Metal band Witchrot split because the guitarist was allegedly shagging the singer's girlfriend and they had a not-actually-dead drummer. Take note, break-up dullards, says columnist Mark Beaumont
Movie quiz. 12 Years A Slave – fantastic film, but what happens at the end? Struggling to remember? Now try Fight Club. Easy, right? Now try to picture the closing scene of Oscar winning classic The King’s Speech. No luck? Try The Wicker Man instead. Bingo.
Now stop wondering where you have to click to share your score with your followers, you attention-seeking shell of a person – none of us fulfilled our life potential, get over it – this is merely an illustrative exercise. What did we learn? That shock, violence and destruction make for far more memorable endings than considered empathy. A long, lingering fade-out, into which the viewer reads their own vague interpretation, loses to a load of skyscrapers getting bollocksed every time.
The same goes for bands, which are, of course, the films of music (note to editor: I will obviously accept a lower word rate for this sentence). All hail Witchrot, the band who bowed out in the most spectacular rock fashion on Facebook this week. “Due to the unfortunate reality of our guitarist fucking my girlfriend of almost 7 years WITCHROT will be taking an extended hiatus,” frontman Peter Turik told the band’s 300 followers. “I however will continue the band in another space and time, being ripe with hate the music is slowly flowing and without a doubt will become the most devastating, torturous music I have ever created.” Oh and one other thing, almost forgot. “Also our drummer died”.
Much to the internet’s disappointment, the drummer hadn’t died – a later post admitted that he’d left two weeks earlier but asked Turik to say he was dead because “no-one will care”. But they did care, in huge viral numbers – Witchrot’s not-dead drummer was the biggest metal scandal since Threatin’s not-alive fanbase. Because THAT, bands, is how you break up. Not in some polite, tediously amicable Gwyneth Paltrow sort of way, where some bunch of no-marks get dropped after their third crap album and daddy’s money runs out and post a dull, regretful online announcement about musical differences and courses being run and what a brilliant seven year ride yada-yada-yayazzzzz. No, with blood on the amps, instruments in smithereens and every shred of dirty laundry set on fire and flung out of the tour bus window in a gut-spilling, whiskey-fuelled revenge frenzy.
Liam Gallagher smashing up Noel’s favourite guitar backstage at Rock en Seine in 2009. The Eagles threatening to beat each other senseless onstage at a 1980 benefit show. Phil Everly wrapping a guitar around his drunk-ass brother Don’s head at a Hollywood show in 1973. And then decades of lurid details, spats, slurs and venom in the press, please. We want the soap opera cliffhanger, not some gormless moron’s reality show best bits. This is rock ‘n’ roll, not Karen from Accounts’ leaving drinks.
We’ve earned the insight after all. We made them the enigma they became. They lured us in with songs that made us feel that they – and only they – had a panoramic view of the deepest depths of our souls, and we repaid them with adulation, merch sales, spur-of-the-moment sexual favours and the life of moderate acclaim and unlimited pasties they always dreamed of. We’ve had a mutually beneficial (if a bit one-sided) relationship with them for years, so the very least they could do when they split up is dish the dirt in forensic detail on who shagged who’s wife, who caught crabs from the Bangkok sex worker, who was secretly a central member of the EDL, who stole all the money and what drugs got blown up what orifices using which blunt implement. After everything we’ve done for them, don’t they think we deserve closure?
It works both ways too. I mean, why are they breaking up in the first place? Like a conniving rock’n’roll Tinder hook-up, it’s to make us realise what we’re missing so that we’re all the more desperate when they deign to reform, by which time we’ll have hoisted them onto a pedestal, forgotten all the shit acoustic-album shags and realised they were The (festival headlining) One all along. And while a spectacular split might scupper everyone’s solo careers – the musical equivalent of watching a massive spinning rainbow wheel for five years – it heightens the intrigue, expectation and demand for the big hatchet burying comeback.
Just look at Witchrot – their big split brought so much attention that Turik has decided to continue, with someone called Lea singing. I can only hope, as you are, that Lea is said longstanding girlfriend, and that the deceitful guitarist is still in the band. Because we are coming to watch you, Witchrot. All of us. And we want Noel & Liam meets Fleetwood Mac times The Everly Brothers plus The Eagles squared. Dead drummer a bonus.