Gary O'Toole departs Steve Hackett band

Gary O'Toole

Gary O'Toole, the popular drummer with Steve Hackett, has announced his departure from the band.

In a statement on his Facebook page, O'Toole states: "It is with immense sadness I must announce my departure from The Steve Hackett band. It has been my privilege and pleasure for nearly 20 years to hold this chair. After a conversation with Steve it became clear we had come to a parting of the ways. It will I feel be for the good and benefit of all concerned.

On this occasion I will stand and wave the guys off and hope they do well, I know they will. They have been my road family for so long I shall miss them but things need attending at home.

Some of you are aware of the horrid year I have had personally. I shall devote more time to my school in developing the new environment and also my online school. While also finding a new studio and finally getting to grips with writing my own material.

Thank you for all your support to the fans who have always treated me with respect.

Love and Hope

Gary"

O'Toole first appeared on Hackett's 2003 album To Watch The Storms and has appeared on every Hackett studio and live release since, and appears on Hackett's forthcoming At The Edge Of Light which will be released in the new year. He was noted for his role singing the Genesis song Blood On The Rooftops in Hackett's live set.

In a tweet, Hackett stated: "Wonderfully talented drummer Gary O’Toole will be missed by us all. I wish him every success in the future."

It is thought Aristocrats/The Sea Within drummer Marco Minnemann will fill in the drum role for the forthcoming Cruise To The Edge, but no news as yet on any full-time replacement,