GOTTHARD To Carry On With New Singer

Swiss hard rock icons GOTTHARD — whose vocalist, Steve Lee, was killed on October 5, 2010 in what has been described as a freak road accident in Nevada — have released the following statement:

"After the tragic accident of our friend and singer Steve Lee, who died October, 5 2010 in the USA, we withdrew ourselves until after the new year and took a break. Now we are back again with plans for the future and a difficult task to fulfil."

Commented guitarist Leo Leoni: "After the very emotional days after Steve's death, it was important for us to first of all try and cope with the pain, give it a place to rest and find ourselves again. And so we sat down in the new year and tried to look at the new situation 'soberly.' It was obvious to all of us very quickly that we had to go on — GOTTHARD is not a job for us, GOTTHARD IS OUR LIFE!!"

Added drummer Hena Habegger: "Of course it can only go on if we are lucky to find the right guy. We're not only searching for a voice which can bring our songs alive again…. we are looking much more for a singer who also humanly fits with us — with the GOTTHARD family!"

Stated guitarist Freddy Scherer: "For all of us it's a big challenge and it will not be easy at all. But we have good faith and we do what we do best — make music!"

Concluded bassist Marc Lynn: "A big thank you to all the fans. Your concern, cards, e-mails and entries in the guestbook have given us the supporting power to deal with what has happened better and to gather new courage for the future."

Photos of Steve Lee's final resting place have posted at Blick.ch. The urn containing Lee's ashes was placed in a cemetery in his hometown of Porza, Ticino on October 21. The funeral was an intimate gathering, with only close friends and family in attendence, including Steve's parents (who flew in from Spain), his sister Karin Nicholls and family, Steve's girlfriend Brigitte Voss-Balzarini, the surviving members of GOTTHARD and a handful of friends and neighbors.

Steve, who had a British father and Swiss mother, was 47 years old.

Lee's tragic death has triggered a record demand for GOTTHARD albums in the band's native country of Switzerland. For the first time in the history of the Swiss chart, 13 albums from one artist — representing all the LPs that GOTTHARD has released so far in its career — simultaneously appeared in the Top 100. The Swiss single charts were also affected, with "Heaven" making it to the top of the chart and "One Life One Soul" at No. 4.

Formed in 1990, GOTTHARD's last 11 albums all charted at No. 1 in Switzerland. The band's latest CD, "Need To Believe", was certified platinum in the group's home country for sales in excess of 30,000 copies.

GOTTHARD was presented with the platinum-award plaques on January 9, 2010 at the "Swiss Awards 2009", which also included the TV premiere of the band's radio single, "Don't Let Me Down".

"Need To Believe" was released on September 4, 2009 via Nuclear Blast Records.

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