Veteran heavy metal vocalist James Rivera (HELSTAR, SEVEN WITCHES, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM) has confirmed his departure from VICIOUS RUMORS, the long-running San Francisco Bay Area metal band he joined in September 2005.
In a statement released to BLABBERMOUTH.NET earlier today, Rivera said about his decision to leave the group, "A public announcement should have been made sooner, but I tried keeping my business to myself. Unfortunately, it isn't working and the more people are finding out the truth of what happened, the more they say you should let the world know what kind of [people Geoff Thorpe (VR guitarist) and Larry Howe (VR drummer)] are!
"It just sickens me to see that Geoff and Larry are going about everything like nothing has happened, just as they always do, living in complete denial!!!! Thaen [Rasmussen; ANVIL CHORUS, BLACK SUN], the other guitar player, and I are GONE and VR is over forever!!!
"Sadly our tour of Europe ended VERY drastically — it ended with Geoff hitting me with a beer bottle on my forehead on the last night of the tour, after he got knocked into place. He provoked a physical confrontation with me, I defended myself and he couldn't handle the defeat like a man, so when I was not looking and my guard was down explaining to the tour manager what had just happened, that is when he grabbed a beer bottle, struck me with it and said 'There you go bitch!! How about that!!!' Geoff is supposed to be handicapped, or a person of special needs. However, handicapped people don't start physical fights, nor do they walk all over Europe in KISS boots in a drunken stupor!!
"The blow to my forehead from the bottle he hit me with had gotten so bad, AFM Records, the new record label HELSTAR is signed to, insisted on taking me to the hospital because the swelling of my forehead and face in general had gotten worse and both of my eyes had turned completely purple from internal bleeding.
"After the tour, I had to go to Hamburg, Germany, for an additional week to do press interviews for HELSTAR at AFM Records' office, for those wondering where AFM came into this whole thing. Now I'm home and doing better and ready to move on.
"So my days with VR are over and just think, I was going to get them a record deal with AFM as well.
"Family, friends, myself and the rest of the HELSTAR guys are just devastated over this. I did so much for those guys [VICIOUS RUMORS] when they were here and finally got to tour Texas again after 20 years. Not to mention the Atarfe Rock festival in Spain, the tour with BEYOND FEAR, and all the U.S. dates I got them outside of the Bay Area. There were so many things I brought to the table for them. I have gotten e-mails from just about all the promoters and even the president of the record company we were previously signed to, Mascot Records (which dropped VR), wanting to know if I am okay.
"Now you know the truth before you hear any lies from their end, which is what they are good at."
Rivera appears on VICIOUS RUMORS' latest album, "Warball", which came out in the U.S. in October 2006.
AFM Records has set a November 23 release date for HELSTAR's "Sins of the Past", a "best-of" album featuring re-recordings of the band's classics along with two brand new tracks. The first edition of "Sins of the Past" will come in a special CD layout. A limited picture vinyl version will also be available.
An all-new album of original HELSTAR material is tentatively due next summer.
A 13-minute audio interview with James Rivera conducted by Danish rock/metal magazine Revolution-Music.dk has been posted online at this location (MP3, 6 MB).
Fan-filmed video footage of VICIOUS RUMORS' September 8, 2007 concert at the Join in Noordwijk, Holland can be viewed below.
"Minute to Kill":
Watch HELSTAR's reunion performance at the fourth annual "Robb's MetalWorks" showcase on June 10, 2006: