I suppose we owe you an explanation?
First and foremost; this is not going to be easy for anyone. It's actually going to be weird, awkward, and strange for all parties, including you, the fans. I'll try to walk you through it the best I can. You know all too well, that we are no strangers to our past. Neither are you. You have, in fact, been very clear about that detail. Perhaps we have been looking a bit too much in that direction as well. Perhaps we haven’t? Actually, it just might have been the energy that got this band to the point where it is today. I don’t think that it’s unlikely our progress was based on the lessons of old. They taught us awareness, and they made us visualize obstacles ahead before they even became a threat right in front of us.
But by now you understand that about us. We don't really leave the past behind. And we don't leave our brothers behind, nor do we abandon them. They will never be individuals to forget. They were a part of the machinery that made us. They are represented in all our history, and thus their spirit is essential to any present or future form of this band. We love them as individuals, and we love them as friends, even if we had our differences at times. (Who doesn’t? We’re only human…) However, in our case, our differences always have been our strength. It made us dynamic and diverse. We’ll always honor whoever is involved in The Unguided the best we can, and we will cherish the time we had together.
We are a group of people with very strong wills and ideas. Most of the time our ideas do not align with each other in regards to the different tastes we have as musicians. Other times we compromise. And many times we fuse our wide range of styles together to create our own unique “flavor” which you know as The Unguided. This is not a weakness, it's a strength. We can see things from different perspectives and bind it together to get a deeper dimension in our work. That’s the creative foundation that this band was built upon. Even if, at times, executive decisions had to be made to take a step forward. Everyone in this band still has a very delicate place in a complex system.
However, this apparatus is about to change for the second time in its history. There’s no easy way to say this and there are no extenuating circumstances regarding the matter. So, I’m just going to hand it to you straight. Our brother, Roland Johansson, is stepping down from his place in the band and passing the torch to the next in line; Jonathan Thorpenberg.
I think we could expand on reasons and details regarding this particular change forever but it all boils down to one fact, which is “time”. There is a shortage of time in Roland’s life currently, in regards to all the other duties he needs to tend to. This isn’t anyone’s fault or failure, it’s just how it has to be if we are to continue at all. This change happened in the best of terms and there is no bad blood among any party (as per your observation in the latest music video featuring all past and present members of the band). We love Roland from the depths of our hearts and we know the fans do too. We also know you’ll hate losing him (again) as much as we do. But his ties with The Unguided will not be severed in any way, he is free to come and go as he chooses, and involve himself as much as he wants in coming adventures, even if he’s not going to have a permanent role. We even intend to have some annual celebration shows with Roland, dedicated to the first three albums, and hopefully make that a nice tradition.
The Unguided - Nighttaker, Produced by: 11Frames
I painted a background story initially in this statement, as for you to understand our philosophy regarding our members. A mindset possibly not too common in bands, as any establishment would want to progress swiftly after a radical change. In that process there’s a pretty strong factor that also tries to suppress the past to favor the future. That is the natural thing to do from a business perspective but this is not a business. This is a family! We’d never dream about force feeding the fans any crap on how we found ourselves as a band, and how we now—all of the sudden—are creating the best music to date. We respect you, our past, and will always cherish it. (And in due time you are entitled to your own opinion regarding the new music anyway.)
Roland is a huge reason why we got this far. We will never be delusional about that constant, and we are eternally thankful for everything he brought the band and to us personally. As a matter of fact, it’s scary as hell to dive head forward into these uncharted waters. But it’s something we have to do for the wellbeing of a handful of brothers that just want to have fun, write the metal music we love, and rock out on stage together. We really hope Roland can afford, time-wise, to be involved in some parts of the continued journey ahead. As for yourself, to be honest, we don’t expect anything from you guys, or have the slightest idea if you intend to move through the hazy upcoming future with us at all. To each his own really. It will still not stop us to undertake this journey, which is do what we love the most, and have fun with writing a new album. After all, the original idea was always to walk our own path and that’s still the essential value within the boundaries of The Unguided. You are, of course, very much welcome to join in on this frightening new trip of ours. And we’d, as always, be delighted to have you!
