Co-Lead Singer Rachel Fannan leaves Sleepy Sun: Pinpoint Music Exclusive Co-Lead Singer Rachel Fannan leaves Sleepy Sun: Pinpoint Music Exclusive

Co-Lead Singer Rachel Fannan leaves Sleepy Sun

Co-Lead Singer Rachel Fannan leaves Sleepy Sun

Last night (10-25-10) at the El Rey in Los Angeles, Sleepy Sun’s co-lead singer Rachel Fannan was conspicuously absent.

Sleepy Sun’s Photos @ El Rey in Los Angeles 10-25-10

Sleepy Sun’s guitarist Matt Holliman said to Pinpoint, “Rachel decided to leave Sleepy Sun to pursue her own solo career”. Sleepy Sun did an August tour of Europe that Fannan was a part of. Upon returning to the states Rachel played with Sleepy Sun for their two shows at All Tomorrow’s Party in New York, and then Philadelphia. Then at the September 8th show at Black Cat in Washington DC an incident took place. Although the details of that night are sure to be disputed by all involved parties one thing is for sure, Rachel left Sleepy Sun after that show and hasn’t played with them since. Sleepy Sun had around 8 more shows in the month of September that she was not part of as well as a string of dates in October and November. Holliman would go on to say that there are no current plans either way to replace the former Sleepy Sun vocalist.

On 10-26-10 Rachel responded to Pinpoint’s inquires with the following statement:

I think unfortunately for all of us sleepy heads I had to leave the group immediately. It was not only to pursue my solo career that i left but more a reaction to the way i was being treated as an artist within Sleepy Sun. Without being disrespectful and gossipy, i must say that Sleepy Sun are a very difficult group of young men who have had little experience working with other artists, and most crucial no experience working with women.

The relationship changed several times throughout my stay with them and over the last year and half dissolved into an emotionally traumatizing adventure.

This isn’t to say that i take the vast amount of knowledge gained (as well as fun and life changing experiences) for granted but after 3 years of JUST touring with them, many things began to outweigh the excitement that was being a member of sleepy sun.

Eventually my relationship with Bret [Constantino] became so volatile, (i had been yelled at, mocked, alienated and crushed several times by him) i knew i needed to get out immediately.

They asked me to stay quiet about my exit, and never released any press about it. Since leaving no one in that camp has contacted me in anyway.

I had a fun time with them for the first year but after several attempts to contribute my ability to play keys, or write music were ignored I gave up hope and started drinking more. There’s a whole year and a half of my life I barely remember. I’m ashamed I let my depression over losing my outlet of self-expression get the better of me but … it was an unprecedented thing for me to go through.

Hopefully this sheds a little light – i don’t harbor any resentment now that I’ve got my life back.

Rachel made a tweet on September 30th about the break, “@RachelFannan Itstrue! I’m no longer performing w/ Sleepy Sun As there has not been a press release concerning my exit I’m feeling free to share the news”. On her website has solo dates listed for October and November.

After evaluating Rachel’s statement Sleepy Sun’s PR firm chose not to comment specifically on Fannan’s accusations and sent the following to Pinpoint Music, “Sleepy Sun has decided it would be best for all parties involved to part ways with backup vocalist Rachel Fannan and wish her the best in all of her future endeavors”.

It’s worth noting that originally when the band formed around 2005 Sleepy Sun’s lineup did not include Fannan, then known as Rachel Williams. Rachel joined the band in late 2007, which is to say that she had been featured on all the commercially released Sleepy Sun albums.

Whether or not Rachel is part of the lineup Sleepy Sun is still an energetic and spiritual live show. There is little doubt that they can continue to produce strong records with their current lineup. However in this writer’s opinion the band has lost a kindred spirit in Rachel Fannan and Sleepy Sun will now have to overcome the challenge of replacing the duality and contrast she provided.

23 Responses about “Co-Lead Singer Rachel Fannan leaves Sleepy Sun: Pinpoint Music Exclusive”

  • Anonymous says:

    pretty slanderous allowing an accusation of abuse without even allowing other side to comment?

  • Ben says:

    @ Anon 5:41. Next time read the entire article. You’ll notice I actually talked to the band personally as well as to their PR firm.
    Every party had a chance to make a statement. If any party wishes to make any further statements we would run them too.

    Also this is a blog, written material, so it would be libel not slander.

  • David says:

    Thanks for shining some more light on this, Ben. I found it really strange that ever since i wrote on my blog about her leaving the band (over 3 weeks ago) no news emerged about it whatsoever, apart from Rachel’s repeated confirmations on her Twitter that she was no longer performing with Sleepy Sun.

    [ ]

    The band already did several shows without her over there in the USA as far as i know, and in none of the reviews i found of these shows was anything mentioned about the reason why she was not there. Usually just a small remark that the particular show was ” this time without Rachel, by the way”. Apparently nobody bothered to check any further. So thanks once again for doing just that, Ben.

  • Marcel says:

    The band with this formation is better than with Rachel. I hope they do not fall into a deep pressure to replace the Rachel.

    I’d like to hear them now with only the vocals of Bret, what would one more similarity to Led Zepp.

  • Ben says:

    @ Marcel
    My friend I took to the show felt the same way as you; which is to say she prefers them without the female vocals.
    I for one disagree. Mainly because I feel that the dreamy and spacey aspects of a lot of the songs, especially those off “Fever”, were heavily dependent on the contrast Rachel provided.
    At one point during the song “Marina” Brett attempted to sing Rachel’s parts in a higher pitch than he normally sings. It didn’t work at all for me.
    As stated I know the band in its current formation has the ability to overcome this loss, even without replacing her. That being said trying to have Brett do both parts in certainly not the answer. They’ll have to do a bit of reformatting before they get it right. Amazing show though.

