Howard Jones Explains the Drummer Drama Behind Devil You Know’s Name Change to Light The Torch
Over the summer Devil You Know abruptly changed their name to Light The Torch. The band promised that “a full statement will be made soon,” but nothing came other than a vague explanation: “member issues and legalities.”
Vocalist Howard Jones has finally shed some light on why the band changed their name: member issues and legalities, indeed! The whole story is, of course, much more complex than that and involves ex-drummer John Sankey, who allegedly asked to be bought out of his share in the name after leaving the band but ultimately refused to sell even when the band met his asking price. Explains Jones in a recent episode of The Jasta Show [transcribed by The PRP]:
“First off, it sucks to have to go through all this. I mean this goes without saying. I mean dropping incorporated stuff and trademarks…
At the same time it’s a band name so you’re not thinking… ‘Alright, no big deal, whatever,’ except that [the] record label have spent a lot of money promoting you, they spent a lot of money on the album, you spent a lot of time and effort on it. But we kind of had to do it.
Without going deep—because, I mean I don’t have social media because I really don’t care to tell my business to people—However, there’s really no way to avoid not telling to some extent what happened.
So it basically goes down like this. A lot of things that led up to… Let’s see, like, the summer of last year. It had got to the point where our drummer [John Sankey]—there was a lot of issues. He had been… We had had some fill-in drummers because we were just trying to deal with some internal stuff.”
“He wasn’t out of the band at the time… We had some fill-in drummers because we were trying to deal with internal stuff. And then… Should I just go to the email chain and read this? ‘Cause it would be a lot easier.”
“I’ll simplify it, god cause I hate talking, you know I don’t care about talking about stuff like this.”
“Here it is, it’s like OK, we were having troubles with him and he was doing stuff. So we’re like: ‘Okay, well we’re gonna get a fill-in drummer, deal with what you need to deal with, but things are getting weird, but we gotta keep touring.’
So we gotta kept touring. Then we fired him. And we had to fire him by email because we just couldn’t reach him. We fired him and then it’s like: ‘Look, we got this tour coming up, we’re going to have to make an announcement that we need a new drummer.
So he then proceeded to email and said: ‘No, you can’t put that up without it going through me or my attorney first.’ So we fired him on the 22nd and on the 24th he put out a press release on PRP or whatever [see that statement here,] saying that he had decided to step down and move back. Nah, you got fired man.
And we just sat on it for a year because we didn’t want drama. So a year later we are still dealing with this guy trying to buy out his portion, because he had a portion of the name just like all of us, so we tried to buy his portion, he came up with a figure, we said ‘alright, we’ll cut a check.’…”
He later added:
“It was just the fact that… We were to the point where we had to fire him. Because just everything had acculumated. But then, when he put out a press release [a couple days later] that he stepped down and was like ‘Now I’m gonna focus on the festival’ [at the time Sankey was involved with the failed ‘Legion Music Fest‘] it was like: ‘Dude that’s not how it went down.’ So we just didn’t say anything because I just don’t care about drama. The last thing I’m gonna do is a press release, when do you see me put out a press release?”
After some discussion, he went on to add:
“Just the fact that he put out that press release and it was just so much false information and it kept going a year later. And it was finally like: ‘Dude, we’ll buy you out, what number?’ He gave a number, ‘Alright, we’ll cut a check’, he then said ‘Nah I don’t think so, I want to keep hold of it.’
It’s not that… We could have kept using the name, but just not with him. And it’s not a matter of percentage, it’s like if Fran [Francesco Artusato] left the band I’d give him his percentage because that’s him, it’s fine. But it’s just, there was just too much.”
So there you have it. Now that this information is out in the open we’re sure Sankey has his own version of events to add to the conversation, on top of what he stated back when it all went down. We’ll just have to wait and see if he still cares enough to share it publicly, and we’ll keep you posted if he does.