La Dispute announced on stage last week that guitarist and founding member Kevin Whittemore was leaving the band. The split was obviously amicable, as Whittemore completed the band’s recent U.S. headlining tour before leaving. Now, the band have released a lengthy statement on Whittemore’s departure, saying that the will be pursing his other passion for guitar building.
Read the full statement below:
"For those of you not present at either our Grand Rapids or our Cleveland show this past Sunday and Monday respectively (excepting of course close friends not in attendance who were privy to this information prior to the commencement of tour), Kevin has, after roughly ten years of standing to my left and playing guitar in La Dispute, decided to move on to pursue other endeavors. Unsurprisingly, he’s stepping only sideways in his passion, opting instead to pursue the building of beautiful guitars rather than to play guitar beautifully as a profession, enrolling in a luthiery school here in our home state of Michigan starting this summer.
As those of you forced to suffer through my sentimental speeches during his final two shows have already heard me say, it’s as difficult for us to see him step down as it must’ve been for him to commit to doing so, and our sadness in him leaving is surpassed only by our excitement for him in the future he has chosen. He is nothing short of truly remarkable human, and he has been a vitally important member of whatever this thing is since it’s earliest infancy and the remaining four members of it plus extended family are forever in debt for his contributions both as a musician and, more importantly always, as a dear friend. There’s already a Kevbo shaped hole in me and in all of us, and we’ll feel it forever, I know. There’s really nobody like him.
And of course, I speak only of that absence in the context of the van and on stage–we’ll all remain family till death. Anybody who was in attendance for the farewell hometown show and his final show knows that without a shred of uncertainty (the chants were unreal, thank you). In all honesty, we wouldn’t be posting this were it not to combat the internet’s nasty habit of misinformation. This was a decision made between Kevin and us, five friends who’ve done more together than we ever could’ve imagined all those years back in the warehouse of a hardware store in Grand Rapids, MI. So, best to Kevin in this public forum, thanks for everything. Be seeing you soon, bud."
-ld (Brad, Chad, Jordan, Vass, and Kevin Scott “Kevbo” Whittemore)
(In the meantime, our old friend Corey worked his ass off learning songs with Kev and will be joining us in Europe, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. Make him feel at home. He’s one of the best. Oh – And thanks for the fantastic photo Andy, you’re a good man.)