High on Fire and Founding Drummer Des Kensel Have Parted Ways
High on Fire fans started wondering if lineup changes were afoot when founding drumming Des Kensel was absent from two shows this past May, with Gaytheist’s Nick Parks filling in. That both the band and Kensel were completely silent on the matter only stoked the rumor rill.
Now it’s official: Kensel is no longer in the band after 21 years and eight albums, a remarkable run to be sure. In a statement posted to his personal Instagram, Kensel graciously thanks his bandmates for his time in the group and cites the difficulties of the touring lifestyle as his reason for stepping down, expressing a desire to spend more time with his family.
Here is Des’s statement in full:
“As a founding member of High On Fire, I feel blessed to have spent the last 21 years traveling around the world pursuing my childhood dream to write and play music. After eight albums, countless tours, and a Grammy win, I am very thankful for what we have been able to accomplish as a band.
“Being a full time professional musician can have its challenges. One gets through those challenges with patience, hard work and perseverance. After much consideration, it is time for me to announce that I will no longer be performing with High On Fire. I will now be focusing on new opportunities and spending time with my family.
“I would like to sincerely thank all of our fans for your support throughout the years. Without you, none of this would have been possible.
“Lastly, I would like to wish my band-mates the best of luck in the future.”
High on Fire have yet to issue a statement of their own, although just this week they announced a fall tour with Power Trip, Devil Master and Creeping Death. We will update this post if and when High on Fire chime in with a public farewell message to Des and an announcement about who their new drummer is.
Thank you for your service, Des, and best of luck with your future endeavors! You will most surely be missed.