Essentially “front man makes an arse of himself on stage, entire band comes back with heartwarming message of support”. On Monday night in Amsterdam, amidst a lot of other issues on stage, Ivan Moody announced that he would no longer be playing with the band.
Prior to Moody’s surprise words, Bad Wolves’ vocalist Tommy Vext had filled in on vocals until a delayed Moody finally appeared on stage. Things didn’t get better when the following statement was made by the official frontman:
It’s probably no surprise that the band played a shortened set and that some fans are seeking refunds.
The first statement released by the band (well, Zoltan Bathory) was apologetic and made things out to be mainly due to technical issues:
Which begged the question, to me anyway… why would they be that close to showtime and a band member not even be in the building? If he was any further away than the tour bus, that’s unusual in my experience of covering gigs for the last umpteen years.
And today we find out that, once again, Ivan’s slipped off the wagon and that his old demons are back to haunt him. The band posted an official statement on their website and announced that Vext (who has covered for Moody in the past when he’s been unable to perform) would be filling in for all upcoming scheduled dates – including, as far as we can tell, the UK run in December.
Moody himself has said:
I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I have fallen off the wagon again. I was on shaky ground prior to our performance in Tilburg, and although a lot of the events of that show were out of my control, the shame of not delivering pushed me over the edge. It would not be fair to my bandmates or my fans to continue to perform in my current condition. One of the worst parts of addiction is the loneliness you feel, so having the support of my band and all the knuckleheads is what drives me. I am committed to getting better so I can get back out on stage as soon as possible.
This was followed by words from Bathory:
As a band, we are committed to supporting Ivan’s road to recovery. We are as baffled and saddened as anyone to watch our brother continue to struggle. Almost everyone in the world knows someone who struggles with addiction, and can relate to how the self-destruction of someone they care about is very difficult to watch. Five Finger Death Punch has every intention of playing the dates we’re committed to and beyond. The band is bigger than any one member.
Say what you like about Five Finger Death Punch (personally, I’m a fan), but this is a solid gesture from bandmates who care about one of their own when they could so easily punt him out permanently. Yes, Moody has caused problems for his band and his issues have resulted in some poor performances – many of which were detailed in the 2000+ comments I skimmed through on facebook earlier.
However, take away this one lifeline for a man with serious troubles and where does that leave him? Moody is a superb frontman and vocalist on his day. What he needs are time and support. It’s a shame the issue flashed up the way it did on Monday (and, indeed, the way it has done in the past), but the situation has a Tommy Vext-shaped sticking plaster (himself eight years sober after similar issues) to cover the wound until Moody feels ready to take his place again. Or, indeed, quietly pass the baton to a replacement permanently.
What he doesn’t need is abuse and sadly I’m seeing a fair bit of that online already (surprise). Moody has acknowledged that he has an addiction problem. He’s dealing with it. Thankfully we live in an age where this is a more open topic compared to a couple of decades ago where he’d be kicked out and left to rot (or worse). The band will continue regardless, as Bathory has stated.
Addiction is an illness, and we wish Moody well on his road to recovery.
Catch Five Finger Death Punch (with or without Moody…) in the UK in December, alongside In Flames and with Of Mice & Men opening:
- Dec 17: Birmingham BCA, UK
- Dec 18: Glasgow Hydro, UK
- Dec 20: Leeds Arena, UK
- Dec 21: London Wembley Arena, UK