  • Anonymous says:

    But you never identified yourself as journalist or informed the band you were asking them to make official statement to the press; they were simply shooting the shit with you as a familiar face they recalled from past and you had a photo pass they had given you. Their publicist also asked you to wait on running the story until they could give you an official statement once she learned you were running with the drama, but you did not extend that unbiased courtesy to both sides.

    for the record, Rachel freaked out on stage in DC and sabotaged the band’s set that and then announced she “could not handle touring anymore” the next day in Raleigh and bailed on band the moment she could get somebody to buy her a plane ticket. She had committed to working for Sleepy Sun and bailed on them leaving them on tour with tour dates every day for next three weeks 3,000 miles away from home, plus more shows in October and November already on sale. Hardly a sane or respectful employee or friend.

    You and everybody else are entitled to their opinion about band’s art with versus without Rachel and that is valid, but this story reads like one sided statement quoting a less than always rational person making rather serious accusations. Your story indicates ntent to harm careers and is poor excuse for journalism in my humble opinion.

  • Ben says:

    To the Anon whose posts have been removed:
    You obviously have intimate knowledge of Sleepy Suns going ons. My email is ben[@] Feel free to email me there with your concerns, and if you still feel like you would like your earlier statement published I will be more than happy to accommodate you.

  • Mike says:

    I saw them with and without Rachel. They are now a shell of what they were with her. In addition to her vocals, she has a much better stage presence and brings a lot of energy that the band is now lacking. It’s a major letdown since Embrace and Fever are 2 of my favorite records.

  • Noyster says:

    Hey, just wrote a comment on David’s blog, but it’s also a comment on your blog, so I’ll repost it here 🙂

    Just read both yours and Ben’s post on the subject. Just found out today. I must say it rather bums me out, because as Ben’s stated Rachel’s voice brought a great delicate balance in Sleepy Sun’s music. No doubt the band will still be amazing to experience live, but I wonder what direction they will go to with the songs that has Rachel’s presence as an important aspect. I’ll follow your blogs, they seem interesting 🙂


  • this whole situation is certainly Too Dark for a Picture if you ask me.

  • Michel says:

    Ben –

    Having followed Rachel’s output with and without Sleepy Sun for the last 4/5 years but admittedly also having been out of circulation for about the last year I am just now catching up and knew nothing of this. Thank you for covering it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Well, that explains why I didn’t see her at El Rey opening for UNKLE. I knew nothing of it then and was looking forward to seeing her. Not to sound like I’m taking sides, but I was let down by Sleepy Sun’s performance overall and will be following Rachel’s solo work from this point forward.

  • Swarmy says:

    Bit cheeky of the PR company to refer to her as the “backup vocalist”. She seems to play a far greater role than that on the studio recordings, particularly “Fever”!

  • tom says:

    I was at Austin Psych Fest and was hoping for another outstanding Sleepy Sun performance. Seen them play several times including last year at ATP in NY. Love the sharing of vocals and energy Rachel clearly has.
    I was wondering why she was not in Austin. Finally done some digging and came across this blog. Thanks for publishing this. I too liked Sleepy Sun better with Rachel than without. Too bad for Sleepy Sun. Although their show at APF4 was good, it most certainly would have been better with Rachel.

  • D says:

    Just saw Sleepy Sun last night in Albuquerque. Overall a disappointing show, it was a let down of a show. The mix was terrible, but with that said I almost fell asleep during the show because they were so flat.

  • Z says:

    I personally know Bret Constantino to be an extremely disrespectful and controlling egomaniac capable of both verbal and physical abuse……needless to say I’m not surprised to learn of the details surrounding Rachel’s exit from the group. Best of luck to her with her solo career!

  • thuglifecrunk187 says:

    they totally sucked without her at slim’s opening for the black angels. seemed like a bunch of wankers too. like total. she’s still good tho, gonna check her tonight at du nord. thug life!

  • big gino says:

    rachels a whiny ****, boohoo, go solo if you can’t speak up for yourself. saw them last night and they were living the dream

  • Josh says:

    Sleepy Sun is still amazing, but i don’t think they are as powerful as they used to be after this loss! The duality of having a male and female vocalist was one of the main reasons why i enjoyed listening to them so much the first time i heard them.

  • Jonathan says:

    The new album’s not great either, plods along like any other sub-standard blues rock band. The dynamics her voice brought are a great loss to their sound, live & on record.

  • Anon says:

    Rachel’s solo stuff is beautiful. So is Sleepy Sun’s, but just from listening and contrasting the two it doesn’t seem like she was a big part of Sleepy Sun’s writing process. What a bummer. I wish she had been given a bigger part, for me it would have really made the perfect band.

  • BananaSlug says:

    Sleepy Sun is just like every other pscyh rock band without Fannan. Her vocals and energy made the music and show vibrate. The guys were threatened by her, even though they outnumbered her. Totally typical. The only reason that band was special was the collaboration between Constantino and Fannan. The lead guitar solos are the same whining shlock of every pscyh rock band and the drums just barely make the cut. I’ve heard better 12-year-old drummers.

  • Jason says:

    No question she was an integral part of their success. I believe her vocals relieved the manic tension in the music, and without her the music is missing some of its resolve.

    I’m still a huge fan of the albums she contributed on. The smartest thing the band could do would be to get her back – providing they could work their differences out. Without her, I think the band’s ‘X’ factor is gone.