Since their formation in 2008, Handguns have seen more than a handful of members come and go. The band’s Wikipedia page lists more than a dozen “former members”; however the originally Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based band did have a mostly consistent lineup from 2012 to 2017, with Taylor Eby on vocals, Brandon Pagano on guitar, Kyle Vaught on guitar, and CJ Wilson on bass. During that time the band were joined by Woody Spokas, Ryan Pyle, and Christian Mullen (who has also played in A Loss For Words and I Call Fives) on drums. This lineup of Handguns wrote and recorded the band’s second and third albums, 2014’s Life Lessons and 2015’s Disenchanted, however after years of touring and writing and performing together, it appears this lineup has fallen apart.
Per a statement posted to the band’s website, Facebook, and Twitter, Pagano, Vaught, and Wilson have parted ways with the band, who will be continuing “as a reimagining of the old lineup, Taylor included.” According to an article on Alternative Press, the newest iteration of Handguns’ lineup will consist of founding member Jake Langley on guitar (originally in the band from 2008 to 2012), Thomas McGrath on guitar (2008 to 2011), Nate Bobb on bass (2008 to 2011), and Marco Florey on drums (2008 to 2011).
Following a busy touring schedule throughout 2015 and into the beginning of 2016, Handguns were relatively quiet into the beginning of 2017. Langley tells Alternative Press that this “reunion” of the original lineup was originally intended as a one-off show, opening for a local date of Four Year Strong’s Rise or Die Trying Tour in April. However, it is still unclear as to when exactly Pagano, Vaught, and Wilson actually parted ways with the band, as no official hiatus, lineup change, or break-up announcement has been made until now. Substream has reached out to the former members for comment; we will update this post if they respond.
Pagano, Vaught, and Wilson intend to continue playing music together in a new band; read their full statement below.
“We want to start off by saying how appreciative we are of every chance we got over the past almost 5 years now. We’ve had the privilege of traveling the world and connecting with amazing people the entire time. Whether it be at the shows, the places we’ve crashed or the people we’ve been lucky enough to have work for our band, it’s all been an honor and the times of our lives that we’ll surely never forget.
This band has never been known for … shall we say “functioning normally” but we found the core of the band, Taylor, Brandon, Kyle and CJ managed to create two records we can all say we’re very proud of and toured with bands that influenced us to play music in the first place as well as sell out headline shows on our own merit. We owe that to every single one of you that bought tickets to see us, bought our records or merch, or just spread the good word about Handguns.
That’s why we regret to inform you that we, Brandon, Kyle, and CJ will no longer be performing with or writing with Handguns. This doesn’t come easy for us and we’ll miss seeing everyone at the shows. The band has decided to continue on as a reimagining of the old lineup, Taylor included. We hope everyone enjoys this new lineup if you’ve never seen Handguns without it, they’ll be announcing shows coming up so feel free to go check it out.
All that being said, thank you all once more for everything you’ve made possible for three dudes who would have never in a million years thought they’d travel to Japan to play music, or record a record in North Hollywood or even just pull off a full U.S. tour. The hard work, blood, missed weddings and funerals were all made worth it knowing that we took advantage of these opportunities and continued to make records that people understood and connected with.
All of this being said, we’re currently writing for a release with a new band together. If this seems like something you’d like to keep an eye on – fuck yeah! We’ll let you know when we have more info for you. Until then – take care of yourselves and we’ll see you all soon!
Brandon, Kyle, and CJ”
Eby shared a statement of his own on the band’s Facebook page regarding the band’s many lineup changes, in which he called Handguns “the cockroach of pop punk. Chop our heads off and we’ll just grow another one.” Read his full statement below.
“Being in a band exposes you to the “rock star treatment” and there was booze pretty much every night and I feel like I didn’t fit in with egotistical maniacs so that led me to drink until I was comfortable enough but I didn’t know when to stop. The people in the band at that time didn’t like that so when I decided to do better for myself and move away from negative energy, they took it as me abandoning them. I tried calling them for the whole summer and never got any answer so eventually I gave up on pursuing any of them. I was approached by Jake to do a one off show because we had been offered some shows so I figured what the hell. It’ll be fun for shits and gigs and when we all played that night it just felt right and natural. No egos, no drama just friends playing music they like and are passionate about. Sometimes you need to separate yourself from people you love to realize how much you actually do love them. When that tweet came out I was like “fuck it, let’s do this.” Not out of spite, but out of the sheer fact of “Okay, if you’re gonna go that far, here’s where I’m willing to take this.”
Handguns is the cockroach of pop punk. Chop our heads off and we’ll just grow another one.
Per Alternative Press, the current lineup of Handguns have written several songs which they plan to record after playing more shows (one on January 27, 2018 in Erie, Pennsylvania) to help raise funds for recording. The new Handguns record will not be released on Pure Noise Records; instead the band have chosen to release it on Langley’s own label Pass Along Knowledge Yourself (“PAKY”).
As for what’s next for the recently reunited original Handguns members as well as the former members, we’ll be sure to keep you updated. Make sure you’re following Substream on Twitter so you don’t miss a headline.