Following the departure of guitarist Michael Ramirez, the foundation members of New Zealand’s Cut Off Your Hands is now down to two after drummer Brent Harris who has long suffered from hearing loss, announced a year long hiatus due to concerns for his long-term hearing.
He blogs: “At the age of 16 I started losing my hearing; it began as a mild hearing loss which didn’t overly alarm me or my specialists. Over the past six years however, there has been an uncertain yet steady decline in my ability to hear. At the age of 19 my hearing got to the point that I needed to wear hearing aids. Since then, the deterioration has slowed but is still steadily eating away at my ability to hear all frequencies. Recently I have started to lose hearing in frequencies which up until six months ago have been good. These frequencies are important for speech recognition and general functioning in everyday life. I have seen several different hearing specialists over this time and no one has been able to diagnose a real definite reason for the loss. One of the obvious guesses at a cause is loud music and the fact I’ve been playing the drums almost everyday for about 11 years.
Sadly, the only way to know if drumming is inducing or aggravating the loss is to plainly stop playing loud music for 12 months – which in turn has made me decide to step down from Cut Off Your Hands for the next year. This decision represents much thought and was incredibly difficult for me to make. The concept of life outside of Cut Off saddens me; we have all devoted so much of ourselves to make this band work. I’m now thoroughly addicted to making music and it hurts to know I wont be sharing it with the guys I have enjoyed it with over the past many years. I don’t feel good about it but I believe it’s the right thing for me to do.”