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MONDAY MAY 15, 2006
Hot Water Music calls it quits: an open letter from Chuck Ragan
Early in the days of all of this I never thought to question outcomes or reactions to my actions. I did what I did and was fueled by words from loved ones, a drive for life and an undying misery of always being on the cusp of understanding (or not), our disarray of society. I found purpose and strength through my best friends, music, and a quest for the truth. Throughout that journey, I became who I am today. I also found the day in and day out monotony of the road and the "job" that HWM had become, had taken a serious toll. Just as I have done throughout my life when my heart turns in a direction for the sake of well being, I followed it. HWM has always been to me living true, free and unbound. Stay true to who you are to begin with and you'll be true to who you are in the end.
This is a letter primarily directed to all of our fans, family, and friends. A lot of you have been left in the dark as to why we decided to stop touring as HWM in the first place. For this I must apologize. Though this letter should have happened a while back, it has taken us all a bit of time to acclimate to where we are in life. Stepping off a moving merry-go-round if you will. I must say overall this is a letter of gratitude, as well as a letter to expel any rumors or things that have lead anyone in the wrong direction as far as what has, is and will be taking place in the life of song for all of us.
My friends, Hot Water Music as we all knew it is no longer. A great chapter in our lives has come to a close. We must say so long, and farewell. This is not to say by any means that we will never take a stage again together or find our way onto some tracks together, but where we are in our lives at this moment, it won't be anytime soon.
This is mainly a public announcement to let everyone know that we have all moved into different directions within our personal and professional lives. As far as our own music goes none of us are slowing down in anyway. George, Jason, and Chris are moving full steam ahead with The Draft as their primary focus and I'm paddling my own canoe. I'm working on a solo record that's long overdue and having a damn good time with it. I'll play shows, but for making my way and a living, I'm called to cutting big sticks into little sticks. For me in many ways, wood has all the same properties as music. I have just as much passion for shaping and working wood as I do playing my guitar or writing a song. They're one in the same and don't even get me started on fishing! So the music will never die, just evolve. I'm moving on a different plane. Ready to settle down, write more songs, make more records, catch more fish, make love and babies with my sweet wife, slide sideways down mountains, build large structures that I draw on paper, and grow more food than we buy. So none of us are gone. Just evolved.
I must say that I have never in my life ever known such a display of dedication, desire, and will to carry on than through the HWM fans around the world. I don't believe I could ever truly find the right words to express my gratitude and sincere thanks to all the amazing souls who sacrificed what they had to make it to our shows and make them live! All those who traveled, followed, escaped, sneaked in or barged in to be apart of this movement. You are all a huge reason that we survived through days that most don't. Some of you know the tolls and trials of the road. As well as the glories and lights at the end of the tunnels. Some of you may be completely oblivious as to what it can do to a spirit and a body by subjecting yourself to what can be an extremely unhealthy way of life. It can most definitely feel like your being torn apart from the inside out at times. To say the least, it can be far from glamorous most of 23 hours in a day. I must say though that the moments that I found myself amongst my best friends and a crowd of people singing and sweating, laughing and moving to words, melodies, and busted up rhythms that we created in a beat up warehouse in Florida, were nothing but pure magic. Even through the hard times we always laughed, wrote, fought, slept, drank, and rocked to found our way to why we were there to begin with. We had to. It was our duty and our responsibility to ourselves, each other as brothers and to the good people who would come to support us through all of it. A lot of you would always ask us if we were ok. How the tours were treating us. How we survived. How we did it and why we did it for so long. A lot of the times we weren't. Some of the times we were truly on top of the world. It was the calling, it was the healing, and it was the enlightenment that was felt after releasing every ounce of energy, thought, and motion throughout a show. It was as we once called it, "The Lifting." Even though at times of being there and putting ourselves through what we had to do to get up on that stage and let it rip like it was our last was more hurtful to ourselves than anything, you sacrificed for us, let us sacrifice for you.
Thank you my friends for a decade of support, loyalty and dedication. Thank you for growing up with us living and learning the hard way most of the time. You made it for us. I hope we did the same for you! Thank you for the memories, the support and all of your gracious attention through all of our transitions, battles, broken sticks and strings, breakdowns and revelations that we were able to turn into music. You fueled this fire! What you taught us on this road has been absolutely priceless. I wish all the best in luck, love, and life to each and every one of you and yours. You have helped mold us into the people we are today and it will never be forgotten.
Take care of each other.
hwm has helped me through some of the worst and best times in my life. one of my best memories of you guys was seeing yal play the back to back shows at the old common grounds a couple years ago. my little brother had just killed himself and for two nights i got to forget (and remember) enough to help me put things in perspective. i do hope you find what you're looking for in this next chapter in your life.
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