Former NEVERMORE and current ARCH ENEMY guitarist Jeff Loomis has joined Graham Bonnet’s version of ALCATRAZZ.
Bonnet announced Loomis’s addition to the band in a statement yesterday, saying: “The cat’s out of the bag! It is with tremendous pride and excitement that I am announcing that Jeff Loomis is officially the new guitar player of GRAHAM BONNET’S ALCATRAZZ. Jeff is a power-house of a musician, a brilliant writer and a great guy. His skills are unparalleled and I am thrilled at the prospect of recreating the magic of the early days of ALCATRAZZ but with a modern, heavier sound.
“When I first heard Jeff, I was astonished by his technique coupled with his great feel and incredible melodies. You can have a little taste of it on the upcoming GRAHAM BONNET BAND album as Jeff is one of our guests.
“Just to be clear, Jeff is still an active member of ARCH ENEMY as I am still with the GRAHAM BONNET BAND. More news coming soon.”
Jeff commented: “I’m super excited to be working with Graham Bonnet. I’ve been a longtime fan of his vocals and lyrics for many years, and it’s going to be an honor to craft some amazing music together and play some select live shows.
“I want to let you all know I’m still a very active member of ARCH ENEMY and will be seeing you all on the road very soon with them.”
Graham’s version of ALCATRAZZ is not the same band as the one featuring original members Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea, along with singer Doogie White, drummer Mark Benquechea and guitarist Joe Stump, who just released a new single, “Turn Of The Wheel”.
The “Turn Of The Wheel” single dropped six months after Waldo, Stump, Shea and Benquechea issued a statement saying that they would be joined by White for all their 2021 touring.
Not long after, Bonnet released a statement via his social media in which he said that he “will still be recording and performing with ALCATRAZZ. I am the founder and main songwriter and have been since the band’s inception in ’83.” He added that he will “be announcing the incredible new ALCATRAZZ lineup in the spring” and promised to take the new band on the road.
Bonnet’s comments naturally created confusion within ALCATRAZZ’s fan base, prompting him to issue a follow-up statement explaining his position.
Graham wrote: “When my manager resigned in June , I asked the band collectively if they would be interested in touring to support the new album. They informed me that they were only interested in touring if my former manager was included. No one was ‘fired,’ we just parted ways. As that signaled the end of this version of ALCATRAZZ, I immediately began to seek new players for yet another new ALCATRAZZ line-up.
“I have performed with other versions of ALCATRAZZ since the demise of the original band, this was just the first time I played with any original members and the first time I recorded using the name ALCATRAZZ. The day my manager resigned, he also removed me as admin of the ‘Graham Bonnet and ALCATRAZZ’ band FB page so I was unable to let fans know what was happening until recently when FB returned my page.
“The first misunderstanding happened when I posted on the band page that ‘Graham Bonnet and ALCATRAZZ’ were no longer associated with Giles Lavery management. When I said that, I wasn’t referring to the recent line-up. They had already informed me months earlier that they would only tour with my former manager and to me, that meant that they had quit. My reference was to my new version of ALCATRAZZ. I have no plans to relinquish the name ALCATRAZZ and I expect that they don’t either. This is an old story, bands break up and there becomes two versions. I’m not bothered by it. I’ve toured with Doogie the past few years with [MICHAEL] SCHENKER FEST and he is a good friend and a damn fine performer. In my opinion, there is no such thing as too much music. People can listen to one or the other or both versions and choose whatever they like. I’m not interested in squabbling over a name, I’d rather just make music.”
Waldo, Stump, Shea and Benquechea’s version of ALCATRAZZ has launched a Facebook page where they will be posting all their updated from now on.