Photo: Fat Possum

Cult sludge-rock outfit Royal Trux shared White Stuff, their first new album of original material in nearly two decades, last Friday, and are slated to hit the road this May and June for a handful of what a press release calls “very rare and unlikely to be repeated” dates. Now, in what appears to be a bit of casual self-destruction, some primo trolling, or a sloppy combination of the two, guitarist Neil Hagerty is telling the press that not only is he not going on tour, but he’s also not in the band anymore.

“I’m out of the band,” he told The Guardian in a fascinating new profile. “I’m not touring. She steamrollered right over me, man. I’m not … I’m just doing this as a favor to [record label] Fat Possum. The album—I didn’t approve of it. I have no idea what it is. I’ve heard like 10 seconds of one song. I’m out, man.”

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He’s referring to bandmate Jennifer Herrema, with whom he released 9 studio albums between 1988 and 2000. And, hilariously, she waved off Hagerty’s claims in a separate interview. “I don’t take him seriously at all at this point,” she said. “He’s done this on every tour. He always shows up, always does the tours. This is just more bullshit. But I’m not bothered by it because it’s nothing bad.”

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Royal Trux have a long, tumultuous history, but the problems surrounding the new album began surfacing in January, when a reporter from MOJO watched the band break up in real time during an interview, only for Herrema to later tell him they’d patched things up. Then, a week before the album was set to arrive, Stereogum reported on a slew of tweets from Hagerty, ones which seemed to indicate he wouldn’t appear at every date on the upcoming tour. “[I] can’t promise i will be at every 1, 1 bad vibe & i have to leave no excuses, read this space for the nuts/bolts chalktalk on the prosaic, never from authority,” he wrote.

Herrema, ever the good cop, wrote the below message to Stereogum in response to their inquiries about the tour.

I do not know what Neil means by any of the strange shit he puts to the general public. If I had to guess… It seems Neil is setting up the big reveal that of course he is in fact going on tour but perhaps only because he has alot of debt and needs the money…..? I have no idea wtf hes on about…..hes loving the chaos… Another red herring

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In another message, she said he “loves to fuck with people” and that she “figured that was understood at this later date.” She does say, however, that he “inexplicably walked out of the sessions” for White Stuff. Hagerty, meanwhile, added that Herrema “wiped parts of recordings, changed songs and didn’t let him hear mixes.” 

Today, in response to the Guardian piece, Hagerty confirmed that “these last real royal trux shows are truly happening and confirmed in the usa may/june,” and adds that “any press you see” is “just a job to fuck me over by people w/ resources and 00% else.”

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So, there you have it. The shows are most definitely (maybe?) happening, but, as fans of the band are probably well aware of by now, it’s probably best to keep one’s expectations in check. The tour was already postponed once due to Herrema having to wear a tracking device on her ankle for reasons the Guardian describes as being “so long and convoluted that I quickly lose the thread.” She also says she had a blood test that proves she’s part alien, so, you know, just know what you’re getting yourself into here.

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You can see their full list of tour dates here.