When I first heard word break that The Movement had broken up, like all other Movement fans, I was in a bit of disbelief. Just 2 days before, I was in talks with the group on ideas to get The Movement, their music & fans more involved on The Pier. I saw the rumors being posted on Facebook like everyone else and was able to finally confirm through Adam Gandy, one of the The Movement’s managers, that the rumors were in fact true.
Granted The Pier is a resource for Reggae-Rock music and while bands disband quite often, we’re not fans of reporting that kind of news, because we’re not fans of good bands disbanding. But after a flurry of emails, texts & phone calls from fans, other bands and other band managers, I couldn’t help but pry my nose in just a bit to get some answers. To my surprise, the group was more than willing to take time out to address our collective questions and concerns. Regardless of what’s happened, The Movement LOVES their fans.
I was fortunate enough to speak at length with bassist Jay “Smiles” Schmidt, The Movement’s co-founder & former Singer/Guitarist, Josh Swain & the latest departing member, guitarist/vocalist Jordan Miller.
Leading up to my talks with the members, questions remained:
Will The Movement move on and break off into a series of solo projects?
Or is it possible that Josh Swain is ready to come back & keep The Movement moving forward after a 2 year hiatus?
Before we can address the situation, let’s take a background look at The Movement from start to present day…
The Movement’s Background…
When The Movement came on to the scene, they were a 3 piece group out of Columbia, S.C. The original line up consisted of Jordan Miller, Josh Swain & Jon Ruff (DJ Riggles). In March of 2004, The Movement released their debut album On Your Feet which was recorded, mixed and tracked in three separate eight-hour sessions in the studio. All of the beats for the album were made on a drum machine in about a day.
In 2008, the group met producer Chris Dibeneditto out of Philadephonic Studios. Chris D was most known for his production work with Slightly Stoopid, G. Love & The Expendables. The group decided to record their 2nd album Set Sail in 2008 with Chris D and just before its release, DJ Riggles left to raise a family, which paved the way for drummer Gary Jackson & bassist Jay Smiles. Both Gary & Jay had been playing together for 16 years and were introduced to Jordan & Josh by their new producer & now co-manager, Chris D. While Jay is originally a guitar player, he slid over to bass to accommodate the completion of the 4 piece reggae-rock unit.
[Editors Note: Gary & Jay were not on the Set Sail album, but the first song The Movement recorded with Jordan, Josh, Gary & Jay, with Chris D behind the production, was “Care (You Don’t Even)” that was first released on The Pier Comp Vol. 1.]
As Jay reflects, he explained “Our first rehearsal was with Josh, Me & Gary and we all looked at each other and it was like ‘Wow, this sounds great’. Jordan came down like a week later and we got to rehearse with Jordan & Josh and it was like ‘Wow, this is even better”
As a 4 piece, the group was now able to hit the road and with a new album in Set Sail, The Movement had officially Set Sail on their journey. And Set Sail is exactly what they did, playing shows with the likes of Slightly Stoopid, G. Love, SOJA, 311, Steel Pulse, Iration & more.
In 2010, the group hit a speed bump while on tour in Arizona when Josh Swain told the group he wanted to part ways. He moved to Denver, CO to be with his girlfriend and The Movement decided to keep marching on, adding keyboardist John Bowling. John was previously in a band with Jordan Miller back in ’06; a group called The Executives.
The Movement continued despite Josh Swain’s leaving and after 2 years of touring following Josh’s departure, The Movement released their 3rd full length album One More Night on March 20th 2012. It peaked #1 on the iTunes Reggae Charts, bumping off Bob Marley’s “Legends Remastered”. This was significant growth for The Movement, who’s Set Sail album peaked at #8 in October of 2008.
According to keyboardist, John Bowling, three of the songs from One More Night, including “When The Feeling Goes Away”, “Lonely At The Top” and “Across the Bridge” were songs that were originally written & performed while John & Jordan played together in The Executives.
Exactly one month after One More Night was released, Jordan Miller would tell The Movement he’d like to quit the band.
When I asked Jay smiles his reflection on what took place with Jordan quitting, he told me how the group was 2 hours from Spartanburg S.C. to play a 4/20 show at Wolford College. “He just decided he needed a break. We all looked around and thought he was joking around, but he said he just needed to get home, get healthy and spend time with his family. We were like can you please just give us 2 weeks, because we had a ton of shows booked. When you quit a job, I feel your suppose to give 2 weeks, at least. It just came out of the blue ya know?”
