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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Behind the Music: Bryan Dondero

So, remember a couple of months ago when Grace Potter & the Nocturnals bassist — and occasional Solid State contributor — Bryan Dondero left the band? To refresh your memory, when the news broke Bryan and I sat down for an interview, an abridged version of which appeared in the paper and which was printed in its entirety on this very blog. Though guarded in moments and obviously still struggling to make complete sense of the matter, he was generally candid throughout that interview and gave what seemed to be a fairly telling glimpse of life in GPN.

Um, yeah. About that …

In a post published on his blog today entitled "The Truth of Why I Left Grace Potter & the Nocturnals," Dondero unburdens himself, dishing a no-holds barred — and potentially libelous — account of his side of the story. To borrow a phrase, hold on to your fucking hat.

Among the highlights, Dondero dishes on the predicably sticky legal complications of extricating himself from the group (royalties, severence, etc), Grace's attempt to go solo and — *donning my best Perez Hilton outfit* — a blow-by-blow account of the conversation that ultimately led to his decision to leave the group. A snippet:

When I talked to Grace today, I said that I was leaving the band and “that I need to be explicitly clear about my reasons for leaving. I am not leaving because I have lost faith in our music, I am not leaving because I have lost faith in our business decisions, I am not leaving because of the direction we have decided to go with our music or the business. I am leaving because of what you (Grace) said to me last night. The things you said to me have wounded me beyond repair and I can not recover from something like that. If you (Grace) really feel and believe the things you said to me last night, and you really are that kind of person, then I can not play music with you.”

Grace: I feel like the things you do go against the grain of the rest of us.

Me [Dondero]: Like what? Give me an example.

Grace: This may sound vain, but the things you wear on stage… I think some of the things you do like putting your foot on the monitor or jump on the riser are at really inappropriate moments.

Grace: I feel closer to Chuck and Bobby than I do you. (our tour manager and front of house crew that was on the road for several months, compared to the 6 years that I have known Grace)

Grace: You have incredible integrity, and I feel like I don’t, and your integrity really scares me.

Grace: I don’t think you will ever be happy in this band.

And that's just the first bit. It goes on for quite a while and gets much, much stickier. When you've got a spare thirty minutes or so, I heartily suggest reading Dondero's retelling in its entirety. Guess he finally decided to eat that peach.

No response yet from the GPN camp, though an email was sent to GPN's Cado Burr earlier this morning. I'll keep you posted …

In other Potter news news, there is a midnight showing of the new Harry Potter movie tonight at the Sunset Drive-In.

Comments

Danny C

I read Bryan's full blog bit today and nothing he recounts surprises me. The ultimate destination here is GRACE with NO Nocturals. I guarantee this is what her LA label and management team are looking for in terms of marketability since we know $$$$ is the bottom line. We can comment pro and con about Grace and the band's musicianship, but we know she's "got it" as a marketable product.

And speaking of Grace, here's something else: Why isn't she a member of VT Local 351, AFM (American Federation of Musicians)instead of "hip, cool" LA Local 47? She & the guys made the cover and have a feature article in the latest (July 2009) "Musician" magazine (the AFM national publication) where she is constantly referred to as a member of LA Local 47. Now, if she's a LA resident, then fine. But if she's still a "real Vermont girl" and resident, she should be a member of 351. The boys in Phish are 351 members, as are Killimanjaro and many other great "local" players. But 351 isn't glamorous and doesn't sport alot of "big names" like 47. Local 351 needs new members - in an essentially non-union state, it has struggled with membership, but through the years (since the late 40's), it has always attempted to be viable to some way to VT musicians. As a member of the Local 351 Executive Board, I ask Grace to drop 47 and join us. Bring it on home, girl!

casey

Great points about the Musicians Local, Danny. Love the AFM.

kired

I was wondering about that, why she wasn't in her actual local.

ben

we have a union? wow.

Curious To Read It

Just when I wanted to read Dondero's full blog post, it appears he has taken it down. Why? Did somebody threaten to sue? Is there an archive of the post somewhere?

Charlie Messing

Of course it's down because someone threatened something. I hope someone copied it before it disappeared, I wish I had.

Curious To read It

Does anybody have it???????

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