Ten years ago, Perpetual Groove came together right here in Savannah, and went on to be an Athens–based juggernaut, one of the most dependably great live jam bands in the South.
Always, a lot of the attention was focused on guitarist Brock Butler, whose fleet fingers and arsenal of trippy electronic effects kept the groove in the proverbial pocket.
“Perpetual,” however, it was not. The band has announced, on its website, an “indefinite hiatus” starting April 6. No more shows, no more festivals, no more albums.
It appears that Butler himself — now living in Atlanta — was at the center of this move.
“I want to apologize to the fans I’ve let down, to my friends and loved ones I’ve put through worry, and to everyone in Perpetual Groove’s organization,” the guitarist wrote on pgroove.com. “This apology is for the state I’ve allowed myself to be in at shows, which have compromised performances, as well as my personal life. I’m very aware and sorry to everyone I’ve let down through my actions and lack of actions.”
Take from this what you will. I tried to reach Brock on the phone this week, but he didn’t return the call.
“Perpetual Groove has been my life for a long, long time,” his letter continues. “In some ways it has defined me. I’m at a point where I truly need a break. This is the hardest decision of my life but my happiness and well–being must be my first priority. Trying to find balance, break bad habits and develop good ones while continuing a life on the road is something I haven’t been able to do.”
The band will honor its remaining dates, including next week’s AURA Festival in Florida, and the Statesboro Music Festival on March 9.
Afterwards Adam Perry, Albert Suttle and Matthew McDonald will continue to tour under the name Ghost Owl.
The band also released a collective statement, which includes this somewhat cryptic paragraph:
“We have to admit, not everything has gone to plan on this journey. We have seen highs and lows, just like the rest of the country in the past few years. And now we turn to a new chapter. While it’s difficult to do, we support Brock Butler in his work to create a healthier, happier life and career for himself. That work needs to take place in a new and different context and we wish him luck.”
Big news from the Savannah Music Festival: On Thursday, Feb. 7, the brass will announce their hipster shows for 2013. The “announcement party,” called Crank it Up!, gets rolling at 6:30 p.m. at Tubby’s in Thunderbolt. City Hotel and the Train Wrecks will perform, and for your $20 ticket ($25 at the door) you also get Lowcountry boil, beer and wine, and early access to tickets for the shows. We can’t tell you who’s coming — yet — but in years past it’s been the likes of Band of Horses and the Avetts.
Jazz piano legend Bob James will play a rare solo show March 7 at the Charles Morris Center. A benefit for the Children’s Hospital at Memorial University Medical Center, this 100 Club–sponsored event has a $100 ticket. There’ll be a cash bar at 5:30 p.m., with the performance starting at 6. Call (912) 598–7216 for reservations.
Quick hits on a couple of keen gigs this week from returning rock ‘n’ roll heroes and new–to–town acts.
• Paleface at the Wormhole. A lit–pop superstar in the 1990s, Paleface is buddies with Beck and the Avett Brothers. He’ll be painting the Wormhole walls red Feb. 7, with drummer Mo Samalot, and electric guitar player Soren Mattson.
• Scott H. Biram at the Jinx. The spellbinding solo spinner of gutbucket blues — whose music was recently heard on F/X’s Sons of Anarchy — returns Friday, Feb. 8.
• Also on the 8th, the amazing and freaky/funky Super Bob is back at the Rock House on Tybee Island.
• Atlanta’s Featureless Ghost has a date at the Sparetime Feb. 8. Matt Weiner and Elise Tippins are touring behind FG’s debut album, Personality Matrix. It’s multi–colored industrial synth–rock with duet vocals, giving it a ghostly sheen. Recons opens at 9 p.m., with DJ sets from Cc and Len Bias fleshing out the evening.
• For a taste of Stopover–to–come, check out the instrumental band PAN Feb. 8 at the Wormhole. This is an innovative pop/rock ensemble, and before the guys head out to SXSW they’re booked for the Stopover March 7 (at Club One with Delicate Steve and others). More on PAN as we get closer to Stopover.
• Speaking of Stopover: As you well know, Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore debuts his new band Chelsea Light Moving March 7 at the Knights of Columbus, and Connect’s got you covered. Go to our website — connectsavannah.com — and register to win VIP Souncheck Access to the show, plus a three–day Stopover pass.