Aiden frontman William Francis has penned an open letter to his former bandmates, in which he states that he is writing a new record for the group. Throughout the piece, he dedicates a segment to each member, and then wraps it up with a general conclusion. “I also want to let you all know that I’ve decided to make one more Aiden record. I want to make one without Victory Records.” Read all of what he had to say below.
Standing on the grimy corner of enthusiasm and optimism waiting for my taxi to pull up and it’s raining but somehow I know I’m in the right place at the right time.
A dear friend once told me.
This life is filled with fantastic peaks of grandeur and then when you’re having the time of your life you will fall down into a valley of despair, uncertain if you can make the connection again to the heavens above us.
If only I could tell him now how disastrously on point that sentiment is. I suppose it’s like that for many people in this life, especially for those who enter a work force that is highly competitive and as unreliable as the music industry. Hard work does pay off… but sometimes it backfires. Sometimes you stick a metal plate into the microwave, turn it on and walk away. Sometimes your house burns down. Yet as a species, tribal in nature, with tenacity engrained into our DNA, survival in our blood, we are able to pick ourselves up, rebuild our house and carry on with a courage we have never felt before.
This is an open letter to the former members of my band Aiden. I know you’re busy with your lives and your families and your jobs but I want you all to know how truly grateful I am that you came into my life. Through my adolescence and early twenties all I wanted to do was make music with a band and travel the world playing shows. I met you when I was twenty-one and we began the process of writing punk rock songs that mattered to us. It was shaky in the beginning with Jake D and Angel still in high school, but somehow we managed to write and practice and actually play a decent amount of shows.
I remember the moment that I knew this band was going to work. We were playing a place called Club Adrian, you remember that weird kid that use to put on shows in the south end? It was when we brought Nick on stage to play bass for World by Storm at the end of the set. He came up, I threw him the bass and grabbed the mic, everyone in the crowd was singing along. It’s in our heads, it’s in our hearts, the world by storm. From that moment on I knew we had something special. Drawing inspiration from the solidarity of Strike Anywhere, riffs like early Death by stereo and sing-alongs like the Unraveling by Rise Against. The early influence is all there.
We created our own little horror punk scene there in the northwest. Fueled by the ambition to set the world on fire and armed with young Danzig inspired devil locks we set out to carve our names into the history books. We all know that’s not how it turned out, but we sure made some cool records and travelled on some fantastic tours in the mean time. Besides a few fans here and there the world has largely forgotten about Aiden. Which is okay with me. It was the experience that matters most. I remember the excitement encompassing our shitty little tour van. That first one we had that we named Alexa. The one that we wrecked on our way out to Port Townsend to play that VFW hall or whatever it was. That’s where we first met Dakotah! Sitting here thinking about all of this brings up a lot of fond memories. I’m sorry it went so pear shaped in the end.
To Jake Wambold,
Here in my heart I’ve held a grudge for so long that it’s poisoned a lot of relationships, created bitterness inside and has cost me so much emotionally I care not to recount it. Which is not your fault at all. That burden lies with my inability to let go of the past.
The decision to kick you out of the band sat heavy on our shoulders like a sack of bricks made of mercury for months and months. We kept thinking it would get better, like being in a toxic relationship with someone you love wholeheartedly but know that they are a cancer and if you don’t cut it out it’s going to kill you both very soon. We felt as though you didn’t want to be there, and since you have a very powerful presence about you, that deepening sense of pessimism affected everyone.
You’ve always been able to walk into a room and put smiles on everyone’s faces, make women fall in love and generally you are the life of every party. I’ll never forget that line you used on a girl once when we were on east coast. You remember it? “I want to dip your ass in ranch and lick your butthole.” I still can’t believe that worked, and I tell that story to this day.
I don’t know what happened. Perhaps it was our clashing egos, maybe you just didn’t want to be a musician anymore. All the time you spent out in Chicago between tours with your girlfriend took you further and further away. Granted. I had my own issues being engaged to that horrible broad from Idaho who made me so miserable that I wanted to quit the band myself and go live in Antarctica. I can’t imagine I was easy to be around. We were traveling the world on Taste of Chaos playing in arenas in front of tens of thousands of people and I hated my life because the woman I supposedly loved was a wretched human being. What a shit storm. But we carried on. It wasn’t until the spring of 2008 that we decided as a band it couldn’t go on. After the successful European tour we returned to play Bamboozle, I broke up with my girlfriend and we were supposed to do some dates with Scary Kids routing out back to Seattle. Remember that Poughkeepsie show? The worst show of our career. We looked at each other on stage and just shook our heads. “wiL Francis” died that night.
That was the last time I saw you. We ended our friendship playing the worst fucking show imaginable as a band.
What hurt the most is the lawsuit you brought against the band. Knowing how much money we had, it was like trying to squeeze blood from a stone. The litigation cost us twenty thousand dollars alone. That cut deep. We never wanted it go down like that.
