Former ANTHRAX frontman Neil Turbin says that ONSLAUGHT guitarist Nige Rockett has attempted "to deceive the fans, the public and the media" about the events that occurred during ONSLAUGHT's ill-fated North American "Thrash Invasion Tour" and has vowed to "pursue the matter" to make sure that the singer is paid the moneys that he claims he is owed.
Turbin was hired by ONSLAUGHT to front the band on the "Thrash Invasion Tour 2014" of the U.S., Canada and South America as the fill-in for ONSLAUGHT's longtime vocalist Sy Keeler, who was forced to sit out the trek due to health issues with his son.
In two separate interviews, Rockett claimed that Turbin was "fired" by ONSLAUGHT following the band's November 24 concert in Anaheim, California because he never fully learned the British act's set and was delivering a less-than-professional show by relying on a teleprompter to get all the lyrics right.
Speaking to the "Heavy Metal Mayhem" radio show on December 14, Turbin insisted that he simply didn't have enough time to prepare for the tour and he claimed that he left the trek in Anaheim because he was owed thousands of dollars in back pay and his share of the merchandise revenue.
Turbin said (hear audio below): "If people want the truth, here's the truth.
"The truth is that I have a contract that was sent… dated September 26th. The contract itself has a date of September 23rd, but I e-mailed the completed, executed contract to the leader of ONSLAUGHT on the 26th, so I had less than 30 days that I was confirmed in writing, by contract, to do the 'Thrash Invasion Tour' of North America — U.S. and Canada — Brazil and Chile. So that date range on that contract, just so you know…
"If you want the facts, here's the facts… That date range was from October 23rd to December 11, 2014. And this contract was negotiated between myself and the leader of ONSLAUGHT, so there were some changes to it before we came to the conclusion, before it was executed.
"The reason I left the tour two days before it ended… I left it in Anaheim… I had a conversation with the leader of ONSLAUGHT before we went on stage, and that conversation was about money. And it was specifically about the last-week-of-the-tour money and also moneys that were due to me per the contract.
"The South America tour was canceled. I took off time to do this tour 'till December 11, 2014… But I was not paid. I was paid for a part of the tour, but I was not paid for that last week that I was with them, and also for any other moneys that were due to me per the contract, so it was a breach of contract."
He continued: "As far as the time with the lyrics, and the whole issue regarding the teleprompter stuff, I mean, I'll just say it like this…
"I hereby declare under the penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. It's a malicious personal attack that's been going on.
"When STRIKER dropped off the bill, after being lowballed, my name was used, in conjunction with the booking agent and the band ONSLAUGHT, and exploited so promoters would not ask for a discount of the band fee. So, therefore, at that point, misinformation, misrepresentation of the facts, malicious propaganda has been spread to the media and to the fans.
"[The] leader of ONSLAUGHT has taken it upon himself to spread false light, to create widespread dissemination of major falsehoods with the intent to cause damage to my character, to cause defamation of character, to deceive the fans, the public and the media and to create doubt in people's minds, to manipulate the facts and spread false light.
"My name was not featured on show posters. In fact, I was not on 90 percent of the posters… or up to 90 percent did not have my name on it. I was on a few posters — or Internet posters, so to speak, and many folks out there did not have any idea I was singing for ONSLAUGHT. However, the leader of ONSLAUGHT maliciously placed… or, basically, misinformed the public and tried to place blame for the entire tour and the poor turnouts on the failed tour on me, and I was just trying to help out so the tour could happen in the first place. Because it was told to me, after a period of time…
"I quit the tour on November 24, which was the Monday night, which was the show in Anaheim. So, after the show, I mentioned [earlier in the interview] the first meeting that I had with the leader of ONSLAUGHT. The second meeting I had was after the show, and I asked about the money again. And I was told at that point… He said… I'm owed two thousand dollars, and I haven't received it. I may not do the next show, is what I was told. So when I heard that, it's, like, okay, you need to talk to Nate. Nate was the tour manager. So I went to Nate, and Nate says, 'Well, all the money is going to the van.' They have a Sprinter van that they need to pay for. So I said, 'Okay, Nate.' Nate had paid me before that. I have a contract with ONSLAUGHT, not with Nate. But, anyway, I was told by Nate after the first number of weeks that I was gonna be then paid by the leader of ONSLAUGHT. So I went back to the leader of ONSLAUGHT a third time. And this is something that… Everybody was there in the van. And I asked him. And I said, 'Well, Nate says…' 'Cause they were ready to leave. They were in the van, ready to go. So I'm in there, and I said, 'Nate says that I need to talk to you about payment.' And then he just didn't have anything to say to me. I asked him, and he just gave me a blank look. And that's pretty much how the whole tour was on the inside. It was, basically, non-communication and just a breach of contract. So I just, 'Okay, well, in that case, see ya!' No pay, no show. That's it.
