Excellent new audio interview with John. He discusses his musical upbringing and all the bands he's played with. Battles portion starts around 22:00.
In a rare segment he talks frankly about Ty's departure. It was not so amicable as the official announcement would have us believe (this confirms what Dave told me personally). I transcribed that part: "You were in this together... this was like this baby that we've all raised and now it's like this monster and we're finally making money and we're making a living and everything's great and this is gonna be the second record it's gonna be awesome and then one of the guys out of nowhere - while we're recording the record, mind you - literally leaves. Just, really, like you're not gonna give us...? It was just nothing, like "I don't wanna do this any more, bye." And he just left. ... It put is in an exremely compromising position where we absolutely freaked out because we're like "oh my god, now what are we gonna do?" But I think it was a blessing in disguise that we couldn't see right off the bat... in the fact that if we would've kept going the way we were going, it would've been a terrible, terrible record."