Statement about my forced absence from Sólstafir

When I woke up on the morning of 20. January and looked at my emails I expected to find an email with my flight details for the Sólstafir tour that was supposed to start the day after. What I found instead was an email from Aðalbjörn Tryggvason, signed by him and the rest of my now ex-bandmates telling me I was fired from the band that I‘ve poured my sweat, blood and tears into for the last 20 years because of communication problems between us that were unjustly being blamed solely on me and me alone.

I called the airline and found out that my ticket had been cancelled without me knowing it. In a state of panic I quickly bought a new ticket, refusing to acknowledge Aðalbjörn’s right to kick me out of a band that I had formed with him 20 years earlier. Aðalbjörn’s response was to make it clear to me that he would refuse to perform on stage with me and this would irrevocably harm the band and ruin any chance of reconciliation between us. Loving the band that I have dedicated my life to I decided it would be worth it to try and solve this matter with worlds instead of war.
I begged them please not to do this, this was not the right way to handle things, but was only given the vague answer that they‘d maybe be willing to reconsider this in a month, or maybe in 6 months or a year, maybe, just maybe. I was forced to sit quietly at home and witness my life‘s work being taken away from me while it was made clear to me that if I’d speak out about this injustice in public I’d have ruined my chance of ever returning to the band.
By this they were trying to get rid of me in a quiet and painless manner (for them), releasing a bullshit statement (hidden inside a start-of- the-tour Facebook post) that I was absent from the on-going tour for personal reasons, telling people to refrain from asking questions. No questions asked, no consequences for them and I was being threatened to shut the hell up.

While the rest of the band was on tour I sat quietly at home, unable to speak out because of their threats of taking away my chance to regain the purpose of my life. But by every day the hope faded and it became increasingly clear to me that I was being kept in a prison of false hope with the penalty of total excommunication dared I speak out.
It became crystal clear to me that Aðalbjörn had no interest in reconciliation when I found out that the very next day he had applied for a patent of the name Sólstafir in his own personal name and I.D., not in the name of our company that runs the band and not with the signature of any other band members. Had I not discovered this by chance (a lawyer friend checking on the name Sólstafir in the Icelandic firm registry) he would have gained 100% intellectual and monetary control over the name and the brand that I had done more than my fair share to create.

Note that Aðalbjörn says he called Sæþór and Svavar to a meeting at Sæþór’s house on the evening on January 19th and they subsequently sent me the email shortly before midnight. Knowing it was my girlfriend’s birthday they must have known I was out for the night and wouldn’t read the email until late the next day. In fact I had been speaking to her on the phone next to Aðalbjörn a couple of days before about what restaurant we should go to. The very next day, before I had read the email Aðalbjörn had already submitted his patent application. This goes to tell that Aðalbjörn’s story doesn’t add up and that he had been dishonest about his intent.

During this time I tried time and again to reach some sort of agreement with Aðalbjörn. I even booked a session for the whole band with a family councillor upon their return and hoped that we could talk things out with the guidance of professionals.
We were given one and a half hour session, to discuss a decision that has had a bigger impact on me than any other event in my life so far. Despite the short time we were given, my ex-band members showed up 15 minutes too late. The weather was indeed kinda shitty that day, but then you just leave earlier.
Once we were all there the councillor said that if things would get heated we’d just take a 5 minute brake, calm down and start again. Aðalbjörn replayed to this with resentment stating that if things would get heated he would leave immediately. So big was his desire to reach an agreement. After sitting quietly listening to the others speak it was my turn to speak and like clockwork Svavar Austmann started interrupting me and finally stood up and stormed out and Aðalbjörn then made good on his threat and proclaimed this the meeting’s end. Thus ended our session with no results, and little or no attempt to reach any conclusion.
While Aðalbjörn was putting on his jacket, before he could storm out I managed to ask him if there was anything he had not been honest about that perhaps he’d like to tell me now. His answer was no. No? I asked. What about trying to get a patient for the Sólstafir name in your own personal name and I.D.? Obviously he had thought he was home free and got very upset and defensive by me asking this, and aggravatedly barked at me “you’re not in this band anymore”. We’ll see about that I said, and besides I still have some right regarding the use of the name and logo on merchandise and other things. His answer was short and to the point: Then get a lawyer! And with that he stormed out.

