FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH has confirmed that it officially parted ways with guitarist Jason Hook back in February 2020, during the band's sold-out European arena tour.
After his recovery from emergency gallbladder surgery at the end of last year, Hook had to leave midway from the group's tour of Europe to address further complications.
Jason, who joined FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH in 2009, said about his exit from the band: "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," he continued. "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."
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH has released eight studio albums and two greatest-hits compilations in 13 years and toured relentlessly in between records. They are often called the "hardest-working band in the industry," with very little personal time left outside of the group. At Jason's suggestion, all parties came to a mutual agreement that it's best if he steps away from his rigorous band duties altogether. Consequently, Jason handed over the torch to the group's new lead guitarist, renowned British virtuoso Andy James, who is also featured on "Broken World", one of the five previously unreleased tracks on "Decade Of Destruction, Volume 2".
"Jason is an incredible guitar player so we had to find someone on the absolute top of their game," says FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH guitarist Zoltan Bathory. "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."
Adds FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH singer Ivan Moody: "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."
The band's most recent eighth studio album, "F8", was released earlier this year and boasts two No. 1 hits to date, "Inside Out" and "A Little Bit Off". "Living The Dream", the latest single from "F8", is already climbing the rock charts with an official video for the song expected to premiere globally Thursday, October 15.