French prog rockers Lazuli have announced that guitarist Gédéric Byar has left the band. Byar joined the band in 2007, appearing on their last seven albums including 2018's Saison 8 and this year's Le Fantastique Envol de Dieter Böhm.
"I leave 15 years of hard work and pure madness to smash Europe and part of France to meet you and give you what I hope is happiness shared for me," says Byar.
Byar's departure comes after the band had to curtail their extensive 2020 European tour in March due to the pandemic. They had played only two of their scheduled UK dates promoting their new album Le Fantastique Envol de Dieter Böhm when they had to return to France before the country locked down.
“Three weeks after getting out of confinement, Ged told us that he wanted to quit the Lazuli adventure," explains singer and founding member Dominique Leonetti. “His announcement had the effect of a 10-metre high wave full in our faces. We did not understand it at first and tried to talk him out of it but soon we understood that this decision was considered.
“Those 15 years alongside Ged were beautiful and full of love, cloudless, in the happy moments as well as during the most difficult ones. This is why we were confused by his decision. Today, Ged follows another path far from music and even though I regret his 180° turn, I cannot judge him for it. A band is not a prison and in friendship as in love, there is no key at the door.”
Byar is replaced in Lazuli by fellow Frenchan Arnaud Beyney, who plays with M. A. N. with Lazuli’s multi-instrumentalist Romain Thorel.
“Arnaud is an excellent musician but not only that, he is a beautiful human being as well," adds Leonetti. "His energy and his smile have lifted our spirits. Ged is unique, so is Arnaud; two really different musicians, so no comparison will be possible.”
Fans will get to see Beyney when Lazuli return to the UK to play rescheduled dates in 2021.
Mar 1: Cambridge The Portland Arms
Mar 2: Newcastle Think Tank
Mar 3: Glasgow Ivory Blacks
Mar 4: Liverpool The Cavern Club
Mar 6: Stourport Fusion Festival
Mar 7: Southampton 1865
Jun 23: London 229
Jun 26: Somerset TBC
Jul 17: Maidstone Ramblin’ Man Festival