In somewhat shocking news, major-label punk act Against Me! have announced that they have parted ways with drummer Warren Oakes. Oakes joined the band in 2001 and has played on all of the band’s full-lengths and EPs since 2002’s Reinventing Axl Rose. The band released the following statement on their blog, reading:

"After coming to the conclusion that it was time to start a new chapter in his life, Warren Oakes has left Against Me!. While we don’t rule out the possibility of some day playing music together again, for now the four of us feel like this is the best decision to make. We’d like to wish Warren the best of luck with his new Mexican Restaurant, “Boca Fiesta”, which he just opened in Gainesville."

Oakes issued his own comment through the band, saying, "I’ve spent the past 8 years making beautiful music with my best friends and sharing it with amazing people all over the world. I’ve had the honor and privilege of traveling with the most dedicated road dogs on the planet and sharing the stage with the greatest bands. I have been embraced by so many with such graciousness and hospitality and love. Thank you so much to everyone who helped make the dream a reality, especially Tom, James and Andrew. I’ve had the time of my life, and I owe it all to you."

Frontman Tom Gabel blogged that the firing actually occured over a month ago, but was just made public tonight. He writes:

"May 1st – 4:13AM. Wilmington, NC.
[…] We told Warren this afternoon that we are going to look for a new drummer. Andrew, James and I made the decision a couple days ago over lunch. I told them that I didn’t want to play music with Warren anymore. They both agreed that this was a necessary step, it’s been a long time coming. Warren’s heart hasn’t been in this for a while now."

There’s no word yet on how this will affect the recording of the band’s follow-up to 2007’s New Wave, initially slated for release on Sire later this year, or on a potential replacement for Oakes. We’ll keep you posted on any further developments.