THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN Guitarist Explains Leave Of Absence

THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN guitarist Brian Benoit has posted a lengthy statement on the band's MySpace page explaining the circumstances that have forced him to take a leave of absence from the group. An excerpt from his statement follows:

"April 28, 2005… Memphis, Tennessee... the Hi Tone. This is the show that will go down in infamy as far as my future with the band, my ability as a guitarist, and the use of my left hand in day-to-day life for years to come...maybe forever. Everything was a-okay through the halfway point of the set...full throttle, balls to the wall, all systems go. A song or two later however, my neck was giving me a sensation like no other I had ever experienced with all the sore neck issues that come with the trade. I didn't find out until we came home a couple of weeks later (missing all but two of the the shows on the rest of the tour) that I had ruptured a disc in my lower neck, and this was only the tip of the iceberg.

"We were only about a week into the U.S. tour that included the show above, and as always a good number of the band/crew were sick with the typical 'colds' from traveling to different climates and working on little rest. Like clockwork, my cold progressed to bronchitis, which eventually led to pneumonia, and again I didn't realize the severity until we finally came home from the tour.

"Well, let this be a lesson to everyone reading this (especially guys in the 30ish range). Since I took so long to finally get treated, my immune system went berserk trying to beat the pneumonia on its own without the help of antibiotics, and it actually started to attack the good stuff as well, in my case my nervous system. This is actually a rare condition, but when it occurs, it happens mostly with men in their late 20s/early 30s. It's called neuritis, specifically brachial plexus neuritis with me, which is medical terms for in the shoulder blade. There is a network or cluster in the shoulder blade area which connects the nerves from the neck to the nerves which continue down through the shoulder, arm, and hand. So, basically I now suffer from mild nerve damage (non-permanent, I'm told by multiple neurologists) which stems from mostly my shoulder blade and upper back on my left side down my arm and into my hand. With the addition of the ruptured disc in my neck, this is not helping the healing factor progress as fast as I'd like, and what was originally supposed to take about 18 months to heal, is now taking 24+. Consequently, I had another nerve related injury in my left elbow that I was dealing with for over a year which I eventually had surgery for a couple months prior to the mess above.

"Some of you might have witnessed my freak episodes of hand cramping preventing me from playing parts of songs, whole songs, even full sets (sorry) and as luck would have it , this all correlates with one another.

"I'm still trying to remain positive throughout this whole disheartening ordeal, hoping that one day my situation will improve, but unfortunately for now I still can't do what I truly love...which is to play an instrument that has been a part of me for a better part of my life, and to perform with my friends...that is THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN. If anyone knows George Lucas, or can resurrect Miles Dyson from Cyberdyne/Skynet to create an artificial hand for me, I would greatly appreciate it..."

Read Benoit's entire statement at this location.

THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN recently added former HEADS WILL ROLL guitarist Jeff Tuttle to its lineup.

THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN entered the studio earlier in the year with producer Steve Evetts (SAVES THE DAY, EARTH CRISIS, SEPULTURA) to begin recording its new album, "Ire Works", for a late 2007 release via Relapse. The upcoming CD will feature the drumming of STOLEN BABIES' Gil Sharone following the departure of Chris Pennie (he now plays drums with COHEED AND CAMBRIA). Songtitles set to appear on the CD include "Saigon Whore", "Doll Keeper" and "Party Smasher".

THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN will embark on a European tour with MESHUGGAH in November.

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