Jamie Woolford, frontman of The Stereo, has posted a lengthy message on their webpage discussing the reasons of the band imploding.
A lot of things have been said last week & I want to clear the air by presenting our side of the story. I wish to apologize to everyone on behalf of The Stereo for this turning so ugly. Iâd much rather have seen this end with dignity & class. We can only hope that we will all conduct ourselves in a more mature manner from here on out. I promise to the best of my ability to take the "high-road."
OK, what do we really know? Well the truth is that Jamie Woolford (me), guitarist & singer, as well as bassist Chris Serafini have quit The Stereo. No one has been kicked out. Eventually & most likely together as we are great friends, Chris & I will start a brand new band with a brand new name. I donât know when or with whom that will be but it will not be called The Stereo &, after his recent unfortunate comments, this band will most definitely not include drummer BJ Wuollet.
Our reasons for quitting are many & complicated but I will only focus on the main factors here. As you may or may not know, our drummer BJ lives in Minneapolis, MN while Chris & I live nearly 2000 miles away in Phoenix, AZ. Until recently, we had a guitarist who lived in Phoenix as well. 3 out of 4 members of The Stereo resided here in Arizona. Needless to say, every aspect of our band is made that much more difficult by this complication. Until the end of last year when our van went "bye-bye", this arrangement was a huge pain in the ass but somehow, we managed.
Since then, I have played only 3 shows with my band. For someone who lives & breathes music, this is way too little. Sure I can always pick up my guitar at home & play anytime I want. Iâve actually kept myself quite busy with writing new song ideas & recording them. But nothing can replace the feeling of playing & writing music with live musicians. These months of frustration due to a lack of playing & the realization that more months of no playing soon lay ahead, had become too much. This is a major factor, if not the main factor, in our decision to quit. I want more music. I want to be able to play on a regular basis. It might sound trivial, but again, I live & breathe music. To me, itâs essential.
Why doesnât BJ just move to Arizona? Well, BJ himself has made it more than perfectly clear to us that he does not want to move to Arizona & that it actually is quite depressing here for him. He has a good life in Minnesota with lots of friends & family. We cannot argue with that. Chris & I both feel that finding a new drummer to replace BJ is not the answer either. To me, The Stereo without BJ is just not The Stereo. I realize how that sounds if youâre familiar with the near-comical amount of line-up changes that have plagued us over the years, but the truth is that, to me, The Stereo really became a band when BJ & Chris joined. Before that, it was just chaos. I mean absolutely no disrespect to any former members of the band, but the band never really "glued" until these guys joined. Just like in any band, thereâs no chemistry without the right individuals.
Now the details of how everything went down should be of no concern to anyone but us, but now unfortunately I feel itâs important to shed light on these events as they have come into question. During a rehearsal, we had a heated meeting about BJâs desire to get back to Minnesota & his unwillingness to be in Arizona for a significant extended period of time, let alone make it his permanent residence. We all left from that meeting with one assignment: 24 hours to think about our current situation & hopefully come up with steps to possibly solve them. Later that evening, BJ called me to talk more about the situation & possible solutions. He said, "If this is it, I want to be on the next plane out of here!" I told BJ that I was committed to him & The Stereo & that we will somehow find a solution to this daunting problem. It was at that moment & the following hour of replaying our conversation in my head, that I realized that for the very first time, it was I who was not committed to The Stereo. It was probably at the same time & separate from each other, both Chris & I were thinking the same thing. We had both made the decision to leave the band.
I decided to sleep on it but the next morning I woke up & within 25 minutes, had decided I could no longer dance around the obvious. My decision was made. Chris called me a few hours later & I started to tell him what I had decided when he told me he would drive over to my place so we could talk face to face. He arrived & before I could spit it out, he informed me that he was definitely leaving the band. He had given it a lot of thought & decided that he didnât want to work on something that had become, in his eyes, so "half-empty." I told him that I had reached the same conclusion. We let out a stressful sigh & both wondered how BJ would take the news. Later that evening we met to discuss the situation & to inform BJ of our decision to quit the band. After explaining our decisions, we handed him a plane ticket, tried to say goodbye but were snubbed (understandably) & then left.
There is one area in all of this, which I feel we fell short of the mark & that was the plane ticket. I wish to apologize for this. During our phone conversation the night before, BJ told me that he wanted to be on the next plane out of here. I knew that BJ would want to leave as soon as something like this happened but in hindsight, the message that was sent by showing up to that meeting with a plane ticket was pretty lousy. It not always clear what the best thing to do is when you are dealing with such complex emotions. This was our mistake & for that I sincerely apologize, but there is no conspiracy to be found here. BJ has the right to think, feel & even say whatever the he wants about Chris & me, but he cannot say he was kicked out. Chris & I both quit the band &, contrary to what BJ believes, he has no right to tell us otherwise. The whole "You canât break up with me because I say so!" routine just doesnât cut it. Our decision is simply ours to make.
I believe the recent comments made online by BJ were fueled by pain & alcohol. I was reading his online attacks for the first time when he called me to ask for a ride to the airport. Even though I was furious, I agreed to pick him up, drive to our practice location to help pack up his drum gear & finally drop him off at the airport as I promised I would the night before. Thankfully we were able to set aside our differences for about 10 seconds to give each other a teary hug goodbye. Even though I am angry, I am very glad to have gotten that goodbye. Unfortunately, BJ has taken cheap shots at me & portrayed me as a monster & if I really am that, why did it take him seven years to notice? Heâs a smart guy. Smart enough to judge my character. Especially given seven years to do so. I know BJ knows the real me & I know the real BJ. He has been a loyal friend & a damn good drummer. His recent words strike me as the words of someone who has been hurt & I hope that he bounces back soon.
So in conclusion, The Stereo was a band that got tired of its long distance relationship. Iâm sure we can all relate in someway. Weâve all had people that have moved away & lost touch with. Maybe things even got awkward, even ugly. The point being The Stereo tried to keep it together for a long time, but ultimately failed. I hope that this information clears up a lot of the issues brought out by the bandâs demise & the unfortunately overshadowing comments made by BJ. Despite all of this, I will remember BJ as one of my closest friends & one of the best drummers in underground rock. And although I am extremely angry with him presently, I think any band would be lucky to have him pounding away back there keeping a solid beat. Iâm very sorry that our decision to quit has hurt him as much as it obviously has. It was certainly not intentional. We just want to move on with our lives & make music; itâs really as simple as that. I hoped that The Stereo would be remembered for the music we made, sadly now I regret that we will most likely be remembered for the controversy we caused & the manner in which we conducted ourselves.