February 3rd, 2011
It’s been more than a year since Bakersfield nu-metal band Adema announced their much-hyped reunion. The original members agreed to put past differences aside, and prospects for a unified new beginning seemed possible.
But it wasn’t long before the demons of the past that broke up the band in the first place began to emerge again.
Vocalist Mark Chavez quit the band in January, and bassist Dave DeRoo now sits in a jail cell in Connecticut after his arrest Saturday.
That leaves original members Tim Fluckey and Kris Kohls struggling to honor contractual obligations and perform the remaining dates of the tour.
“Things could be better,” said guitarist Fluckey via cellphone Tuesday from his mother's home in Mt. Sterling, Ill., where he, Kohls and touring guitarist Marc DeLeon are currently on stand-by. The trio are stuck in the severe snowstorm pounding much of the country, and the weather just seems to add another bizarre element to their predicament.
“All this stuff around us, it just seems weird. Are we really in a snowstorm where there's three feet of snow outside? My bass player's in jail and we're just trying to figure out how to keep it going. Is this really happening?”
A promising start collapses amid infighting
As reported in The Californian Tuesday, DeRoo's arrest stems from a 2008 DUI conviction. The guitarist was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years probation. An arrest warrant was issued in Kern County Superior Court last June when DeRoo allegedly violated the terms of his probation in 2010.
Above: The original Adema in 2003, from left: Dave DeRoo, Tim Fluckey, Mark Chavez, Kris Kohls, Mike Ransom
Before the defections and legal trouble, Adema seemed to be on the right track. Reuniting in January 2010 with original vocalist Chavez, who had quit in 2004, the band hit the road heralding their return to form. But by mid-year, trouble was resurfacing, beginning with DeRoo's legal issues. Just before the band's homecoming show on July 23 at The Dome, the bassist was a no-show, leaving the audience puzzled.
“It's obviously been something that's been going on since The Dome show. But that's something Dave would have to answer to, so I won't comment on that,” Fluckey said.
With the possibility of DeRoo's arrest always looming, the band continued through much of the Midwest and South with some success. Playing small to medium-sized clubs and theaters through the rest of the year, the band pressed on, finishing the year as planned.
Pictured from left: Kris Kohls, Dave DeRoo, Mark Chavez, Tim Fluckey of Adema during a visit to KRAB Radio to talk about their reunion and homecoming show in July 2010. Photo by Felix Adamo, The Bakersfield Californian.
Regrouping after the first of the year, the band fell out over Chavez’s plan to bring his wife on tour, as he’d done before. That didn’t sit well with his bandmates, who say they'd already made prior concessions to appease the singer.
“He just brought her on the last tour without telling anybody,” Fluckey said. “She just jumped in the van and we were gone. We didn't want that happening this time.”
Chavez denied being stubborn, saying that, in fact, he had offered a solution to make traveling with the extended entourage more comfortable.
“Our pastor had set it up to where they were going to set up the transportation free of cost,” he said. “There would have been plenty of room. The sheer fact our friend would do something like that would have benefited us so many levels.”
But Fluckey said by that time, the band was growing tired of Chavez’s demands.
“It was pretty petty stuff, but it's the truth. We asked him, ‘Hey, could you go one week without your wife?’ He said no. We were just going to go out and say, fine, you can take your wife on the tour because we wanted to meet our commitments. We were going to tell him it's cool, but before that happened, he just decided to quit the band and said that we didn't meet his needs. He's trying to say it's a vehicle thing. We wanted to go in any vehicle.”
Chavez’s family crisis
Chavez doesn't regret his decision to quit, saying there was more to the story. His wife, Kymberly, is the sister of former real estate mogul David Crisp, currently in jail awaiting trial on mortgage fraud. Chavez wanted to be there for his wife.
“Those are my in-laws,” he said. “Obviously that was breaking news in the last week itself. My family's dealing with the repercussions of that. We're sad. Regardless of the opinions of this town, we know our brother and we know that he's got a great heart and it's sad for anybody that we know and love to be incarcerated, including Dave (DeRoo).”
Still, Chavez’s exit stunned the band.
“We went to go pick him up in the morning and they couldn't find him all day. We finally got ahold of him at night, and I think that's when we missed our first show. The next day we were scrambling.”
Sharing lead vocal duties and asking longtime friend Marc DeLeon to join the tour, Fluckey and the remaining three members stuck to their schedule, introducing each evening's show with a brief disclaimer about Chavez.
The law finally caught up with DeRoo just after an early-evening soundcheck at The Webster in Hartford, Conn., on Saturday.
“The monitor guy walked over and said, ‘I think the police wanna speak to your bass player,”’ Fluckey recalled. “Honestly, we thought it was about moving the vehicle out of the way or that we parked in the wrong spot. They arrested Dave right there once they got him down from the stage.”
‘All they had to do was Google him’
Soon after the news broke, the band's official Facebook page filled with well wishes for DeRoo along with accusations from fans that Chavez might have tipped off authorities to the bassist’s whereabouts. Surprised by the rumors, Chavez says there's no bad blood.
“It's 100 percent false. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where he's at and what he's doing. The police have wanted him for a long time. All they had to do was Google him and find out where he is. I feel bad that he's in there. I didn't even know he was there until I got these mobile alerts on my phone.”
Drummer Kohls said that while he doubts Chavez tipped the police, there's no excusing his absence.
“I'm torn. I cannot believe that he would let the fans and our band down like this. I thought the band meant more to him than this. This is the second chance we've given him. He wanted this chance. We gave it to him. It's just such a strange thing. I'm just disappointed.”
A day after DeRoo's arrest, Fluckey said he received a late-night voicemail from inside the Hartford facility, where the bassist sits, unable to make his $1million bail.
“He said something like, ‘I'm in the jail in Hartford. Everything's gonna be all right. You guys should keep going and finish the tour without me, and we'll figure it out after that.’”
As each side continues to get issues resolved while moving into another phase of their shaky careers — including Chavez's plans for a solo tour with his new band in March — Fluckey has his eyes set on unfinished business.
“We have commitments to the fans and people putting on the shows. If Adema doesn't come to a show, we can get sued. It's as easy as that.”
Related story: Adema: Let's try this again, shall we? (July 2010)
*Also printed in The Bakersfield Californian, 2-3-11
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