The Outro is a new column here on Under the Gun Review to honor our favorite bands from the past decade that made their mark in their respective genres but have since come to the unanimous decision to move on from their confluence and pursue alternative enterprises.
We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of Arizona natives, The Bled. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the aggressive, one-of-a-kind-core stylings of a spirited band never to be forgotten… Brace yourself!
Originally known by the lengthy moniker, “The Radiation Defiance Theory” at their formation in 2001, The Bled went on to survive an eleven year lifespan consisting of four full length records, an extensive touring resumé and an enormous fan base.
“Slowly we peel away the layers and the light seeps through the cracks. You whispered softly in my ear, ‘The birth of morning’s upon us, dear.’”
I personally didn’t get turned on to The Bled until their second full-length album Found in the Flood dropped in the summer of 2005, (which I later realized was rather unfortunate as their first studio album Pass The Flask was an amazing debut.) I had just moved from California to Florida a week prior and it was one of the first albums I purchased once I had got settled in, along with Emery’s The Question and From Autumn To Ashes’ Abandon Your Friends, which were all released in that same month.
I found myself repeatedly listening to Found in the Flood through the duration of my brief stay on the east coast, never really giving other said albums much play. I moved back to California about 3 months later and once I landed in Sacramento and met up with my friends, I readied my copy of Found in the Flood to play in the car on the two-hour ride home to the mountains. I’ve always been the one in my group of friends to have a new band to share or an album to have them listen to. We got to the car and loaded the trunk with my baggage where I lost “shotgun” for what may have been the first and only time ever.
As I leaned forward from the back seat with CD in hand about to suggest to my friend that he check it out, he starts the car, and to my surprise, the catchy chorus to “My Assassin” starts blaring through the stock speakers. He turned the music down, seeming to not expect the volume to have been so loud (you know how that goes) and I began laughing. He looked back at me as I held my CD up, and with a shocked look he says, “Isn’t it fucking awesome?! I can’t stop listening to it!”
“Maybe you could finally be the one who reaches in and saves me from the flood.”
Part of me wishes that I had never heard so many things about The Bled’s tremendously explosive live shows, as they were one of those bands that I apparently was just not meant to see. There were several times when things did not play in my favor for me to make it to a show to experience the chaos. I can only hope for one of those rare reunion shows or something of the like so The Bled can leave me with another resonating experience.
I had the opportunity to speak with Jeremy Talley, one of the founding members of The Bled who was nice enough to answer some questions regarding the break-up of the band.
What lead to the decision to part ways as The Bled?
I think James really lost the passion and drive of screaming his head off at kids that seemed to care less from tour to tour. Toward the beginning of 2011 his priorities began to wander elsewhere. We had to pass up a lot of bigger tours because of his scheduling of things non band related. It just felt like I needed to be in a band that was still proactively writing music and touring, and it started to feel as if James’ gradual indifference started to hinder that. So I called him up and told him that I needed to move on but would love to do a final tour.
What are the members doing now?
Robbie is bar tending at Tucson’s surging party palace, Mr. Heads. Skibar cut his hair and trimmed his beard. He looks way less “Cast Away” but still gets drunk and publicly naked. He plays drums in a couple different local bands. Mike Patton does sound at a venue and records bands in his free time. You can also find him slangin’ strings at Guitar Center. James lives in Virginia and from what I know, he is busy hosting a karaoke night at a bar and shitting comedy gold all over your Twitter time line. I fold t-shirts at a Hot Topic 2 days a week and I have a new band. We’re about to record an instrumental demo and use it to try out vocalists.
What will you miss most about being a part of The Bled?
Right now I miss the road. I miss traveling and feeling like a part of something that means something special to a lot of people.
What would you consider to have been the highlight of the band’s career?
It was a lot of little things along the way. All the “first times”. The first time we got an email from a record label, the first tour with bands that we had heard of, the first time going to different countries, the first time we played an arena tour and our first Warped Tour. Those are things that happened very quickly for 5 kids from the desert who started the band with intentions no bigger than playing local shows with our friends’ bands for fun. A lifetime of memories in a 10 year span.
What are the chances of the band reforming?
We’re all leaving in good graces. As far as getting along and just general band chemistry, the final line up of the band felt stronger than it ever has. If it was the right situation and/or we were desperate to pay some child support, I’m positive we could get together and do a few shows.
“We stretch on for miles and just like a scar along the face of the earth, It’s too bad you won’t be here forever. I know you just wanted to.”
It’s times like these, once a band parts ways, that you realize how much you may have taken their presence (and the hardships of existing in a band for so long) for granted. It rarely crosses my mind that much like a life, a band’s union can end abruptly for any given reason.
Written and conducted by: Brian Leak
For another view from the band regarding the breakup, you can also check out a previous interview we’ve done with vocalist James Muñoz here.