ALL THAT REMAINS frontman Phil Labonte says that Jason Richardson "knocked it out of the park" as the temporary replacement for guitarist Oliver "Oli" Herbert who passed away in October.
Regarding how ALL THAT REMAINS ended up linking up with Jason to do the band's recent European shows, Labonte told Decibel magazine: "Well, we had toured with BORN OF OSIRIS when Jason was in that band and him and Oli had hit it off and become buddies. I'm not sure exactly how much they stayed in contact, but I knew that they would hang out and talk guitar and listen to music and stuff, so when Oli passed away, Jason did a cover of him playing 'Chiron', and then Aaron [Patrick], our bass player, reached out to Jason and said, 'Hey, you sounded really good. Would you be interested in filling in if we went and needed you to come aboard?' He was, like, 'Yeah, dude. I'd love to,' and he did an amazing job. He came in and nailed everything and really kind of saved our ass. He made it easier on us when it comes to the grieving side of it. It relieved pressure about this stuff, the business side that we had planned. The personal side is easier to handle and cope with. The more pressures you can relieve on a situation, the better."
Asked if he felt like the band's performance on the stage was different without Oli, Labonte replied: "I don't know. It's tough for me to answer that kind of question. It's still really new. In the 20 years' time that ALL THAT REMAINS has been a band, there's only been one tour where Oli wasn't ever playing lead guitar. I don't know how to process that yet, I'm not sure how I feel about it yet."
Labonte also confirmed that ALL THAT REMAINS has not yet made a decision regarding a permanent replacement for Herbert.
"It was one tour and we don't have someone that's actually 'the guy' yet," he said. "We haven't discussed whether Jason wants to join the band full time. We haven't discussed whether or not we want to have Jason join the band. We're not even at that point yet, so I don't know."
Oli was found dead on October 16 at the edge of the pond on his Stafford Springs, Connecticut property. He was reported missing by his wife about 3 p.m., and his body was found by police face down at the edge of the pond where the water was only a few inches deep.
Herbert began playing guitar at 14. He co-founded ALL THAT REMAINS with Labonte in 1998.
ALL THAT REMAINS has released nine studio albums, a live CD/DVD, and has sold more than one million records worldwide.