Byzantine Bassist Michael “Skip” Cromer Quits the Band
This is a real sadness: Byzantine, esteemed writers of one of the best metal albums of 2013 so far, have lost bassist Michael “Skip” Cromer. In a somewhat lengthy post on Byzantine’s Facebook page, Cromer said that there’s “another direction that I must go in” as a result of recently becoming a Christian. Which is a double sadness, because it’s always a bummer to see a guy stop creating art in favor of some invisible man in the sky (whether he’s Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or other).
The good news is that I don’t really think this is going to affect Byzantine’s sound all that much. Chris “OJ” Ojeda and Tony Rohrbrough have always been the creative nucleus of the band. Cromer wasn’t the original bassist — he joined the band in 2004 after the recording of The Fundamental Component, replacing founding member Chris “Cid” Adams — so I expect Byzantine will have no problems keeping on keeping on. More good news is that this won’t have a great impact on Byzantine’s touring schedule since there is really no touring schedule to speak of (since reuniting the band has been vocal that their priorities lie in staying home with their families and working their day jobs). Cromer will perform one last show with the band this Friday in Charleston, WV; beyond that, the band’s only got two dates booked and they’ve got until September to find a replacement.
Here are Cromer’s parting words:
I am writing this post to inform you that as of after the Sound Factory show this Friday, I will no longer be playing in Byzantine. I have in recent months become a Christian and I feel at this point in my life that I have another direction that I must go in. I would like to thank my brothers in Byzantine for the opportunity to play in, (my not so humble opinion), the best heavy metal band in the world. Through choosing me to fill the bass spot, I have seen more of the world than I ever thought I would. I have also had the privilege to be around some of the best musicians that have constantly pushed me to improve not only my skills as a musician but also as a business man and friend. I love you Oj, Tony, and Wolfe. You supporting in my decision means more to me than any song, any album, or any tour that we have worked on. I look forward to hearing what you crazy Rednecks come up with next. I was a fan before I joined Byz, and I am a fan still.
Next I would like to thank all the friends I have made during my time in Byzantine. Their are so many of you that to write all of you down here would take more room than I think Facebook will allow. You all have made such a impact on my life that to not recognize you in some way would be a disservice. I will however point to some key people. They are Aaron Fisher, Daniel Johnson (Logan County as a whole really) Anthony Lewis, Rod Lanham, Xack Padin, Jamie Rakes, Roadblock, and the Ojeda, Rohrbough, and Wolfe families as a whole. You all have stood out to me as supporters of this band in good times and bad. Much love to you as well.
Last but certainly not least, I want to thank all the fans. When I joined Byzantine, I was welcomed with open arms in the way that only West Virginia knows how. I felt as though I became a “Honorary Redneck”. Without your continued support Byzantine, or any other band for that matter, would not be possible. I will remember the crazy nights and conversations that I have had with some of you and it is my hope that I will run into you in the future.
Please join me this Friday in celebrating the Sound Factory. I think it a very fitting finale to my time with Byzantine that my last night with them will be in my favorite club in Charleston. It will be a great time and there will be a couple of surprises. God bless you all. Montani Semper Liberi