Monday, April 18, 2016

The Dish on Leaves' Eyes

Man, I kinda miss doing this sort of thing on the regular. But there's no way in hell I could again and it would probably get kinda boring after a while. It's only once in a while when people like this in bands like this do things like this.

Seriously, I haven't had something like this to sink my teeth into since Tarja was booted out of Nightwish. And even that wasn't this good.

So, a couple days ago (for those keeping score: April 16, 2016), Leaves' Eyes announced on their official Facebook page that they had parted ways with their singer for the past 13 years, Liv Kristine, and were moving forward with another singer, Elina Siirala. Rather suddenly, mind you - like, no one saw this coming. Other than, apparently, Kristine. And possibly Siirala. And keyboardist/vocalist Alexander Krull. Also known as Kristine's husband.

Oh yeah. This is gonna get good.

Go back to that Facebook post linked above for a minute and pore through some of the comments. Some typically, understandably disappointed folks. And some who suspect there's more than meets the eye. And not another Michael Bay Transformers fiasco.

Here's one particularly damning missive: "What I see here is just another band who doesn't give a fuck about their fans, who puts money on the first place and worst who doesn't have any respect towards a member who is undoubtedly the reason of its creation and development. It disgusts me to see none of you, Leaves' Eyes members, have consideration towards Liv's effort and struggle as a woman not only in the Metal scene but in life. It's clear to me that none of you embodied the lyrics of the beautiful songs you had the amazing opportunity to bring to life. It is as if all the history you created was nothing but a damn lie. With this I say you lost a fan, for me, as the type of human being I am, cannot be conniving with such behavior, with such display of rudeness and bitterness. "FAREWELL, UNPROUD MEN"!"

A kinda-but-not-really-nicer version: Well folks... turn in your tickets and just don't support this band. Seems like something shady went down. Go "like" Liv's page in support of her. No disrespect to the new singer but Leaves Eyes needs to change their name because it was based on Liv. This band will now drown fairly fast.. let's all sit back and watch!

I could pull more but it's the comments that are no longer there that are the most telling. We now go to Wikipedia for more of the story (with pertinent pieces in bold, because like Mark Henry that's what I do!):

Kristine's departure sparked controversy with fans, especially after the individual band members (including Alexander Krull, Liv's husband) initially refused to comment on the situation, and acted as though nothing had changed. The band became antagonistic towards fans and their upset comments on the band's Facebook page, sharing a threatening status written by a member of Siirala's band EnkElination, who wrote "I've now noticed more and more that the so called 'fans' of the metal genre are nothing more than a bunch of self entitled, spoilt shits that feel bands must pander to them, explain all of their actions, and are not allowed to continue with a new vocalist if for whatever reason their vocalist should depart the band.[...] those of you who feel the need to give their shitty opinions towards my friend(s)... come voice them with me first... I'll give you something to be upset about". Fans replied saying they had no problem with Siirala's addition, praising her talents (and indeed said they felt sorry for her and supported her for having joined the band under such circumstances), and were surprised at the unprofessionalism of the post. The issue was further complicated when Kristine's father Henning Bloch commented on one of the band's photos, saying "Leaves Eyes [without] Liv Kristine? Tell the truth about what you did to Liv Kristine!" Bloch went on to allege that Krull had had an affair with Siirala and had fired Liv as a result, causing Kristine to become stuck in the couple's home, as she could not leave with her children for fear of judicial repercussions. This was denied by Shad O. Venger, guitarist for EnkElination, who claimed that the rumours were entirely false, the account claiming to be Bloch was fake (although fans pointed out that Krull himself had verified it in the past) and that Siirala barely even knew Krull before her hiring. Kristine's brother in law Rune Gunnar Stensoy also came forwards and said that while Krull's relationship was his own business, the rumours about Krull treating Kristine poorly were all true, implying that Siirala would be treated poorly as well.

On April 18, the band released another statement explaining that "[t]he decision to part ways with Liv was taken by all Leaves’ Eyes members, including Liv. A mediator - a friend of Liv and Alex - was at the band meeting who can witness that the decision of parting ways was agreed by all members. Liv was happy to have the opportunity to plan changes in her future life and she does not have to go on tour so much anymore. The idea to go separated ways came up already in January. Elina was no part of this decision or process." The group then mentioned that they couldn't go into more details due to ongoing legal actions, but asked fans to respect the decision and not spread false rumours about Liv and Alexander, as it was "affecting their family situation". The reaction to the post was mixed to skeptical, with many fans saying they would have preferred the band to have made this post earlier (instead of the derogatory and inflammatory statements the band originally made) and pointing out that the band had still not addressed the accusations made by Bloch and others. That same day Kristine posted a statement of her own, thanking fans for "warning" her about postings written to harm her and her situation and said that she had been fired from the band a week previously (directly contradicting the band's statement of the issue being broached in January). She also said that the band had told her she would not be touring with them in Indonesia, although they did not give her a clear answer about a replacement until a few days later, when she saw Siirala's surprise addition to the band. She also mentioned that her departure from the group was "parallel to a huge disappointment in [her] private life", and that she had been unaware that Siirala had been preparing to join the group since at least Easter of that year. The band countered these accusations by saying they would release the notes from the January mediation and that the "truth would come out in the end".

Krull and Siirala on tour in Indonesia this weekend

I could also talk about how pictures can say a thousand words, but this ain't TMZ or Pop Sugar or any of that garbage. And quite honestly, neither am I.

I understand this may countermand my entire identity as a Blogger who's dying for hitz, but a few moments ago - after digging through all of this to get the facts of the story - it hit me that this started sounding like any other gossip site. And you know what? Not interested.

That part of "music journalism" (he says, with a laugh) used to be fascinating. Nowadays, not so much. I don't feel like pointing a finger at these people and Gawking (see what I did there?) at their personal lives and what effect it's had on their band. There will be things that I have a greater opinion and will want to go more in-depth about, but this stopped being one when I realized how seedy I felt talking about it in this much detail.

I'm interested in this story as a casual observer. Nothing more, nothing less.  Because as soon as I heard about it, something felt off. Long story much shorter than I started to do: Looks to me like Krull was banging Siirala, fell in love, promised her a gig with his band, and ejected his wife to have the flavor of the week on board and out front. I'm sure that divorce will be fun.

But breaking all of that down like a second-rate E! correspondent and gleefully going over ever lurid detail, feeding today's outrage culture? Not so much.

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