The Bottle Rockets, Pioneering Alt-Country Band, Are Breaking Up
The Bottle Rockets, the pioneering alt-country band from Missouri, are breaking up. The quartet announced the news on Tuesday (March 2), citing co-founder and lead singer Brian Henneman's desire to spend more time at home as the reason for the group's demise.
"Although he’s in good health, he’s been feeling the passage of time and has lost interest in anything that distracts from or takes him away from home," a statement from the band explains of Henneman. "Unfortunately, this means the Bottle Rockets can’t continue as we know it."
A longer statement from Henneman, who will be 60 this year, notes that he's "more certain of [this decision] than anything I've ever been certain of before" and clarifies that there is no drama within the band that's causing this split. In fact, he has nothing but words of praise for current bandmates John Horton, Mark Ortmann and Keith Voegele, as well as former Bottle Rockets members Robert Kearns, Tom Parr and Tom Ray.
However, Henneman spent two years with fellow alt-country icons Uncle Tupelo prior to forming the Bottle Rockets in 1992, which means he's been "doing this recording/touring thing" for half of his life. "I don’t consider myself too old to do it anymore, but I do consider myself too old to want to," he explains.
"Home is where my passion lies these days. That excites me now the way the band used to ...," Henneman continues. "I no longer want to travel, don’t really have any burning desire to write songs anymore either. I just want to be a good husband. A good neighbor. A responsible homeowner. A little dog’s daddy. A guitar repairman. A guitar player in my kitchen, and in some local country cover band whenever that scene comes back around ... I want to be home for supper and home for bedtime ... I want to experience a 'normal life' just as badly now as I did NOT want to in my youth ...
"Things change. That’s life. I’m ready and eager for change," he adds. "Being home for a solid year made me certain of it. I don’t want to miss ANYTHING here anymore."
Henneman's bandmates call the Bottle Rockets' breakup "a difficult and emotional outcome for the band ... but it can also be framed as an opportunity for new directions." Both they and Henneman express gratitude to and love for the band's fans.
"It was a thrill," the band's statement concludes, "and we couldn’t have asked for better people to share it with! We sincerely couldn't have done it without your loyal support -- the music lives on through you."
The Bottle Rockets debuted with a self-titled album in 1993; they signed with Atlantic Records in 1995 and stayed with the label until 1998. All told, the band released 11 albums and two live records, with their most recent release being 2018's Bit Logic.