It's an understatement to say that 2012 was a fiercely intense year for Georgia metal-makers Baroness. The band released their most masterful creation yet, Yellow & Green — a SPIN Essential that topped our Best Metal Albums list and ranked high in our overall Best Albums of 2012 rundown — and one month later narrowly escaped death when their tour bus plummeted off of a viaduct in Bath, England.
Singer-guitarist John Baizley experienced the worst of it and has remained impressively optimistic throughout the entire ordeal, going as far as to promise the band's return to the road in the near future, but the negative repercussions of the accident continue. Last month we learned the bus' driver is facing criminal charges after the gruesome crash. And now, Baroness' rhythm section is moving on.
In a note posted to the band's website, Baizley explained that bassist Matt Maggioni and drummer Allen Blickle have decided to leave the band. "Nothing can truly prepare you for a brush with death. The event is a unique one, singular to the observer," he wrote. "For some of us, the accident necessitated a change that would prevent them from performing music or touring." Further details were omitted.
Blickle and Maggioni each suffered fractured vertebrae in the accident. Their replacements haven't been named, but Baizley says he and Peter Adams have found "two musicians who can approach our music with passion and vitality and help get us back out on tour to finish what was seemingly cut short last August." Read the entire announcement from Baroness, who will appear at Bonnaroo in June, below.
Nothing can truly prepare you for a brush with death. The event is unique one, singular to the observer. Trust me, you don’t want to invite the experience. Our bus accident left indelible marks, external and internal, physical and mental, you name it. Each of the nine of us went through and continues to go through an entirely different, yet common experience. We are tied to each other by a trauma, which, despite its damage, has been made individually easier through our shared ordeal. While I would never wish the incident on anyone, I cannot imagine going through that wreck alone.
Thankfully, injury was not dealt out evenly; unfortunately it was dealt in great supply. Each of the nine of us now finds our self in a drastically different circumstance, and we each move forward accordingly. There are two important things to note. First, we are all healthy. We are recovering at different rates, and we’ll all be fine in the end. Second, Baroness has made a commitment to pick up where we left off, and get back out on tour, where we belong. In fact, I am personally staking my recovery on this principle; it gives me direction and something to look forward to (finally).
However, for some of us, the accident necessitated a change that would prevent them from performing music or touring. It is with sadness that we must announce that Matt Maggioni and Allen Blickle will not continue touring with Baroness. The details of their departure are not sensational; they do not come with hard feelings. Nor are the details going to be public; suffice it to say we’d like to keep to ourselves the finer points of this situation, to respect the privacy of all involved. While the nine of us must respect the significance of the bus accident in Bath, we must also move away from it and get back to our lives. Simply put, some of the effects and injuries were severe enough to prohibit further activity in Baroness. While we would never have asked them to leave; we have the utmost sympathy for this situation, and in earnest, we wish Matt and Allen the best in the future. In their stead, we have found two musicians who can approach our music with passion and vitality and help get us back out on tour to finish what was seemingly cut short last August.