A look back at the controversial history of Dance Gavin Dance

Post-hardcore band Dance Gavin Dance slowly gained traction after forming in 2005 and signing to Rise Records a year later. The California-based band has earned a reputation for experimenting with just about every musical style – hardcore, metal, pop, funk and everything in between – with unparalleled finesse. Nowadays, the band’s reputation has little to do with its music.

The rise of the band was even more of a feat considering the many line-up changes over the years. All signs pointed to their star continuing to rise with the release of their 10th studio album, Jackpost juice extractor, dropping July 29, and a coveted spot on a national stadium tour supporting prog-rock icons Coheed and Cambria. And then things went downhill faster than frontman Jon Mess could shout the “cocaine cringe” lyric. But before we get into all that, let’s take a look back at some key moments in DGD’s history.

The original iteration of Dance Gavin Dance featured vocalist Jonny Craig, impure (distorted) vocal Jon Mess, guitarists Will Swan and Sean O’Sullivan, bassist Eric Lodge, and drummer Matthew Mingus. It wasn’t long before the first hint of discord surfaced. After their acclaimed debut studio album in 2007, Downtown Battle Mountain, O’Sullivan and Craig both jumped ship. Craig’s heavy drug and alcohol use reportedly hindered the band’s success, and after a series of auditions he was replaced by Kurt Travis. At that time, DGD did not publicly cite a specific reason or incident that led to their separation from Craig, but Mess was quoted as saying that they “just couldn’t get along with him du everything. No one in the group liked being with him.

DGD had a revolving door of members over the next two years, which included the brief departure of Mess, their founding vocalist. But in 2011, Mess was welcomed back, as was Jonny Craig. Fans were thrilled to see the duo reunited, but Craig’s battle with drug addiction was far from over. In February 2011, he used his personal Twitter account to announce the sale of a Macbook computer and allegedly accepted payments from several fans, to the tune of thousands of dollars. No Macbooks have ever been received in exchange for these payments. Craig initially denied the fraud allegations, saying his account had been hacked. He eventually issued a public apology (in a now-deleted post on Myspace) and sought help through a seven-day detox program before immediately jumping back into action, filming and recuperating. produce with Dance Gavin Dance.

In a hilarious turn of events, Craig put up another Macbook for sale via Instagram in 2020, urging fans to contact him “after all the jokes have died down”. Has anyone fallen into the trap?

Craig’s reunion with Dance Gavin Dance didn’t last long, and he was ousted for good in 2012. In the years since, he’s racked up quite the record, including accusations of domestic violence and allegations of sexual assault of several women, which he denied. In 2015, Billboard reported that Craig’s band, Slaves, were kicked out of the Warped Tour after a merchandise salesman accused Craig of sexual harassment.

This brings us to the latest iteration of Dance Gavin Dance, featuring clean vocals Tilian Pearson, impure vocals Jon Mess, guitarists Will Swan and Andrew Wells, bassist Tim Feerick and drummer Matthew Mingus. Pearson joined the band in 2013 and helped the band achieve their highest level of fame yet. Their 2015 album Instant gratification was their most popular release to date, and that upward trajectory continued with Mothership in 2016, Artificial selection in 2018 and afterburner in 2020, as well as several hit singles and successful national tours that have helped the band amass an even larger and staunchly loyal fan base. It looked like DGD had finally hit its stride.

Unfortunately, 2022 has already proven to be one of the most devastating years in the band’s history. On April 14, Dance Gavin Dance announced that bassist Tim Feerick had died the day before, aged just 34. Although initial reports did not cite a cause, Sacramento’s ABC10 News recently reported that Feerick’s sudden death is suspected to be the result of a fentanyl overdose.

DGD was scheduled to perform at SwanFest, a music festival the band hosts in their hometown of Sacramento, just 10 days later before heading out on tour. The members decided to continue the performance and tour as planned, dedicating it to their longtime friend and companion.

“The main factor in this decision came down to who Tim was as a person and what he would have wanted,” Dance Gavin Dance shared in a social media statement. “We are sure he would be very disappointed if we were to postpone or cancel these dates.”

“I take the subject of sexual assault seriously and want to strongly reiterate that there was never anything that happened that was not consensual.” -Tilian Pearson

Tweet that

Then, in June, a woman posted a detailed account of a sexual encounter with Pearson on the group’s subreddit channel and on Twitter. According to her post, she and the singer met a few times around SwanFest. She alleges that in addition to forcing her to have sex, Pearson at one point slapped her “in an attempt to be ‘sexy'” and that when she told him to ask her before slapping her , he “heard me, hesitated for a second, then I started again… Hard enough that my hearing went haywire and I passed out for a few seconds.

Pearson addressed the allegations in a Reddit post, in which he stated, “I take the subject of sexual assault seriously and want to strongly reiterate that there has been no time when anything went wrong. consensual… My overall state of mind surrounding the weekend was filled with grief, and I relied on alcohol as a crutch to get through it.

He later edited the post to include screenshots of texts from an alleged exchange between him and the fan, which he said “paint a picture of the nature of our brief relationship.” The texts show that the woman is a fan of Dance Gavin Dance and Pearson, who she mentioned in her original post revealing how excited she was that he responded to her “thirsty” Instagram DM. However, the texts give no insight into their interactions.

Shortly after Pearson’s statement, another fan took to Reddit to allege that after corresponding with Pearson on Hinge and meeting for a date, he forced her to have sex. and made her uncomfortable with his behavior throughout their interaction. She posted screenshots of texts she allegedly sent to Pearson following the encounter in which she let Pearson know how uncomfortable she was around him. She says she received no response.

To date, Pearson has not publicly addressed this claim, but Dance Gavin Dance quickly released a statement saying they take these allegations seriously and “effective immediately, Tilian will be stepping down from the band to ask for help. professional”. In a later statement, the group announced that, despite these events, they would proceed with the release and promotion of Jackpot juicer as planned, including touring with Coheed and Cambria.

“We’ve worked very hard on this album and are incredibly proud of it,” their statement read. “Dance Gavin Dance is a strong and resilient group.”

It seemed, however, that Coheed and Cambria had other plans. They released their own statement announcing that Dance Gavin Dance would not be joining them on tour and that they “wish them healing and strength”.

Dance Gavin Dance quickly got to work putting together a new headlining tour they dubbed “An Evening With Friends”, which stopped at Dallas’ House of Blues on August 1. Pearson will not be joining the band for the tour, so guitarist Andrew Wells will fill in for clean vocals, Veil of Maya’s Eric Okubo will cover Wells’ guitar duties, and Sergio Medina will be on bass. They will also bring former frontman Kurt Travis’ band Royal Coda and promise that Travis will join them on stage “for a few select songs.”

Dance Gavin Dance declined our interview request. We also reached out to Tilian Pearson for comment, but he stopped responding to the Observer.

The band released a statement to fans on social media that read, “You have a choice of what you support, buy and listen to. We hope you will always choose to listen to us.

Colleen D. Ervin