"There were personal, private issues going on - like my own mental health - and we didn't want to drag those out in the light."
Back in 2011, New Jersey post-hardcore band Thursday had just released No Devolucion. While maybe not the defining album of the band's career, it was an album that showed how the band had matured and progressed over the last 15 years. Then, with the release of what vocalist Geoff Rickly calls "a pretty vanilla statement", they were done. In part, it read: "The personal circumstances involved make it impossible to continue Thursday in the spirit that has made it special. So, we stop. For now, at least." Thursday would play their last shows as a part of the 2012 Soundwave festival in Australia, a country where they had found a solid fanbase, and then they would disband.
In the years that followed, bits and pieces came out that proved nothing was as it seemed. In interviews, Rickly said that the original statement, which emphasised that there had been no falling out, was false. "At the time there were some personal conflicts going on in the band that were just personality-based clashes between us," he says. "There were personal, private issues going on - like my own mental health - and we didn't want to drag those out in the light; especially if it would endanger anybody's health."
To Rickly, what it comes down to is the divide between the public persona of Thursday as a band and the private lives they live as individuals. "People that like our band don't need to know that we can't stand to be in the same room together anymore," he says.
He believes that keeping the personal things private allowed the relationships to repair. "In the years between, we were able to say that we don't ever have to do [the band] anymore so let's just be friends," Rickly says. "Then when we were back together again as friends, without an ulterior agenda, suddenly all of us wanted to play music together again."
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In the years between the announcement of the break-up and the choice to re-form and play shows together, Rickly struggled. Having started the band when he was in college, and then touring almost continuously for the next 15 years, Rickly describes that time as being like "Peter Pan syndrome" - never having to grow up.
"When you tour, you're doing the same thing day after day just in a different town," he says. "And you do that long enough and you're not growing up - you're not maturing, you're not learning, you're not getting stronger, you're not getting smarter." With the band ending, Rickly had to learn what it was like to be an adult in the real world.
"I did so many different types of jobs that at first it was like I would just work any job I could get - I was running a record label, then I was doing PR; just getting all these different experiences of the working world. At times I thought that the only thing I'm qualified to do is be the singer of Thursday, not even the singer of any band; that's literally all that I'm good at." In learning to cope with this unfamiliar world, Rickly developed some bad habits, including an addiction to heroin (which he has now overcome).
It has now become a bit of a running joke that, when a band announces they're breaking up or going on hiatus, inevitably they're going to be back together for a reunion show. For fans of Thursday, that moment came in August, 2016 at Atlanta's Wrecking Ball Festival. Since then, the band have played several shows together and will be returning to Australia in March to play with Quicksand.
A now-sober Rickly believes that this time around the vibe of the shows is different. "The main difference is that we really appreciate every moment and we try to make ourselves really present for it. I think it's a really cool thing that I'm wanting to be there and really appreciate it." As for the fans, he does feel that they have missed the band. "They're a lot more passionate."
The question every fan wants to know is: where will these reunion shows lead? "It is the 20th anniversary of the band when we come to Australia, so we will do something for that to celebrate that milestone."
But as for new music? Unfortunately, there are no plans for that yet.