UPDATE on 08.10.2013: Parting ways with a vocalist mid-tour is usually not a good idea as White Wizzard discovered. Following the drama involving their former singer Joseph Michael who was fired from the band, the heavy metallers have made the decision to cancel the rest of the European tour they had planned for this month. The accusations between the two parties continue. Furthermore, Joseph Michael is planning to sue Jon Leon for slander and defamation.
Jon Leon explained the decision: “Well everyone this really pains me to put up this press release. Due to Joseph Michael refusing to perform and numerous other issues once again with a lead singer, the 4 of us and the band Monument have decided it is best to bow out of this current tour and cut our losses. This cancellation is the 100 percent fault of Joseph Michael and his refusal to perform with us for his own selfish reasons. I have also determined that he has been lying to everyone about his relation to Ronnie James Dio. It is a flat out lie. Plain and simple. We have had numerous issues with him over the past year, but lying about that is a huge deal to me and led to the arguments I had with him on this current tour which snowballed into this… and of course his refusal to perform 2 shows for his own personal reasons and games when a crowd of fans is waiting were just too much to deal with.”
“He is probably spreading a ton of lies about me as we speak, to which I say believe what you want. The guy is full of stories. No money has been stolen I assure you. The rest of the band can attest to that. I understand this sucks for the fans. This band has been spinal tap and I know since it is my band most will blame me, but there is plenty of blame to go around over the years I assure you. I am an easy scapegoat though. I think at this point our priorities will be to fulfill the indie gogo now that we will be home early and take some time off. We will be including an extra shirt for every fan for the delay. We really appreciate those of you that have stuck with us over time. Thank you to all the fans especially in Cardiff and London for kicking ass in support on that difficult night. We love you all. The future of the band shall be determined over some time off.”
And that was our show.
Original news, published on 07.10.2013: White Wizzard have proven again their apparent inability to maintain the same vocalist for long periods of time by announcing that they have split with singer Joseph Michael. It all happened in the middle of tour before a show in Cardiff, Wales. The band is giving one version of the story and Joseph Michael says something different happened. Meanwhile, White Wizzard secured singer Giles Lavery to do the rest of the tour.
Statement from White Wizzard: “White Wizzard want to release a brief statement on singer Joseph Michael. Last night in Cardiff Wales, Joseph Michael left a crowd of fans sitting in the venue waiting to see White Wizzard, sat in a pub across the street and refused to perform the show for extremely selfish reasons. The band soldiered on with Peter Ellis and Jon Leon handling vocals. It was hugely unprofessional on his part. Due to these actions, we have secured another singer for mainland Europe named Giles Lavery. Sadly, due to this any many other problems over the past several months, it is without question we must move on and immediately make a change. Joseph is making very false and erroneous claims on his Facebook site unfortunately about Jon and the band, but without getting into a war of words we will just simply say he is lying and making a desperate attempt to hurt the band and Jon to cover up his very unprofessional actions. The rest of us are determined to move on, and we all assure you we are united and everything is fine within the rest of the group. We will do our best to move on. See ya out there! Thanks for all the fans support last night and beyond.”
Joseph Michael also posted a message about the situation on his own personal Facebook page: “Here is the real story on White Wizzard. Jon has been stealing money from us. From indie gogo fund and out on tour and I called him out on it. He then fired me last night on the night off… Then announced that I was refusing to sing… It’s all lies… I was fired and he couldn’t find someone to sing so he begged me 5 minutes before they went on…”
“Jon Leon is a Con man and has not honored one word he has said since I have joined this band… After I sang on White Wizzard – Devil’s Cut he threatened to forbid Earache Records from releasing it with my vocals if I didn’t sign a new contract giving no rights and a far worse deal… After the work was done… If it wasn’t for Will Wallner and Jake Dreyer standing up to this criminal he would have left myself and filmmaker Don Adams stranded in the middle of nowhere… Jon Leon has paid for nothing on this trip and has acted a child the whole time. Please Do not let him rip you off if you purchased from Indie Go Go… Goodnight.”
The band later responded: “We want to re post a statement about the indie gogo that was posted before the tour. Due to the time constraints of the European tour and issues with a delay on the white baseball Ts we have had to wait until end of Europe to ship everything. Rest assured, everyone shall get what they ordered plus something extra for the wait. This takes time so please bare with. Do not believe any claims otherwise. Any guestlists will be honored on this tour. Just let the venue promotor know to check with us when you arrive or email us the day of show here. Don’t worry. Thanks again our fans are everything and we have no intentions of not fulfilling the indie gogo. Cheers and thanks again to everyone.”
The war of words continues on Facebook at this point if you want to follow. It’s ugly.