Meet the New Mushroomheads

  • Axl Rosenberg

First, so as to not bury the lede: Mushroomhead’s new vocalist is Steve Rauckhorst (Pitch Black Forest) and their new guitarist is Tommy “Tankx” Shaffner (VentanA). They replace Jeffrey Nothing and Tommy Church, who announced their respective departures from the band just one day apart and barely more than a week before the group’s next scheduled show and about a month before their next scheduled tour. Here is video of them making their live debut with the band. I sincerely hope Mushroomhead fans are satisfied with the switch.

Second, in a new statement, Mushroomhead’s turntablist/Disney cartoon star Stitch (né Richard Thomas) says that although the departure of Nothing and Church may have seemed abrupt, it was “not news to us” — the now-former Mushroomheads just “let the cat out of the bag… before a proper press release was made.”

Which would make me pretty cranky if I was a Mushroomhead devotee. I have no idea if anyone cares about Tommy Church or not, but Jeffrey Nothing co-founded the band, was its frontman, and was one of two members not ashamed to allowed to show his face onstage. I have to imagine him leaving is a big deal for most fans… and that being the case, I can’t think of any good reason why they would hold off on making that announcement until like right before the launch of their next tour. Like, if I went to see The Black Dahlia Murder and Max Lavelle had left the band and that line-up change hadn’t been announced beforehand, it wouldn’t bother me that much, ’cause as great as Max Lavelle is, BDM has survived a bassist change in the past. But if I went to see The Black Dahlia Murder and Trevor Strnad had been replaced and no one said anything prior to the show, I’d be furious.

So, with shows looming, why was there any hold-up on a “proper press release” announcing the departure of Nothing and Church?

I mean, I guess it could be because they were afraid it would hurt ticket sales so they tried to keep it quiet as long as possible, but I’m not nearly cynical enough to posit such a suggestion.

Stitch’s complete statement is below; upcoming Mushroomhead tour dates are somewhere else.

“I know a lot of you are angry and confused on the latest news, but this is not news to us. We were made aware that Jeff and Church were leaving and a plan was in motion to make a proper transition. They both decided to let the cat out of the bag on Facebook before a proper press release was made. This was not part of the plan discussed.

“I’m not going to explain or air out the bands personal business and I’m not going to engage in any smearing of the two members that have recently departed.

“I have been a Mushroomhead fan since 1994 and am honored to be a member of this band the last 17 years.

“None of you know what happens behind the scenes or how people’s personalities and involvement in the band changes as years go on. Your assumptions and negative comments are quite disheartening, this is why I truly hate this social media era — everyone gets to judge you before you even have a chance to figure out what to say.

“If I learned anything, it’s that Mushroomhead lives on no matter what and that is what we are doing right now.

“If there is ever a day that I step down, it will still continue without me. The replacements for both members have been in place for quite awile, the new singer was even endorsed by Mr. Nothing over a month ago.

“Both of these gentlemen are longtime friends of mine, they are talented musicians and have been in the mosh pits at Mushroomhead concerts since 1996. They are huge fans of the band and are going to breathe new life into Mushroomhead, carrying on its legacy into the next chapter. I’m very excited to be sharing the stage with them moving into the future.”

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