Make Up the Breakdown

I'm not the biggest fan of Hot Hot Heat but I really enjoy their Make Up the Breakdown record and I've liked what I've heard off of their most recent record, Elevator. While their twisted, guitar-and-keyboards pop is cool, I find something rather odd when I read about why their guitarist Dante DeCaro left the band while recording Elevator. Thus is another tale of differing stories as to why band members really leave bands.

In multiple interviews, HHH's current members often say that the reason why DeCaro left was because of touring. “Once someone has established that they don’t want to be on tour, it’s kind of like a disease,” frontman Steve Bays explained to “It spreads to everyone. And so if you’re at that point during the day where you’re just so burnt out, and you need someone to come up to you and say, ‘Remember, this is our dream,’ and instead that person comes up and goes, ‘You know what? Not only does this suck, but it really sucks,’ that really nails you down, and it’s a horrible feeling to have that in the bus. But it’s not like I resent him for feeling that way. He just didn’t want to live that lifestyle, and I don’t blame him, because it’s a messed-up lifestyle.”

DeCaro's excuse for leaving was very believable until I saw this news item: he joined Wolf Parade in August as a touring guitarist. So, I'm a little puzzled as to why a guy would leave a touring band and join another band as a touring member. Now keep in mind that all comments about him leaving HHH because of touring were made by his ex-bandmates, not him. Did he realize that he missed touring while he was out of HHH? I don't know about Hot Hot Heat's past or current touring schedule, but Wolf Parade's touring schedule looks very busy for the rest of the year as they are currently on a multi-date European tour.

My question is this: is there something going on that HHH and DeCaro don't want to talk about in the press? I understand if ex-members want to leave "dirty laundry" out of the public's eye, but when I believe I see a plot hole like this, I raise a question.

Why band members leave is usually for multiple reasons. In the bands that I've been in, reasons like the person wasn't into our material as much as we were and/or the person moved out of town for job, family or school were some of the biggest ones. They're very valid reasons for quitting a group and they usually don't involve much drama. However, in some cases, there is usually good deal of drama with whether or not a band member's departure was voluntary or involuntary (remember in '96 when Sammy Hagar claimed he was fired by Van Halen while his bandmates said he quit?). If the exact reasons don't look good in print, I don't blame people for keeping mum.

Clear communication between people is crucial to making a relationship work. The problem that frequently harms this notion is when assumptions, actions and words are thrown in a blender. Feelings get hurt, lives are altered and relationships can be forever changed. Why exactly Dante DeCaro really left Hot Hot Heat is up for him to say. Then, I think I'll have a better understanding or just more confusion.


Eric said…
Interesting and insightful commentary for all the readers as usual. I really like MUTBD by HHH, but I think that Elevator is weak by comparison. I also like the new Wolf Parade record. A connection?