When this band saw the light of day, the vision was always 3 albums. That trilogy is by now accomplished and materialized. There were never any guarantees or certainties of what would happen next. But now there is. It’s time to open a new chapter and take on new challenges! We welcome Jonathan to the family. A family which he has already been acting in for almost 2 years and some of you already got the opportunity to watch him perform and meet him. We, of course, hope once the initial shock has settled a bit, that you can open your heart and welcome this talented individual as well. And in the meantime; feel free to share your most precious memories of our mutual friend Roland, a very extraordinary man indeed. We are all dying to hear and relive your anecdotes! Speak your mind, share the love, and if you don’t think there’s already enough hate in the world, no one will stop you from sharing that either.
/Richard Sj, Roger, Henric and Richard Sc
So, it seems that the history repeats it’s self once again... As many of you have noticed there has been a bunch of shows and also a tour without my presence. Some rumors have also occurred on social media here and there about whether I’m still a member of the band!?!
First of all I just want to clarify once again that the whole idea of this band was for it to be on a hobby level, to always do the stuff we wanted to do and nothing else. I can say that it’s been a privilege, once again, to be able to do this. Three albums we’ve managed to do and that was also the main goal of this “first” chapter of The Unguided. The Trilogy is done.
The demands and wishes (from the music business and the fans) to see us live, unfortunately, makes this equation a bit tougher to solve if you want to keep it at a hobby level. It’s safe to say that the music we’ve created together, as a band, isn’t too bad, since there are so many of you out there eagerly requesting us to tour (sorry, couldn’t help myself haha).
Don’t get me wrong, I love to be there on stage and perform for you all, and so does the rest of the band. But it also comes with a price, a lot of traveling and being away from home for long periods of time. Those two parameters are why I’m having a very hard time adapting. And that was the reason why I left Sonic Syndicate in the first place back in 2009. I just can’t find it in myself to be away from my family, and my work, to fulfill those wishes for you. I just don’t think it’s fair for you or the band. This is why they have decided to take it a step further and really meet the demands fans have in regards to touring. And that’s why I’ve decided to leave the party.
I’m so proud and grateful for everything we’ve achieved with The Unguided. It’s by far the most inspiring music I’ve done so far in my life. I thank Richard, Roger, Rille, Hank “The Tank” and also John for being a part of it….I love you from the bottom of my heart. Now the next chapter for The Unguided is here, and I really wish them all luck in the future. I think they found a very talented person in Jonathan to continue this book of metal. And please… do not do the “Roland vs. Jonathan” campaign once again…there is really no need or meaning to it.
I’m sure you are all curious if this is the last you will see/hear from Roland? And of course it’s NOT!! Music is my life, and I can just drop dead without it. I will help out The Unguided in any way I can, any way that fits the current model by maybe producing. Surely some music writing, and surely some guest vocals. Who knows? …I might even show up to do some live guest appearances as well!
I will also make myself available for other guest appearance jobs, so just get in touch with me, and we’ll see what happens. There has also been some writing done on the side of The Unguided, which just might be a studio project as well…. Just keep your eyes and ears open ;) Also, many of you might know that I have a huge interest in the spirit WHISKY, which is something I’ve decided to put more energy into on a professional level.
Once again, I thank the band, and all its fans for the huge amount of support that made us what we are. I’ll see you somewhere… it might be on a whisky tasting event or in another location.
Roland Johansson 2015, Photo by: Patric Ullaeus
Greetings everyone! First of all, I would like to thank the band for allowing me—a person who has never been involved with a major band, been on tours, or recorded in flashy studios—to be a part of this band’s new line-up. The task of filling Roland’s part in The Unguided will not be an easy one. Not only because I have the utmost respect for him as a musician, and a human being, but also because his style of singing and playing has become a defining factor in the band’s overall sound. However, I will do my absolute best to do the old songs justice while, inevitably, bringing my own expression into them. I have known the guys in the band for almost two years now and we have developed a sort of musical chemistry that allows us to write songs that we are very proud to present to you all. This is an exciting new chapter for me, the band, and hopefully for all of you. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store!