When Alexisonfire announced they were splitting up last Friday with an official band statement by singer George Pettit, the Canadian punk band’s other singer, Dallas Green, was doing what he’s so often doing of late: Touring solo under his other moniker, City and Colour.
It was precisely this dual life and schedule that led him to leave the band he co-founded in 2001, a decision he took back in 2010 and kept quiet about until now. After performing a City and Colour set at Lollapalooza in Chicago this Sunday, Green sat down to explain why he felt it necessary to choose one project over the other and how he feels about the idea of a future Alexisonfire final tour.
The press release said you quit over a year ago. Why keep it a secret until now?
I wanted to do it 15 months ago. But when I told the guys that I was planning to leave the band when we finished touring at the end of last year, they didn’t want to say anything because they thought it put a lot of pressure on them to come up with a decision right away about what they were going to do. I wanted to announce that I was leaving the band so that people who maybe weren’t going to come to those shows because “I’ve seen Alexis five times, I’ll wait ’til they come through again” would know that it was going to be the last time you’d get to see Alexisonfire as what we were.
But everyone else wanted to wait, and I respected their wishes, because everyone knew what I was going to do, and obviously they were shocked and didn’t have a gameplan. Then as time went on, it started getting tough because I was doing press for my new record and I had to lie. I felt really weird about lying about it, so I tried to answer it a vague way so that when it did come out it didn’t sound like I was completely lying. But I was.
He described it in the announcement as “not amicable.”
It’s the truth, right? They didn’t want me to leave the band. They said, “Why can’t you just keep doing what we’re doing, go back and forth?” Well, that’s why I’m leaving, because it’s killing me. As much as they saw me always on tour and always putting records out back to back to back, I don’t think they really understood that I was literally never home.
When people would ask me when I’d make the decision, I’d joke, “When I have a nervous breakdown.” But I have already had those. I was in the hospital with pneumonia. I’ve lain in the bus crying uncontrollably at night. I was living this unbelievably blessed life but I had no idea how to enjoy it because I was running myself ragged, trying to appease my commitments to Alexisonfire but also trying to appease all the people that were showing interest in City and Colour. It just got to a point when I had to make a decision. A very hard decision. But after 10 years, my heart … well part of my heart is there, but most of my heart is with this.
So you’ve played your last show with Alexisonfire but nobody knew. How do you feel about that?
I hate that. I really wanted to tell people. Like George said, we’ve talked about doing some final shows. But to me, I’ve already played my last Alexisonfire show. In my heart, the last show was in St. Catharine’s, Ontario in 2010.
How do you feel that instead of replacing you, the band is splitting up?
A part of me is happy that, as George said, we didn’t pervert the legacy. But a part of me wishes that they could continue, keep going.
Now that the news is out, are you relieved?
I’m relieved right now because I can finally tell my side of it. In the write-up it doesn’t tell my side of it. It says I left the band a year ago but it doesn’t say that they asked me to keep quiet about it. Like I said, I would have announced it right away.
Some of the immediate response from fans over the weekend was negative towards you. What do you say to the people who think you’re the villain?
I knew that no matter how George framed it, I was going to be looked at as the villain. And that’s fine. We were a band way longer than 90 percent of people who heard us in 2011 thought we were going to be. We put out four records. We did something for aggressive Canadian music that nobody else had done up to that point: we were a weird sounding band that started getting played on the radio and MuchMusic and I feel good about that.
I feel good about the 10 years that we had together. But bands break up. People move on and do other things.