Atreyu’s Alex Varkatzas has announced he is unable to perform on the group’s upcoming UK and European tour due to a damaged disc in his back that formed a few weeks before the band’s recent spring invasion run. The singer decided to take time off to seek medical attention and plans to return to the stage by June 28th for Disrupt Festival in Atlanta, GA. Bassist Porter McKnight and drummer/vocalist Brandon Saller will be stepping up for Varkatzas throughout the tour.
The group’s UK/European run is scheduled to kick off this Saturday (25th) in the UK and runs through June 9th at Rock AM Ring in Germany. These California metalcore “pioneers” have been touring across the globe in support of their latest effort, 2018’s In Our Wake. We spoke to Alex late last year on their extensive touring plans as he expressed his excitement being on the road.
Read Alex’s statement and video message below:
“There is no easy way to say this, but I am very sorry that I will not be able to join Atreyu on this upcoming European tour. At this point my body and mind need to heal in order for me to continue with all the things we have planned this year. I feel that I owe you all an explanation. It will be lengthy…
Just about 2 weeks before the Spring Invasion tour I severely aggravated a damaged disc in my back at L5-Sl, giving horrible muscle spasms and limiting my ability to walk, go to the bathroom, basically fucks everything. I was briefly hospitalized last year for this same thing and unable to walk for several days, followed by a week on a walker. For someone like me, this is HELL. I hate asking for help, I despise my own weakness and I loathe missing my daily physical training. It makes me feel incomplete. For however silly that is, that’s how I feel, I cannot hide it. After this last injury before the Spring Invasion tour, my back never stopped aching. I would get random spasms and ache badly all day. I was unable to do anything physical. At this point I started to suffer some pains in the lower abdominal/manly region 🙀. I went to my doctor and started tests that led to referrals. An MRI showed a bulging disc at L5-S1 that was a little worse than last year and revealed a surprise inguinal hernia. I was able to start physical therapy for my back right away but was unable to start on hernia. I was given an Oral steroid the day before I left for tour and started to barely feel ok after a few days (all the while babying my back). I was advised to take it easy or I would create further issues.
Atreyu has always been an emotional outlet for me. I want the shows to be intense and fun. Even holding myself back because of pain and injury, I still went too hard. In my opinion I was barely performing, some nights my muscle relaxers would slow me down. After the third week I was aching badly again. If you look carefully at videos and photos of last two shows I am wearing a special back brace during our set. After flying home I’ve been in constant agony. I still can’t hold my little kids, I can’t hug my wife, I can’t do much of anything. Luckily I can still walk. I would be lying to you if I said it wasn’t taking its toll on me mentally as well. I have no outlet. I’m a capable independent person and this has wore on me in many ways.
It was very hard to accept and for me to tell the guys in the band that my doctors advised me to not make the trip and take care of my body.
My brothers in Atreyu will rock on without me on this run. It will be a very special, one of a kind experience with Brandon up front and Porter screaming! I have an upcoming epidural, therapy and a follow up appointment to discuss the impending possibility of hernia surgery, all before Disrupt Festival 👍
Thank you to my brothers in the band and the Atreyu management team for trying to help me feel at ease about this. I do not. I’m sorry I have failed to live up to our obligations. I’m sorry to our booking agent and management for jeopardizing all this. And a HUGE, I’m sorry to: Slam Dunk Fest, FortaRock, Rock Im Park, Rock Am Ring and the rest of the European show promoters.
We have been around a while and never had this happen. I’m terribly sorry and thank you for the faith in our band. And finally to anyone who was looking forward to see me perform with the band on this run. I know you are disappointed and all I can do is offer my sincerest apologies and fully explain the situation. Something I normally wouldn’t like to do. So there it is. I wish my brothers in Atreyu a safe and fun tour.
See you all on Disrupt!”