I dropped by at Aðalbjörns house the night after our failed meeting. I couldn’t believe he really wanted to go this way and thought that maybe we could sit down and talk about things, but no money talk allowed. He wasn’t at home but obviously his mother told him I had dropped by so he called me later that night. Again I was very careful to stay calm, because my one and only wish was to resolve this matter. I could not believe that someone that I used to consider my best friend and brother really wanted to fight me in court. But again, to my disappointment that was his clearly stated will.
So I lawyered up.

My aim from the start was to not give up on negotiating a deal. I have made several attempts to do so but have been met with silence or (in one case) “negotiations” that add insult to injury.
Aðalbjörn’s idea of a deal was to buy me out for an amount way less than it coasted me buying an I.D. for the company, which I and I alone paid for with my student loans. At that time it was quite common that I paid things for the band with my student loans. I am the only member of the band that has in that way put my own money to use for the band and had it not been for that the band could not have toured and played festivals and would have broken up as a result.
My last offer, which was in my opinion more than fair, went unanswered.

So this is where I stand today. I have been forced out of the band that I dedicated my whole adult life to. I am left with a huge personal debt for pursuing my right (and the matter hasn’t even been prepared for trail, I’ve just been trying to negotiate). On top of that our company, that I am now alone financially responsible for is in debt too, of which the biggest part is for flights and tours I wasn’t even on. I am not getting paid for any merchandise sale (even though I personally designed most of it) and I’m not even getting paid for albums sold on tours that are bought by the band from the label by deducting their price from all of our royalties, including mine. I get no appreciation for all the work and sacrifices I have put into this band, which is a LOT more than you see on the surface. This has affected every single aspect of my life, down to the core of my existence and my self-image, my identity. I really don’t know who or what I am right now.
And Aðalbjörn even dared to tell me to just move on and do something else, like I had just lost a job at the local gas station and would just go work in the local supermarket instead. Let’s not kid anyone, I am 37 years old and have been in this band more than half my life, since I was 16. It took 20 years of super hard work, dedication and personal sacrifices to get here. I am not just going to form another band and act as if nothing happened.
He has also excused his action by comparing it to a love relationship, saying the love just isn’t there anymore as if that can justify his action.
You do have a choice of whom you have a romantic relationship with and to an extent you do have a choice whom you work with. Nobody can force you to work with someone you don’t like. But please realize that growing apart from someone doesn’t allow you to take away his/her life’s work and continuing it on your own. Aðalbjörn’s excuse to do that has been to say that there simply was too much at stake, that the band would eventually have broken up had he not taken this unjust action. Well, the band is not a sovereign being, it is an extension of the people who have put their work into it. Thus it cannot be justifiable to rob one person of the chance to enjoy the fruit of his labour while the others keep on going like nothing has happened.

I am not innocent of behaviour that has led to the problem we face today, we are all guilty of that, but unlike them I admit my guilt and only ask that I am not made a scapegoat to be blamed for all that has gone wrong.

It has pained me beyond believe that I have not been able to answer your questions about my absence from the band because of their threats and because I wanted to do everything humanly possible to solve this matter. I didn’t want this to become a public shitstorm fought over the internet. But while I do believe certain matters do not concern the fans, this is not one of them. You choose to support a band by paying for their concerts, paying for their music and paying for their merchandise. In that way you are the band’s employer. They might not make their music for you, but you enable them to keep on making music, and that earns you the right to know what is going on within the band.
Please know that the band have very deliberately tried to sweep this under the carpet. They have ignored questions and even deleted comments on their social media pages.

So it looks like this is the end of my involvement with the music business. I won’t miss the business side at all but I’ll miss all the wonderful people I’ve met around the world, and I’ll miss doing what I love, playing the music that I love.
If you do like to stay in touch however you can do so through my photography pages: and

Before I stop ranting I want to address one thing. I’ve come across comments on the internet (yes I do google myself sometimes) saying that there’s not much loss in me. To those of you saying that I just want to tell you that I can honestly understand why you think so. I am totally aware of my limitations as a drummer (and believe me my confidence as one has systematically been torn down by Aðalbjörn over the last 20 years). I know there is a long line of drummers willing to take my place, probably all of them better than me, but would they have wanted to do that 5 years ago, or 10 years ago? I really doubt it. What you don’t see is all the work I have done for the band behind the scenes. I could go on and on about my role in establishing the name Sólstafir through endless work on social medias, making videos, designing posters and merchandise, operating the merchandise store, packing and posting every single order myself, etc. Since I created our first Myspace page I have handled 99% of the band’s social media. Aðalbjörn, and recently their manager have occasionally posted something on Facebook but did never even once log into Twitter or take time to answer fan comments. Now they’ve got a guy in Ireland doing their homepage and posting on social media and booking agents posting show details directly – all this used to be handled by me.
I also built and managed the band’s merchandise store, which has kept the band financially afloat for the last 5 years. Up until a few months ago I hand folded and packed every single t-shirt and brought them to the post office.
The band is now riding on a wave I had a big part in creating. Sólstafir wouldn’t be where they are today without the music, but they also wouldn’t be where they are today without my endless p.r. work over the last 20 years. It’s always been my believe that the most important part in success is getting the name out there. And that is what I’ve worked towards for 20 years. You don’t go and see a band you’ve never heared of before, now do you? But just seeing the name around might invoke your curiosity to go check it out. This is the same simple methood big brand corporations use to ensure their product is always in your mind.
This work has been both selfless and selfish at the same time. Selfless because I’ve worked harder than anyone within the band to get the name out there, and selfish because I wanted to enjoy the fruids of success with my bandmates. (When I say success I don’t mean money and fame for their own sake, I mean being able to do what you love doing on a full-time basis.)
I have never been in this for personal glory and those that know me well know that I even felt uncomfortible at first when the bands growing success ment more personal attention.
And that brings me to one last thing. The personal attention.

The hardest thing about making this statement is bringing all the personal attention upon myself. I feel like I’ve failed and now it’s being brought up for everyone to see. Those who know me well know I’m an extremely closed person when it comes to my feelings and other personal matters. I loved talking to the fans about our music, not because I felt it made me somehow better or more interesting than the fans, but on the contrary because I saw it as a common interest and I felt honoured and privileged to be a part of it. It was something that brought me close to other people I felt were my equals and I viewed as friends. Sure I can’t be a close personal friend with all the fans, but I always talked to them on that level, and sure enough some of you have become my friends beyond the confines of this band.
The hardest thing I’ve done in my life is admitting how much destructive influence my unjust departure from the band has had on me. I feel so ashamed of having failed in front of all to see. I feel ashamed to admit how vulnerable I really am and how little control I have over my own life’s work and my destiny. Admitting that I am week enough to let this plunge me into an abyss of suicidal depression is therefore not a cry for attention. I don’t want the attention, but I want you, my friends, to know the truth.

To you Aðalbjörn I want to say this directly: I suspect this statement will be met with an attack on my personality. Although I have to get this statement off my chest I will not be dragged down to the level of fighting in public. I never wanted to drag the name of my beloved band through the mud. Everything I’ve said and done after I was unjustly fired has been and effect OF the fact and therefore cannot be a cause FOR the fact as you have tried to twist it around to be! You cannot justify your action by pointing at my reaction! This statement is my long held-back reaction. Now instead of using my reaction to justify your initial action I challenge you to take this opportunity to sit down with me and work out our differences, be the better man. I am in no way perfect, far from it, and I have made my mistakes, but so has each and every one of you. Do I not deserve that after 25 years of friendship? Does the band not deserve that after 20 years of extremely hard work and personal sacrifices on both our behalves? I hope you can see that the punishment does not fit the crime!

I’ll leave you all with one thing that’s been stuck in my mind since Aðalbjörn said it to me on 20th January: “I know you can’t see it right now, but this will be the best thing that ever happened to you!”
I can assure you all, it is not!

Guðmundur Óli Pálmason


232 thoughts on “Statement about my forced absence from Sólstafir

  1. Max says:

    This is the saddest thing I’ve read today… I wanted to see Solstafir a few weeks ago but couldn’t, I wasn’t aware of all that stuff. Now I’m not sure I would want to see a band who acted as such. I hope you’re feeling better and thrive with new projects

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Daniel Towns says:

    I’ve just discovered Sólstafir and consider the music to be a truly, emotionally epic journey, (even though I don’t understand the lyrics – sometimes I prefer foreign bands because I can focus on the music instead whilst I’m mountain biking or sitting on a hillside, appreciating nature). I’ve just suffered a – relatively – similar situation with a “friend” and I empathise with you. Your experience has tainted my appreciation of the music. I hope that you guys can reconcile. Best wishes, Guðmundur Óli Pálmason


    • I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had to go through similar shit.
      In my case there’s zero chances of reconciliation as A.T. has actively done everything possible to sabotage my lawsuit and made sure I don’t get even a fraction of what is mine.
      Btw, if you need anyone to talk to about your situation feel free to contact me directly, being in a similar position I might have more understanding of it than others (in my case I’ve found that not many people really understand the impact a thing like this has on your life)


  3. Juan Quintana says:

    I’ll be seeing Sólstafir for the first and last time next week. This situtation is really sad, I’ve already bought the ticket and it cost me some money I won’t like to lose, but any way, this will be my very last support to them. Keep strong man, your life is way more than just a metal band.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marco says:

    Just discovered the band, and soon after I have read of it all. I Think i can only have a glympse of what yoy have been feeling, but i wish to hug you strong. I am Glad to read that you have started a New project. About Solstafjr, i will listen to them on of course, because music goes beyond the people, but nonetheless it is an estension of those who make it, and as such, I has been definetly Stained. Keep on man, you Will get through it all. And remember that people do not forget. Farewell.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elliot Krout says:

    Man, I am so sorry to hear about all of this! I really hope that you will find much joy in your creative work from now on, and I would like to sincerely thank you for all the work you have done to this point creating music I hold very dear. I am not sure if I will see another solstafir gig in the future, but I’ll definitely keep an eye open for any katla gig in Germany! Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Zapen says:

    Hey Gummi, wanted to state that even though you aren’t in Solstafir anymore, you have created a new monster. Yesterday, I dedicated the day to listen to Modurastin, and man, for a first album, Einar, the whole personal behind it and you made a really enjoyable album from start to end. Sure, there are some flaws on it from my point of view, but the atmosphere of darkness on the album is so abundant, the blackened riffs give some good touch, and the samples used are very eerie. You all nailed it!

    Take your time for a new record of Katla. This band is really promissory of bringing great music.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Every story has two sides but I believe you have been treated appallingly, regardless of what indifferences you had with the other band member(s). Quite a cruel treatment in fact, given Solstafir was your life and bread and butter and partly your creation too. But you have taken the best revenge possible I think by making a great album. I really do like your Katla music. Whereas the drumming on Solstafirs latest album leaves much to be desired. F*ck them, go your own way, get what is rightfully yours through the court case and use your anger and emotions to create beautiful music!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. And yes true, every story has at least two sides, but them trying to silence the whole thing, going as far as blocking people that ask questions on their social media really says more than a thousand words


  8. David says:

    Absolutely shocked mate. I hope 2018 will be a better year for you. You guys did such great music (I just started listening to you guys a week ago but hooked) but that experience definitely taints it. So I will look out for what you do! I will be based in Japan for the next year or so, so will spread the word about great Icelandic music. Keep strong!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lauinav says:

    Wow. What a horrid way to treat someone, let alone a bandmate. I get to see Sólstafir at Wacken this year, and already I feel that the experience will be marred.

    Glad to hear that you’ve started something else though despite the hardship. Keep your head up mate. I’ll be checking out Katla. Liking what I’m hearing so far. 🙂


  10. I got into the band recently thanks to a friend who is a big fan, to the point that he’s going to Iceland and i think is partially motivated for your music and videos to know the places that inspired you to create such and atmospheric music. I like to know more about the bands I enjoy and this is how I got here to your statement. I must say it was really personal and you can feel all the mixed emotions due to the situation (anger, sadness, awe, frustration) and this made me wonder about all the bands we see have “unexpected“ departures and all the stories behind those departures, all the work, effort and time invested on a life project and how we the fans know nothing of what happens behind those decisions and how does affects the musicians involved.

    I know how hard is try to make a living trying to do what you love, your art and all the effort it requires, I’m a filmmaker myself. Even tho i don’t know you personally I can tell for the way you write your statement, your passion, that you are a hardworking and integral person and that deserves my respect. Now in this new stage I wish you the best of lucks and I’ll ve following close your new music projects, you sure have still energies on you to follow new adventures.

    Greetings for Argentina

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Aðalbjörn looses case for Sólstafir Patent | Sólstafir

  12. Ralf Biederer says:

    I just heard Solstafir on the Summerbreeze 2018 festival in germany, and it was a mindblowing experience (and I was neither stoned nor drunk). To discover music that really left me speach- and almost breathless has not happened to me in my past 56 years.

    When googling around for this band I discovered your story, and it is truly a sad one.

    Every divorce leaves deep scars. Almost always both have their share of guilt. But sometimes ones share of guilt leaves no room for discussions and niceties – maybe this is what your ex-mate felt.

    Compare it with parenthood : You have created a wonderful baby, it has grown adult, and it has turned away from you, in your opinion in total unjustice. This happens to many parents every day everywhere. Still it is your beloved baby and will be.

    I am totally glad to discover that you have found a new band to make music again. Don’t let that situation (now already many years ago) ruin you life. Like Solstafir talked about during the concert : don’t let darkness and depression take over.


    • I know what you mean but you can’t compare it to a relationship or having children. This is (was), for a lack of better word, a business partnership. There have been investments, there were assets that were pure and simply stolen. The right way to do it is to split up the business and everyone gets their share. In fact Aðalbjörn’s actions are being investigated at the moment, as it’s pretty obvious he broke some laws adhering to Icelandic firms(see my latest blog for more info on that).


      • Ralf Biederer says:

        You are right, the business perspective is a separate one. Fight for your rights there.

        What are we supposed to do, Solstafir makes so wonderful music, but their cofounder and singer seems to be an a** who maybe deserves no praise and financial support.

        If he would tell the story from his side everyone could try to build a unbiased opinion…

        Liked by 1 person

      • What people can do is decide not to support them financially. Sure, like the music, the music is what it is and with the exception of their new album I had a huge part in creating all that music, but when people buy f.ex. a t-shirt from the band they must realize that someone else is being ripped off. I literally designed a lot of those t-shirts personally, I put a lot of work and money into the band, and all of a sudden, literally over night I am no longer getting payed for my work, while someone else keeps on riding the wave I had a huge part in creating.
        And there is a reason he does not want to talk about this publicly, he has no excuses for what he did and how he did it. Any accusations he could possible point at me I can answer, and I could tell a whole lot more than I already have.


  13. Was watching the KEXP live 2014 when I came across this statement. Listening to Lágnætti while reading this was very painful. I am very sorry to know this story. Seems very unfair. You are a great drummer and your effort really tied the band together. I hope you will do great in life. Respect!


  14. Pingback: Gezien: Sólstafir, TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht | t-beest's blog

  15. Ári says:

    Gummi, jeg veit ekki hvort þú manst eftir mjer, en jeg mun aldrei gleyma þeim morgni þegar þú keyrðir mjer frá Reykjavík til Keflavíkur – jeg var að flytja frá Íslandi til Kaliforníu, með tvær töskur. Þú hjálpaðir mjer að bera aðra (fulla af bókum, reyndar), og varst síðasti maðurinn sem kvaddi mjer á Íslandi. 19 ár hafa liðið síðan. Kveðja. Ári


  16. notimportant says:

    Hey Gummi,
    I know it’s been several years now, and I’ve read this same post when it came out but I’ll write it anyway.
    I’ve discovered Sólstafir in 2014 when a friend of mine sent me a link to Ótta on Youtube. I gradually felt in love with the atmosphere of your music, especially in Ótta. It also woke up a weird nostalgic call for dark, cold desolate places in me (but in a positive way). That resulted in fulfilling one of my dreams – visiting Iceland. I mean, the true Iceland – not just staying in a hotel and checking out the “golden circle”, but rather being cold, wet, tired and driving from one remote place to another, gasping at breathtaking landscapes and countless waterfalls. That was surely my best trip so far, and definitely not the last trip to Iceland in my life. There is just something beautifully melancholic in this place. And that is what you have captured in most of Sólstafir songs. The beauty of songs like “Ótta”, “Djakninn” or “Goddess of the Ages” is, it’s simple and repetitive, but powerful. Hardly any song make me close my eyes and listen at full volume, but yours do.
    I’m really sad about what happened to you, and I hope you are doing well and cotinuing your passion with Katla. I cannot really do anything else but wish you all the best, but I just wanted to write this.
    Btw, as styles of Sólstafir and Katla have clearly diverged by now, it is obvious who was responsible for that incredible “icelandic” atmosphere in Sólstafir before. I’m waiting impatiently for the new Katla album and wish you best of luck.
    Gangi þér vel!


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