Yesterday, Kat Katz, vocalist for Agoraphobic Nosebleed, announced via Facebook that she would be leaving the grindcore band after seven years, stating that she was “tired of being bullied by dudes” and that she hopes to find a project that “respects me and treats me as an equal.”
That development was shocking enough, but the situation is now threatening to explode into a full bore he said/she said war of words. At first, the other members of the band issued a statement through their own Facebook page that read: “We’ve had some disagreements with Kat about how we should interact in the band, and as a result she quit. We wish her well with music in the future.”
Today, the band went even deeper, publishing their side of the story that led to Katz’s departure. The long account, published below, cites an incident that took place after an Agoraphobic Nosebleed show at last Saturday’s Quebec Deathfest that blew up into an angry exchange of emails and culminated in Katz tendering her resignation:
“If you watch footage from Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Quebec Deathfest set from Saturday October 20, you’ll see a band of four people completely harmonious and happy to be preforming music together. Katherine Katz has been with us in ANb since around 2007-2008 and we have been fortunate to work with her. Since that time, Kat has always been treated with respect as a person and as an artist and every bit as an equal to any other member of the band. In fact, an entire EP (Arc) was written specifically for her artistic aesthetic in which she could revisit the slower, doomier music she has always loved. We transitioned ANb into playing live in 2014 because of her and Rich’s desire to do so. Kat and I have been in discussion more than any other members over the direction of the new cd. This is not to say we haven’t had minor fights here and there, because we have. No different than any other band.
After the show around 3:30 a.m. on October 21, we all loaded the Uber with our gear to meet back at the hotel. John was taking the gear in the Uber and the rest of us were to walk and meet him there to unload. When we got there, Rich and I realized Kat had not arrived with John in the Uber. We texted her to find out if she needed help or was just off doing her own thing. After loading the gear into the hotel, she still hadn’t responded, so we all felt that we had to go back and look for her in the event something did happen to her. I texted and called her once or twice more in case her phone was buried somewhere, and she couldn’t hear the notifications—but I received no reply. Returning to the club, John, Rich, and I found no one who knew where she was. After 45 minutes or so she replied that she was fine and that she was helping some person who was having an apparent mental emergency. I told her that we were worried about her and that she should have told us what she was doing. I yelled it actually, because we were genuinely concerned and had mobilized to go find her. The rest of the evening was spent in silence. The next day flying home Rich also expressed how angry he was that Kat had trivialized his (and our) concern to another person earlier that morning.
A couple of days later, Kat wrote an email to the entire band, explaining that she understood our concern but that she was an independent woman and didn’t appreciate being treated unequally from other members, even claiming that we wouldn’t have been so worried about any other band member in a similar situation. The email thread went back and forth between all members until Kat finally felt that she was being ganged up on, and she quit the band. No pejorative words were used. No disrespect was conveyed.
We have always loved Kat as an artist, and as a person, and have valued her role in the band. We wish this could have been worked out in another way. But we certainly wish her well. These are the events as they happened. We yelled at Kat during this time not because she’s a woman, it’s because we had no idea what happened to her, had cause for concern to find her, and when we eventually found her and expressed that we were upset, she regarded that as an attack and felt bullied. Which, while maybe unpleasant because emotions were running high, it most definitely was not. We are not trying to devalue that she feels we all ganged up on here and we are sorry for how that developed, but it was only out of concern for her and trying to get her to understand that concern.”
Update: Kat Katz has issued a response to Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s account above. She writes:
“I’m responding to the recent ANb post. Yes, I was trying to help someone having a mental health emergency. At that time, I was out of touch for about 45 minutes. The hotel was 5 minutes away. It was a Saturday night and busy. I was screamed at when I returned outside the hotel, in the hotel room, and the next day, in the airport. I was in tears for most of the trip. Dude was screaming at me while I was balling my eyes out. I was belittled. I was treated like a child. I’m a 34-year-old woman. I’m not going to be treated like that. This isn’t about concern. It’s about control.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been screamed at by dude.
I tried to calm things down with an email and advocate for myself at the same time, and they wouldn’t hear me.”