Last modified: 31 Jan 2008

In my previous blog post I talked about being backstage before the Christmas gig, in the Delirious? dressing room, when JB (head of Fierce) took me aside to talk about a few things. I wrote at the time that some things were going to happen in 2008 that you wouldn't be expecting. Well, finally the news is out. Stew is leaving the band. Hard to believe I know, but it's true. Back in that dressing room, JB said to me, "So have you heard about Stew?". "Heard what about him?" I asked. There was a slightly uncomfortable moment where JB realised I didn't know, and wasn't quite sure what to say. It was then that Stew walked into the room. "I'm leaving the band" he said to me. I looked at him, and for several moments I convinced myself he was winding me up. Stew is a great joker and master of dead pan lines, I've seen him joke around before, and I thought he must be joking then too. In truth, I wanted him to be joking. "Are you serious?" I asked. He was. I took a deep breath. "Wow. I don't know what to say" I replied.

What do you say when one of the core parts of a band tells you he's leaving. So many questions. So many uncertainties. Stew explained that he'd done so much with Delirious? over the years and he felt there were more opportunities in his life that he wanted to explore. Being in a band like Delirious? involves a lot of travel, and Stew is a dedicated family man who has spent more than a decade juggling the commitment of being in a band with the responsibilities of being a husband and father. He came to the decision that it was time to spend more time at home with his family and time to explore his creative talents that bit more. As he explained this to me it dawned on me that although this is a big shock for Delirious? fans, and indeed the band itself, it is also exactly the right decision for Stew. "Good on you" I said to him. And I meant it.

It takes a very brave man to make a decision like this. Change is never easy. Keeping on doing what you've always done is the easy path. Turning off the main road and taking a new direction is hard. Normally when a band member leaves it's down to a falling out. "Creative differences in the band" is the usual reason given. But this is Delirious? They're family. This departure isn't caused by a disagreement, an argument, a clash of egos. It's caused by a man putting his family first. Taking a difficult decision, changing a life style, starting something new. I'm sure tears will be shed over this. But I'm also sure that everyone involved with Delirious? respects Stew's choice and realises he's done the right thing for himself and his family.

Stew is an incredible guy. I've had the unbelievable experience of standing just a couple of meters away from him as he pounds the living daylights out of his drum kit on stage. The power, passion and total commitment is just stunning to witness. When he drums the music is all consuming. You can tell this by the total abandonment evident in his legendary facial expressions! He shuts the world out, focuses on God and plays in the only way he knows how. No wonder the band are going to miss him.

But this by no means spells the end of Delirious? They are on a mission. They have unfinished business. They will continue.

Through our sadness let's all wish Stew every success and happiness in his future.