How does the former singer of a local band named after geometry end up at a white supremacist rally in Florida with his two friends, chanting about Hitler, shooting at protesters with a handgun and speeding away in a jeep?
We’d ask Colton Fears, who used to do the screaming for the Houston metalcore band Between Parallels and is reported to be an expert on the topic, according to a news release from the Gainesville Police Department. But he’s still in jail in Florida on suspicion of attempted murder and wasn’t available to talk.
The same goes for the two men who were allegedly with him last week — William Fears and Tyler Tenbrink, the latter of whom is accused of actually firing the gun at the Richard Spencer-led event in Gainesville.
Robert Wolf, Fear’s former bandmate and co-vocalist, however, was free to take a few minutes out of his completely-not-incarcerated day to chat.
Wolf said he has known Fears for a couple years, since they started Between Parallels together in 2015. They met via Facebook, and Wolf clarified that he hasn’t talked with Fears since August. But even though he said he didn’t know all the details behind Fears’ transformation from the band’s most prominent screamer to its most prominent Nazi criminal, Wolf agreed to take a break from his afternoon shift at Starbucks and help shed some light on how Fears’ opinions led to Between Parallels breaking up in early August.
“Sorry, I’m eating a scone,” Wolf, 28, said, chewing as he proceeded to explain that Fears wasn’t a problem when the band first started.
“The first two years, it was all about the music,” Wolf said. “Up until May or June, there were no issues.”
Wolf was the singer and Fears was the screamer, and the two were happy lending their vocal talents to songs like “Candy is Dandy but Liquor is Quicker” and “The Ghost with the Most,” which don’t seem to have anything to do with Nazis, race, or shooting guns at protesters.
“But then he started posting stuff online and stirring up trouble,” Wolf said, adding that since he doesn’t follow current events or politics, he couldn’t be more specific. He didn’t understand what Fear was posting online and he didn’t pay much attention to it. Still, Wolf said that the whole band always knew Fears was “very opinionated.”
“He was always very involved — well, I don’t want to say involved — but he was always very knowledgeable about politics,” Wolf said. “Me personally, I don’t like talking about that stuff because I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know what ‘fascism’ is, or all these words that are getting thrown around, and I still don’t know.”
But it was hard for Wolf not to notice when the lyrics that Fears was writing for the band’s new music began to change.
“It was showing up in his lyrics; the things I was singing had nothing to do with what he was screaming,” Wolf said. “He was screaming stuff about the working class and being labeled and ostracized, and I was singing about overcoming problems and some stuff about sex. We were two separate vocalists.”
Fears’ online activity started to affect the band, too. He said fans started posting screenshots of what Fears would write on social media on the band’s Facebook wall. It was enough to cause the members of Between Parallels to confront him.
“We told him that if you have an opinion that’s cool, but keep it to yourself, not online,” Wolf said. “It was reflecting negatively on us and people were seeking us out and criticizing us.”
Unfortunately for the future of Between Parallels, Fears decided to keep posting.
“He said he didn’t want to be censored,” Wolf said. “He wanted to basically exercise his freedom of speech. Which is fine — everyone is different, man — but when you’re in a band you can’t be playing that.”
The band announced it was breaking up on August 7 — “We basically abandoned ship,” Wolf said — which is around the time Fears took control of Between Parallels Facebook page. Wolf said he removed the rest of the band’s admin privileges and began using the page to post about whatever he wanted.
“Anything on there after August 7 has nothing to do with anyone in the band but Colt,” Wolf said. “I’ve been reading a lot of articles that have been releasing the same story, and the problem is that they don’t know the full story. People keep associating us as a white nationalist band, but the thing is that Colt was the only white person in the band, so that’s kind of impossible. I just don’t really appreciate people spitting on a band that I started and put two years of effort into, you know what I mean. There’s lots of hate on Facebook and YouTube.
I was just trying to jam.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article said Wolf met Fears via Craigslist. He actually met Fears through Facebook.