White Wizzard Reunite, Unveil New Lineup
White Wizzard was put to rest by founder and bassist Jon Leon last year. The band released four full length albums that worship old school traditional metal, but never-ending lineup changes plagued the band, among other issues. Now, they've reunited, recruiting former members from across different points of the band's career and are working on a new record.
"In the history of White Wizzard, it has always been an evolving entity. There has been one singer that has sang twice as many shows than any singer in the band, and to probably 10x the amount of people," begins a statement from the group.
"There were many tours where Wyatt Anderson backed out last minute due to personal reasons and this singer flew in and saved the day with two weeks to go and we never missed a beat. He's never gotten to record an album with White Wizzard, but he will now," the band continues, revealing, "Very happy to announce that ex-Cellador singer and our former touring singer Mikey Dean Gremio will be recording and fronting the band on its next album."
In praise of Gremio, the statement adds, "He never ever flaked on a show, and always gave his all in every performance and always knew the words and was prepared. Looking like the midwestern offspring of Ripper Owens and an old school outlaw country singer, Mikey is a versatile vocalist with an incredible range and depth."
Looking to the future, White Wizzard said, "We are very excited to see the results of Jon's vocal melody writing and Ralph Patlan's vocal production on a full length album with Mikey singing."
Joining Gremio and Leon in the new lineup is guitarist James J. LaRue, who played on White Wizzard's 2018 record, Infernal Overdrive, guitarist Will Wallner, who played on the 2013 effort The Devils Cut, and drummer Devin Lebsack, who performed on the band's "Marathon of Dreams" 2014 single.
Leon already has an "arsenal" of new material written and a Kickstarter campaign will be announced to coincide with the album's launch.
"We plan to be very active on social media. We will be doing a special Kickstarter for the album, and plan to post several updates and will be very engaged with fans in the entire process," said White Wizzard, extending their thanks to the band's supporters when stating, "Those of you worldwide that have stuck with us-our gratitude is endless, and we hope to keep building the fanbase and look forward to the next chapter. More to come..."
White Wizzard 2019 Lineup:
Mikey Dean Gremio - vocals
James J. LaRue - guitar
Will Wallner - guitar
Jon Leon - bass
Devin Lebsack - drums
Interview With Founder Jon Leon
White Wizzard persevered through constant lineup changes. What made you decide that it was time to disband completely last year?
As everyone knows, White Wizzard has always been an evolving entity. It was never planned that way, but irregardless that's how it's played out. Last year I was VERY proud of Infernal Overdrive. I put a lot into that album musically and felt it was our best yet.
LaRue laid all the lead guitars down on the record and we would talk for hours about it leading up to its release. We had VERY high expectations for it. Sometimes that's a trap because it can be a big let down if the album does not land with a huge explosion and you get a bit down about that.
We booked a few shows and played five dates. During that time playing the shows watching the labels plan and seeing a few things play out, I did not feel the album was getting the push we felt it deserved, and I felt for some other reasons I will not get into, that it was not really worth investing in trying to tour that lineup.
After those shows I went to the desert in Joshua Tree and we tried to secure an agent and book more shows in Europe so we could do London and a festival in Germany. We just ran into problems and a lack of confidence in the band due to its history and singers flaking on tours etc. It was becoming apparent I would have to go thousands out of pocket for plane tickets and travel/hotels etc. We just didn't have enough shows locked in. I had zero tour support.
It was a mirage of problems coupled with the fact I met another musician I felt a bond with and started writing in a different direction.
As the album was out a few weeks though it was well reviewed, I felt we had a misstep on the first track as though it was not written that way. It sounded a bit like "Painkiller" by Judas Priest. It caused a bit of hate and backlash. I felt the album didn't get taken as seriously as I felt it deserved to. Maybe I'm just gunshy from some of the attacks over the years and dismissing of the band. That shit will get to you and I think the entire culmination just made me want to run to another project.
I HATED canceling London, but it was down to finances and my assessment of the entire possibilities of that lineup in that state.
I was tired and burnt and ran to another project. I am still fully immersed in that project and recording next month. It's much more classic rock meets modern rock. I love it. It's very exciting. I'll have announcements on it soon.
What changed over the last year that made you want to reactivate White Wizzard? Did you try to pursue anything else in the meantime, music or otherwise?
Touching on that more yes that new project took me on a new adventure as a songwriter and I'm very happy with it. We are excited to finish the debut album.
I think with White Wizzard I just had so many song ideas that are just totally White Wizzard songs. It also bothers me that Infernal didn't do better. I think I feel in my soul there is just a lot left on the floor there. I think there are a lot of fans that have stick with me as a writer through all the changes and I feel in debt to them as well.
Really the idea took full swing when I thought more and more about offering the lead vocal gig to Mikey Gremio. A lot of people do not know this but he has sang over double the shows of ANY White Wizzard singer, yet has never recorded an album with us. Wyatt pulled out of many tours last minute due to his own personal reasons, and Mikey was the one that saved the day. He flew in with two weeks to go and off we went. He never flaked on a show and delivered every time live. That cannot be said about some other White Wizzard singers so I think he is the most dependable when it comes to live shows.
We had a two hour phone conversation and we are just on the same page man. We both have other projects. We love White Wizzard.
This time it's just -let's make the heaviest most badass White Wizzard album yet, expect it to do nothing and if it does, then great. We'll assess offers on festivals and shows and if they make sense okay! If not no big deal. It's kind of full circle to have Mikey do an album since he did so much live and I think the fan base will embrace it.
Was it important that you recruit members who had all played with the band before or was it coincidence?
Sure. The fans feel a connection and so do I. LaRue is amazing and he killed leads on the last record. He's the most underrated guitarist in the metal world. He deserves far more press and respect. I do not know why in a million years Holy Grail got rid of him, huge mistake in my opinion, but I'm thrilled to have him back in White Wizzard.
Will Wallner is the perfect compliment to LaRue. I LOVE his feel and I think he is a very very talented player. I think this will be the best two lead guitar attack in White Wizzard history, and one that rivals ANY in metal today.
Devin Lebsack rounds out on the drums and let me tell you he's the real deal. He was on the 2013 European tour that got cancelled so he got a first row seat to that drama fest. He's seen my struggle and loves the band. He slayed the drums on that tour and those that saw know. This is the strongest White Wizzard lineup ever and we are gonna bring it.
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