FLOTSAM AND JETSAM Bassist To Sit Out TESTAMENT Tour

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM bassist Jason Ward will sit out the band's upcoming "Dark Roots Of Thrash Tour" with TESTAMENT, OVERKILLand 4ARM and will be temporarily replaced by Jeff Barbaree. Jason says in a statement: "While I would like nothing more than to be out there doing what I love more than anything, I have too many personal commitments that need my attention at home, including the care of my ailing father and family. The length and commitment of time to the tour is simply too great for me to participate considering the needs of my family at this time. Nevertheless, I want nothing but success for the tour and for FLOTSAM, and hopefully will be able to rejoin the band sometime in the future should my personal commitments to my family allow. Thank you all for your support! Hope you all enjoy the shows as much as I know I would."

Added the other members of FLOTSAM AND JETSAM: "We support and encourage Jason's decision, as family is number one in our lives. We wish him well."

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM's new album, "Ugly Noise", was released digitally on December 21.

Funding for the new FLOTSAM AND JETSAM album was aided by the PledgeMusic.com project, which encourages fans to contribute funds to the recording of albums and the artists themselves to donate to charity as a part of their fundraising.

When asked about the songwriting process for the new album, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM guitarist Michael Gilbert told Metal Army America in July, "I worked with [former METALLICA and FLOTSAM AND JETSAM bassist] Jason Newsted on a few songs, and he's given me some tips about some things and opened my view up towards how I look at my music and how I want the listeners to perceive the points I'm trying to make."

He added, "[Jason] is really passionate about music, so when I called him and talked to him, I just wanted him to help out with some lyrical stuff and hear some of the music I was writing. He's a great songwriter, too. I'm not sure if everything that he got to do in METALLICA, if he was restrained a little bit, I'm not sure about all that sort of stuff, but as far as with me, anytime he wants to write with me, he's got full rein and he's got absolute say-so in everything that happens. It's a 50-50 relationship, as it would be with Eric ['A.K.' Knutson], our singer, writing music with us, or Kelly [David Smith], our drummer."

Regarding the musical direction of the new FLOTSAM AND JETSAM material, Gilbert said, "It's probably the most mature it's ever been, but if you wanna classify it as close to any other record that we've done, it's probably gonna be close to [1995's] 'Drift'. If we were gonna make a record right after 'Drift', which was out fifth record, 'Ugly Noise' would be the next one — with this lineup, you know."

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM in 2011 parted ways with drummer Craig Nielsen and was rejoined by Kelly David Smith.

The band's current lineup is the same as the one that recorded the "Cuatro" (1992), "Drift" (1995) and "High" (1997) albums:

Eric "A.K." Knutson - Vocals
Ed Carlson - Guitar
Michael Gilbert - Guitar
Jason Ward - Bass
Kelly David Smith - Drums

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