Moving on is not giving up. The members of For All Those Sleeping have reached and surpassed the goals they set for their music. After careful consideration, the five best friends from St. Cloud decided to end this chapter of their lives on a positive note. Mike Champa (vocals), Jerad Pierskalla (guitar/vocals), London Snetsinger (bass/vocals), David Volgman-Stevens (guitar), and Ethan Trekell (drums) are not giving up on music, but will continue to grow as they embrace new adventures in life.
Success is a double-edged sword. As a young band starting out, For All Those Sleeping had modest goals. Looking back, the high point of their career was the day they signed with a management team. It helped them to focus their efforts, putting them on the fast track to where they are today. Prophetic lyrics in the song, “Outbreak of Heartache,” from their Cross Your Fingers album in 2010, proclaim “Everything is so right, something must be wrong.” Many times, seeing your dreams become a reality is something you cannot trust, because the future is unpredictable. The downside of success is that it becomes a whole new struggle. Fighting for what you want, or battling to be heard, only to compromise what you know is right, can quickly make anyone question being a musician. Words from the song, “Poison Party (Famous)” highlight the conundrum, “Where’s the passion/Where’s the substance/Where is the honesty that I once grew up with/When it pays to fake your shortcomings/then plastic is the new gold and what’s real is worth nothing.” The fantasy of fame is at opposing odds with the reality of the business side of music, and creativity often loses to commercial value.
Music is a fickle mistress. Individually, For All Those Sleeping will remain musicians. Pierskalla is looking forward to learning more about sound engineering and production. He hopes to have his own recording studio one day. Champa is not giving up on music either. He stated, “I’ll record funky shit with Jared now and again, or with London. We all live so close, that until I move to New York, I’m not going to stop. Now, we have a little bit more freedom (in music).” Without the constraints of a record contract, Volgman will have time to experiment with different genres of music. Fans will still have the music of For All Those Sleeping through the three albums they have released. The physical CD’s and FATS merchandise will be available for a limited time, but digital downloads of For All Those Sleeping tunes will most likely be offered indefinitely. Even if there are no new songs, I can still listen to my favorites while I drive, work, or party.
The one sure thing. The singular constant of For All Those Sleeping is their high energy stage show and their last performance at the Agora Theatre in Cleveland was no exception. The audience chanted “F-A-T-S” until the band took the stage with the frenzied force of Tasmanian devils. Playing songs from their entire discography, they engaged the audience with emotional pauses. Champa shouted, “Cleveland, you have shown us nothing but love and respect whenever we were here. This song is for each and every one of you. Let’s make it a party!” before a rousing rendition of “Follow My Voice.” The demonstration of love came from both sides. Breaks were interspersed with “We love you” and “Don’t go” from an audience that sang every song, to which Champa responded, “We are sorry and sad to see it (For All Those Sleeping) end, but so happy to have all of you.” For All Those Sleeping are dedicated to their fans and determined not to disappear from the scene without a proper farewell. This last tour was a chance to reconnect with listeners, reassure them, and let them know how much they meant to the band members over the last five years. I will not lie. I shed a tear (or two), because I have been a fan since the beginning. It was difficult to say goodbye to For All Those Sleeping, but I look forward to seeing where life and music will take my friends, Mike, Jerad, London, Ethan, and David.