There was something seemingly improbable about a screamo outfit from St. Catharines becoming one of Canada's best-loved bands of the 2000s. Still, in 10 years, Alexisonfire scored a Juno, saw their albums go platinum (2004's Watch Out, 2006's Crisis) and toured from Niagara Falls to the Netherlands and wherever else kids form circle pits.
As of August 5, however, that run came to an end.
Alexisonfire's resident growler, George Pettit, announced the end of the band in a message posted on AOF's official website Friday.
"Was the break up amicable? Not really. Was it necessary? Probably," Pettit wrote in the lengthy message. "Regardless, the members of this band are my family and I wish them nothing but good fortune."
The pull of projects outside of Alexisonfire seemingly led to the break-up. And as Pettit revealed in his statement, guitarists Wade McNeil and Dallas Green opted to leave the band some time ago for other pursuits. (Green famously performs under the name City and Colour; his recently released third album, Little Hell, was his first No. 1 on the Canadian album charts. MacNeil -- who also plays in the band Black Lungs -- is thought to be joining English hardcore act Gallows, music journalist Alan Cross reported on his blog.)
"Almost a year ago, Dallas informed us he would be leaving after we finished our Old Crows/Young Cardinals tour cycle," Pettit wrote. "Trying to balance his life between touring with us and at the same time quelling the success of City and Colour was a task too difficult to continue managing. He informed us he wanted to focus his efforts on City and Colour."
News of MacNeilâs departure followed, Pettit wrote. "Replacing one guitar player/singer/writer was something we thought was possible, but replacing two would run the serious risk of perverting the legacy of what we had achieved. So we all took a good hard swallow and decided to end it so it would never get old and ugly."
In the statement, the singer explains that the band kept this news to themselves as they continued the promotion of 2009's Old Crows/Young Cardinals and 2010 EP Dog's Blood -- and played a Dec. 19, 2010 hometown show in St. Catharines knowing it would be "the last ever Alexisonfire concert with a line-up as we knew it."
Pettit writes that he and bandmates Jordan Hastings and Christopher Steele have yet to plot what's next for them post-AOF.
That said, he hints that the band intends to make a proper farewell to fans -- followers he describes as "the coal that stoked our engines."
"We have talked about doing several special releases around our 10-year anniversary and also doing a final run of shows in Canada as a farewell tour," Pettit revealed. "Everything is still in the planning stages. We will release details as soon as they come to us.
Alexisonfire formed in 2001, and according to the Toronto Sun, the band had been working towards a follow-up to 2009's Old Crows/Young Cardinals prior to announcing their split.
The band's full farewell statement can be found at www.theonlybandever.com.