"I mean, there wasn't hotel rooms every night, per the contract. Meals weren't paid the way they were supposed to be. There's breach of contract. They still have my merchandise; they didn't pay me the money for that. I mean, I didn't get paid for any of the shows in South America. I mean, they got paid; they got the full amount in advance. That's what I was told by the leader of ONSLAUGHT.
"So, I mean, no pay, no play; that's how it works. And this was a job. I was a contractor for this tour."
Turbin also directly addressed Rockett's claim that ONSLAUGHT had no idea that the singer was going to use a teleprompter for at least some of the performances until Neil showed up for the first gig of the band's tour in New York.
Turbin said: "Let me address more false light that was spread by the leader of ONSLAUGHT; another dishonest statement that was made.
"In two different interviews, which have been headlined out by some of the metal TMZ sites…
"Basically, this is an e-mail that I have… an e-mail thread or strong, chain… whatever you wanna call it. And this is dated October 21st , and this is from a previous e-mail chain, so all parties have this e-mail.
"Basically, it says, 'Hi [leader of ONSLAUGHT], I'm ready to rock. I've been preparing best I can. I know the melodies and may need some vocal cues when things come back from solos and tricky parts. I have an AirTurn pedal board, which will turn lyric pages hands free. There are so many lyrics to remember. I have a good degree of them, but some are harder to remember, which comes with practice, which could take forever. I will have to put my iPad Mini on a mic stand and turn it on an angle. It helps tremendously. I've just gotta make sure no one stampedes it.' And there's more that continues on. But this was dated October 21st, 2014 — I have the thread — and this person, the leader of ONSLAUGHT, claimed to the media, in an interview, that he didn't know anything about a teleprompter, as he called it. So that's a flat-out misrepresentation and lie to the fans, to the media…
"It's one thing to tell your version of a story, but it's another thing to be dishonest to people, and I think that it's really unfortunate that there's other people that have been mistreated by this individual, and there's quite a number; there's a long, long list."
Neil went on to question ONSLAUGHT's true motives for doing the North American tour without Keeler, implying that Sy's position in the band may have been in question.
"As far as Sy Keeler goes, I have much respect for Sy and his great work with ONSLAUGHT on the great albums that he's done, Turbin said. "And I just think that… [with] all due respect to Sy, if I was in a situation where I was in a band and they were gonna go on tour without me… I think it was a great disservice to Sy and completely disrespectful…
"If they knew that his son was not well, why couldn't they wait a few months and do it the right way, if that's what they wanted to do? But I feel that, no, they pushed the issue. They wanted to make him feel, maybe, uncomfortable and maybe not secure in his position. I mean, promoters would understand. 'Oh, yeah, we'll do the tour. We're gonna have to push it out a few months.' I just felt like… Because, in the conversations that I had preliminary to me signing the agreement, I was told that there might be a longer opportunity with ONSLAUGHT. So it was presented to me that, well, if things work out, it could be a longer opportunity. And it wasn't told to me right upfront that… It was mentioned that his son was… I asked, 'Why are you guys looking for a singer?' And it wasn't really told to me upfront except the fact that, yeah, he's got someone sick in his family. They didn't really tell me anything. And then, I thought, well, could it be drugs? Could it be they're not paying him? Could be that…? You know what I mean?! We all think of those reasons. I mean, I'm not blaming or shaming. It's just, we don't know. So you think about it. And I didn't understand it until down the line when I talked to somebody else that, yes, his son is really sick. And it's, like, 'Oh, Gosh.' I felt terrible. It's, like, poor guy. Why would they go and do a tour and not wait for their… basically, the singer that's been with them for the long haul. [it was] totally disrespectful. And then to try to blame it on me at this point? I was just trying to help out and support the band and support Sy Keeler and the whole situation with his son."
Turbin insisted that he was forced to engage in a mudslinging contest with Rockett on social media in order to defend himself and set the record straight with respect to what transpired on the road.
"From my standpoint, this is disgraceful," Neil said.
"Do they think there's a different fan base? Do they think that fans that we both have are from different genres?
"I mean, it's really screwed for the fans; I think that's the bottom line. But you know what?! If you're gonna air your dirty laundry in public, then be prepared to pay the piper. Because when you're spreading lies, and you're slandering people, and you're libeling people…
"I'm gonna be pursuing this matter, just to let you know. So there you have it."
Fan-filmed video footage of ONSLAUGHT's final performance with Turbin on November 24 in Anaheim, California can be seen below.
ONSLAUGHT's sixth album, "VI", was released on September 20, 2013 via AFM Records. The follow-up to 2011's "Sounds Of Violence" was mixed by Thomas "Plec" Johansson (TIAMAT, SCAR SYMMETRY) at Panic Room studios in Skara, Sweden.
Performance footage (November 18 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada):
Performance footage (November 24 in Anaheim, California):