Published Mar 29, 2010New York-based noise-rock trio Drunkdriver quickly announced their break-up last week following a long string of alleged rape accusations directed towards drummer Jeremy Villalobos. Formerly the drummer for pre-No Age trio Wives, Villalobos has been the subject of numerous sexual assault claims over the last two decades.
The web drama started with a Drunkdriver show announcement on the Crewcial message board, as Drunkdriver were planning to perform at Brooklyn's Market Hotel on Saturday (March 27). The show, which would have been a record release show for their upcoming full-length album on Load Records, drew the ire of commenters who came forward with stories of Villalobos's alleged assault.
Eventually, Villalobos himself issued a statement on the board to tell his side, saying: This is Jeremy from drunkdriver. I am not a rapist. This is based on an accusation from when I was 15 years old. Years after that when I was 23, a friend of mine and I got drunk and slept together. We were on tour and a friend of her's overheard about the incident from when I was 15 (from that girl's best friend) and put this story together like so.
After all this Dean and Randy were by my side. I got irresponsibly blackout drunk in Texas and was inappropriate, woke up with my clothes on but I definitely did not rape anyone or do anything that could be called rape. I was a drunk asshole that night. NEVER was the word "NO" or any force ever used in ANY of the instances.
After years of being there for me, Dean and Randy of Wives couldn't continue being in a band with me and that was the end. Roy did play drums for the rest of the tour with them. When I got back home to LA I called my family and found out that some real-life, non punk issues that put this whole thing into perspective for me, all the while a friend was convincing me to visit New York.
The response prompted over a 1,000 comments, and the rumours continued to pour in about Villalobos's alleged sexual assault. His former Wives band-mates in No Age posted and later removed a blog post depicting the Mothers Against Drunk Driving logo. Under the photo was the statement "You have to support people who are against Drunk Driver(s)."
Then, a Facebook announcement for the event explained that Drunkdriver would no longer be appearing at the show and that they had broken up. Back on the Crewcial message board, Drunkdriver front-man Matt Berdan shared his side of the story with this statement:
i didn't know about these accusations when we started this band. after about six months in, one of these incidents was brought to my attention. had a long talk with jeremy about it, who completely denied it. he told me in detail about the incident when he was 15 and both instances in question from when he was in wives. after thinking about it, i decided that i wanted to believe my friend's story. he told kristy about it, and she took the same position as i did. after she and i heard from two very hard detractors of jeremy's, we decided for ourselves that we needed more information. because she didn't have an email address or any other kind of contact info, she wrote the myspace page of the band in question. she absolutely did not ask for details, but said that she was a woman playing in a band with jeremy and wanted to know if, as a woman, she should be concerned about playing music with him or being around him at all. she never heard back from them, which is more than completely understandable but did factor into why we decided to stay together at that point. we tried our best to talk to people who were around when everything happened with wives, and many were supportive of jeremy. we stayed a band for three years after that, and in that period of time jeremy did not ever step out of line or act out of turn. he had cut significantly down on drinking in the past year and stopped completely in november. when we were on our way back from chicago, i was told about the mishka blog post. i didn't mention it to kristy or jeremy at the moment because i just wanted for us to get home safely and not freak out. the day that i got home, timmy hefner called me and said that he had talked to no age and some other la people after reading the blog and absolutely could not do shows for us anymore. immediately after that, todd p called and said that he was dropping us from his monterey fest because no age refused to play if we were on. immediately after that, randy from no age called me. this was the first time that anyone from la had ever contacted me or kristy. he told me his side of the story and no age's position and was as sweet, stand up, and polite as possible in doing so. after talking with him, i started to feel differently. the enormous gravity of the situation started to really beat down on me and i felt significant doubt for the first time. we talked about it at length again, and a part of me, as someone i had grown close to, still wanted to give jeremy the benefit of the doubt. he freely and openly discussed this with anyone and openly posted his email address to anyone who wanted to contact him about this, which made me feel more confident in him. i still wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but this ate at me more and more. we played a handful of other shows and did sxsw. after that, this thread came up. with all of the dialogue, it beat me down and made me reexamine my position. i told kristy and jeremy that i could no longer do the band and they respected my decision. i agreed to play this one last show, but as time went on and i talked to friends and read this thread, i decided that i couldn't do that either.
i won't lie and say that i don't care about jeremy. when he's told me what he's told me in the past, i really want to believe him. still, i know that a number of people involved in his past have absolutely no reason to lie to me and if this is true, i absolutely cannot live with myself. the thought of it disgusts me and breaks my heart. the fact that he's been good throughout my experience doesn't take away from the possibility of his past. i can't do this band anymore and feel good about it.
i'm so sorry to everyone who this has hurt. i'm so sorry to everyone who i have disappointed beyond repair. i never meant any harm, but that doesn't take away from anything.
Naturally, this means Drunkdriver are done for good. While Load Records have not made any announcements to the contrary, they will still likely release the band's self-titled full-length on April 14.