While it was received out of the blue by Jay and the rest of the group, it was a decision Jordan had been pondering for quite some time. Here’s what Jordan had to say as he explained his decision:
“It wasn’t really a decision that came out of nowhere. It was one that I had been thinking of for quite some time. I was thankful for the success of the new record, given the fact I wrote it, as well as the opportunities that were on the horizon for the band. However, personally I needed to make some drastic and severe changes in my life in regards to my well being & granted the short, 2hour, notice was not the most respectable thing to do, AT ALL. It was a choice I HAD to commit to. I love EVERY one of those guys. They’re like my brothers and I HATE that it went down the way that it did, but it was a decision I committed to and had to go through with for personal reasons, which at this point are not for public consumption.”
When I spoke with Jay, his tone was more hurt then angry, but it’s the hurt that fuels that anger when your lead vocalist decides to leave the band. You go from one mindset to the next & the anger finds its way through the shock & hurt. Jordan continued on to say “It was going to happen, one way or another. I realize it put the rest of the band in a bind given they were put into a ‘Holy shit, what the hell am I going to do tomorrow?’ mentality, but at the same time I was in the same boat. People have to make difficult decisions everyday and I hate living with the consequences of what it did to my friends/brothers but I had to do this for me.”
Can you imagine just being hours away from playing what you didn’t wake up thinking would be your last show? You have to think what the energy on stage would be like, especially if your Jordan. You just told the band you want to quit and now your about to go play your last show on a few hours notice.
Jordan reflected on their last show on 4/20 and said “I honestly thought it was one of the best shows we played because we got to be more care free and have fun with it…given the previous circumstances there was little pressure. Sometimes that feeling gets lost along the way, the feeling of just being on a stage and doing what you love, but personally, I enjoyed it. I just felt like a piece of shit the whole time knowing I was abandoning the band I co-founded. In the end, though, you have to look out for your well being and if it is in jeopardy, you need to fix it. You only have one life ya know?”
Jordan Miller Going Solo?…
There’s no question Jordan Miller is a talented artist & musician. He’s an artist who was born to share his poetry through song. When I asked Jay Smiles if he thought Jordan would be going solo, there was no question in his response: “I feel in my heart that’s what he’s trying to do because everything unfolded very quickly, especially coming out with a brand new record”.
Which is true. It’s not like it takes a month to put an album together. There’s a lot that goes behind making an album, both in writing, production, performing the songs live & then touring. But if its time for you as a person to detach yourself for your own personal benefit, you can’t help but to be frustrated at the circumstances. Jay continued on to say “Everyday it gets a little easier to accept his decision, but we were all very hurt that he choose that way to handle the situation”.
When asking Jordan Miller directly if he plans on going solo upon his departure from The Movement he explained:
“I’m a musician. As far as a solo career, yes, music is what I do, who I am, and what I love and I plan to continue it. I need to make money somehow and I am not a 9 to 5 kid, nor will I ever be. I have a few solo dates lined up with artists in different genres coming up soon, which will be announced in the near future. The idea right now is to make some personal changes to enhance my talents and career and do what I have to do. i.e…..entertain the masses in a positive way with great music”
Hoping that time can heal, I asked Jay Smiles if the disconnect can be repaired between the group and Jordan Miller. He shared his thoughts by saying “It’ll be a little while before I can look past what hes done. We really had a lot of shit lined up and pretty much if Jordan is working with Marshall Lowe, than I am not ever going to be involved with Jordan“
Marshall Lowe was The Movement’s former manager and while Jay didn’t go into detail regarding the groups management, he made a strong statement that him and the rest of the group do not support Marshall Lowe’s involvement in their music moving forward.
A contributing factor to the groups disconnect? Is this possibly the information that’s not for the public’s consumption? Maybe, but the overall message being conveyed on both sides, is that Jordan Miller needed to break away for personal reasons & get back to finding a relationship with his own health & well-being.
Josh Swain’s Return…
“The Movement has no plans of giving up any time soon. There are a lot of things to work out, touring is a hard business, but we still have a long way to go before we are satisfied…”
-That’s a direct quote from The Movements co-founding member, Josh Swain, as he enters the picture during Jordan’s untimely departure. After a 2-year hiatus, Josh Swain has been working on solo material and enough to record an album with.
It looks like that’s exactly what Josh plans on doing as he looks to enter the studio with Chris Dibeneditto, who previously produced & co-managed the group from 2008-2010. In the wake of Jordan’s departure, Chris D has called in the rest of The Movement to back Josh Swain up in the studio.
Whether or not this will be an official 4th album under The Movement name is yet to be confirmed. But think about it, you have 2 albums with Jordan & Josh with One Your Feet & Set Sail, then 1 album with just Jordan with One More Night and now there’s a possibility there could be another album with just Josh Swain leading the group on vocals/guitar.
