BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE frontman Matt Tuck says the band parted ways with bassist Jason "Jay" James several months before making the split public.
The Welsh outfit announced Jay's departure in February during the recording sessions for the group's forthcoming fifth album, "Venom", and recruited Jamie Mathias as his replacement in May.
Tuck told Revolver: "We parted ways with [Jay] a long time before we announced it. We wanted to make sure we were comfortable making that decision, and comfortable with making that statement publicly. We wanted to get the album ready to be recorded before we said anything…"
Tuck described the split with James as "the most difficult thing we've ever had to do, and not just in the band or in our careers, but in our lives, personally. It was awful. Losing a long-term member — and our best friend, which was much more important to us — was a very powerful moment that we'd never been through before, and it was a decision that we deliberated over for, like, three months; we kept fighting and fighting to find valid reasons for him to stay, but eventually it was just impossible.
"I'm not going to go into detail," Tuck continued, "but it was in Jay's best interest personally, more than ours, that he was not in the band. People can read into that what they want, which they will anyway; but it was just stuff going on that was jeopardizing the band's career, and it had to stop. And, unfortunately, it came to the point where enough was enough, and we just had to make that call."
He added: "Behind the scenes, we were going through a bit of emotional distress. But apart from that, as far as the band was concerned, everything was great. We were writing good songs, and it probably helped having that emotional distress to bring out that feistiness that the last album lacked, you know? It's good to have that emotional drama in a band, sometimes; it can really help with the creative process."
In a recent interview with Kerrang! magazine, Tuck stated about Mathias: "He's a Welsh lad. He sent in an audition tape and his was really good. We held auditions for a few guys, and when he came, he just smashed it. He fitted in instantly, especially with the Welsh connection. He plays like a beast and he sings like an angel."
Produced by Carl Bown and Colin Richardson (SLIPKNOT, MACHINE HEAD, TRIVIUM) at Metropolis Studio in London, "Venom" will be released on August 14 via RCA.
BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE will join up with SLIPKNOT and LAMB OF GOD later this month for a North American tour.