Earlier this week Brian Shoaf, rhythm guitarist and founding member of Confessor, decided to step aside and let the remaining members of the band determine our fate as we begin to settle into the writing process for our third album. Brian put in twenty seven years as the anchor guitarist for one of the world's most curious metal bands, well over half of his life, and felt as though it was time he moved on to enjoy other projects, and some of the things in life that pass you by when so much of your spare time is taken up by being part of an active band. We will miss his contributions and his presence throughout the rest of Confessor's ride, but we all understand exactly where his heart is and wish him well. Confessor is the kind of band that counts on the different influences each member brings to the writing process, and Brian's touch will be missed ( only Brian can "Shoaf" a riff! ) but I am someone who can find a silver lining in everything. Confessor's dynamic is changed now, which means there are new doors to open that we may never have considered before.
We are thankful that Brian made his decision early in the writing process instead of going through the motions to see if maybe some kind of spark might reignite things for him. We have a lot of respect for the fact that he recognized where he was headed and where we were headed were not the same direction, and that he was honest with himself and with us about the problems that could pose later on. We understand how difficult it must have been to decide to leave the band he co-founded with his brother back in high school. That seems like a lifetime ago, and being in Confessor has been a huge part of all of our lives. We have been through the experience of having members whose hearts were no longer in the band, and it was always difficult for everyone involved. Brian had the foresight to step away while people were still excited about our future instead of watching those smiles turn into the blank stares of four guys who couldn't wait for a couple of hours to go by at practice so someone could call it a night because we had "put our time in" for the week. Anyone who has been in a band experiencing dysfunction knows exactly what I'm talking about.
Brian should be proud of what we were able to accomplish with the band, and he should have no regrets about his decision to leave. Not only are there no hard feelings, but there is no resentment about time wasted or tough compromises in musical direction, and the rest of us are still excited about diving in to these songs. Everything will sound cohesive because the music will reflect a unified vision through to the finished product instead of having a major change occur halfway through the process. We are disappointed that any of us felt it was time to step away from something we have all loved being a part of for so long, but things change in life for any number of reasons. The important thing is that Brian can pursue what he wants free of guilt or the feeling that he had to give up too much to be a part of something that no longer reflected his musical passions, and we can pursue our own vision without feeling as though we are dragging someone down a road they would never travel. Brian made the best decision for himself, which meant it was the best decision for Confessor.
One of the things I hoped to be able to do with The Poundry was to present some of the realities of being in a band in a way people could relate to, whether they have ever been in a band or not. It can be a rewarding experience in so many ways, but there are some challenges as well. There are several factors that must be considered, not the least of which is making sure that the individual members share a common vision and that their goals are similar enough that "the ride", whatever that may mean from one band to the next, is a realistic possibility and not a delusion.
Confessor have turned the page to a new chapter without our original guitarist. Brian's influence will be missed, but I am really excited about where we are headed. I have no idea if there is any validity to the rumors of him embarking upon sexual reassignment. It seems out of character to me, but I have learned to never be surprised. He joked about going as Honey Boo Boo for Halloween. Maybe that was a plea for help and I let him down. Brian, if that's true I am really sorry I wasn't there for you! You seem so grounded that I never suspected anything might be troubling you.
All joking aside, here's to Brian Shoaf! For everything he has done for the band, and for the years of contribution and sacrifice! Our hats off to you, friend! Love, best of luck in everything you do and to all of your loved ones, two legged and four legged!