Neyla Pekarek, a member of the Lumineers, has exited the band, Variety has confirmed. She will pursue a solo career and has completed a concept album inspired by Katherine McHale, known as Rattlesnake Kate, a legend of the band’s home state of Colorado, who killed 140 rattlesnakes while protecting her infant son. According to an interview with Pekarek published over the summer, the cellist sees McHale as a feminist icon and hopes to work on a musical based on her story. The album will be released by S-Curve in 2019.
Of her exit from the band, Pekarek said in a statement: “They say when a snake sheds its skin, it is a sign of rebirth, transformation, and new beginnings. Eight years ago, I answered a Craigslist ad to be in a band. In those eight years, we were nominated for two Grammys, we met President Obama, and we saw just about every dark, dingy green room this big, beautiful planet has to offer. I am incredibly grateful for these experiences and opportunities, but it is time to shed my skin; it is time for a new adventure.”
“Every band is like an organism – it continually grows, changes & evolves,” added the Lumineers. “These changes aren’t always easy but are an unavoidable part of life. After writing, recording and touring the world together for the past eight years, Neyla has made the decision to leave the Lumineers in order to pursue her solo career. We wish her nothing but the best going forward.”
The Lumineers recently signed with Bernie Cahill of Activist Artists Management, which also represents the Grateful Dead and its spinoff Dead & Company, Dead mainstay Bob Weir, Dwight Yoakam and Michael Franti & Spearhead.
The band became one of the most successful acts ever to emerge out of the Americana scene — and a surprise breakout for the independent label Dualtone — after their 2012 single “Ho Hey” became a smash at both pop and alternative radio in the U.S. and crashed the top 10 around the world. They kept the ball in play as their 2016 sophomore album, “Cleopatra,” entered the sales chart at No. 1, with both its title track and “Ophelia” again topping alternative radio charts.Their touring prowess made the Lumineers a particularly desirable managerial magnet: Last year, the group sold out the Hollywood Bowl and a two-night stand at Madison Square Garden.
The band became hot commodities on the open market after severing ties this summer with their longtime manager David Meinert, who’d signed the group in 2011 when they were relative unknowns in Denver. Meinert has been hit by an exodus of clients since 11 women accused him of rape, sexual assault or sexual misconduct in a series of well-publicized articles.