Former Unitopia founder and keyboard player Sean Timms has issued an angry response to claims made in the band’s interview in the current issue of Prog Magazine.
Timms contacted Prog having read the UPF feature, and gave us the following response to various comments in relation to him or Unitpoia that vocalist Mark Trueack and drummer Dave Hopgood made. This is his full response…
I hope you don’t mind me contacting you, but I saw the article yesterday on UPF (I’m a digital subscriber) and there were quite a few half truths and out and out lies in it. I’d like a chance to respond if I may? I don’t want what’s happened and what I’m doing (or going to do) to be misrepresented. I apologise upfront if this is a tad long…
I’ll go through them one by one.
1) ‘There were a few communication problems’ - Mark. There were NO communication problems. I made it quite clear to Mark on a number of occasions that he needed to apologise to Patsy Delledonne (our manager) for his behaviour towards her (long story) and his passive/aggressive attitude towards us both. He refused, so I let him know quite clearly that I didn’t want to work with him anymore. He changed his attitude, but too late… the damage was done.
2) ‘Musical Differences’ - There were no musical differences. I was thrilled with the music we were creating for the new album, but after his thoughtlessness and stubborn behaviour, I was no longer interested in continuing working with him.
3) ‘Far from permanent’ - Yes it is permanent. I never want to work with Mark in a musical capacity again.
4) ‘There were some things Sean Timms wasn’t happy with on the musical side’ - Untrue.The music was great. I didn’t want to put up with Mark’s overbearing attitude anymore.
5) ‘We Speak to each other quite a bit’ - We don’t. He even de-friended me on FB. We’ve had one conversation in the past 6 months.
6) ‘Unitopia will continue’ - It will not. That ship has sailed.
7) ‘A bit burnt out with the band’ - David. I was not burnt out Just burnt.
8.) ‘Wanted to explore something different’ - Only after I folded Unitopia did I start looking for other avenues. Those avenues have become Southern Empire.
9.) ‘Wanted to get a younger market’ - Again, not true. However, the guys in Southern Empire are a lot younger, they’re some of the best musicians I’ve ever worked with. If we happen to appeal to a younger crowd, cool. But that was never the objective.
10.) ‘Initially he was talking to us… something different with him’ - I talked to the rest of the band about my decision to stop working with Mark and offered them a choice of working with Mark, myself or both if they could manage it. I quickly realised that this wasn’t going to work, so I let them know and started talking to other players. The last thing I wanted was for fans to think that it was going to be Unitopia with a different vocalist, so I opted for a totally different personnel.
11.) ‘Both parties amicably agreeing to split the music’ - I didn’t agree to Mark using the songs I had written on the UPF album, he just went ahead and did it. I didn’t find out about it until I downloaded a copy of the album. The songs are virtually a carbon copy of the demoes we did for the Unitopia album. He’s just changed the titles… Spinning On The Surface became Choices, How Long became Intersection, Crossroads became Travelling Man. 90% of the writing is mine, with a few lyrical ideas from Mark. Of the 8 songs I completely wrote 3 (Choices, Intersection & Travelling Man) and co-wrote another 3 (Water, Don’t Look Back & FILWTW). The only songs I didn’t have input in the writing were the Overture and Religion Of War. Truth be told I am actually pretty pissed off that he’s used these songs without my permission.
12.) ‘Trueack and Timms are joint owners of the studio’ - I’m incredulous!!! Timms Tunes (my recording studio) has been solely owned and operated by me for 22 years! Mark has NO interest in it at all. This is an out and out lie!!! In all the years we worked together, Timms Tunes completely funded every project Unitopia ever created,including AU$27,000 upfront for the live DVD/CD package. Whenever I asked Mark about contributing something monetarily, he either said ‘I’ll get some sponsorship’ (which he never did) or ‘Just keep my royalties’ (Which I would never do).
13.) ‘Skeletal demos’ - They were fully worked demos which were copied for the UPF album.
14.) ‘Traditional sound’ - That’s an insult!
15.) ‘Fancy keyboard stuff’ - Again another insult! Not many players can do the ‘Fancy keyboard stuff’ hence there were passages in my original demos that were re-worked or edited out as not many players could handle them. Yes, I am a Wakeman/Emerson/Moraz fan, but I have my own style thanks.
16.) ‘Not overpowering’ - Again, another insult by Dave.
17.) ‘The lyrics for the album… unification of people’ - I wrote 90% of them. Mark’s not into unification unless it can benefit him.
18.) ‘What he would like to do is the same as us’ - That’s exactly what I DON’T want to do. I’m not interested in re-creating another Unitopia and I don’t want to have a ‘project’ band. Everyone in SE is in it a 100%. Something that never happened with Unitopia. It was always just Mark & I. To give you an example, at one point I asked all of the members to contribute $10 a week each into the Unitopia fund, which would help fund tours and hard recording costs like mastering/promo/website maintenance etc…They all refused. Especially David! Even on the UPF tour, Mark completely funded it himself, which is either very noble, or just plain crazy!
19.)‘We talk all the time’ - As I said before, if talking all the time is once very 6 months then I guess we do. We got together for a coffee just before Christmas so that he could tell me all about what he’s been doing and give me a vinyl copy of the album.
He’s right in that I do wish him success as that way he’ll not think so much about getting Unitopia back together.
Sorry for the long message, but the mis-representation about what happened between Mark and I really pissed me off.
This is all OK to print. I would like you readers to know both sides of the situation.
Southern Empire will be recording our debut album in April with a mid-year (hopefully) release.