Published May 27, 2019Norma Jean have announced the departure of guitar player Jeff Hickey due to what the band call his "complex and debilitating alcohol addiction."
The group made the announcement over the weekend on their Facebook, revealing that while they are currently in the studio working on the follow-up to their 2016 album Polar Similar, Hickey will no longer be playing with Norma Jean.
The statement reads as follows:
Anyone who has followed Norma Jean over the years knows we don't talk much about the inner workings of our band. We come together as friends to make music, but we have individual lives and reasons for making it. We like our music to speak for itself with its own voice. So making this post is difficult, but we feel like it's necessary to help someone we care deeply about.
We are heartbroken to announce that we have parted ways with our long time guitarist, Jeff Hickey. Jeff is an incredible musician, but more importantly he is a brother to us — and right now, we need to be his brothers before his bandmates.
Over the past several years, we have worked with Jeff to find help for complex and debilitating alcohol addiction that has plagued him, and by proxy, his circle of loved ones. We are in close contact with his family, and we have involved professionals across spectrums of rehabilitation and counseling from the start.
We are aware that this is a very sensitive issue and every bit of advice we've received has led us to this course of action.
We've heard so many stories from some of you about how our music has helped you through difficult times, and we want Jeff to know that he has that same support from the NJ community during this phase of his life.
In no way do we want to shame Jeff. He has bravely weathered many storms in his life, and we know the path to sobriety is not an easy one. This is not an issue we are taking lightly. There is no one we would rather have on stage with us and that is exactly the reason we feel we must make this announcement. The world of addiction swallows up its victims. The darkness can become terminal. Though losing our guitarist is unfortunate for Norma Jean, as individuals we are far more worried we will lose our brother.
We will continue to support Jeff in every effort toward sobriety and his personal health. We will work with him in every way he will allow us, but we know this path is one he must choose to walk himself. We hope and pray for the best things for him and his future.
As of yet, few other details about Norma Jean's upcoming album have been made available. The band will also head out on a summer tour, the dates of which you can see here.