Still grieving over the passing of one of its own, Modesto-spawned indie rock band Grandaddy has canceled its two shows at the Gallo Center for the Arts next month.
One of the shows scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 21, had sold out the Foster Family Theater and the band had agreed in July to add a second show. The added concert had sold 300 of the theater’s 444-seats and Gallo Center Director of Marketing Doug Hosner said they projected it to sell out as well.
The surviving four members of Grandaddy had planned to perform the hometown shows in honor of bassist Kevin Garcia, who died in May after a stroke. The Gallo appearance was booked before his passing and the band canceled all but the Modesto shows on a planned tour after his death.
But in the end, band members decided they could not go on missing their founding brother. They wrote a letter to fans explaining their decision:
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“These shows were planned last winter to celebrate the Twentieth Anniversary of ‘Under the Western Freeway’ (the band’s first full-length album), and were intended to be performed with the five of us, before the devastating passing of our bass player Kevin Garcia. We chose these hometown shows to be the only ones that we would perform with the intention of honoring his memory.
“The simple truth is that we are all still mourning Kevin’s passing, and can not work our heads around processing our grief in public at this moment. He is our brother. Thinking of him in the past tense still does not seem like an option. We realize more than ever that our ultimate source of light has been the relationship between the five of us. Things are dim right now. With Kevin’s death, we have to figure out if there exists a way forward without one of us. Without Kevin. The answer is unclear.”
Grandaddy was formed in Modesto in 1992 by Garcia, frontman Jason Lytle and drummer Aaron Burtch. Guitarist Jim Fairchild and keyboardist Tim Dryden joined in 1995. The band gained international success with the release of “Under the Western Freeway” in 1997 and maintained a solid following with subsequent releases. It broke up in 2006 when Lytle moved out of the region to work on solo projects, but reunited in 2012 for a limited set of shows.
Lytle moved back to Modesto last year and the members again began playing together. The band subsequently released the album “Last Place,” its first in 10 years.
The shows were attracting fans from all over the country and band members recognized the impact of the decision in their statement: “To everyone who was planning to attend either of these shows, we offer you our deepest apologies. We are keenly aware that some of you had made extraordinary efforts to plan travel and accommodations for these shows. We do not take these efforts lightly.”
Ticket holders can receive full refunds or exchange their tickets for another Gallo Center show or for a gift certificate.
“We are very disappointed about the cancellation,” Gallo Center Chief Executive Officer Lynn Dickerson said. “With two sold-out shows, the demand to see them perform was strong.”
Garcia’s death has left the band’s future up in the air. “The four of us have made the commitment to work through our grief together privately. And see if that journey reveals any truths which we are excited about sharing publicly,” members wrote in their statement.
Dickerson understands their decision, but knows there “will be a lot of disappointed fans.”
“As a person who knows deep grief personally, I get it, but I’m still very sorry they decided to cancel,” she said. “I had hoped they would be able to honor Kevin’s memory with these shows but I respect their decision to do what their hearts are telling them to do.”
Ticket holders seeking exchanges or refunds can call the Gallo Center box office at 209-338-2100 or go to the ticket office at the center, 1000 I St., Modesto.