108 has not broken up, parts ways with Robert Fish
A few weeks ago we wrote a post that 108 broke up, and we apologize to the band on our part. Straight from there facebook page here is the full story on Robert Fish parting ways with the band. We wish the band lots of success with their new album 18:61
“Robert Fish first joined 108 midway through the recording of our first record, Holyname. He came into the studio and contributed vocals to many of the songs. Soon after, he felt 108 wasn’t right for him and dropped out of the band.
In the meantime we played a few shows, and I wrote a bunch of songs which would eventually make it to Songs of Separation. Then we disbanded as I wanted to run away from everything and become a hermit in India. A few months later, I decided to restart 108 and Robert contacted me saying he also changed his mind and did in fact want to sing for the band. He has been with us ever since.
Robert sang with us live for the first time on the huge tour we did with Shelter in May of 1993. He contributed a lot to the band right away, helping me find and create an identity and delivery which was diametrically different from Shelter. This was very important to me, because I was really not into what they were doing and how they were doing it, yet people at the time were inclined to lump us together. Ray was posi, Robert was the antithesis. Ray tried to sing melodies and Robert refused to – he growled and screamed. In so many ways Robert really really clicked in 108 and helped us achieve the character and being that we really wanted 108 to be.
Returning from that tour, Rob, Tony (Valladarez) and I struggled to find a place to live and wound up alone in a Krishna storefront in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I had all the songs and lyrics for Songs of Separation written by this time, and we recorded them a few blocks south of where we were (barely) surviving.
From that point on Robert took over booking all of 108’s shows, aside from a tour in 1995, and managed the practical side of the band. And during that time we toured a lot.
Robert brought a sort of physical sense of danger to 108 that would not have been there in the same way without him. He was more intimidating and menacing than most of the rest of us. Though we were all obviously lunatics and each pretty volatile and dangerous in our own way, Robert was the guy would would probably punch you in the face if you got out of line – and this added a lot to the flavor and character that would become a part of the 108 experience, especially live, during that era. Robert was in extreme psychological depths, and this really helped the inner-pain and “blues” inherent in the soul of 108 to crystalize and come out coherently in our music.
In 1994 Trivikrama joined the band – I could write volumes about how important Trivikrama is in 108 but in summary he created a very dynamic triad of opposing but complimentary influences in 108.
And so we were at our very best at the end of all this touring, during which time I wrote the rest of the songs for Threefold Misery and after which we recorded it – knowing that we would break up soon after it was done, for various reasons, mine again being this dream of becoming a “full-time” hermit or monk or something (which turned out to be a dead end).
Then, basically that was it. We split up.”
“Almost 10 years later we got back together and enjoyed it. We wrote new songs. This time Trivikrama was writing and directing a lot of the music and lyrics and Robert also was writing many lyrics. By the time we recorded “…Dead Heart” Robert was really contributing a significant social and political focus to the band which had not been as noticeable a part of 108 in it’s original manifestation.
By now Robert had really accomplished himself in his personal life as well. He had become a high level manager in a huge national company. This became important to 108 because he really took on the role of not only being a singer but being the actual manager of the band. Booking shows and short tours, coordinating schedules, dealing with difficult finances… all of this he took upon his own shoulders with zeal, often straight out of his own bank account.
In February of 2009 we recorded our newest record 18.61. It started to become obvious that the old metaphysical and spiritual side of 108 was again pulling to the fore, but at the same time that Robert was leaning more and more towards the side of political and social focuses. Some of the occult concepts and topics in these songs took a while to find a home in Robert’s heart before he could sing them. But having found that home, he delivered them with as much or more sincerity as he always has in 108. The result is that 18.61 is finally a new record which I can hear with as much satisfaction as I experience listening to Threefold Misery.
In the long year which followed this recording we began discussing the ins and outs of breaking up or not or how, etc. Finally, just before the record was to be released, Robert decided that for both practical and ideological reasons, he just didn’t want to be in 108 anymore; and the effective-date was immediate.”
“Eventually, the remainder of the band decided that we desired to keep doing 108 even though Robert did not. We realized that we could try to do the band, but that without Robert we would need to go in a very new and different direction sonically and, to some extent, ideologically as well. Robert’s contribution to the band was so vast and touched so many aspects of 108, that we fully realize can not “replace” him. We don’t plan to try. Instead, we will do something very different from what we did as a band with him.
Whether you like it or not is up to you.
We will like it. If it turns out that we don’t we will end it.
It is still called 108 because it is still about what 108 is all about. If this doesn’t make sense to you, I apologize. It makes sense to us. We are already writing new material and are eager to share it with you as soon as we can. In the meantime, we hope you really get into our latest recording: 18.61.”