Enabler Interview Prompts Allegations of Physical and Sexual Abuse; Band Announce Hiatus
Published Jul 13, 2015Following an interview filmed for Exclaim! TV with the primary architect of hardcore band Enabler, Jeff Lohrber, posted on this site on July 9, allegations have surfaced from former bandmates that Lohrber was abusive to then-girlfriend/Enabler bassist Amanda Daniels during their relationship and her time in the band, and that he mischaracterizes these events in the interview. Lohrber has since denied these allegations, and Daniels has responded that she intends to pursue legal action.
The interview was conducted in advance of Enabler's new record, Fail to Feel Safe, out August 7 on Century Media. Lohrber describes working on the new album largely himself, but also discusses the high turnover in band membership over Enabler's career and the challenges faced by previous lineups. "My girlfriend of seven years ended up being the bass player in the band," Lohrber told Exclaim!, "then we split up and we stayed in the band together. That was probably the worst decision we could have made. We tried. It just went bad, you know. I was completely out of control at times… It was not really an easy decision cuz we still were friends and still wanted to play music."
Shortly after the video interview was posted, Amanda Daniels reached out to Exclaim!, writing, "There are a lot of things he speaks of and touches upon in this interview that in months prior, he begged of me to keep off the public record. I had agreed. Since he has broken this promise he requested of me to make — the tape has been peeled off of my mouth and I have typed a response in an old tour tumblr."
In that July 10 tumblr post — it can be found in its entirety here — Daniels responds to several of Lohrber's statements from the video interview. She writes: "There are many reasons for my silence. They have changed over time, as I have collected and carried these secrets… It is time for my silence to end. The story is spreading and it is no longer my own to bear. It hasn't been for awhile now.
"I hope you're finally on your way to 'becoming a better person,'" she continues, "because your desire for that is what bought my silence and your freedom. (Not the $5,000 you owed me or all your threats.) You are lucky you were able to make this record, to have this freeing experience of putting everything to tape. You should be thankful every single fucking day, because these songs should have been written from your prison cell. Thanks for the broken ribs, the cage which protects my heart and lungs forever damaged, something time will never heal, pain I will never be free from. One of the many things you should carry a sentence for."
In response to Lohrber's interview assertion that work on the new album "was a painful writing process," Daniels responds, "Why?... Because you had to remember what it was like to see the person giving you shelter and feeding you laid out from the concussion you just gave them from hitting them over the head with about twenty pounds of vinyl? Because you remember how awkward it was when our drummer started asking questions about where the giant bruises on my thighs came from? Are some of those things painful to recall?
"Your proudest moments on record is the story of living in your own personal hell because I finally left after years of manipulation, emotional, physical and sexual abuse? The silence has ended."
Shortly after Daniels' post, former Enabler merch manager Dustin Albright wrote about his experiences while in the band in a Facebook post. Albright writes, in part: "I didn't want to make [my departure] a public matter, because it wasn't my battle to fight and I wanted to be respectful to the real victim of what transpired within that band, as she didn't go public. That all changed today… The first tour I went on with Enabler, I had to drag Jeff out of a club in Brooklyn because he slapped Amanda in the face over an argument they had…. One of the last moments with Enabler, we were on the highway and a very heated argument ensued between [Amanda] and Jeff. Enabler's then-drummer, Ryan, was driving… At some point, the argument set Jeff off in an explosive way. I had to pull him off of her after he flew into the back [of the van] and starting trying to choke her out; Ryan [was] unable to pull the van over. As soon as I thought he calmed down, I let him go… but he started full on wailing her in the face and body, again having to pull him off of her.
"We were all in a horrible position where we could have died that day. We were all forced to have to act in a way where we made Jeff feel comfortable, because we were scared of ending up dead. Everyone quit their jobs in Enabler after that tour… I will say that the guy needs help… I believe a part of him doesn't want to be violent the way he is. That doesn't change the past though. And as long as Jeff is going to continue to pass the blame onto everyone else, onto me, onto Ryan and most notably onto Amanda, then let the truth stand if she wants it to."
On Sunday, July 12 — following requests for comment sent to both his record label and PR reps — Lohrber responded with a Facebook statement posted on his personal account as well as the Enabler fan page. In it, he states that he does "not condone physical violence of any kind to any living thing, period."
He then goes on to say: "to anyone who would deal with things by starting a witchhunt online rather than deal with them at the source or take it directly to the authorities — you are absolutely in the wrong." He then cites what he sees as "contradictory" statements in Amanda Daniels' tumblr response, asking "Why weren't the authorities involved? Why come out now when the new album is to be released in less than a month?... I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I was in the right all of the time. I was wrong in a number of things I did, for which I have owned up and apologized directly to these people, but the things I am accused of here are not accurate."
Lohrber concludes by saying that, " As far as Enabler goes, all shows are off as of now and the band is on an indefinite hiatus."
Later on July 12, Daniels posted again on tumblr, writing "There are a couple of things to respond to. Like all the people saying I should have left the first time anything happened, that I should have immediately called the police, that I should have sought medial attention. I want to discuss these things and all the reasons that victims stay with their abusers and do not seek help, but at a later date. That is a huge and vast psychological topic and I want to give it proper attention."
In response to accusations that she had presented no evidence, she continues: "I did make one hell of a statement with no evidence exposed, that is certainly true. I did that, and perhaps it wasn't the smartest move. But there is evidence, I am beginning to compile it and hopefully it isn't too late to make a legal case."
You can watch the initial Exclaim! TV video interview with Enabler's Jeff Lohrber below.