Update: The Promise Ring Calls It Quits
Milwaukee-based underground rock quartet the Promise Ring has split, an Anti/Epitaph label spokesperson confirms. On tour to support its recent label debut "Wood/Water," the band reportedly announcedMilwaukee-based underground rock quartet the Promise Ring has split, an Anti/Epitaph label spokesperson confirms. On tour to support its recent label debut "Wood/Water," the band reportedly announced the break-up last week at one of its West Coast Plea For Peace dates. "It's safe to say that they have indeed broken up," reveals Anti/Epitaph owner Brett Gurewitz in a statement. "I don't know the reasons yet and all I can say is, this is very sad news."
The Promise Ring formed in 1995 from the ashes of three Midwest bands -- Cap'n Jazz, Ceilishrine, and None Left Standing -- and signed to the Delaware-based Jade Tree Records the following year. Over the course of six years, the band released four albums and three EPs, including 1997's acclaimed "Nothing Feels Good" and 1999's "Very Emergency."
Frontman Davey VonBohlen underwent emergency surgery to remove a benign brain tumor in May 2000, forcing the band off the road. But in 2001, Promise Ring jumped to Anti, an imprint of Gurewitz's Epitaph label that counts Merle Haggard and Nick Cave among its roster. VonBohlen told Billboard this spring that it was worth spending $100,000 to work with producer Stephen Street on "Wood/Water," which debuted at No. 16 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart.
"We're happy to see our royalties disappear to gain this record," he said. "When you have to recoup that much money, it's like, 'We're going to be poor,' but nothing comes without a tradeoff."
The new album reflected VonBholen's love/hate relationship with music, with songs such as "Stop Playing Guitar" and "Get on the Floor" contemplating an alternative life away from rock'n'roll.
"I'm not a big music guy," he admitted. "A lot of people are really into records, and that's just not me. When we're doing it, it's a little bit over-exposure for me. I don't love it so much that I talk about music all the time. As time goes on, you question what you're doing, like, 'God, I've been doing this for 10 years, is this cool?' I'm in the mid-life of my music career, so I need a vacation."