Superchunk Bassist Laura Ballance Won't Tour With Band

Co-founder steps away from live dates due to hearing condition

Laura Ballance of Superchunk performs in Austin, Texas.
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
Laura Ballance of Superchunk performs in Austin, Texas.
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Superchunk are releasing a new album I Hate Music this August, but bassist and founding member Laura Ballance won't be joining them on the road to promote it. Ballance has penned a note on Superchunk's website explaining that she has developed hyperacusis – a condition marked by oversensitivity to certain sounds, hearing loss and ringing in the ears – and won't be touring behind the new album.

"It's not because I hate music," she joked in her post. "And it's not because I am too old. You know, that thing about if it's too loud you are too old? That keeps running through my head, dammit."

Rather, playing live the past few years has worsened her hyperacusis, she wrote. "I am really sad that I won't be out on the road with Jim [Wilbur], Jon [Wurster] and Mac [McCaughan] because it's a blast. And playing for all of you people who come to our shows is a blast too. It is one of the most fun and gratifying things I have done during my life. I am going to miss you."

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Ballance also noted that she could make live appearances in the future if she can sort out a way to protect her hearing. But fans shouldn't hold their breath. "This is not meant to add a roulette element to the upcoming shows," Ballance wrote. "Chances are I won't be there people, OK? If I will, I will let you know in advance."

Jason Narducy has joined Superchunk as their live bassist, but Ballance won't be leaving the band. She played on Superchunk's new album, I Hate Music, and plans to continue working with the band for future releases.

I Hate Music will be out August 20th on Merge, which Ballance co-founded in 1989 with McCaughan as a way to release Superchunk music on their own. The label has since grown to release noteworthy records by artists including Arcade Fire, Spoon, Neutral Milk Hotel, She and Him, Wild Flag and more. After a one-off show June 20th in Calgary, Alberta, Superchunk will kick off a North American tour on August 22nd in Atlanta. For full tour dates, visit the band's website.