David Murphy parts ways with Sound Tribe Sector 9
By Bob Mandich
Shock waves were sent through the jamtronica world last night when it was announced that Sound Tribe Sector 9 bassist David Murphy is leaving the band. There were official statements released on both STS9’s website and David Murphy’s Facebook page. The only real explanation given in either statement was from Murphy, in which he said, “While we have had an amazing experience together, our paths are taking us in different directions creatively and personally.” This surely must come as a surprise to almost everyone. Their recent New Year’s run in Atlanta has been receiving all kinds of praise, getting fans amped for what was looking like a shiny 2014. This certainly has to be one of the last things anybody could have expected. The band also announced that it would be postponing its upcoming winter tour dates through February.
While this is no doubt very sad news with ‘Murph’ being the unquestioned face and voice of STS9, there are still several positives that can be taken away. First and foremost, Sound Tribe Sector 9 is still a band. It’s tough to picture a band that’s been around for over 15 years without its most recognizable figure, but would you rather lose one or all five of the elements that made them so great? Secondly, the band did’nt cancel any of their advertised festival dates and only postponed their winter tour dates. Even though it will be a little while until STS9’s next performance, a couple of months (if that) are a lot better than the ominous “until further notice.”
It’s also worth noting that this sounds very much like a mutual split. Leaving on good terms leaves the door open to maybe one day revisit the past. The most exciting thing to take away from all of this is a new bass player. Don’t misunderstand what you just read. Nobody will ever be able to replace David Murphy and the pure presence he had on stage (admit it; you loved doing your best Ric Flair impersonation). At the same time, there are a lot of talented bassists out there. Alana Rocklin blew a lot of people away when she sat in on three separate songs in Atlanta, including a killer cover of “Shakedown Street.” Foreshadowing? It’s a possibility. One thing that’s for sure is the new bassist will have to live up to the standards of David Phipps, Zach Velmer, Hunter Brown and Jeffree Lerner.
Change is tough but sometimes it just has to happen. It’s been a fun ride seeing where David Murphy and Sound Tribe Sector 9 have taken us collectively. Now it will be fun to see where David Murphy and Sound Tribe Sector 9 will be taking us individually. Ray John wishes the best of luck to everyone involved. Your contributions to rock and electronic music have forever changed the ways people interpret both genres. At the end of the day, the show must rage on and so will David Murphy and Sound Tribe Sector 9.