As Cities Burn

As Cities Burn Drummer Explains Band’s Latest Breakup


Now former As Cities Burn drummer Aaron Lunsford has explained the band’s decision to once again hang it up. The news was somewhat shocking as the group had recently announced the addition of vocalist Stephen Keech (ex-Haste The Day) to their roster. In a posting made over at this location, he offered:

“I don’t feel right about speaking through the ACB Facebook page to communicate the things I would like to. The last 24 hours have been weird. A lot of that weirdness falls on me and the way I communicate. I like to be snarky. I like to try and “teach” people through comment threads. I have too much pride. I don’t show enough grace. I was just talking to a friend on the phone about all of this and he told me “you must offer grace to receive it yourself”. As it relates to other humans that is. The human in me says “Fuck that, if you are going to be an ass, I will be an ass.” But my friend reminded me that I already receive grace from Jesus though I may not be deserving of it, and that should be my example when dealing with others, however frustrating they may be. I fail at this on a daily basis.

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Pride. Emotion. Frustration. Intolerance. I let these things get the best of me. There is an element to commenting at people on an internet forum that I find entertaining and mostly aim to be funny if even simultaneously being snarky. Sometimes people take it as a personal attack even if I don’t mean it that way.
Two days ago, I quit As Cities Burn. I can’t say everything I’m feeling about this as it is very personal and I don’t want to damage my friendships within the band. I will explain the best that I can.

The members of the band were down to myself, Stephen Keech, and Cody Bonnette. Our plan was to move forward as a three piece. This is pretty much all based on the fact that we live in Nashville, making the work of being in a band logistically possible. All the other past members have life going on outside of As Cities Burn and this band was not in their future plans. Myself, Keech, and Cody were excited to move forward and operate on some level as at least a part time band.

Cody and I have been playing music together since we were 19 years old. We are extremely close friends that have had to maneuver an artistic and business relationship. That’s extremely difficult to do, especially when two strong willed and determined people have different visions for the future and how the business end should go. Creatively, it’s been one of the greatest joys of my life to make music with Cody. I’m really proud of everything we have done in songwriting, recording, live performances etc. Cody is literally a musical genius in his own right, and one of the best guitar players I’ve ever known. Nobody touches him in artistic vision and execution. He’s the best in the “scene” and I’m lucky to have had the chance to work with him.

On the business end, our relationship has been more complicated. In a nutshell, I had different expectations to what I wanted to accomplish with the new version of As Cities Burn. We just couldn’t get on the same page. It’s a strain on our friendship and my mental state. In many ways, As Cities Burn is toxic for me. Like a bad relationship that you can’t let go. I’ve worked really hard over the years to keep it going the best I could. After we broke up the first time in 2009, I didn’t think we would ever do anything again. The past few years of “reunion shows” and what have you have been a blast. All along I have maintained the hope that Cody and I would eventually write and record a new As Cities Burn album.

We kind of kept missing the boat on each other in regards to motivation to make it happen. For the past year, I thought maybe I didn’t every want to play music again. I had a mental breakdown in the middle of a show on the SILYAYD reunion tour. That was a crazy experience and I almost left the tour the next day. I actually came very close to quitting the band before that tour every happened, for many of the same reasons I am giving now.

Cody and I are at very different spots in life. I have a wife and two kids. I needed to be able to plan really far ahead and figure out how to generate income if I was going to commit to continuing on. We just couldn’t find the common ground necessary to accomplish that goal. I decided that it’s too much stress on my family and myself and told Cody I needed to quit. I don’t think Cody gave much consideration to the idea of continuing on without me as the drummer, although I certainly would not have protested.

I’m bummed about all this. I was really looking forward to the upcoming shows. I do all of our booking and business activities and we were just days away from announcing about a weeks worth of shows around the Acceptance dates. I’m missing out on a significant amount of money by not doing all these shows. Combine that with how much fun it is to tour and see friends and drink free beer and eat cool food…it sucks. But, this is the best thing for me and my family. That’s all that matters. Once you decide you are done with a band, it’s not so easy to suck it up rehearsing for two months, building a 45 minute set, continuing to put many many hours into the work that goes into preparing for even a one week tour…

There is no animosity within this now defunct band. I was literally out until 2am last night drinking beers and eating burgers with Cody and Keech, just hanging like we always have and always will. If anything I think our relationships will be stronger with the weight of this band off our shoulders. All pretense and expectations are gone now. It’s just dudes, hanging out. I love it.

I’m sure that some will still not be satisfied with this explanation. Call me a pussy, tell me I’m worthless. Spew your hate and your entitlement if you must. I’m the only member (current anyways) of this band active on the internet to even communicate with ACB fans about what is going on. I apologize if my communication methods seem harsh. I’m not trying to give a “fuck you” to our fans as many have accused me of. It’s just done. As an artist and just a person with a life, I have a right to choose not to continue doing a “thing.” I’m not having a meltdown. I’m not having a mid-life crisis. I’m just trying to do what’s best for my family.

If that means that I’m a hack who self promotes his bullshit writing…then so be it. I am pursuing writing as a career, and if you don’t promote yourself and believe in yourself, nobody will. How do you think As Cities Burn got to where we are? Relentless work ethic and self promotion. I will never be ashamed to try and make a dollar to feed my children. To those who would make personal attacks, well…I’m just asking for some grace. Even if I don’t deserve it.

I’m sincere when I say THANK YOU for everything you, the fan, have given to this band. This experience changed my life and it wouldn’t have happened without the thousands of you that bought tickets to a show or bought a t-shirt or shared our music with a friend. It’s been great.

Eat BBQ,

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