Listen old boy. I am sorry for everything. I thought we are going to be friends forever but only ended up strangers. Those lyrics I wrote about burning your friends ended up becoming more than just metaphors. Somehow the irony of it all is too much, I just have to laugh about it now. There’s no turning back the greedy hands of time and fixing it. All I can say is that I’m sorry, from the bottom of my heart. I’ve heard through mutual friends that your wife had a baby. Congratulations. My son is nearly six and starts school this fall. It’s crazy how quickly time is flying by, and now that you’re in your thirties I’m sure you can attest to that as well. I heard Troy is living in Hollywood trying his hand in the comedy world. I surly hope he succeeds. That is one of the funniest kids I have ever met in my life. He never failed to impress us with character impressions or made up skits and dialogue. He deserves all the success in the world. Tell your parents thank you for me. Thank you for allowing us to set our crappy amps up in their garage and write Our Gangs Dark Oath. Their support was integral to our early success. Tell them that I am sorry if I hurt them in anyway.
I’m not asking forgiveness. You don’t need to grant my clemency. I just want you to know that I love you and that I thank you for coming into my life. I feel that after all these years of separation it needs to be said. I wouldn’t still have a career in music if Scott hadn’t introduced me to you all those years ago when we were young men. Take care of yourself. Take care of that wife and that baby girl. I wish you all the best in life old friend.
To Jake Davidson
Or rather, to the best drummer I’ve ever met. What a spectacular artist you were. Everyone I meet or talk to will still agree. But they don’t even know the true depth of your talent. So let me give you all a little example of the expertise that is Jake D.
When we recorded Knives, we did sixteen songs. I set the drum mics up in a couple of hours and dialed in some great sounds through that Trident 80 series we were using. You came in and recorded all of the drums in less than eight hours. Most of them it only took one take. It took more time for me to set up the session in pro-tools than it did for you to bang them out. But it doesn’t stop there. In this day and age bands are recording drums and then editing the fuck out of them so they sound perfect, right on the click, placed on the tempo like a drum machine. The drums on Knives are AS-IS. There is no editing, no sampling. That’s Jake “Machine Gun” Davison.
It’s a shame that you couldn’t parlay that talent into studio sessions or go on to join a bigger band. Even Eric the drummer of one our favorite bands NOFX told me that if he were ever injured you would be the only drummer he would have replace him. Wow.
But I digress. I know that punk rock alone could no longer sustain us all. I’m sorry I couldn’t make our band more financially successful. I understand why you had to let it go. Playing music with an uncertain future was not as appealing as having a job with security, a steady paycheck and health benefits.
In short, I thank you. I thank you for being the greatest drummer in the world, I thank you for being someone I could rely on, thanks for joining the band in high school and foregoing a college education for the opportunity to travel around the world, playing shows and making kick ass records. I’m really proud of the work we accomplished together. Trox told me that you’re getting married this summer as well. Congratulations on that old friend. You will make a fantastic husband and provider for the woman you have chosen to walk through this life with.
To Angel Ibarra,
Getting the opportunity to watch you grow up from awkward teenager into a man with responsibilities was truly a pleasure. But witnessing your growth as a guitar player and artist was even more enjoyable. Thanks for sticking around as long as you did. I know the concept of doing tours and coming home with hardly any money seemed a pointless one, and like Jake I know that if this band could have sustained you financially you would have stayed.
I broke out my old mustang right before the start of this tour I’m currently on with William Control. Remember the white one with Fuck Religion written on it? The one I used for Knives and Warped Tour 09? It still sounds like a beast. That Duncan invader you suggested I get installed still sounds amazing, blood and rust and all. Thanks for that. Thanks for being my riffing wingman. Thanks for pushing me to write better songs and become a better guitar player. You’ll always have a special place in my heart. Hope you and Rose are doing well up there in West Seattle.
To Nicholas Wiggins,
The mystery man, the enigma, you’re one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and had the pleasure of calling my friend. For years you stood beside me on stage playing and singing your heart out. Every stage we shook together, every laugh we shared, every terrible journey overseas, everything we had in common I am grateful.
Don’t worry about the t-shirt debacle that occurred a couple years ago. I know exactly why it happened. I know you never set out to fuck up all those orders. It costs a lot of money to get shit made and even more money to package up and ship everything out. Having my own screen print shop has taught me a lot. Everything works out in the end. Don’t sweat it.
Good luck with Girl on Fire and tell your old man thanks for all the twinkies he supplied us with in the early days.
Stay gold pony boy.
You guys are the reason I am still on tour playing shows and making records, without Aiden I would still be working in a warehouse shipping boxes of shit for a company I don’t like. Without Aiden I wouldn’t have some of the most cherished and incredible memories I continue to tell stories about to this day. Without the oath we took when our dark gang was young I wouldn’t have accomplished a fraction of the things I have. I wouldn’t have met my heroes, played legendary places like Brixton Academy or The main stage at Download, Reading and Leeds festivals, Warped tour or the far off countries we’ve traveled to like Japan and Australia. I wouldn’t have become William Control, or been given the opportunity to shine brighter than I ever could have imagined. I can thank you a million times but it still doesn’t feel like enough.
I also want to let you all know that I’ve decided to make one more Aiden record. I want to make one without victory records. I feel as if the last cycle for Some Kind of Hate ended so abruptly we never got to go out and say goodbye. It was a rough time for everyone involved and it feels unresolved. I hope you get the chance to hear it when it comes out, I’m going to try and stick to the formula that made Aiden so fun to begin with. Maximum riffage and sing along chorus’. I want to look back on the legacy and feel closure. Who knows, you might hate it, fuck you might love it. Either way I hope you get the chance to listen to it at least once.
It will be in honor of the four other kids that believed we could transcend the blurry routine of a regular suburban existence and change the world with distorted guitars, thundering drums and a little bit of goofy face paint.
All my fucking love