Superchunk Bassist Laura Ballance Suffers Hearing Problem, Sits Out Tour

Jason Narducy steps in as her replacement

laura ballance, superchunk, hearing loss
Superchunk's Laura Ballance performing in 2012 Getty Images
Kyle McGovern WRITTEN BY
Kyle McGovern

Superchunk will embark on a 14-date North American tour this summer in support of I Hate Music — the indie vets' 10th studio effort, due August 20 via Merge — but the Chapel Hill legends will be one bandmember short. Bassist Laura Ballance announced today (May 16) that she will not be joining Mac McCaughan, Jon Wurster, and Jim Wilbur on the road because she suffers from hyperacusis, a condition marked by an oversensitivity to certain ranges of sound. In a note posted on Superchunk's website, Ballance described the disorder as being akin to hearing loss.

"I have found that playing rock shows for the last couple of years has worsened my condition and I have made the difficult decision not to go out on the road with Superchunk for the upcoming campaign for I Hate Music," she wrote. "And it's not because I hate music. And it's not because I am too old. You know, that thing about if it's too loud you are too old? That keeps running through my head, dammit." 

The 45-year-old musician continued, "I am really sad that I won't be out on the road with Jim, Jon, and Mac because it's a blast. And playing for all of you people who come to our shows is a blast too. It is one of the most fun and gratifying things I have done during my life. I am going to miss you. That said, there is a possibility that I will drop in and play in situations where I think I can effectively protect myself from the loudness." 

Superchunk have called on Jason Narducy, former frontman of Verbow and current leader of the Britt Daniel- and Wurster-featuring Split Single, to replace Ballance onstage. Narducy has been a longtime musician-for-hire, having played in touring bands for Bob Mould, Robert Pollard, and Telekinesis. 

Ballance ended her announcement by clarifying that she's still very much a member of Superchunk. "I am really excited to have recorded this new album with Superchunk," she wrote, "and I look forward to making more." As do we.

Read Ballance's entire note down below, followed by Superchunk's upcoming tour dates.

Hello people,

Tickets for the upcoming Superchunk tour go on sale this week and there is something you might want to know. I have been having some problems with my ears, the sort of problems commonly known as "hearing loss," "ringing," and less commonly as "hyperacusis." I have found that playing rock shows for the last couple of years has worsened my condition and I have made the difficult decision not to go out on the road with Superchunk for the upcoming campaign for I Hate Music. And it's not because I hate music. And it's not because I am too old. You know, that thing about if it's too loud you are too old? That keeps running through my head, dammit.

I am really sad that I won't be out on the road with Jim, Jon, and Mac because it's a blast. And playing for all of you people who come to our shows is a blast too. It is one of the most fun and gratifying things I have done during my life. I am going to miss you. That said, there is a possibility that I will drop in and play in situations where I think I can effectively protect myself from the loudness. This is not meant to add a roulette element to the upcoming shows. Chances are I won't be there people, ok? If I will, I will let you know in advance.

You may be wondering how on earth they will play these shows without me. Well, let me tell you, we have come up with an excellent solution to this problem, and his name is Jason Narducy! You will be in good hands.

For clarity, let me add, I have not quit the band. I am really excited to have recorded this new album with Superchunk, and I look forward to making more.

Much love,

Laura

Superchunk 2013 tour dates:

June 20 -  Calgary, AB @ Sled Island Music and Arts Festival
August 22 - Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
August 23 - Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle
August 24 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle
September 2 - Seattle, WA @ Bumbershoot
September 3 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
September 4 - Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
September 6 - Portland, OR MFNW @ Crystal Ballroom
September 23 - Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater
September 24 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
September 26 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
September 27 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
September 28 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
September 29 - Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club

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