It has now been over a month since I posted a statement about my forced absence from Sólstafir on the internet. (You can read it here: https://solstafirofficial.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/statement-about-my-forced-absence-from-solstafir/ ). A statement I held back for almost half a year in hope that things could be resolved. It has also been over a month since Erin Lynch, the band‘s manager, wrote and posted a counter statement (she even misspelled my name) from her home in Stockholm accusing me of writing my statement out of spite, and stating that I would indeed „receive(my) fair share. There was never any intention not to do this“. This is in stark contrast with the only official communication that the band has bothered to have with me through their lawyer, in a letter where they say that I am not entitled to any payments after I „left“ the band on 19th January. Now I will always get royalties for radio play and albums sold from from the label. This has nothing to do with the band but goes through STEF, GEMA and other such music copyright institutes, but this is peenuts. The band is and has been selling merchandise for tens of thousands of euros each tour. This includes merchandise that I personally designed and cds and vinyl the band has gotten from the label, which is then deducted from all our royalties, mine too, as far as I know.
Erin‘s statement is a textbook example of passive aggression, stating that „Guðmundur is no longer in the band, because of a deep personal conflict that involves all three remaining members and cannot be solved. He is well aware of this.“
What I am well aware of and what I am not well aware of is irreverent. Here she tries to blow sand in your eyes and make it sound like I am well aware of what actions supposidly caused this rift between us, and that it is my fault. This is simply not true. There was no deep personal conflict that I was aware of until after I got that email on 19th January.
And she continues, writing as if she‘s a member of the band: „If the three of us had felt there was any way of mending the damage and moving forward with Guðmundur, then of course we would have – and we did make genuine efforts to do so.“
Again, this is not true. The band made NO effort of mending the damage. In fact Aðalbjörn‘s response to my pleads to work things out was that we all needed space, distance and silence and to end all communication. In other words he simply wanted to sweep all the shit under the carpet and not even talk about it.
While my offer to the band to settle things out of court, dated 13th may 2015 has still gone unanswered, the only „communication“ the band has had with me or persons related to me has been one email from their lawyer dated 16th June, and another dated 25th June saying they would react to my offer that week representative. They still haven‘t reacted. The only other communication was Svavar Austmann Traustason sending some rather nasty messages to my mother through Facebook. My parents are pensioners and some of the nicest people you‘d ever meet. In fact they have lent me a substantial amount of money for legal fees, as I have been without an income since I was forced out of the band. There‘s no need for the band to drag them into this nasty business on a personal level like this.
Svavar‘s message was full of lies and twisted bits of truth, and these aren’t the only lies the band has been spreading about me. I have seen other messages that Svavar in particular has sent to people supporting me, and a Greek fan also told me that when he asked about me when the band played in Greece in February, he was told I was not touring with them because I was mentally ill. Now it‘s strange that the band, with no more education between them than primary school can diagnose me as mentally ill, seeing as I‘ve seen a couple of psychiatrists after I was forced from the band and both of them said I only have depression but am handling things quite well given the circumstances.
That said, the last half a year has been an enormous strain on me and those close to me, and the worst part of it all is loosing some friends who have decided to place their business relations with the remaining band above our friendship, even though they know the whole story and that I am not getting my fair share of that business. A rather hypocritical stand for an organization I‘ve helped to promote as much as I can for a decade and who‘s motto could be translated into something like „treat each other right“.
I‘d like to stress though that none of my friends who know the whole story have taken the band‘s side, except for their own business relations (like one of them put it „I just have to think about myself“). So don‘t think for a minute that the bands silence is to protect me. On the contrary. I am no saint and I have made my mistakes, but I can account for all my actions and I know when to apologize when I‘ve done wrong.
I have done absolutely everything in my power to conclude this matter with an agreement between myself and my former bandmates but my patience has now ran out as more than half a year of trying has produced nothing but disrespectful silence from the band, except for the things I mentioned earlier.
So I reluctantly inform you all that I have no choice but to take all these matters to court. The use of the name and brand of Sólstafir without my participation, unpaid share of sold merchandise, slander and possibly theft of equipment (after our last gig in Germany in late January we left our touring equipment there, as we were going to use the same driver on our upcoming European tour a few days later. As you know I was forced to not participate in the tour and my airline ticket cancelled without my knowledge. I have not seen my equipment since and my inquiry about it‘s whereabouts has gone unanswered by the band. I have though seen photos of their session drummer using my equipment).
I also found out after all this started that Aðalbjörn had without my knowledge registered all our early songs as his compositions and his alone, despite the fact that we wrote all the songs together. So add that to the list of matters that will be dealt with in court.
To all the fans I want to apologize for taking this course of action, I truly never wanted it to come to this, I truly didn‘t want to spoil your experience of the music and drag the name of Sólstafir through the mud. But I am not at the helm, I did not sail the ship into the cliffs of lawsuits, other people did that while I tried to steer it into calmer waters.
Please remember this.
Guðmundur Óli Pálmason