Guitarist Jon Donais on Shadows Fall: ‘Everyone’s Going on With Their Lives’
Anyone who has heard guitarist Jon Donais killing it on the new Anthrax song “Soror Irrumator” can pretty much tell he’s gonna be in the band for a while. Of course, that closes the curtain even further on the metalcore group Shadows Fall, which Donais helped form in 1995. As much as Anthrax is keeping Donais on a full schedule, it was actually vocalist Brian Fair who first put Shadows Fall's future into question before Donais even joined Anthrax in January 2013.
“Brian was the first one to say, ‘I can’t go on tour anymore because it doesn’t make sense for me. I got kids and a wife,’” Donais reveals. “He needed to do something more stable because Shadows was always a crap shoot. We never knew what we’d come back [from a tour] with. We never became a headlining band. We were always a support act. I got so lucky. Shadows Fall was coming to an end and this opportunity with Anthrax came up.”
While Fair is at home raising his family, guitarist Matt Bachand has joined ex-Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover’s band Act of Defiance on bass, while drummer Jason Bittner is touring with Flotsam and Jetsam.
“Maybe Shadows Fall will be able to do some future one-offs, but there hasn’t been anything on the table and everyone’s going on with their lives,” Donais says.
At the height of the Massachusetts metalcore movement in the early 2000s, Shadows Fall was poised to be a leader of the scene, alongside Killswitch Engage and All That Remains. After three highly-praised albums on Century Media, the band signed with Atlantic Records and worked with producer Nick Raskulinecz on 2007’s Threads of Life. The record failed to meet expectations, however, and Shadows Fall were dropped by the label. Their seventh and final album was 2012’s Fire From the Sky, which came out on Razor & Tie.
“There just weren’t that many opportunities out there for Shadows Fall,” Donais reveals. “It kind of fizzled out. People stopped caring, so we were all like, ‘Alright, what’s the point?’ We got along great and we loved writing music, but financially it was impossible to go on the road and come back with enough money, especially for the guys who have families. Two of the guys have kids. When you’re single you can go, “Alright, it’s just me on the line,” but when you’ve got a family, you gotta provide for them which means coming back with enough money so they can survive. The fun and games stop once you become a real adult.”
Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the primary author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen.