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The Ghost InsideJonathan Weiner

The Ghost Inside’s Chris Davis On Firing Jim Riley: “Looking Back Now, We Definitely Acted Hastily And Definitely Made The Wrong Call”


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This past June saw The Ghost Inside fire their bassist Jim Riley after his past usage of racial slurs was brought to light. Riley himself confirmed the allegations made against him and apologized for his actions, which took place in 2014-2015. You can read what he had to say about that at the time here.

Riley was called out by Bracewar drummer Rashod Jackson about that behavior amid the band’s decision to launch a shirt benefiting the Black Lives Matter movement in June, right before the release of the first new The Ghost Inside album since their 2015 bus accident.

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For the past several weeks The Ghost Inside have been appearing on a multi-episode podcast dubbed ‘1333 Days’ that has been tracing their career and the struggles the band faced in the wake of their crash. A wrap-up episode for that series arrived yesterday, September 16th. The series found the band seemingly unsure if they made the right call when ejecting Riley from the band.

Drummer Andrew Tkaczyk offered [transcriptions via Lambgoat]:

“We were just feeling the pressure from fans, people on social media, and even some peers… we felt the pressure and we made a decision against the wishes of our management and label and as soon as we made that initial post about Jim not being in the band anymore… like it went live, and I’m not trying to sound dramatic or ‘feel bad for me’ or anything like that but it’s the first time in my life, I hadn’t eaten for two days straight, and that post went up and I vomited out of straight anxiety.

I have never in my life, personally, even with the accident, felt or dealt with anxiety on a level life this, where I didn’t eat or sleep. I think we all just saw something going on that was like a lose/lose and we just felt like that was the call to make at the time, and immediately felt bad and felt wrong. We knew that. We never stopped talking to Jim or anything. We literally have chatted every day since. It’s difficult for me to even talk about. This is such a sensitive subject.”

Tkaczyk would go on to say:

“The outrage makes sense from people. I get it. But when we instantly realized that we made the worst mistake in the band’s career, probably, it felt too soon to correct it or even address it

I think we all, for our own sanity, had to step away from this for a long time and I’m telling you right now it was the worst few months that I can remember in recent history and I think we had to step away and just still talk to each other, but almost ignore all these comments we’re seeing like, ‘you did this to your brother’, and it’s like… mentally, imagine how frustrating it is to not be able to reply to reply to someone and be like, ‘I woke up from a ten-day coma to Jim holding my hand in a hospital. He IS my brother. You don’t know him like I do’.

The mental toll that has taken on us, to have to just sit there and take it has been hard, but guess what? I’m sitting here admitting it, and we’re taking it on the chin. We fucked up. We are also just human. We fucked up and that’s it. If people don’t want to support the band and all that, I accept that. That’s everyone’s decision to make but regardless of anything we’ve even just said, the most important thing is that Jim is still our brother.”

Bassist/guitarist Chris Davis:

“It felt that incident was going to take away the band again. It just felt so overwhelming that it’s like we have to… all five of us felt like we had to do something. Looking back now, we definitely acted hastily and definitely made the wrong call. It’s so hard to understand all the mental gymnastics you have to do in a situation like that, under pressure, and how hard it is to process everything that’s coming at you all at once. It’s so easy to jump to the wrong decision just based on the pressures of what’s going on on the Internet.”

Riley offered:

“Hindsight is 20/20. It’s easy today to look back and say we could have handled things a different way, we could have said things a different way, but it just didn’t feel that way in the moment. The five of us talked and I told the guys, ‘the four of you have to make this decision, this is my mess and I have to be the one to deal with the repercussions of this and I have to take accountability for myself’.

I felt like it was not fair for the whole band to get dragged down, especially on the day this album is coming out. For the whole band to be taken away again and watching in real-time on your Twitter feed, to watch the band be taken away from you, was unfair and the responsibility for that falls on me. I told the guys I would gladly step away from the band if that was going to be what it took for The Ghost Inside to move forward.

In the moment, it did definitely feel like that was the only decision that could be made. If it felt like there was some other way to navigate this, we would have done that instead. It just didn’t feel that way.”

Lambgoat note that Riley‘s current status in the band was not addressed.

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