Stars of the Lid duo Adam Wiltzie and Brian McBride announced their immediate split today after Wiltzie’s fury at his bandmate’s attempt to incorporate a cowbell into the band’s drone-based comatose sound. A source close to the band confirmed that the dispute occurred whilst Stars of the Lid were working on new track, “Lying in a Silent Field with an Impotent Gasmask: Part IV”, a composition largely resembling the Eno-influenced sound the duo are famed for. At around the seven-minute mark of the eighth take, Brian became “somewhat agitated”, and without warning grabbed hold of the jaunty percussion instrument which had been left behind by a ska-punk band that had previously booked the studio. McBride then “proceeded to bang it with the enthusiasm of Animal from The Muppets.” Adam Wiltzie, at this point engaged in trying to hold a minor chord on his guitar for as long as humanly possible, due to the sudden shock, and perhaps compelled by the energetic rhythm and tone of the cowbell, felt his fingers involuntarily twitch across to a second chord, allegedly a G-major. As soon as he had realised what was happening, Wiltzie became engulfed with rage, threw his guitar at the studio wall, and screamed “cowbells and second chords are not what Stars of the Lid are all about, asshole!”
Brian McBride then attempted to pacify the furious Wiltzie, explaining that they had both been playing basically the exact same piece of ambient music together for years, with virtually zero commercial reward, and that he was literally yearning for variation, “a tambourine, some maracas, ANYTHING.” The duo, however, soon agreed that their differences could not be reconciled, and they have since announced their demise in a press statement to the music press citing a “definite hiatus.” The music press are said to be “uninterested at best.”
Following the split, Adam Wiltzie is continuing to work in the Stars of the Lid vein, crafting a “purposefully flaccid symphony” ether to be released under his own name or his Dead Texan moniker. McBride, on the other hand, has begun work on an “ambitious sub-Salsa-grind post-electro dubstep white rap project” featuring guest musicians Omar Rodríguez-López of the Mars Volta, Little Boots and Kid Rock DJ Uncle Kracker. Other sources have suggested this information to be false, and that McBride currently resides in a Texas rehab centre where he is being treated for Post-Traumatic Musical Over-Excitement Disorder (‘PTMOED’).
Susan Part, President of the Stars of the Lid fanclub ‘Tired Sounds’, told us “though it is a great shame that Adam and Brian will no longer be making music together, they have an outstanding body of work that they can both be hugely proud of and which will undoubtedly cement their legacy as giants of the post-post-rock soundscape scene. They will also continue to be massive influence on aspiring ambient musicians too young to remember Brian Eno, or perhaps too embarrassed to listen to him because he produces U2. Besides,” added Part, “perhaps splitting up was the best decision to take under the circumstances, as how many Stars of the Lid fans would appreciate being woken up mid cannabis- or morphine-induced slumber by a piercing and unwelcome cowbell being suddenly twonked?” Reporting on Wiltzie and McBride’s ongoing projects, Tired Sounds will continue to publish and circulate its biannual newsletter to its seven subscribers.
The incident is, of course, not the first cowbell-related musical mishap in recent memory. Californian stoner rockers Fu Manchu were forced to cancel a show in Paris on their 2002 European Tour when drummer Scott Reeder misplaced the band’s cowbell and was unable to unearth any other drum or percussion object during soundcheck that could imitate, replicate or replace the instrument that has become so critical to the Fu’s desert rock sound. “The entire vibe of our awesome unit,” stated Fu Manchu frontman Scott Hill in an interview from the back of a pickup truck, “simply fell flat. I mean, it was like being castrated, dude.” The ‘bell was later discovered in the band’s tourbus mini-fridge, behind a stack of beef mayo baguettes, and the tour continued without incident.