High on Fire drummer Des Kensel has announced that he’s leaving the band. Kensel founded the band in 1998 with guitarist Matt Pike and bassist George Rice. The group have released eight albums since their formation, beginning with 2000’s The Art of Self Defense and most recently including their 2018 album Electric Messiah.
Kensel announced his departure from the band on Instagram, where he published a lengthy caption describing his tough decision to leave. “After much consideration, it is time for me to announce that I will no longer be performing with High On Fire,” he writes. “I will now be focusing on new opportunities and spending time with my family.”
Kensel’s departure follows a rough year for High On Fire. In October, the band was forced to cancel their tour after frontman Matt Pike had a sudden medical emergency related to his diabetes which resulted in the partial amputation of his toe. The band later cancelled yet another tour due to extenuating circumstances from the amputation. Earlier this week, they announced an upcoming North American tour with Power Trip, Creeping Death, and Devil Master.
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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. Des Kensel. #highonfire #deskensel #highonfireband