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Brent from Cut Off Your Hands to take a Hiatus.

March 30, 2009

In a newsletter from Speak ‘n’ Spell, they have announced that Brent, drummer for Auckland’s power pop sweethearts Cut Off Your Hands will be taking a hiatus from the band. He assures everyone that he is taking a break on good terms with all involved, but is forced to leave due to his deteriorative hearing problem.

This is what he had to say –

Hey everyone,

Brent here from Cut off your hands. I have some news to share with you as friends, fans of the band or anyone else who has supported us over the past three and a half years…

At the age of 16 I started losing my hearing; it began as a mild hearing loss which didn’t overly alarm me or my specialists. Over the past six years however, there has been an uncertain yet steady decline in my ability to hear. At the age of 19 my hearing got to the point that I needed to wear hearing aids. Since then, the deterioration has slowed but is still steadily eating away at my ability to hear all frequencies. Recently I have started to lose hearing in frequencies which up until six months ago have been good. These frequencies are important for speech recognition and general functioning in everyday life. I have seen several different hearing specialists over this time and no one has been able to diagnose a real definite reason for the loss. One of the obvious guesses at a cause is loud music and the fact I’ve been playing the drums almost everyday for about 11 years.

My audiologist has told me of patients who are 90 years old, fought in wars and worked coal mines for most of their lives and yet still have better hearing than me. Some people have resilient ears, others do not and these inconsistencies in the tolerance of the human ear are very hard to measure. I haven’t played the drums without wearing ear plugs for six years now, yet still my hearing has degenerated. There is a chance that I was just born with a genetic predisposition for hearing loss, something beyond the damage that drumming can cause. After CT scans, MRI scans and 30-plus hearing tests, my specialists are still very unsure as to what is happening. However, there is a possibility that I have a low tolerance to noise exposure which is causing my ears to give up. Whether or not drumming has been the sole culprit I am told my exposure to loud music could be aggravating and accelerating the loss.

Sadly, the only way to know if drumming is inducing or aggravating the loss is to plainly stop playing loud music for 12 months – which in turn has made me decide to step down from Cut Off Your Hands for the next year. This decision represents much thought and was incredibly difficult for me to make. The concept of life outside of Cut Off saddens me; we have all devoted so much of ourselves to make this band work. I’m now thoroughly addicted to making music and it hurts to know I wont be sharing it with the guys I have enjoyed it with over the past many years. I don’t feel good about it but I believe it’s the right thing for me to do.

It is uncertain what the future will bring for me and Cut Off. I hope with all my heart that I can return to playing with the band but only time can let that be known.

I’m not writing this to ask for sympathy or pity, we all have shit going on in our lives; I merely want to say that I’m not giving up on Nick, Phil or anyone else who has shown support for what we have been doing. I believe in what we have done so far and I would still very much be apart of it if I had my own way.

By no means is this a disintegration or ending for the band. There are many more songs that need to be shared with you and we are all very excited for what 2009 has to offer.

Much love

Brent will hang up the sticks (temporarily) after their current SXSW stint and Canadian tour with Ra Ra Riot and Passion Pit is finished. This leaves vocalist Nick Johnson and bassist Phil Hadfield as the two remaining members after guitarist Michael Ramirez left the band in Febuary this year.

Cut Off Your Hands MySpace

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