But the bassist has vowed he’ll keep moving forward, and that will be his “revenge” on his former colleagues.
The collapse began at the weekend when Leon announced that singer Joseph Michael had been fired after refusing to perform a show on their UK tour. Michael lashed back, saying he’d been dismissed the night before, and accused the mainman of acting “like a child”.
Despite discussions with a stand-in singer, the US NWOHBM-fuelled outfit abandoned their tour and went home. Since then, guitarists Jake Dreyer and Will Warner and drummer Giovanni Durst have resigned from the band.
It’s the second time that’s happened. In 2008, James-Paul Luna, James LaRue and Tyler Meahl from the original line-up abandoned Leon and formed their own outfit, Holy Grail.
Warner says in a statement (via Bravewords): “We had a great live chemistry and for a brief moment I believed the band could have done something. As proud as I am of the music we created I am equally pissed at how the tour and band ended.”
Separately, Durst comments: “I am sad to announce my retirement from White Wizzard. I had no more interest in pursuing my career with them because lately I felt like my integrity as a musician got compromised.”
Now Leon, who’s just split with record label Earache, has released his own statement in which he says: “White Wizzard is my band. I have put my heart and soul into it since I started it. I respect the talents of the musicians that have been in this band I have brought in – but when it comes to the serious shit, artistic and business side, it’s my way or the highway. Always has been, always will.
“Now what has happened yet again is, after I gave guys an opportunity, wrote an entire album and brought them into the project I worked my ass off to create, as soon as they are in the band they get a sense of entitlement. Egos skyrocket after the album comes out, they forget who made it all happen, don’t listen to me any more, try and take over or think they should be handed the keys to every aspect of the band.
“Once I stand my ground, everyone else gets stuck in the middle and try everything, from trying to sneak to the label to undermine me by trying to work their own deal. When they realise it’s not going to work, they throw a fucking grenade into the whole thing.
“Then they go call me a scam artist or complain they didn’t get what they wanted or what they think they were supposed to get.”
Leon insists there’s no money to be made from the band, and he’s actually lost $50,000 over the past five years. He responded to criticisms from fan who donated money via an Indiegogo campaign but didn’t receive what they were expecting, by saying they’ll get everything they were waiting for plus a bonus gift by way of thanks.
He admits: “I am not the best at managing people and keeping emotions in check, or detailed organisation of the mundane side of things. I have always needed a hands-on manager and team.
But these few egomaniacs over the past few years have fucked it up for everyone else.
“The last two days have been full of lies and spin by two of the most recent guys. My best revenge is keep on writing, growing and making music I am proud of. In time the truth will find its way.
“I bought the ticket and plan on finishing the ride.”
White Wizzard’s third full-length album, The Devil’s Cut, was released earlier this year.