Flaw has fired guitarist/bassist Tommy Gibbons. The move comes in light of the band’s recent plagiarism scandal, wherein they were accused of lifting five nearly full songs on their latest album, VOL IV: Because Of The Brave.
“It is with a heavy heart I have to announce that we have parted ways with guitarist/bassist Tommy Gibbons,” begins a statement made by frontman Chris Volz via Facebook.
“I know most of you have seen the bad press over the past few weeks and know the situation I have been put in, I really had no choice but to let him go. I can not [sic] and will not tolerate unauthorized use of any artists material whatsoever, no matter the excuse.”
Volz goes on to note the importance of integrity and how this “misuse of other people’s material” is unacceptable, but that he’s not going to let it ruin what the band has accomplished so far.
“I have worked too hard and sacrificed too much for the past 20 years to let anyone ruin that. Flaw will persevere through this and we will come out stronger in the end.”
News of the scandal first broke in mid-September when metal musician and YouTuber Douglas Pattrick accused the band of plagiarizing parts of his song “KoЯn style Nu Metal/Rap Metal/Beat Instrumental 14” for their song “Wake Up.” The accusation was followed by a statement from Volz claiming that he had not known about the plagiarism and was looking into what happened, focusing in on one unnamed band member. A little over a week later, it came to light that the band had lifted four more songs; another from Pattrick (“KoЯn style Nu Metal/Rap Metal/Beat Instrumental 22,” used for their song “Persistence”), two from a creative collective called Sound For Production [featuring Antoine Binant and Julien Ranouil] (“Electro Metal Trailer,” used for their song “On Your Feet,” and “Intensity Metal Signal,” used for their song “Sign Of The Times”) that were found by a listener using Shazam, and one from Riff Master T (“Nu Metal Instrumental 2,” used for their song “Conquer This Climb”) that they purchased for legal use. Volz said in his original statement that he reached out to Pattrick, however it is unknown whether the band has paid for any of these tracks other than Riff Master T’s.
Though originally unnamed, it turned out that Gibbons had practically gave himself away as the culprit less than a month earlier. In a Facebook post from August 25, the guitarist claimed to have written “Persistence,” one of the songs found to be plagiarized. In response, Gibbons took to social media earlier this month to explain himself, saying that he has been re-recording other artists’ work for years and blaming his errors on poor labeling. “These are things I re-recorded years ago and did not label where they actually came from,” reads the statement in part.
“This is where I went terribly wrong. I took the tracks I re-recorded not knowing their true original source and presented them to Chris which in turn he worked tirelessly to write and record original lyrics and vocals to. He entrusted me with something that I thought I was going to truly impress him with and I let him down.”
The statement continues:
“I take full and all responsibility for the accusations and bad press that has been flooding social media recently. None of the other band members had any knowledge or reason to believe these songs were written by anyone else, they are free and clear of any responsibility or wrongdoing. To all my friends and fans, I want you to know that this was a royal mistake on my part, and by no means did I intentionally try to steal or plagiarize any other musicians music.
We wish Tommy the best in his future endeavors and hope he has learned a valuable lesson from all of this. He’s not a bad guy and is an amazing string player so I hope he can realize the severity of his actions, correct this behavior, make it right with all parties involved, and move on. I can not [sic] in good conscience continue to work with him or have him as a representative of the Flaw crew.”
With Gibbons now released from the band, Volz is currently seeking a new bassist and is putting out the call to anyone interested. He concludes his statement:
“We are currently accepting video auditions for a new bassist, please send video of live performance play-a-long to our songs ‘Payback‘ and ‘Whole‘ to: [email protected] (my name without the ‘i’) and we will get back to you for a full physical audition. Thank you all for your understanding during this difficult time and we can’t wait to see you all soon on the next tour!”
Gibbons has not yet responded to his firing.
Flaw released Vol. IV: Because Of The Brave on July 19. A video for “Conquer This Climb” was released in 2018 with the help of Stephen Colbert and the tour van he gifted them.