Insert boos here (and I mean for the circumstance and not for my stating them).
OK so WOW! If ever there was a reason for this “Heavy Metal Holy Sh*t” Category it would be this occurrence. For the few short years that I have been a music journalist and man on the Metal scene, I have found the band Kamelot to be one of my very favorites. I first went to see them as a “favor” to a label friend who needed an interview and I dragged a buddy along. Since that time I have done my best to not miss a regional appearance if at all possible. They were one of the bands that made me feel that this adventure of mine was not as much work as it often seemed to be. So where we were. Okay, to continue.
Roy Khan with Kamelot in NYC (2008)
In the almost Fall of 2010 the group had finally booked a US Tour after massive festival appearances and this had a stop in NYC over at the Nokia Theatre (which has since been rechristened the Best Buy Theater). The band was going to use this show as a celebration of their new album “Poetry For The Poisoned” and the tour was to also feature Leaves Eyes, Blackguard and another band that I cannot recall at this time. As the date closed in on the fans and tickets were almost completely sold out the news came up that Khan had fallen ill and was not going to be making the tour. The announcements came quickly from founding guitarist Thomas Youngblood who stated that Kamelot would press on just the same and employ the talents of Michael Eriksen from the Norwegian band Circus Maximus. The singer performed at one gig, which was the ProgPower USA event in Georgia and then the sad news about the entire tour being cancelled came to pass.
That sucked. It was terrible for fans, but it was also terrible for all the people that earn their living doing the tours like this as now they had free time and would need to scramble to recoup the lost earnings. Of course on the upside the band told us that they would return when Khan was feeling better and then give us the show of a lifetime. Well, something like that was going around. Fast forward a few months.
Khan with Kamelot in NYC (2007)
Very early in 2011 the new dates for a Kamelot US Tour were announced and this time around the band was going to be playing at Gramercy Theatre as opposed to the Best Buy Theater and that struck me as odd because the spaces are vastly different in terms of how many bodies fit inside them. Best Buy holds around 2200 while Gramercy hits capacity at 650. Then the worst part of the news was announced.
“Khan would be missing this tour as he was still ill”
What? This makes no sense! How is he still ill after many months of rest and just what the hell was plaguing the singer? His fans wanted to know but no one seemed to be talking. The world had lost Ronnie James Dio to cancer and Peter Steele to a heart attack last year and only recently Nergal from Behemoth was fighting leukemia so I had to admit that the thoughts going on in the minds of the Metal Republic were nothing short of grim. Fortunately more news came to pass from the ProgPower USA Promoter Glen Harveston who released his thoughts across the interwebs about the whole situation. I’ve pasted some of this here for your eager eyes so read on:
I 100% agree that Roy was and is an integral part of Kamelot’s success over the past 12 years. However, the band has been backed into a corner with no easy way out. The band has done everything in its power to accommodate Roy despite his abrupt decision to pull out of everything and cause all members to lose a substantial amount of money. They have given him multiple options in regards to returning and continuing the band. Need a year? No problem. Need two years? No problem. Just give us something so we can schedule and confirm things. *Silence*
It’s not happening. Khan is not in coma or mental institution screaming “BURNOUT!!!.” He has simply found religion and the music world is just a distant memory now. The band is no longer his priority. I may take some heat for this, but I don’t think the fans are either at the moment. If they were, he would issue a statement clarifying things so that grieving process for his fans could commence and eventually complete. Could that change in a few years? Absolutely. However, it may not. Fans need to accept that and move on. Is the band suppose to simply wait on the sidelines indefinitely in the meantime and see all their efforts wasted?
I didn’t notice any flack being tossed at Harveston for making such a statement so perhaps there were solid elements of truth to it. It made sense to many that he would have an insider’s look to the band after having been so much a part of their success in this part of the world. Either way that you looked at it, this information sucked as far as I was concerned for the Kamelot camp. This statement was soon followed by the news that Khan had indeed quit the Kamelot lineup and that they would continue on with another singer in his place once a suitable replacement had been found. For the duration they would do their US Tour with Fabio Leone of the band Rhapsody Of Fire. What???? I’m going to toss my own views out now because while I love what Fabio can do as a singer, there is no way that he is a suitable fill in or maybe even an eventual replacement for Khan right? I guess only time will tell and I made sure to mark down this date for the concert so I can check it out for myself. I would be lying to you if I didn’t mention that this news really depressed me because I totally enjoyed how Khan worked in this band and just how magical the whole thing seemed with him at the microphone. If religious pursuits were really the culprit of his leaving that made no sense to me since Kamelot was not singing about the kind of things that a band like Gorgoroth did and while mystical in some sense were hardly blasphemous. If he truly burned out from the pace then I wish him the best of health and thank him for his years of amazing contributions to a band I list as a favorite. He shall be missed for sure. Sigh.
Even though this is new and disturbing news to the fans of Kamelot we also have to remember that he was the second singer in the band and that often these things are never permanent. Dickinson and Halford left Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and now are back in command of those bands so who knows. Rock and Roll is a very interesting thing and always seems to surprise us with all of its happenings. At this stage of the game I do not think that Thomas Youngblood, Casey Grillo, Oliver Palotai and Sean Tibbetts will let us down and instead hold a steady course and deliver us a kick ass Metal show. Good luck guys just the same.
Check out the Kamelot coverage on PiercingMetal’s core site HERE.