Published Apr 14, 2015Today (April 14) is album release day for Les Jupes, and in our review of the newly issued Some Kind of Family, we called the Winnipeg indie rock unit "Canada's next great band." Unfortunately, it looks like things aren't going to pan out quite as we thought, since the group just announced their breakup.
Frontman Michael Petkau Falk announced the news in a lengthy open letter. From the sound of things, the breakup isn't particularly amicable. Falk wrote that Les Jupes have been "a pretty dysfunctional band," and admitted that they've sometimes conducted themselves with "entitlement, laziness, egos, self-righteousness and willful ignorance."
Rather than tour with a backing group of hired guns, Falk has decided to end the project for good. He admitted that he's not sure what his next move will be, but he intends to keeping writing songs and working with other artists in his studio.
There's a silver lining to all of this: despite the band's untimely end, Falk says that they "had gotten pretty good." Hear evidence of this by streaming Some Kind of Family at the bottom of this page, where a new video for "Everything Will Change" is also embedded.
Read the letter below:
I'm very sad to announce that Les Jupes are done.
We've been a pretty dysfunctional band. We've been 3 completely different lineups in 4 years. We've battled entitlement, laziness, egos, self-righteousness and willful ignorance. There are some stories that would make you just shake your head, others that would break your heart. We would get 4 people onto the same page for a couple of months before someone else would leave and the whole thing would have to be re-jigged again. It became exhausting. Even ridiculous. A parody of what this was supposed to become. And definitely a pretty impossible way to build momentum or capitalize on what few opportunities we did have come our way.
Many friends and industry people have told me I should just hire a backing band and tour the songs. But it just doesn't feel right. That's not what this was ever supposed to be about, and I'm not interested in touring a show that doesn't feel interesting. This was supposed to be four people on a mission, doing something special together. And after too many failed attempts at that, perhaps its just time to lay it to bed.
A whole lot of care and thought and passion and time and money went into this record. It was supposed to be the album that got us through the glass ceiling we kept hitting. But it unfortunately turned out to be the record that sadly fulfilled its own name.
Not sure we were ever a great band, but I think we had gotten pretty good — to a place where I felt confident we finally had the balance of skills and tools to make a go of it and maybe even become great. I think the best compliment we ever got was: "Wow, you guys are like a real band." I never wanted to be the coolest band. Never wanted to be a part of a fad. I just want to make art that connects with something inside those making it and anyone who might listen to it. To write songs that might have an outside shot at still meaning something to someone a few years down the line.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do next. I've been mulling on all kinds of things — some of which are radical life changes, some of which are gentle left turns. Some days I want nothing to do with music, others I can't imagine myself without it. It's hard not to be terribly angry at a couple people. My increasing self-isolation and introversion combined with exhaustion from the past few years makes this a difficult process. I've never grieved a dream before. So I'm gonna just take the time I need to figure it out. In the meantime, I've got my studio and will continue writing songs and working with other artists.
I'd like to thank three people who have gone above and beyond to support this band. Frank Ehrmann has championed us in Germany and deserves so much more from this record that he was so excited about. Darcy Penner came in swinging as the most trustworthy, hard-working bandmate I ever had. And my wife, Robin. Even though I often put the band before her, she has been so unbelievably supportive. She put up with a lot of late night fretting sessions, even incurred debt on behalf the band, and is a treasure of a human being.
I really hope you enjoy this album. I was so hopeful for these songs.
Michael Petkau Falk