There’s no real easy way to start this, so I’ll just do it the simple way by hitting you with the facts: Tom has made it clear to Ray and I that he will be leaving the band after the Charleston show on March 10th. While we are sad that this day had to come, it’s not a total shock and while Ray and I have been very lucky to have a singer and bass player as talented and unique as Tom for the past eight+ years, we understand his reasons for leaving. In no way does it diminish our friendship or love for him.
The three of us have been playing music together since we were thirteen and in the ten years since, our musical palates have all expanded by leaps and bounds. The biggest difference is that Ray and I have never lost our drive to push our creativity further into the extreme, heavy, and odd side of music. On the other hand, Tom became more interested in writing great songs in the traditional sense and less confident in his role as the singer/bass player in a band like Exemption was becoming.
This leaves Ray and I with some pretty big question marks floating above our heads. The first is obviously: how and with whom do we replace our vocalist and bass player? Despite the situation, Ray and I have continued to write some pretty insane music since Tom told us. Tom leaving is bitter/sweet in the writing process because it opens up a world of possibilities that didn’t exist before because of differences in taste, but we don’t have his brain to help us transform all our raw material into an actual song. I will say that our new ideas are pretty vicious and we hope to push what we did on “Public Cemetery Party” into the stratosphere with what comes next. We are struggling to decide whether or not to finish writing the majority of our new album first and then go on a quest for musicians, or to find some new heads first and take it from there. The idea of open-auditions seems way too stressful and time consuming at the moment, but we hope to be approached by interested parties anyway. Just give us time to figure out what steps we want to take first but it would be good to know who wants to jam! Vocalists, bass players, maybe guitarists or keyboard players? Keytar anyone? Glockenspiel?!
The other big question to answer is what we do about the name. Ray and I haven’t decided 100% whether or not we want to remain “Exemption” or use this as an opportunity to start fresh as a new band (which we will unavoidably be; with a new singer, bass player, and overall sound). Exemption was a name chosen by kids in middle school starting a rock band that stuck for almost ten years! The idea of changing it came up a lot over the past few years, but we always came to the conclusion that it was merely a name and to the people who really gave a shit about us, it was the music that they cared about, not what word we chose to refer to ourselves as. We also didn’t want to alienate anyone who had supported us thus far. Plus a name change can be the kiss of death. Ray and I are definitely leaning towards “new band/new faces/new sound/new name” right now. Trying to keep going as “Exemption” with someone else singing Tom’s parts and lyrics seems like a one way road to stagnant city where fun goes to die. No. Start fresh and be excited. Don’t run something good into the ground out of pride and fear…
At the end of the day, we remained the band we were for as long as we did because of the love and support we got from our close friends, families, and fans who genuinely took interest in our music. Without the love we received from you all over the years, I don’t think we would have made it this far. Exemption’s music belongs to you as much as it belongs to us and we could never thank you enough for everyone’s individual help and support. I couldn’t imagine creating a list of people to thank at this point. There are just way too many people and bands that have lent us their ears or their companionship. You know who you are and we know who you are and we love you and thank you from the grimy bottom of our black hearts.
We will keep everyone updated on the progress of our new music. We hope you understand where we are coming from and won’t hesitate to follow us into whatever we do next. We’re truly sorry to be a disappointment to everyone that is saddened by this but we promise that we are not done melting faces by a long shot.
One door closes and a new door opens. This is merely the end of a long, important chapter in our lives and we have so much more music and energy to give you in the next! Don’t give up on us!
With love and gratitude,
-Nick Lee & Exemption
P.S.: The live film we shot at Centerville is still being put together now, it looks and sounds amazing, and we can’t wait for you to see it.