Tuesday, June 22, 2010
BLOG POST: What's the beef between Holy Grail and White Wizzard all about?
Question: Hi, I have been a fan of White Wizzard from the High Speed GTO video, which contains original singer Luna, and i also personally like the new White Wizzard clip Over The Top aswell, which is even better. I know Luna is now in Holy Grail and he has a beef against White Wizzard. I would like to know what happened to cause the war of words between Holy Grail and White Wizzard?
Answer: It's just local band rivalry really, sparked by the spotlight which is slowly coming on both bands, in fact both bands just played Download festival in UK, and the bad blood was evident, even though both bands were backstage at the famous Donington - home of the Monsters of Rock in the 80's, I don't think the bands spoke much.
White Wizzard's mainman and chief songwriter has always been bassist Jon Leon, and his search for the perfect musicians to give voice to his vision of playing Classic-era Heavy Metal has led him through 3 different band line-ups so far.
But first a quick history lesson- Jon Leon and James Luna's roots go back to Los Angeles Hard Rock band Jetfuel, which was a fairly average band but were notable for their mutual love of playing classic- era Hard Rock, as opposed to the deathy-inspired modern metal which has prevailed since the turn of the 90s.
Heres a young Jon and Luna in the clip for Beat Paradise (2007)
Jetfuel disbanded, soon regrouping with Jon around the moniker White Wizzard. Jon also shifted the songwriting to be more straight up early Heavy Metal influenced, and the band quickly recorded a 7 song EP, which they self-released in 2007 as 50 hand burnt CDRs, complete with specially commissioned Derek Riggs artwork, with the intention of hoping to attract the attention of labels.
Jon Leon explains the transition:
"Jet Fuel was an LA band and I actually joined them in Los Angeles and that band was near it's end, because of a beef between Luna and the founder (guitar player in beat parasite video named Chris Naab). He had a bunch of issues with Luna and the band split because of those issues right after that video was shot.
I was already working on some songs for what would become WW, and I contacted James and Tyler to come listen to some demos a couple months after that band split, because we got on well back then and I thought James had alot of talent and I felt it could be a good fit.
They listened to them, liked them and I hunted for a guitar player....and I found James Larue on craigslist and auditioned him 1 on 1 a couple times.
Then through some rehearsals I set up, line up 1 was born and we recorded the songs 2 months later of which became high speed GTO"
Unhappily for the band, no labels were interested,so they could hardly score any gigs, and for the 2007-8 period, White Wizzard languished in the doldrums. With no outside interest the band looked destined to follow the fate of most young hopefuls - ie a short career, before disbanding back into obscurity.
That was until Earache happened across the band in mid 2008, during our search for up and coming Heavy Metal acts to showcase on a new compilation we were planning, which led to the song High Speed GTO being a last minute addition to Various Artists :'Heavy Metal Killers' in Jan 2009.It was so last minute, it didn't even make it onto the advance promotional copies of that album.
During the discussions for the sampler, we learned the unhappy news- Luna replied that White Wizzard had recently dissolved and he was soon to begin working with some of the ex-members on an as yet unnamed new project - this became known as Sorceror a few months later.
Earache held talks with Luna and Jon at the same time, and I strongly suggested they reform the band back to the High Speed GTO line up and carry on with label backing. The pair of them had become too estranged by that point, and had developed very different visions about their future musical paths. We quickly formed the opinion that we'd sign Jon Leon as he was the chief songwriter and visionary, and indeed was holding the White Wizzard name and rights. Plus, Jon convinced us that he could easily pick up the pieces and recruit a new singer and guitarist, recruiting rookie screamer Wyatt Anderson from Florida and Erik Klieber from Detroit (ex-Overloaded) on guitar in record time, and even demoed 3 brand new songs to prove his intent.
This led to Earache signing White Wizzard to a long-term recording deal.We most probably would have signed James Luna's outfit too, but because he had no music or even band name, it seemed better to wait.When he found out we had decided to sign White Wizzard, Luna flipped out- he tried to sabotage the pending White Wizzard deal by sending me scandalous emails full of misinformation about Jon, which was pretty dumb.
Because he was the more web-savvy member, Luna held the log in details for their official website. After the split, Luna refused to hand over the domain registration info for the site whitewizzard.com, instead using it to promote his new outfit .To this day it displays a holding page dedicated to his band HOLY GRAIL.
This is the origin of the bad blood.
Within 6 months Luna had changed Sorceror to Holy Grail and then scored a deal themselves with LA's Prosthetic label. Holy Grail music is a more thrashy style of modern metal, with HM touches,its quite removed from where White Wizzard is at, musically.
White Wizzard Mk 3 was born after Wyatt and Erik - who played on the Over The Top album -both left to persue different paths, leaving Jon to recruit new members once again. In June 2010 it was announced that ex-Cellador (Metal Blade Power Metal act 2005-7) screamer Mike Gremio and rookie guitarist Lewis Stephans had come into the fold, they performed their first show at Download festival 2010.
Heres new White Wizzard line up, June 2010.