Hey so here is some shocking news for you fine readers. Now while I am currently still in the midst of running around at the 2014 NY Comic Con, I wanted to be sure to get you some of the news that I chanced upon when I returned home last night after all of my running around. I saw this on Facebook but its official and it appears as though Nick Tart, lead singer for the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal legends Diamond Head was moving on from the group after eleven years at the microphone. You can read the official statement that he posted online below and also enjoy some of the photographs that I shot of him when they played in NYC in 2011.
Statement from Nick:
“After 11 years of being the singer for Diamond Head I now feel it’s time for me to move on. As most are aware they have already started the October tour with a replacement singer and I wish them nothing but the very best. I haven’t heard the new guy yet but I’m sure he will be great; Brian has good quality control over Diamond Head and I don’t believe he would continue touring unless he had found a singer who could pull it off. They are a very powerful band to front, so the best of luck to him, no doubt I will be snooping into you tube to see what they sound like.
Kind of shocking isn’t it. I know that I never expected any news like this, but let’s recap the story as it played out from the other day until early today. My Saturday morning on 9/29 was begun by coffee to wake me from the needed slumber after Down’s killer NYC show, when the Finnish Ambassador (my friend Sam in reality) sent a text to inform me that Anette Olzon had fallen ill, was in the hospital and that Nightwish had performed without her by using Alissa White-Gluz and Elize Ryd as Metal Understudies for lack of a better word.
The band wrote to the public saying:
“We were in hell today. Vocalist in a hospital. Show about to be cancelled… But nobody gave up an inch. With the help from the ladies Elize and Alissa from Kamelot we actually managed to pull of a relaxed and great show! The crowd doing the mass karaoke with the band playing was absolutely amazing. We were humbled and grateful at the same time. This is unity and help from friends and fans. Anette is already recovering thanks to the medical staff and whatever powers there exists. The shows will go on. We give our greatest respect to Alissa, Elize and the crowd in Ogden Theatre, Denver. You rule!!!”
My personal take on this was that the guys had no choice but to do the show because the amount of money to be lost would really compromise the efforts for a lot longer than any band wants to have happen. Remember a cancellation only finds the band themselves losing money but everyone else still must be paid out for their work. Since Kamelot had two capable female singers along for the tour, Nightwish was smart to ask both Alissa White-Gluz and Elize Ryd (from The Agonist and Amaranthe respectively by the way) to act as understudies for Anette. Sure the show would be a little looser than preferred but at least it would still happen and be something that kept the ball in motion and allowed Anette the chance to get back to necessary Metal fighting strength.
Back at the beginning of the month I posted a blog narrative which spoke to the developments that had been going on within the Queensryche camp and touched upon the issues that were brewing with their founding member, vocalist Geoff Tate. You can read HERE first if you need a little bit of refresher. It was not a pleasant set of circumstances to say the least. Here are the latest developments….
Queensryche members have announced that Todd LaTorre is their new singer after officially parting ways with Geoff Tate. I’m really of mixed opinion on all of this because I love Geoff as a legendary Metal vocalist and really enjoy what I have heard Todd bring to the table as a member of Crimson Glory and in his samples of the classic Queensryche tunes. I really never wanted to see it come down to this because it also divides the fans in some sense. One has to envision this as similar to the time when the world saw Tim “Ripper” Owens taking over the vocals in Priest. The band did record some solid tunes but they really suffered as far as attendance and album sales.
As a fan of Geoff’s overall creativity and legacy I wish him well, and as a very longtime fan of what Queensryche has meant to the Heavy Metal music scene I wish the guys well in this interesting new chapter. I don’t think I ever mentioned to my readers that I first saw Queensryche when they had opened up for KISS on the “Animalize” tour back in 1984 or 85. They were brand new to the larger Metal audiences back then for sure.
Read more on the Bravewords report from Billboard.com HERE; Let’s see what happens. I expect a veritable shit storm of postings on all of the news sites and many already feel we shall find more postings on these resources than we found happening when Mike Portnoy decided to leave Dream Theater. Only time will tell right?
Insert boos here (and I mean for the circumstance and not for my stating them).
OK so WOW! If ever there was a reason for this “Heavy Metal Holy Sh*t” Category it would be this occurrence. For the few short years that I have been a music journalist and man on the Metal scene, I have found the band Kamelot to be one of my very favorites. I first went to see them as a “favor” to a label friend who needed an interview and I dragged a buddy along. Since that time I have done my best to not miss a regional appearance if at all possible. They were one of the bands that made me feel that this adventure of mine was not as much work as it often seemed to be. So where we were. Okay, to continue.
In the almost Fall of 2010 the group had finally booked a US Tour after massive festival appearances and this had a stop in NYC over at the Nokia Theatre (which has since been rechristened the Best Buy Theater). The band was going to use this show as a celebration of their new album “Poetry For The Poisoned” and the tour was to also feature Leaves Eyes, Blackguard and another band that I cannot recall at this time. As the date closed in on the fans and tickets were almost completely sold out the news came up that Khan had fallen ill and was not going to be making the tour. The announcements came quickly from founding guitarist Thomas Youngblood who stated that Kamelot would press on just the same and employ the talents of Michael Eriksen from the Norwegian band Circus Maximus. The singer performed at one gig, which was the ProgPower USA event in Georgia and then the sad news about the entire tour being cancelled came to pass.
