White Wizzard Drama Alert!
It’s been a good while since there’s been any drama worth reporting in the White Wizzard camp. But it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that there’s all sorts of trouble percolating right this second! And it’s happening right in the middle of a tour. There are all sorts of accusations flying around (publicly, of course) involving stealing money from the band’s Indiegogo account, pre-show melt-downs, allegations of stealing a fan’s backpack, Jon Leon’s stinky butt and more. As usual it’s a tangled mess of “he said” and “she said,” so let’s take a few minutes and try and parse it all. This is a good one!
First, take a quick glance at this gargantuan chart (for a five year old band) marking White Wizzard’s past and current membership. Its contents are immaterial; just please note that there are lots of different lines and colors and stuff and that’s really all you need to know about White Wizzard:
And now for the news: Joseph Michael — who has been with the band for a whopping year and a half, an eternity in White Wizzard years — is out of the band. He claims to have been fired from the band mid-tour in England and is currently stranded there with no way home, although he’s been posting up a storm on Facebook to pass the time. It’s also possible that guitarist Jake Dreyer has quit the band, although we’re not sure yet — more on that in a bit. Here’s what Michael posted yesterday:
Here is the real story on White Wizzard
Jon has been stealing money from us . From indie gogo fund and out on tour and i called him out on it.
He then fired me last night on the night off…
Then announced that i was refusing to sing… It’s all lies…
I was fired and he couldnt find someone to sing so he begged me 5 minutes before they went on…
Jon Leon is a Con man and has not honored one word he has said since i have joined this band… After i sang on White Wizzard – Devil’s Cut he threatened to forbid Earache Records from releasing it with my vocals if i didn’t sign a new contract giving no rights and a far worse deal..After the work was done…
Jon Leon has paid for nothing on this trip and has acted a child the whole time. Please Do not Let him rip you off if you Purchased From Indie Go Go… Goodnight
Here’s the band’s official response, also via Facebook, which doesn’t address Michael’s claims directly other than to generally call him a liar:
White Wizzard want to release a brief statement on singer Joseph Michael. Last night in Cardiff Wales, Joseph Michael left a crowd of fans sitting in the venue waiting to see White Wizzard, sat in a pub across the street and refused to perform the show for extremely selfish reasons. The band soldiered on with Peter Ellis and Jon Leon handling vocals. It was hugely unprofessional on his part. Due to these actions, we have secured another singer for mainland europe named Giles Lavery. Sadly, due to this any many other problems over the past several months, it is without question we must move on and immediately make a change. Joseph is making very false and erroneous claims on his facebook site unfortunately about Jon and the band, but without getting into a war of words we will just simply say he is lying and making a desperate attempt to hurt the band and Jon to cover up his very unprofessional actions. The rest of us are determined to move on, and we all assure you we are united and everything is fine within the rest of the group. We will do our best to move on. See ya out there! Thanks for all the fans support last night and beyond.
But of course there’s more to it than that, since “Member Quits / Was Fired From Band” would be way too simple for the soap opera that has become White Wizzard! Apparently a fan in England named Charlotte Croucher lost her bag at a White Wizzard show last week and Joseph Michael somehow ended up with it. Jon Leon / White Wizzard claims Michael stole it and was holding onto it as ransom because of his feud with the band while Michael claims he made every effort to get it back to her but had difficulty coordinating the logistics because of his ouster from the band. Croucher traveled to a show in Cardiff from her home in Brighton expecting to get it back, but since Michael was no longer in the band anymore he wasn’t there. At the time he was on a bus without WiFi trying to make his way home and was unable to contact anyone about it.
Reading between the lines here I’m inclined to believe Michael on the bag-stealing issue. Given White Wizzard’s turbulent past and Jon Leon’s attempts to smear all past members of the band it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine a situation in which Leon tried to make Michael look bad even though he was trying to return the bag. Several posts on Michael’s Facebook page including this one and this one would seem to indicate that Michael is genuinely frustrated by misinterpretation of his earnest efforts to return the bag. That said, who knows? I also get the vibe that at some point Michael realized he was in possession of a valuable asset and may have attempted to use that as leverage against Leon. A post on WW’s Facebook page claims that Michael only turned it over when confronted, and that guitarist Will Walner somehow got the bag back from him and returned it to Croucher. As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in between what both sides are claiming.
Here is a statement that Joseph Michael made exclusively to MetalSucks (edited slightly for clarity):
I did not quit White Wizzard. Though the night of the cardiff show i was not a member of the band. I was fired for calling Jon out on theft/embezzlement. It was a career decision to not be associated with his Pyramid Scheme of a band anymore after i was fired. When he begged me to rejoin before the cardiff show i was under no obligation to do so… Then the attacks and lies on the WW page saying i left a venue full of screaming fans. That is not true. I was there because there is only one car for the tour due to Jon Leon a 45 year old man not having a credit card to rent the 2nd necessary car. I even messaged Peter Ellis that morning that i was no longer in the band and that he might want to sing the set so Will Wallner could be paid back some of the money he fronted. Jon did not front a dime… Will and Jake fronted 4k. I offered a credit card. Jon has not fulfilled indie gogo and instead spent all the money on a ton of shirts that were not sold… He did this the last tour… and just keeps rolling the profits over and pocketing them. As it stands the indie gogo will not be fulfilled unless Jake, Will or jon go out of pocket. Will has done a general accounting of the books and last time we counted we are missing close to 1k… BTW… The merch for IGG is complete crap… He even intends on the derek riggs cd’s being cheap cdr’s and stickers on the labels… Paraphrase all this… this is just the tip… Don Adams was also left stranded as he came out her to do a WW Documentary in europe on his own dime… We did a vid for strike the iron that i will post against jon’s wishes as don spent 2k on that… Don adams is an editor on the new movie fright night two… Jon doesnt want to post in because GIO is in it.. and after sending GIO shit and cock pics and ripping gio off among other things gio quit…
PS JAKE DREYER JUST FLEW HOME… at least that is what will wallner just told me.
So that’s it for now! Crazy stuff! I’m sure there will be more any minute now as the story simmers throughout the Internet. With regards to Jake Dreyer, we’ll update you as soon as we have more info.
Oh yeah, some guy names Giles Lavery is filling in on vocals for the rest of White Wizzard’s tour. As if anyone gives a shit. No disrespect to the guy, who I’m sure is a talented singer. Welcome to the circus, bro, I’ll be here right behind the baton-twirling monkeys waiting for the next trick.