Jeff Loomis and Van Williams’ departure from Nevermore surprised many in the metal community. Since then, singer Warrel Dane has been the most vocal about the split, while Williams broke his silence to respond to Dane’s less than kind words about him. However, until today, we had not heard a word from Loomis about the situation. That’s why it’s a big deal that Loomis spoke his mind his first interview since leaving Nevermore with Metal Sucks.
And Metal Sucks took no time to get straight to the point. When asking straight up what happened with Nevermore from his perspective, Loomis replied with the lengthy explanation:
“Van and I started discussing leaving Nevermore when we were on our last tour with Symphony X in Europe. Obviously, as everyone knows, Nevermore had been together since 1993, and we were very happy for many years. I think that over a period of time, with excessive touring and doing records together, we just got burnt out from one another. There were also many issues with drinking and alcohol abuse [my own] included. I’m not out to do interviews about the end of Nevermore and just zero out particular people in the band, that would be wrong and false information anyway.
We were on the last leg of the Symphony X tour and Van and I had a talk with Warrel backstage and we told him we didn’t want to continue on with the next tour with Symphony X in the States. We wanted to take some time and regroup, so to speak, and wait for Jim to come back, since he was recovering from brain surgery. Warrel really did not like that idea, but Van and I stuck with it, thinking it was a smart move to maybe start fresh at a later date. All hell kind of broke from that [discussion], because the concert promoter [in the U.S.] got pissed off, and I heard through the grapevine that we might get sued because of it. That’s pretty much when Van and I issued a statement that we were going to depart from the band.
I really just had had enough at the end. I want to do different things musically, and I think it was just better that we left. It was quite amazing, though, with all the response we got from our fans. It’s really nice to know that we affected so many people in a positive way with our music.”
Loomis also admitted that the band’s problems health-wise, including bassist Jim Sheppard’s recent health battles, took a toll on them as well. The guitarist was then asked about the recent exchange of words between Dane and Williams, and whether it was true that the singer first found out about the split via the internet:
“Yeah, when I read [what Warrel said about Van] I was really bummed. I’ve known Warrel for twenty years now, and still, to this day, I sometimes can’t figure him out. He has known Van for almost twenty years as well, and to say something like that is really sad, especially after the numerous tours and records we have done together. Van is the kind of guy that speaks what he believes in. He is from New York and he is my best buddy. When certain issues would come up in the band, he never had a problem holding back his thoughts, and I don’t think Warrel liked that very much.
A lot of that started about five or six years ago when we used to get paid through Warrel and Jim. This sucked really bad for many reasons. Number one, you shouldn’t be getting paid by other band members, especially when you’re in a signed band. Van and I ended up going to our manager and lawyer to get paid through them. Equal split four ways. It’s so simple. This bothered Warrel and Jim quite a bit. For some reason, Jim had always thought he was our “manager,” and the one that could get things done.This actually worked for a while, but in the long run, it really didn’t. I wish he would had just stuck to playing his bass at those times, because it ended up not being a good thing at all. I think Warrel might have heard prior to the Internet [reports] that Van and I wanted to leave, but you know, I can’t be certain.”
It’s actually really interesting to hear Loomis’ last comment. For the most part, the focus has been aimed at the tension between Loomis/Williams and Dane. Now, though, Loomis highlights tension between Sheppard as well. It’s also interesting to hear Loomis admitting the band’s issues with alcohol abuse, which echoes Dane’s first statement regarding the split.
You can read the rest of Metal Sucks’ interview with Jeff Loomis, where he also discusses his upcoming solo album and hopes to tour behind it. Loomis and Williams’ split from Nevermore may have come out of the blue (though obviously has been building up over time), but the drama surrounding it will likely never end.