In what might be considered the opposite of giving the hardcore scene a collective Christmas gift this year, Iowa hardcore outfit Former Thieves has announced they will be breaking up. The band posted a lengthy statement via their Facebook page that may go down as some of the deepest and most philosophical last words from a band in recent memory. It’s well worth your time to read, and as such, we will repost it in entirety down below:
I still think it’s bullshit when people try to tell you that being a full-time band from Iowa is harder than being a full-time band from… Well, anywhere else. There are certainly setbacks, yes. For instance, not a lot of touring bands reside here, nor is this a music industry hub by any stretch of the imagination. Our parents or parent’s friends [probably] weren’t wannabe-pro-musicians at any point, so it’s difficult to find a social context for what building a life as such could look like. Seclusion breeds a firm respect for tradition, so ideas like a transient lifestyle can seem socially taboo.
What this means simply, is we don’t grow up with any basis for comparison on how to navigate getting involved with a national, or for that matter international, music scene. There is the inevitable necessity for a bit more trial and error among young bands. You really have to want to look for it, because there is no chance of it just falling in your lap. Exploration is half the fun in my (our) opinion, and from experience we happen to know that every band from the middle of nowhere anywhere is just one 80 day DIY tour away from having all the contacts they need to build real momentum.
The actual difficulty of being a band transcends location, privilege, ultimate goals, or musical ability. It’s staying a band. That’s the hard part. As a band progresses and time moves on, there is a lot of life happening in the periphery. It gets to be a lot to balance. The task becomes how well you can keep one foot planted in two polarized worlds, without getting completely lost in the tap-dancing act of making a home life and a band life work. There’s no easy way to say this, but that’s where we as Former Thieves have become exhausted.
Our band was founded on the idea that none of us are interchangeable parts. We were to be a fully functional collective that respected each individuals wishes. As I’m writing this I sincerely hope for ourselves that we lived up to this mantra. If not, the latter is concretely true. No member of this band is replaceable. Even if it means an all too soon end, better that than venturing off into the abyss of truly becoming something we are not.
So here we are at a point of closure. Lost faith in the power of an idea, but what can now be a symbol or perseverance and dedication to us personally. Beyond that, I’m not sure what happens to the collective “us” now… A last show? It’s uncertain at best, but we’ll let you know at a time when the if’s and how’s can be answered.
The idea of one occupation or activity having more merit than another is completely objective, so block out external voices that push you in a direction you don’t believe in. Set goals, work your ass off, and don’t get disillusioned when getting what you want doesn’t look how you wanted it to… Because it’s just life, and there’s no way to win at it.
Thank you, thank you, thanks.
JS and FT
Former Thieves released their debut EP, The Great And The Alleged Great, on Mayfly Records in 2010. The following year, they were picked up by No Sleep Records and put out their sole full-length The Language That We Speak. We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.