When I asked Jay the possibility of The Movement’s name being attached to the recording of Josh’s album, Jay told me “I wanna say there’s a possibility The Movement’s name can be attached to it, but Josh is going to have to handle that with the legal aspect of it. Josh & Jordan created the name so its up to them to work it out, but I think its something that can be worked out between the both of them”.
If there was anyone’s opinion I wanted on the possibility of this taking place, it was Jordan Millers. Much to my surprise, his only response to The Movement continuing on with Josh Swain was “I hope they melt their faces off!! Josh has always been my favorite musician on planet earth and I wish them nothing but the best!”
If that’s not relief for the fans of The Movement, I don’t know what is. As a cherry on top, Jay went on to confirm that “The Solo album is going to be recorded by Chris D in California. We all love Chris so much, he’s like our big brother. We have a lot of good things in the works and I’m excited. A lot of good music yet to come out is what I’m trying to say here”
The Movement Playing Memorial Day Weekend 2012!
With Josh Swain back with his brothers in The Movement, Jay announced to me that The Movement will be playing back to back to back shows over Memorial day weekend on Saturday, Sunday & Monday. “This show on Memorial Day, right now, is a one time thing, but I believe once I start sending Josh songs I been working on, I think we’re going to be on this whole other tip, ya know?” Jay continued on to say “Josh is practicing & getting ready & we’re all stoked about this Memorial Day thing”.
I guess it’s pretty hard to believe. First Josh Swain leaves 2 years ago and right as he starts to enter the picture, Jordan Miller leaves. When trying to make sense of all this shuffling around, Jay explained:
“I believe Josh is in there just to keep The Movement alive. When Josh first left, he went to Denver with his girlfriend and played some shows in Denver and it was like we haven’t talked to Josh in forever. Then we played for the first time together this year on St. Paddys Day in Five Points in Columbia, S.C. & I was practically in tears, me & our drummer Gary because it just sounded like how it use to sound”.
“We talked to Josh then and he was saying how he missed playing and how couldn’t you? For Josh, you’re walking down the street on the way to the show and someone asks ‘What time does The Movement go on?’ Not knowing that he was the old singer of The Movement, ya know? That much hurt him ya know what I mean?”
Josh didn’t have a lot to say on the whole situation other than his excitement to play some familiar songs with his brothers. When I asked him his thoughts on the Memorial Day show, Josh humbly said “I’m a little nervous without being able to practice with the band, but ultimately I just want to have fun and reconnect with my friends”.
It’s been 2-years for Josh since he last played and the guys are looking to play 17-20 songs in each of their sets over the 3 day weekend. Josh said hes looking forward to playing some old tunes such as “Habit, Hola, Another Mans Shoes, Mexico, Ocho Rios & Cold Outside. Trying to remember Sweet Summertime, ha. It’ll be tough, I haven’t played those songs in over 2 years, and we won’t have time to practice even for a second, so I’ll definitely be winging it a little.”
“Winging it a little” is better than The Movement not playing at all. It’s a relief to know certain strides are taking place to keep The Movement moving forward. When Josh left, Jordan took control and helped steer the group into 2 years of touring & playing some of the best shows & festivals inside the scene. Not to mention writing & producing a new record in One More Night. That much can not be overlooked, especially for us die-hard Movement fans.
Jay simply said “The Movement is not ready to die. There’s going to be a lot of good music coming out. Whether it’s from Jordan or its from Josh”.
Jay continued on to say “Jordan preserved us for awhile when Josh left and hes very talented, hes an amazing artist and we all thank him for that, but I miss the kid to death. Its just like Wow ya know? We’re all just so hurt, its kind of crazy”.
Is There Any Chance For a Jordan/Josh Reunion in The Movement?
Sometimes you have to go away to come back. An excess of anything can be bad and you have to take a break to come back to appreciate & enjoy what you once found passion in. While Jordan’s departure from The Movement is still very fresh, I couldn’t help but to ask Jordan straight up if he sees any chance in himself reuniting with The Movement:
“The concept of rejoining The Movement again is of course an idea. It is Josh’s band and mine in the first place, whether he quit first or I quit second. This band had been a dream of ours since we were kids. Sometimes you just need to step outside the box and look in, and internally make the proper changes with yourself so that you are able to give it EVERYTHING you have. If you feel you can’t and you have that voice in your head and heart telling you it’s time to step back for a minute then I believe you should listen to it and have no hate in your heart about it.”
