Before I get into the rest of this, let me give you some back story. My favourite band is Motion City Soundtrack. On the 20th of March 2013, the drummer of the band, Tony Thaxton, announced that he was leaving the band after 11 years.
The band never really broke through to the mainstream as I can imagine that some of you reading this may not have heard of them, despite how consistently great they are as both performers and songwriters. (Me? Bias? Never.) Over time, Tony began to open up about leaving and why he did. You know why? Because touring for nearly 11 years non-stop can take a toll on a person.
He spoke about how he began to get really depressed being on the road and being away from home, being in temporary places for small amounts of time. I think it must’ve been a really, really hard decision for him to walk away. Not many people would put themselves first and take such a big step in looking after their own mental health. I think it’s both rare and refreshing to hear someone to be so open and honest about it. People like Tony Thaxton creating a dialogue like this are the people that will evoke greater levels of change in regards to breaking stigmas against mental health. For that, I am so proud of him.
Currently, the band are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their Commit This To Memory album (my favourite both by theirs and of all time) by touring the US with the #CTTM10 tour, where they play the whole of album in full, plus a couple of other fan favourites. Playing a date in California this month, they happened to have a special guest. It was Tony, and he played the last song with them. I tweeted out this…
— Alisa (@alisawylie) February 14, 2015
…hoping to get a response from a fan who had attended the show to tweet me back with a video. Instead, I got this:
— Tony Thaxton (@tonythaxton) February 14, 2015
It was the video.
The ex-drummer from my favourite band had sent me the video of him playing with his old band mates.
The reason I find it so moving is because if you’re feeling depressed, there’s a good chance you feel like you want to die and that there’s no real point in being around. This reaction and intensity of performance shows the complete opposite of that. He’s cared for, respected and moreover; loved. Even little things like the way the light is on him and the band all turn around to face him to start amplify this tenfold.
If you watch to the end of the video, you can hear the crowd chanting for Tony. Some people in bands, when they leave, may be met with an angry venom or an unwelcoming reception, but this is absolutely not the case. He left because he had to care of himself, and that’s okay. Playing music isn’t where he wants to be just now, and that’s okay too. Having a sense of community within a band’s fan base is so crucial and important, and I am so, so glad to be apart of Motion City Soundtrack’s.
Motion City Soundtrack will be bringing the #CTTM10 tour to the UK this May, playing at the Liverpool Fury Festival, the 02 Academy Birmingham and KOKO in London. Tony, however, will probably not make another guest appearance.