Winston Marshall, the former banjo player for the Grammy-winning band Mumford & Sons, says he has no regrets about leaving the band and has found purpose in life thanks to a renewed Christian faith and an ability to stand up for what he believes.
Marshall left the band in June of 2021, some three months after posting a tweet thanking author Andy Ngo for writing a book, Unmasked, that’s critical of Antifa. “Finally had the time to read your important book,” Marshall tweeted. “You’re a brave man.”
That innocent tweet, though, set off a firestorm on the Left among those who oppose not only Ngo but also Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, whose name is on the cover as an endorser. Some labeled Marshall a Nazi.
At first, Marshall apologized. Three months later, though, he penned a column saying he was leaving the band so he could “speak my mind without them suffering the consequences.”
“I got my soul back,” he told The Sunday Times in a new interview. “I felt I could sleep again; it’s amazing the effect that had on me. It has been completely liberating. I feel like it was the right decision.”
Marshall had read the book shortly after he says he “came to Christ again.” The Times labeled it a “resurgent Christian faith.” In the 2021 column, he said his “commenting on a book that documents the extreme Far-Left and their activities is in no way an endorsement of the equally repugnant Far-Right.”
At 34, Marshall is still young for a music star. He told The Times he was writing new songs and working with a “well-known” pop star. (Mumford & Sons was nominated for nine Grammys, winning two.)
He’s also enjoying speaking out on cancel culture. He has a podcast, Marshall Matters, in which he interviews artists. He’s also writing.
“Obviously artists have a right to boycott. The difference now is that it’s ‘silence him or I’m out,” he told The Times. “This feels so bizarre, and I don’t think it ends well. Musicians’ careers are all about self-expression, so how can they think that’s going to work if they’re not up for people expressing themselves?”
Marshall says he’s been sober from alcohol and drugs for three years and “hasn’t looked back.” Sobriety, he told The Times, gave him “clarity and energy.
“I don’t miss fame; I don’t think it was real,” he says. “I was seduced by it. I got pulled into it.”
Marshall hopes his own cancel culture story can help change the debate about free speech. The Times labeled his career a “casualty of our age of stupidity: of destructive culture warfare, Twitter idiocy and ideological intolerance.”
“I imagined being in my sixties and still playing with the band,” he says. “That’s one reason it was so hard to leave. I thought we’d always be together.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ethan Miller/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.