“Keep in mind Josh did the same thing I did except we were all the way in Arizona and we didn’t find out until after the show. Still, I had no hate. I even posted a statement about it on Facebook and it was all love. Man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.”
Jay Smiles didn’t hesitate when I asked him the same question with the idea of the group fully reuniting and he actually shared a lot of the same sentiment as Jordan: “There’s nothing more that I’d love to see happen. I’m in on that idea 100%. It’d be unbelievable. Everybody just has to step outside the circle and look inside, get off the road for a minute, but good things are happening, ya know?”
Though it seems like time can clearly heal wounds and allow the dust to settle, it looks like there is no quit on either side of the spectrum. As Josh put it, hes not ready to let The Movement die & Jordan will continue his solo work, dishing out new music he’s been working on. What the big picture holds, no one knows at this point. There is some hurt feelings & a lot of healing that needs to take place on both sides. Luckily, music can be the cure & when you make music together, you’re bonded by its magic forever.
Jordan closed out his remarks by telling me “It’s not like the Stones or Zeppelin broke up. We still have a lot of life to live and in a positive productive way. We just have to put ourselves in a position to be ready for success. I personally, wasn’t at that point at that particular time.”
“Through all of this I love every one of those guys and wish them nothing but the best of luck. We’ll see what happens in regards to the future both individually and with this band, who knows!? In the meantime thank you to all the fans for your support and love and as always, take care of yourselves and take care of each other!But don’t sleep on this statement, “I AIN’T DONE YET!”
Other Bands Who’ve Shuffled Their Line-Up:
It’s never promising to hear your favorite bands going through a line-up shift. But if you think about, very few bands have kept the same line up over the years. Sometimes members leave, or members are added.
Rebelution use to have 2 singers when they started out before one of them decided to quit and go solo. While the solo project of Drum Major Instinct received good reviews at its release, the former singer’s solo project ended up being pretty forgettable. Rebelution has since thrived, selling out venues from east to west expanding their musical footprint.
Pennywise’s original lead singer, Jim Lindberg, left to start another punk rock band The Black Pacific. Pennywise replaced Lindberg with new singer, Zoli Téglás and have since continued to tour including international stops through Europe, Australia & Japan, w/a new album All or Nothing that came out May 1st 2012. Yesod of Pepper has been heard saying it was really really good!
Passafire’s line up has changed with them switching out keyboardists, and the same can be said about the Dirty Heads who at one time used a DJ for their live backing before acquiring a Drummer/Bassist to better suit their live sound.
But then there are groups like 311 who have had the same line up since adding Doug ”SA” Martinez to the group in 1992. There’s Ballyhoo! passing the test of time with the same members for 10+ years. Or coming back to Pepper, who’s found much luck keeping the continuity of the group’s initial 3 man line up.
While I wont touch on the Sublime scenario, I will say there’s no right or wrong formula for keeping a band together. Each circumstance is it’s own, but if history has shown us anything, its that bands tend to find more success than the pursued solo projects & as a fan, you shouldn’t let some line up shuffling in a band deter you from following them. You could be missing out on some great music!
In the case of The Movement, it looks as though they’re just getting one of their old singer/guitarist’s back, while losing one at the same time. Seems like they still have the formula to keep The Movement moving forward, lets hope they keep moving…
Special thanks to Adam Gandy, Jay Smiles & Jordan Miller for opening up & contributing to the article for the fans!
The Movement Discography
(Album Titles from Left to Right:
One Your Feet, Set Sail, The Pier Comp Vol. 1, Sense Boardwear Acoustic Comp, One More Night)
Article By: Mike Patti
Photos By: Bill Colbridge, David Norris, & Kit Chalberg
Here’s a classic video of The Movement with before Josh first left the group. Classic footage of them performing the song “Care (You Don’t Even)”, back in 2009 during the West Beach Music Festival after party. They were opening up for SOJA that night and this is when Josh & Jordan were both in the group. Enjoy…
Courtesy of Adam Gandy, this was The Movements last show on 4/20 in Spartanburg, S.C. It’s not the best quality but it provides you some visual to The Movement’s last show with Jordan Miller, hours after he told the group he wanted to quit. Jordan throws in a little Fugee tribute.
As mentioned in the article above, Josh Swain performed with The Movement on St. Paddys Day in 5 Points S.C. for the first time in 2 years. Once again, courtesy of Adam Gandy, here is some footage from that day, Enjoy!
One last video clip of Josh on St. Paddy’s Day performing his beloved song “Habit” with his band for the first time in 2 years. He sounds right at home with the group. Especially with Jordan Miller by his side…Enjoy!