THE HARD R: DALLAS ON WHY HE HAD TO LEAVE GOD FORBID
It’s hard to believe I wrote my first blog for Metalsucks on February 21st, 2008. I really don’t know what happened to that time. So much has happened to me since then that it’s hard for me to believe life has gone by this quickly.
And I left the only thing I ever knew behind me. I bowed out of the most rewarding and troubling journey I’ve ever experienced.
Believe it or not, my decision to leave God Forbid wasn’t a decision. My quitting the band stemmed from a stupid argument (the last straw) I had with my brother involving me getting a ride from New York City to the band’s van in Pennsylvania. This argument consisted of screaming about money, respect, being a “star,” big opportunities, etc. The argument ended with me screaming to my brother, “Fuck YOUR band.” I’ve never leveled an attack at my brother in that way. The band was never “his” or “mine.” It was always “ours.” That statement was really “I quit,” and we both knew it.
The band had to embark on a two day trip to Arkansas to play a one-off show before they joined the Lamb Of God tour. It was about 3 pm in the afternoon when I quit. The band was supposed to leave around 7 pm or 8 pm. In that time I waited for someone to call to tell me they were coming to pick me up. I didn’t get a call from anyone in the band. They were on their way without me. In this time, I was trying to go over everything I was feeling.
How did I get to this point of anger and frustration? How did I let this band slip from my fingers? Why don’t I have the passion for the band the way I once did?
In the years of playing metal, especially since I started singing and writing lyrics, I discovered that metal was only a part of my make-up. It was my coming of age story that will affect the way I think for the rest of my life. I’ll base all of my future work on the sentiments I’ve learned from being a person who appreciates metal and the elements that make the genre so defined. I listen to metal more than I listen to any other music. I LOVE metal. But it didn’t feel right to me anymore. I had been feeling this way since 2006, so it was only a matter of time.
This is what it means when the time has come to move on. Despite my own actions of staying longer than I should have, I knew fate and time move on with or without me… so either follow it and see where it leads me, or turn my back on it and drown myself in conflict and addiction and lie to myself, my band, and my family. I believe there always comes a time in a person’s life when he/she becomes aware of the person they will be for the rest of their existence… sounds like a line from a movie but its the truth – trust your heart first and foremost.
My internal instincts pointed to the conclusion that I didn’t want what God Forbid had to offer. I didn’t have the passion to be in a straight-up metal band anymore. The life I saw ahead of me with God Forbid wasn’t worth the sacrifice. I also felt there was something more for me. This was transition. Whatever this transition was and wherever it would lead was more important. It was essential to my life.
On my last tour these feelings were at their peak. At one point, I had a panic attack for two days. I never had a panic attack in my life until that point. Anyone who has endured this kind of stress knows how scary it can be. These panic attacks were the repercussions of forcing myself to walk a path I know had ended long ago. But I kept walking.
And it turned into a path of self-destruction. It wasn’t the rock n’ roll self-destruction that screams “live fast, die young” as the behavior for rebellion. No. This was the pathetic self-destruction. The ‘”How did I get here?”, party-’til-you-don’t-care self-destruction.
In my time pondering what I said to my brother, I was going over my last experience on the road. I thought about the situations I would be in for the Earthsblood record cycle. Lamb Of God Tour. Rock Star Mayhem. I easily came to the conclusion that me continuing this cycle of frustration, anger, drinking, drugs and depression was going to take me out of this world.
If I didn’t quit God Forbid I was going to die. That’s the God’s honest truth.
After the rumors about me leaving the band started to circulate, I called my brother and offered to do the Lamb Of God tour as my final tour with the band. I felt bad leaving them hanging out to dry. I figured the answer would be, “We’re booking the flight now.” The answer was, “We have to discuss it.” I spoke to my brother a day later and was told if I do the tour I can’t be the “black cloud” hovering over everything. As it turns out, the band was getting along better without me in the mix. Everyone considered me to be so damaging to the mentality of the band that they taught a new guitar player the songs on two days notice rather than have me do the tour. I don’t blame them. This is a business after all and each element must be there in its proper place… if one falls, the rest do what they must to keep the focus on business. Just because you have a bad day, week, month, or even year, doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to. I recognize my mistakes and have taken a better path since.
Many of you have hit on some truths regarding my career in God Forbid and my overall state of mind since my departure. I know I’ve been erratic. I’m going to clear the air and tell you guys the truth. My dissatisfaction with my career in God Forbid and imminent departure didn’t stem from “issues with individual members in the band or the record label.” It didn’t stem from “a massive drug addiction.. After some quality time to zoom out, step back and breathe, I realized that it stemmed from the realization that 99% of the goals I wanted to achieve with God Forbid were achieved by 2004. I was lucky to achieve the personal goals of my younger years.
Make a demo. Play a show. Make a full length record. Get signed to a record label. Get a manager. Get a booking agent. Go on tour. Get a guitar endorsement. Get an amp endorsement. Make a video. Get on MTV. Play Ozzfest. Tour with Machine Head. Tour with Slayer. Tour with Slipknot. Sell fifty thousand records. Make a great metal record.
Most of my personal goals were achieved by the time I was 21 years old. The others were reached when the band toured on our own bus and with our own crew on Ozzfest in 2004. The only goal left for me was making a GREAT metal record. I know everyone here has an opinion, but I write music for myself. I always have and I always will make music for myself. Earthsblood was the great record I thought God Forbid was going to make. We achieved that goal and I’m proud of it. I wasn’t able to move on unless we did that. What matters is how happy we as a band and we individually were with it.
But, achieving that goal took its toll on me mentally and spiritually.
I put my entire soul into the Constitution of Treason record. I came into my own vocally, lyrically and spiritually. I found my voice on that record. Most of you may not know this but I wrote 70% of the lyrics for that record. Every emotion within me when I sing my lyrics is pure and bare. Today, I can’t listen to some of those songs. To experience those feelings of hope breaks me apart, because things will never be as they once were.
The words in “Chains of Humanity” say it best: “Judgement day has come at last. The clouds bleed black as the tentacles of the divine replace my blood.” Change is inevitable. Change hurts. We must ask ourselves if we’re really happy. At some point you will have to be honest with yourself. I was not happy wondering if I was being held back from my destiny. That mentality hurt God Forbid’s potential to get better and it hurt my ability to be honest and write great music. The creation of Genetic keeps me motivated to keep seeking and exploring a more unknown side of myself. I believe the music I’m creating has limitless potential.
I have a strong personality and I usually get what I want when I work hard and focus. Everyone has this ability. But I had very high, maybe unrealistic, expectations when it came to performance, songwriting and any other band related issues regarding God Forbid. I put pressure on everyone constantly and I have a short fuse, so it was not pleasant to be around me while I was in such a state of mind. To Doc, Corey, John, Byron and all the close GF family, I’m sorry for making your lives so tough all these years. You guys are doing great. I appreciate who I am today and you are all a part of it.
God Forbid is extremely special to me as is the music we created together. I’m grateful I had the chance to affect countless amounts of people with just a guitar, a pen and the will to succeed. My time has come and I’m at the crossroads, I chose a different path to take. I followed my heart and trusted this decision was for the best in the longrun for all involved. To the God Forbid fans disappointed by me leaving, I’m sorry. Your support and outpouring of responses has been incredible. Thank you so much. I look forward to the future, personally and professionally.