That sucked. It was terrible for fans, but it was also terrible for all the people that earn their living doing the tours like this as now they had free time and would need to scramble to recoup the lost earnings. Of course on the upside the band told us that they would return when Khan was feeling better and then give us the show of a lifetime. Well, something like that was going around. Fast forward a few months.
Very early in 2011 the new dates for a Kamelot US Tour were announced and this time around the band was going to be playing at Gramercy Theatre as opposed to the Best Buy Theater and that struck me as odd because the spaces are vastly different in terms of how many bodies fit inside them. Best Buy holds around 2200 while Gramercy hits capacity at 650. Then the worst part of the news was announced.
“Khan would be missing this tour as he was still ill”
What? This makes no sense! How is he still ill after many months of rest and just what the hell was plaguing the singer? His fans wanted to know but no one seemed to be talking. The world had lost Ronnie James Dio to cancer and Peter Steele to a heart attack last year and only recently Nergal from Behemoth was fighting leukemia so I had to admit that the thoughts going on in the minds of the Metal Republic were nothing short of grim. Fortunately more news came to pass from the ProgPower USA Promoter Glen Harveston who released his thoughts across the interwebs about the whole situation. I’ve pasted some of this here for your eager eyes so read on:
I 100% agree that Roy was and is an integral part of Kamelot’s success over the past 12 years. However, the band has been backed into a corner with no easy way out. The band has done everything in its power to accommodate Roy despite his abrupt decision to pull out of everything and cause all members to lose a substantial amount of money. They have given him multiple options in regards to returning and continuing the band. Need a year? No problem. Need two years? No problem. Just give us something so we can schedule and confirm things. *Silence*
It’s not happening. Khan is not in coma or mental institution screaming “BURNOUT!!!.” He has simply found religion and the music world is just a distant memory now. The band is no longer his priority. I may take some heat for this, but I don’t think the fans are either at the moment. If they were, he would issue a statement clarifying things so that grieving process for his fans could commence and eventually complete. Could that change in a few years? Absolutely. However, it may not. Fans need to accept that and move on. Is the band suppose to simply wait on the sidelines indefinitely in the meantime and see all their efforts wasted?
I didn’t notice any flack being tossed at Harveston for making such a statement so perhaps there were solid elements of truth to it. It made sense to many that he would have an insider’s look to the band after having been so much a part of their success in this part of the world. Either way that you looked at it, this information sucked as far as I was concerned for the Kamelot camp. This statement was soon followed by the news that Khan had indeed quit the Kamelot lineup and that they would continue on with another singer in his place once a suitable replacement had been found. For the duration they would do their US Tour with Fabio Leone of the band Rhapsody Of Fire. What???? I’m going to toss my own views out now because while I love what Fabio can do as a singer, there is no way that he is a suitable fill in or maybe even an eventual replacement for Khan right? I guess only time will tell and I made sure to mark down this date for the concert so I can check it out for myself. I would be lying to you if I didn’t mention that this news really depressed me because I totally enjoyed how Khan worked in this band and just how magical the whole thing seemed with him at the microphone. If religious pursuits were really the culprit of his leaving that made no sense to me since Kamelot was not singing about the kind of things that a band like Gorgoroth did and while mystical in some sense were hardly blasphemous. If he truly burned out from the pace then I wish him the best of health and thank him for his years of amazing contributions to a band I list as a favorite. He shall be missed for sure. Sigh.
Even though this is new and disturbing news to the fans of Kamelot we also have to remember that he was the second singer in the band and that often these things are never permanent. Dickinson and Halford left Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and now are back in command of those bands so who knows. Rock and Roll is a very interesting thing and always seems to surprise us with all of its happenings. At this stage of the game I do not think that Thomas Youngblood, Casey Grillo, Oliver Palotai and Sean Tibbetts will let us down and instead hold a steady course and deliver us a kick ass Metal show. Good luck guys just the same.
Wow. Even though this new column idea of mine has been offering up some of my shock about certain events in the Metal Republic, this is one event that I didn’t expect at all. Despite that feeling, the news is true – K.K. Downing has retired from the ranks of Judas Priest. At the time of this announcement two days ago, Downing had been a member of the band for over forty years. As one of its founders he knew bassist Ian Hill and original drummer John Ellis since they were boys. The band Judas Priest was formed in 1970 to best of my knowledge and Downing has been in the role of guitarist in the lineup since that day.
While the news shocked me, I guess I do kind of understand it because they had been going almost non stop since their inception. Yes there were some shifts in the vocal duties and these caused some slowdowns in their touring agenda but the band was always on the active side and never broke up in the official sense of the word. The original news was that Priest was going to be doing one final major go round of the world and call it their “Epitaph” tour. After this had hit all the proper spots on the globe the band was going to call it a day. It was acceptable news to some as the band had really offered up a lot of good for the Metal realm and no one could argue with their wanting to rest and relax instead of always running around in buses and planes at their age. Shortly after that it came to pass in the news that the band would do some more recordings and smaller tours but that K.K. Downing would not be taking part in them and in his place would be guitarist Richie Faulkner. On April 20th, 2011 he officially announced his retirement from the band.
The amusing thing is that while this has happened I somehow get the feeling that we have not seen the last of K.K. Downing on the stages with Judas Priest. Remember when Ozzy retired? That was more than a decade ago and he has been going strong since his “return”. This is all that some of these guys know, so maybe this is more like a leave of absence. Only time will tell. Since this news followed similar information about Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy, I was actually wondering who was going to surprise us next.