The future looked promising for the alternative/indie band The Growlers. So where have they been for the last few years?
Content Warning: This story contains mentions of Sexual Assault Allegations.
Between the years of 2009 and 2019 The Growlers released nine albums. The band started its career in Dana Point, California in 2006. The Growlers began as a duo of lead singer Brooks Nielsen and guitarist Matt Taylor, later to add Anthony Braun Perry on bass and John Kaiser on drums. Though a few others were in and out, Nielsen and Taylor were the only consistent members throughout the decade.
Each of the albums garnered thousands of listeners and a lot of support, leading The Growlers to tour with The Black Keys, Devendra Banhart, Night Beats and more. They have also performed at Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.
The Growlers are even credited for coining a new subgenre: “beach goth.”
It seemed like they had something great going. But they haven’t released an album since 2019 or toured since 2020 and have faded away from social media. A Google search will show you that longtime member and founder Matt Taylor is nowhere to be mentioned. What’s going on?
On July 30, 2020, Arrow De Wilde, the lead singer of the rock band Starcrawler from LA, made an Instagram post explaining in detail the sexual assault that she faced while on tour with The Growlers. During January of 2020, Starcrawler joined The Growlers for a leg of their tour in Australia.
Sparing details, De Wilde explained that while none of the Growlers themselves were directly involved with the incident, they were responsible for encouraging it and should be held accountable.
After De Wilde’s post, The Growlers’ Brooks Nielsen responded the next day with his own Instagram post. He expressed that the whole band was taking responsibility for their actions and bad judgement. In addition, Matt Taylor would be leaving the band, though the post has since been deleted.
Since these statements, we have heard very little from The Growlers and it seems that their future is doomed. Ironically, frontman Brooks Nielsen seems to have rebranded himself and is now playing solo shows all over California. He typically plays his original music, but still plays a few of The Growlers’ songs. Conveniently for him, he can get away with carrying the sound of The Growlers’ alone – his vocals – while removing himself from the image of the band.
As for Arrow De Wilde, she is still singing for Starcrawler and making music successfully.