Philip Labonte says that ALL THAT REMAINS has not yet decided on a permanent replacement for guitarist Oli Herbert.
After Herbert died two months ago, the surviving ALL THAT REMAINS members recruited guitar virtuoso and YouTube personality Jason Richardson (ALL SHALL PERISH, CHELSEA GRIN, BORN OF OSIRIS) to join them on their just-completed European tour.
Asked by Metalshop TV if it's difficult for ALL THAT REMAINS to play shows in support of its latest album, "Victim Of The New Disease", without Oli or if they are treating each live performance as a celebration of the guitarist's life, Labonte said (see video below): "I think it's a mix of both. It is hard. Oli was in the band for 20 years. He was the only original member left that wasn't me. He was the first guy to play that position. We were only a four-piece before Oli joined the band. So it's weird. And it's hard. But it was important to us to keep going. For a little while, we had to kind of figure out what was best for us, and then we figured Oli lived and breathed metal and he loved playing shows and he loved writing and loved being creative, and he would have wanted people to hear the record, for sure. So we kind of felt like we had to — whether we felt comfortable with it or not. We were, like, 'Well, you really need to go ahead and buckle down and get out there and get used to the idea, because he would have wanted you to play these shows and he would have wanted you to go out there and keep going.'"
Philip was also asked if Jason is just a temporary replacement for Oli or if he will join ALL THAT REMAINS full time: "Right now he's just playing the [European] tour," the singer responded. "We haven't really discussed at length what is gonna happen after the tour and moving forward with ALL THAT REMAINS. So, for right now, he's filling in. It's possible that people will see him next year doing some stuff with us in the U.S. and stuff. So we'll probably discuss a significant future with Jason or what the band wants to do about a permanent replacement probably after the beginning of the year."
According to TMZ, police were dispatched to Herbert's Stafford Springs, Connecticut residence on October 16 after someone reported him missing. Cops searched the area and found the 44-year-old musician in a nearby pond. Sources told the Hartford Courant investigators are treating the death as suspicious.
Labonte said last month that he was "shocked" by Oli's death. "He was 44 years old, and he wasn't really a big partier," Labonte told Meltdown Of Detroit's WRIF radio station. "He would go hang out with people and stuff, but he didn't really do a lot of drinking… He didn't do drugs, he didn't really drink a lot. He would smoke pot once in a while, but that was the extent of it."
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.