As if this year hasn’t been crazy enough already, Five Finger Death Punch have parted company with guitarist Jason Hook.
OK, so that's not massive headline news compared to everything else that’s gone on, but it’s still a big deal given that Hook has been part of the band since 2009’s War Is The Answer.
Rumours began to circulate that Hook was out when the band shared a photograph to mark one million Instagram followers. The photo featured guitarist Andy James, who stood in for Hook on FFDP’s European tour earlier in 2020 after the latter recovered from gall bladder surgery.
Hook seemingly confirmed his departure a few days ago with a now-deleted Instagram post that he was no longer in a band – but a “gag order” prevented him from talking about it.
“I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to all of the fans of Five Finger Death Punch for all of messages that you’ve been sending me about you know what,” he wrote, beneath the caption “End of an era”. “I’ve kinda been issued a gag order, so I’m not saying anything. But I’m very excited about the things I’m working on and I’m looking forward to sharing them with everybody. And when the time is right there will be a mutually agreed on press release between me and my guys and that’s it.”
After weeks of speculation about the guitarist’s status, the band confirmed that Hook is no longer a member in an Instagram post and has been replaced full-time by James.
“5FDP have released 8 studio albums and two greatest hits compilations in 13 years and toured relentlessly,” they wrote. “They are often called the “hardest working band in the industry” with very little personal time left outside of the band. At Jason’s suggestion, all parties came to a mutual agreement, that it’s best if he steps away from his rigorous band duties altogether. Consequently, Jason handed over the torch to the band's new lead guitarist, renowned British virtuoso ANDY JAMES who is featured on “Broken World”, one of the five previously unreleased tracks on Decade of Destruction, Volume 2
Guitarist and founder Zoltan Bathory added: “Jason is an incredible guitar player so we had to find someone on the absolute top of their game. Someone like Andy James who was already a well-known virtuoso and had the chops to step into Jason’s shoes.”
Five Finger Death Punch have just released the second volume of their greatest hits album, A Decade Of Destruction, Vol.2. Zoltan Bathory recently told Metal Hammer he was planning a 5FDP movie, among other things.
“We’re working on video treatments for the next couple of singles,” the guitarist said, “working on a 5FDP movie; I’m designing props for whenever we can tour again; designing new Death Punch merch; new signature guitars; training Jiu-Jitsu; I’m renovating a castle which is a fun side-project… and besides navigating the 5FDP battleship I also co-manage Bad Wolves and Fire From The Gods, so I’m pretty busy. Oh, and the Illuminati won’t run itself either, so...”