After a period of speculation, it has been confirmed that Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Jason Hook has officially departed the group.
Earlier this week, Hook took to Instagram to post a short video, in which he explained he’d been issued a gag order and can’t discuss the details of his departure. Soon after it was uploaded, however, it was removed from the internet. Despite the gag order, Hook did confirm he is no longer in the band. “I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to all of the fans of Five Finger Death Punch for all of the messages that you’ve been sending me about you know what,” he said in the video. “I’ve kinda been issued a gag order, so I’m not saying anything. But I’m very excited about the things I’m working on and I’m looking forward to sharing them with everybody.”
He also confirmed that “when the time is right there will be a mutually agreed on press release between me and my guys and that’s it.”
Speaking of his upcoming solo releases, he set out that: “I don’t expect to make money, I don’t expect to climb the top of charts. I didn’t care about any of that. The music business is sort of in the toilet, so it’s not really about that anymore. It’s just about getting off on it and getting fired up and creating something that’s exciting for me and hopefully translates to be exciting for you.”
In February this year, while touring in support of the band’s latest record F8, it was announced that Hook would sit out the remaining dates, being replaced by guitarist Andy James. The speculation about Hook’s permanent replacement began when press photos of the band started to feature James in place of Hook, such as the band’s celebratory photo as their Instagram account reached a million followers, or their cover photo on Spotify’s official Kickass Metal playlist.
Today, the “mutually agreed on press release,” has arrived, officially confirming his departure.
In it, Hook says: “I have had the pleasure of meeting so many of you in person. Thank you for the endless stories of how our music has touched your heart in some way! But the best part of being on tour the last 12 years, by far, has been playing my guitar and seeing the joy on your faces every night. I will miss that more than anything. As far the reason I’m leaving…well, there really isn’t just one. I’ve been in bands my entire life and I feel like I’ve done all the good that I can here. It’s time to pass the baton and move on to new challenges.”
Vocalist Ivan Moody said: “I just congratulated Jason on his recent wedding, and I hope he finds peace and happiness. As for us, I’m really excited to keep working with Andy and I just can’t wait for this Covid madness to be over so we can go back out on the road.”
Guitarist Zoltan Bathory added of James’ arrival: “Jason is an incredible guitar player so we had to find someone on the absolute top of their game. Someone like Andy James who was already a well-known virtuoso and had the chops to step into Jason’s shoes. Andy completed our European Tour with us back in February so he was already tried by fire. We instantly clicked both musically and personally so he was the obvious choice. We even have the same birthday… Some things are just meant to be.”
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