Thursday, November 01, 2018

Fall from grace

I wouldn't be alone in acclaiming Hookworms' Microshift - in many ways actually a quantum leap forwards - as their best album, and indeed one of the best of the year. After a scarcely believable turn of events over the last two days, though, it now looks like being their last.

On Tuesday, allegations of "sexual, physical and emotional abuse" against frontman Matthew Johnson (aka MJ) were posted on Twitter by ex-Joanna Gruesome vocalist Alanna McArdle on behalf of a fellow former girlfriend of his, identified only as L. The charges were particularly unexpected and damaging in light of MJ's very vocal public stance on the issue.

His bandmates' response yesterday was not only to deny any prior knowledge of MJ's behaviour but also to announce that Hookworms were splitting up. An evidently wounded MJ responded with a statement of his own, in which he categorically denied the allegations and implied that the band's decision to break up had been taken hastily and behind his back.

It's a spectacularly swift fall from grace for MJ - and a devastating demise for a band for whom the future had looked brighter than ever. I'm finding it a struggle to process the shock, the disgust and the disappointment.

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