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City and Colour’s Dallas Green Puts Alexisonfire Behind Him

Oct. 23, 2013
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For a half-dozen years, Dallas Green did double duty in two very different musical projects. He was the guitarist, keyboardist and a main songwriter in Alexisonfire, a post-hardcore band playing hard-hitting rock, while also nursing a mostly acoustic singer-songwriter solo project called City and Colour, which had steadily grown in popularity over the late ’00s.

One night in 2010 in Boston, he realized the effect his musical double life was having on him.

“I had just played a City and Colour show,” Green recalled. “It was in the middle of a little tour that we had squeezed in between two Alexis tours. I remember being completely exhausted, and I do remember the show being really fun and good, but I didn’t enjoy any of it.”

Green got back to his hotel and called his long-time managers with a simple message. “I just said ‘I can’t do both anymore,’” Green said. “That was it. That was when I knew. I knew when I got to the point where I was living such a wonderful life that I should have been the happiest guy in the world, but I had no idea how to enjoy any of it.”

Green told his Alexisonfire bandmates of his decision to leave the band not long after that, and went on to make his third City and Colour album, the 2011 release Little Hell. But he kept his departure from Alexisonfire a secret from the public until August 2011, when he was well into the Little Hell touring cycle.

Green was honoring a request from his Alexisonfire bandmates, who wanted to decide if the group would continue before Green announced his departure. (The group ultimately opted to disband.)

The secrecy had a consequence Green had not anticipated. Although he was now devoting all of his energies to City and Colour and no longer had the burden of touring with two projects or writing songs for two very musically different acts, he couldn’t truly feel like a solo artist or fully free of Alexisonfire.

Today, Green is feeling much better. After making his departure from Alexisonfire public, he was able to mend fences with his former bandmates, who were initially upset by his decision.

Green also joined the other members of the band to do a proper Alexisonfire farewell tour at the end of 2012. He may have hoped these developments would allow Alexisonfire to end on a positive note, but he got more out of it than he expected—namely a fourth City and Colour album, the recently released The Hurry and the Harm.

“I got home from a show or a weekend or something, and just all of these pieces came together and I finished up and demoed those six or seven new songs and realized I had a record worth of songs that I loved and that I was ready to make a record,” he said.

His schedule was tight, but Green knew he had to make The Hurry and the Harm before the Alexisonfire tour.

“If I don’t,” Green remembered thinking, “then I’m not going to be able to get the closure I need. I’m just going to be thinking about City and Colour while I’m on tour with Alexisonfire. It’s going to be the same old thing.

“I couldn’t believe the difference that I felt going on that tour, putting closure to this,” he said.

Green is now touring behind The Hurry and The Harm with a road band that includes bassist Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs, Dead Weather), guitarist Dante Schwebel (Hacienda), drummer Doug MacGregor (Constantines) and pedal steel/keyboard player Matt Kelly.

“They’re all great players, and not only are they doing the new songs justice, but I’m sort of revisiting the old catalog,” Green said. “So it’s really, really been some of the best moments I’ve had on stage, probably in my life.”

City and Colour headline the Pabst Theater on Tuesday, Oct. 29, with opener Sleepy Sun. Doors open at 7 p.m.


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