Photo by Philip Cosores
After 14 years apart, Swedish hardcore punk Refused reunited in 2012 for a world tour. While the excursion led to accolades and awards, it apparently didn’t lead to stronger band unity; guitarist Jon Brännström has now revealed on Facebook that he was fired from the band in 2013.
In a Halloween posting on Refused’s page, Brännström said that though he had been let go awhile ago, he “wasn’t given a reasonable explanation and wasn’t even invited to sit down and talk about it, so I’m not completely sure why they decided to go on without me.” He lamented being booted, but said it could be for the best as he’s “always been more interested in writing music than reproducing it, more at home in the studio than on the road.” Still, he emphasized that the split clearly wasn’t mutual: “What hurts me the most, is obviously the gesture. We’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve made art together and have been tied to together through Refused for twenty years. I used to be proud to call these people my friends.”
The remaining Refused members — Dennis Lyxzén, David Sandström, Kristofer Steen, and Magnus Flagge — posted a response the very next day:
Any collective effort will have its ups and downs and when people really pour their hearts into something, things get complicated. We cut ties with Jon already in 2013 because he did not share our passion for the band. We don’t know why he decided to emit this narrative on facebook or why he did it now, instead of just calling one of us up, but we wish him the best in his future endeavors.
All of this leads to another interesting angle, which is the implication that Refused is still technically together. The band seemed to make it very clear that the 2012 reunion tour was a one-off event and not an indication of any type of future. In fact, the last gig they played was a December 15th show that year at Umeå, Sweden’s Exel Arena. The fact that they fired Brännström well after the culmination of that tour and the fact that the other members said they still have a “passion for the band” could imply that we haven’t seen the last of Refused — though obviously we’ve seen the last of the full The Shape of Punk to Come lineup.
Below, find Brännström’s full statement.
I was fired from Refused a while ago. I wasn’t given a reasonable explanation and wasn’t even invited to sit down and talk about it, so I’m not completely sure why they decided to go on without me. We’ve always been better at punk rock than democratic processes and dealing with conflicts, so I guess I’m not too surprised it went down like this. Quite sad indeed, but perhaps it’s all for the best. I have always been more interested in writing music than reproducing it, more at home in the studio than on the road. Comfortable with slow intellectual processes rather than reacting instinctively in tumbling settings. What hurts me the most, is obviously the gesture. We’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve made art together and have been tied to together through Refused for twenty years. I used to be proud to call these people my friends.
Enough rationalization and moaning, though. I’m writing to you through this forum to express my gratitude. If it weren’t for you Refused wouldn’t have happened in the first place. All of you who made, and still make, wonderful art, thus inspiring us to also try to do so. All the people whose fights fueled ours. Those who couldn’t stand oppression, who took action against capitalism, racism and sexism. All of you who through words and activism lit sparks, kept ideas of solidarity alive, who actually made a change. And of course all you beautiful people who came and made our shows. Who gave us feedback on our music through dancing, shouting, late night discussions, through bombarding us with human faeces. You made it happen in the nineties, you made it happen during our reunion a couple of years ago. Touching to say the least. And I know you’ll keep it up. Fighting, dancing and creating forever. I know I will. Through my music, through my work, through interactions, through speaking up. Just not through the forum of Refused anymore.
From the very bottom of my heart, thank you. See you in the pit.