Texas In July has been making music since bassist Ben Witkowski and drummer Adam Gray were in high school. The metal band from Ephrata, Pennsylvania, has spent eight years making music and touring the globe. After nearly a decade in the trenches, Texas In July decided to call it quits this year after a final tour in Europe and North America. The band has released an EP and four albums during their eight years, with three of the albums being with Equal Vision Records. Their last album, Bloodwork, was released in September 2014.
“This band is something that we poured our heart and soul into, from the inception of the group,” Witkowski says, speaking a few hours before their final Cleveland performance on December 7. “We all love it to death. Most of us probably wish it hadn’t went the way it did over the past couple of years. Our touring schedule slowed down, we lost some members and we always thought that we were going to get further down the road of metal and really make a name for ourselves bigger than we did. I think we kind of fell short of what we all wanted to do, but still everything we did was unbelievable. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You only want more out of anything. I feel like I always wanted more with the band. It was great, the whole ride.”
The band announced their impending breakup in April of this year with a special message to their fans, saying in part, “Traveling to your countries have always been, and forever will be, one of the most memorable things for us all. Thank you for giving us a home away from home all these years.”
A few of the members even took to their personal Instagram accounts to bid adieu to to their fans. Gray commented, “I’ve had the best times of my life during the last 8 years with this band… It’s time to really dedicate my time to improving at my instrument and getting back to the drawing board.” Vocalist JT Cavey, who joined the band for their final album, said, “The constant support from everyone to myself and to rest of the band has been insanely amazing and was the backbone and heartbeat for the 8 years we have been doing our thing… It’s been one hell of a ride everyone.” Guitarist Chris Davis remarked, “The past 4 1/2 years of my life have meant more to me than anyone could imagine. I’ve gained the best friends/brothers I could have ever asked for as my bandmates. They’ve inspired me, pushed me to better myself, and lifted me up through some of the roughest times in my life.”
Things had been looking up for the quartet when early last year they posted a video titled “New Beginnings,” talking about the future of the band with new members and a new album.
Obviously something didn’t work out, but the band spent their last year by releasing two music videos, going on five tours and playing six festivals.
“Some of the shows were shy on turnouts, [but] there were great nights as well,” Witkowski admits. “I think it just means the most to us to just go out in the van one more time and go to states and see friends that we made over the years one more time. It wasn’t really necessarily about selling out the tour and it being absolutely nuts every night. It was more about closing it for us personally, but it’s been great. There’s been good shows, there’s been bad shows, it’s been like a regular tour. It’s no different from anything we’ve done over the past few years, but it’s memorable, because it is the last one, like we’re really ending it. People might think that we’re gonna come back [after] a two-year [hiatus] and play again, but we’re certain this is going to be it. It’s not for any bad reason in between us as friends, like we’ll continue to hang out, but as a band, it’s something that we felt that we needed to do.”
Eight years is a long time to experience highs and lows while on the road. “We’ve said we’re cursed for some reason, but we definitely learned not to let those small obstacles ruin our day or allow us to miss a show, if it was a smaller issue,” Witkowski reminisces. “We do our best to get to every show. We only missed shows for the first time last year when our van blew a transmission. We were literally stuck. We went through every single thing we could have possibly done to get to the shows we wanted to get to, we were just totally screwed. I think that’s a good one. That we don’t sweat the small stuff too much. Over the years you kind of learn to adapt. We live together in this little box and tensions can get high and tires can blow on the trailer while tensions are high or something, but we brush it off pretty good now. This last two years of this band we’ve really found our stripes with touring. We’ve done it all. We’ve flipped the van, we’ve blown several transmissions, we did it when we were broke, we did it when we were a little better off, so I feel like this band has truly been through the ringer.”
The members of Texas In July won’t be disappearing from the music scene. “We all kind of have our own little ideas,” Gray tells us. “We’re pretty much exploding in opposite directions, but we all plan on playing music for the most part. Most fans of the band will probably, sooner or later, see us all doing something else in music. So it’s not like us as individuals are disappearing for the most part.”
What’s their advice for young bands who are starting out like they did back in 2007? “You gotta stick with it,” Witkowski advises. “I think that’s what we did. We toured as much as we could, like if you live in a state that’s got a couple states really close by to where you live, you gotta get there and play whenever you can and you gotta spider yourself out and start to tour and just keep at it. The only thing that gets you in this style of music is that hard work early on and making sure that everybody’s on the same page and grinding it out together, because if you’re not constant when you’re first getting your name out there, it’s going to be rough. That’s what we did at least. We played every weekend in high school, we drove as far as Canada on the weekends when we were still in high school and we just tried to play as much as we could. I think that really helped us get a name for ourselves.”