STUCK MOJO and BONZ vocalist Bonz has released a statement regarding comments recently made by his STUCK MOJO bandmate Rich Ward about the group's formative years.
As has been well documented, Ward and Bonz have had strained and often turbulent relationship, resulting in Bonz being dismissed from the band on two occasions, most recently in July 2006. Ward at the time blamed the split on the frontman's alleged substance-abuse issues, saying that the vocalist's illicit drug use "affect[ed] [Bonz's live] performance," in the process "transform[ing] a guy we loved into someone that no one in the band wanted to be around." Ward added: "To gamble the band's future on someone who is the source of such instability is not an option anymore." Bonz was eventually replaced by Lord Nelson.
In 2014, the "classic" STUCK MOJO lineup reunited for reunion shows, and work on a new album has commenced. Bonz has also been active with his own band, BONZ, having released the critically acclaimed "Broken Silence" album this past February on Eternal Sound Records and Pavement Entertainment. A lyric video for the title track sheds light on his relationship with Ward through a clever use of STUCK MOJO songtitles.
Ward recently gave an interview to the "Talking Metal" podcast, in which he said about STUCK MOJO's cross-cultural musical mish-mash: "I never tried to be a funk guitar player; I was a metal guy. It was just how my influences cross-sectioned with our funk/reggae bass player and our rapper, who couldn't sing anything, 'cause he had no idea about melody. He was just a pissed off black guy who had a rough life, who had been in prison, who just had… he had a story and had an outlook on life that I just had no idea even existed."
In response to Ward's comments, Bonz has now released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET:
"I was simultaneously shocked, hurt and angered when I read the most recent comments that Rich Ward has stated about me publicly. I am not totally surprised, as this has been a point of contention for several years.
"Both my private life and my public persona are very important to me, and I do not appreciate either being questioned or attacked.
"I am not sure where [Rich's above-mentioned quote] comes from, or quite how I am supposed to interpret it, but it is not something that I would expect to come from him in 2015. This was a stark reminder of how things ended up in 2006, the last time that we worked together.
"I have worked too hard to establish myself in this business to have anyone besmirch my name over and over again.
"The last three years have been some of my most productive. Forming a new band, recording an album that I am damn proud of, getting the opportunity to be supported by great labels, and traveling the country playing and performing music for fans, I believe proves any of the past derogatory statements to be 'questionable.'
"I chose to respond to these comments, as in the past I chose to remain silent and take the 'high' road.
"After traveling around the country and reconnecting with many old friends and fans along the way, I was alarmed at the stories and rumors that were out there. I want to make sure that my thoughts and feelings are conveyed and that the public is exposed to both sides of the story."
STUCK MOJO played its first reunion show on December 26, 2014 at the Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia. The concert took place more than four years after the band completed its "Here Comes The Monster" tour of Europe with a lineup that featured Lord Nelson on the mic, Ward on guitar, Sean Delson on bass and Frank Fontsere on drums.
Pictured above (from left to right): Corey Lowery (bass), Bonz (vocals), Frank Fontsere (drums) and Rich Ward (guitar)