The end of the band cannot be attributed to any one revelation or mishap.
It was not megalomania, for example, on the part of any band member.
No, Flee the Seen's breakup is the result of many things — some personal, others not so personal.
Like so many bands on the cusp of a breakthrough, this Kansas City crew fell prey to an industry that rewards formula over feeling.
They're also tired, primed for other pursuits. But the memories will remain.
In their early years, when they weren't developing new music, the four original members of Flee the Seen toured, their 15-passenger van roaring through much of the contiguous 48, Idaho aside.
"I'm told there's a jukebox in Boise with our songs on it," says R.L. Brooks, the band's guitarist and co-lead singer. "Regrets," he adds.
On the road, drummer Aaron Crawford usually manned the steering wheel, while Brooks handled the tour schedule, assuring that everything would run according to plan. Sometimes the venue would turn out to be a state park or a Journey-blaring bar full of middle-age catfights. Lead singer and then-bassist Kim Anderson would sit behind the wheel occasionally for an all-nighter following a flurry of Monster energy drinks.
"We're talking an 11-hour Monster binge," Brooks says. "We would have to pry her fingers from the wheel."
As for guitarist Manuel Sanchez, well, he was the court jester. His job, according to Anderson, was to keep the band smiling — or off with his head.
"Thankfully, I never disappointed," Sanchez says.
Following the release of its only full-length album, Doubt Becomes the New Addiction, in March 2006, Flee the Seen hooked up with a cross-country tour that was troubled from the get-go. Two weeks prior to the tour's start, the headlining act's lead singer was jailed for molesting an underage girl. After opting to move forward with the tour sans the headliner, Flee the Seen was often paid in beer, if at all.
Upon returning from the tour, Flee the Seen had a decision to make: If the band wanted to progress, Anderson would need to relinquish the bass guitar to someone else and focus on her singing. That someone else was Luke Dills, recruited while still in high school.
The addition of a fifth member wasn't easy, particularly for Anderson. For a long time, she felt lost in her new role as stand-alone vocalist.
"Before Luke, I wrote the bass part and then figured out what I wanted to say," Anderson says. "I'd always wanted to write, to be foremost a lyricist. I didn't know how disconnecting it would be, this feeling that the music is one thing and the lyrics another."
Brooks says he assumed that Anderson, whom he met in the Missouri Western State University marching band in 2000 (he was a trumpeter, and she was a dancer and flag twirler), would make the adjustment effortlessly.
Instead, the band took a year off from touring and recording. They practiced five nights a week, and Anderson enrolled in vocal lessons.
"I had never learned how to sing," she says.
The rest of the band had difficulties, too.
"It was like we were starting from scratch, all of us," Brooks says.
Then there was the pressure to produce a second record, from both the label, Facedown Records, and their manager, Mark Lafay.
"We were pulled a million different ways," Brooks says. "There was a lot of friction between our manager and the label, and it all blew up."
According to Brooks, the label wanted the band to keep touring, whereas Lafay insisted that touring would hurt them in the minds of promoters.
"We didn't know what the fuck to do," Brooks says.
Ultimately, Flee the Seen split with Facedown in July 2007. Later, Lafay was also let go. "We trusted this guy to get us to the next level," Brooks says. "And he wasn't doing anything."
For a while, Flee the Seen flirted with producer Steve Wilson of Nashville, but it wasn't to be.
The band that took its name from a dream had become just that.
Dills is the only one still pursuing a dream of musical megastardom as the bassist for a thrash-metal band based out of Marshall, Missouri, called Cowboys vs. Indians. Crawford works as a sound engineer and producer for Covenant Recording. Sanchez is a nursing student at Missouri Western State University.
For the past six months, Brooks has operated a merchandising business, Seen Merchandizing. Someday he plans to start a local yokel band not unlike the coed softball team to which he belongs.
"You know, get together every Friday, drink a few beers, put on the do-rag and go to town," Brooks says.
Then there's Anderson, who works as the special-events manager at the Uptown Theater, the venue for Flee the Seen's farewell concert.
"Trust me," Anderson says. "I'm ready."