did, because that time truly did give me time to sort my plans out and to conserve money for me to be home and to not work for an appropriate amount of time so I can focus on the next endeavor in my life. Approximately midway on that summer tour of 2011, our managers had booked us all flights to Australia, which happened to be directly after the tour. I admit, I really wanted to go to Australia, and since I already had a ticket, I thought to myself, after Australia, I’ll leave.
I went to Australia and I had a great time, but still I couldn’t deny the notion that even with all the excitement and success of the band, I want to focus on something different. Directly after Australia, they flew us back to Alabama and went straight to the studio to record the bands next album in Massachusetts, I couldn’t simply go home, the band had all my belongings and I couldn’t depart at such a critical point in the bands career. As much as I wanted to go home, I couldn’t at that time, so went to go live in Massachusetts for a month and a half, and each day I spent there, the idea of me departing seemed more and more inviting. Every day, I would leave the studio and ride my bicycle to either Amherst or Northampton as an escape from the pressing life with the band. I never let my band know how difficult of a time I was having there, because that it’s an exciting time for a band to be recording in a reputable and professional studio. However, I was constantly battling internally for my sanity, because I was physically and mentally feeling and yearning for something other than what I was actually doing.
My time living in Massachusetts, was probably one of the most life changing experiences for me. I said the same thing two years prior when I was in the studio in Atlanta recording our record Lost Boy, and the reason why, is because it’s a struggle. I never struggled so hard to be normal in my entire life. I don’t feel the rest of the band struggled so hard, not in the way I did. They might have struggled, but it was in a completely different manner. They struggled to create incredible songs for the new record, which I am aware was not simple and really tested them as musicians. However, I struggled to pretend I cared. I had an epiphany one morning at a cafe, I learned that I almost completely fell out of the metal band world. All my struggles and confusion as to being in the band became evident. I stopped listening to the music, I stopped caring about my own bands affairs. I cared more about different music, and completing my college homework on time. I stopped keeping up with the new scene metal band catalog and I stopped caring.
One night, when it was time for me to record bass, (which I was prepared for) I went into the mixing room, plugged my bass in, and quickly learned that my bass was not “intunated.” I immediately remembered that on the flight to Australia, the pressure in the plane warped my bass neck slightly. That night, our studio engineer yelled at me. He was mad because I wasn’t prepared. It made me feel worthless and dense. We had to find a secondary bass to do the record. I was of no use at that point, until we found another bass. That night, I walked to the liquor store, bought a bottle whiskey, then walked through the deep dark woods in the freezing cold November weather and drank the entire bottle until I was black out drunk. That was the strongest pivotal point for me to decide it was finally time for me to leave.
Despite my personal struggles, another valid reason for my desire to leave MCMB was because, my presence in the band was not helping the band progress, and MCMB is not helping me progress in my own life. I’m holding them back, and they’re holding me back. I no longer have anything to contribute to MCMB. During the record of Lost Boy as well as the Self-Titled, the band didn’t like any of my song ideas and the fundamental point of a band is the music itself. My songs were not the style the rest of the guys wanted to play. I suppose my time in the metal and hardcore world has run it’s course.
It’s extraordinary to think that as soon as I left high school, I started touring. It seems like forever ago but also in a way, it seems like only yesterday. I graduated high school in the class of 2007 and began touring only three months later, and I have been touring ever since. One would imagine being in this band, in this world, would influence one further, since one is constantly encircled by it’s people, culture, ideas, and most importantly music. However, I personally believe that I was into the lifestyle so deep for so long, that it pushed me so far away very quickly. The ones who stand so tall for something, fall the hardest. Or maybe that I was so turned off by the negativity in the scene; all the fights and criticizing that goes on at shows and online. I don’t mean to sound demeaning, but I feel the metal and hardcore scene is immature. It’s an offensive way to express oneself. Just as punk was the popular youthful rebellion culture in the 90’s, I feel metal and hardcore is the present escape for teenagers to find solace in. It’s loud, it’s heavy, it’s offensive, it’s the perfect contemporary replacement for the punk lifestyle. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but my perception is, MCMB is a perfect candidate for immature rebellious teens to escape to, thereby making MCMB an immature matter. It sounds incredibly haughty for me to say, but I sincerely feel, that I’m digressing in intellectual matters by being in this band. I’ve lost touch with matters that concern me such as art, education, politics, literature, music, culture etc. I wish to surround myself in an ethnological manner that is beneficial to both parties with people that are not worried about being the coolest, or most trendsetting, or the most popular band or having the most likes on Facebook or the most followers on Twitter and Tumblr or materialistic. I like being with my close friends, real people that I can learn from as well as teach.
I cannot continue to willingly place myself in a position that I don’t feel comfortable in. As a Christian, I don’t want to be comfortable, I want to be so uncomfortable that I seek comfort, ergo, seek love. However, I don’t want to be uncomfortable as a normal human being. I don’t want to worry about which bands are selling the most records, which bands have the heaviest breakdowns, or making sure I don’t do anything out of line that my managers have to call me and tell me not to do.
I am infatuated with the idea of being an independent person that doesn’t have to fight for artistic integrity in my own band. I’ve been in MCMB for five years and I still feel that no one in the band recognizes my presence in the band nor accepts my ideas as far as art (art being everything from music, image, album art and live stage show ideas). I don’t like the hierarchy of the band members. I don’t like the person I’ve become. I feel that my time in the band, has made me become an asshole. I don’t like being a smart-ass towards people and pissing them off. I’m sorry if I’ve ever been rude to you.
In contrast, I do appreciate how much I’ve grown in MCMB. I’ve met so many people, seen so many places, seen so much culture, ate so much exotic food, taken so many pictures, developed so many skills, drank lots of coffee, developed so many ideas and evolved as a person. It’s incredible to think how much I’ve changed as a person since 2007. I entered adulthood through this band. I’ve learned a multitude of things in the past five years. Traveling and playing music, seems as if it’s all I know.
What you can surmise, I am departing from MCMB. I love the MCMB dudes and they will always be important to me. Alongside them, I’ve learned, grown and experienced so many things. They have shown me a kind of acceptance and friendship that I’ve never felt before.
If you have been following me over the years or even shown a blade of interest, you may have already known my personal interests are quite contrasting from MCMB. My goal in MCMB was be a friend to people who needed or wanted a friend everywhere I went, I never realized people looked up to me the same way I used to look up to band dudes when I was younger, I feel that I’ve always just been a person that just played music. I feel that in the past five years, I’ve made countless amazing friends all over the globe, that I’m positive I will see again soon.
If you want to know about my future, I am still producing literature, I am nearly in reach of an English degree, I have accepted a teaching job in Los Angeles as well as performing freelance photography, and lastly I have a new band, which you may safely assume is not metal nor hardcore, which will be my primary focus from now on.
I apologize if you found this piece disadvantageous, and I appreciate your understanding.