TESTAMENT manager Phil Arnold of Thrill Entertainment has issued a rambling statement in response to fan speculation over the cause of the cancellation of the band's The 2003 Metal Gods North American Tour. As previously reported, the multi-band package trek featuring HALFORD, co-headliners TESTAMENT, IMMORTAL, CARNAL FORGE, PRIMAL FEAR, PAINMUSEUM, and AMON AMARTH was called off Friday (May 2) due to as-yet-undisclosed "contractual difficulties."
Arnold's statement reads as follows:
"Dear fans and other interested parties:
"Talk - talk - talk
"Gossip is usually at best, inaccurate. And for the most part, that is what is going on right now about the cancellation of the Metal Gods Tour 2003. Few people have more access to accurate information than I do, as TESTAMENT's manager, and even I am not really certain of enough facts to have a fully informed opinion, yet. Any opinion that is less than fully informed is gossip. Go back to the top and start reading this over again, unless you have better inside trader secrets than I do. No offense, just the facts — some of them...
"Gossip — doesn't really help anyone, either, and usually it hurts feelings, spreads distrust, and is fundamentally about as beneficial to mankind as SARS. We should do some research on patenting a cure for both plagues, while we're at it.
"Unless one is an intellectual giant, or is right brain-left brain ambidextrous, it is usually difficult to gain information while talking. And listening is an art. We should all be better artists, no doubt. I am a work in progress....You?
"And listening is not merely waiting for the other person to breathe, so one can launch a rebuttal, before they are finished. So can we please agree to suspend judgment until all of the witnesses have testified? Be a Joe Friday, Badge 714, 'Just the facts, ma'am.', Drag the net - don't just surf it.
"One must listen with all five sense attentively focused to 'get it' — all of it. Further, let us not digest it just with our mind - but also with our heart. Then, we may hope to have a clue as to how such lofty plans, high expectations, and committed people could tip over and crash to such great disappointment and gnashing of teeth.
"However, if one just wants to gossip anyway, well then, who needs a reason when you have an excuse. Party on…any excuse will do.
"Let's start by being better at art — that is, the art of listening.
"If you have a simple solution to a simple, obvious problem, that those who can solve the problem, and are rationally interested in doing so, but don't then, perhaps you don't have all the facts. Perhaps the problem is neither simple nor obvious.
"Sometimes, determining what something is includes finding out what it is not. This is not as obvious as it sounds. Many folks just fill in the blanks starting with 'probably what happened was...' and go from there. Don't contribute to dis-information — the reputation you harm may be your own.
"The facts I have are on the shows that TESTAMENT played: Chicago, Cleveland, and New York. The shows were great, thanks for coming out — hope you got moshed. And thanks to the production personnel supporting all of the bands, also.
"By the way, and for the record — TESTAMENT did not play Pontiac, Toronto, and Hartford because the band was not available due to other commitments. No other reason, period.
"TESTAMENT and all the other support bands on the tour were shocked at the cancellation, as much as any one of you. This circumstance is not due to anything that any of the support bands did or failed to do — that much I know as a fact. As for TESTAMENT, we did everything we could to get the tour together, and sought to do everything we could to keep it going when the nosedive started. No prima Donna's here — just blue-collar bulldozers zinging down the highway in the chill of the dawn. Next stop — well it turned out to be Twilight Zone and not Worchester. What can I say?
"As far as I know, this is not due to any contract breach on the part of any of the promoters/venues, either. If there was a notice of breach given — or due — to a promoter/venue, THAT I would know of for sure. Didn't Happen.
"So, that leaves [booking agency] Universal Attractions, Inc., and Metal Gods Tours, Inc., as the only knowledgeable players left on the board. Let's look to them for the facts. If anyone is not quoting them word for word, then they are rewriting history and not reporting it. As for TESTAMENT, we are listening, so they can talk.
"Clearly, TESTAMENT, their families, and their legion of fans are hurting - damaged, and in some ways angry, along with many others. An explanation will help, but it is not the final chapter.
"TESTAMENT has survived Record Distributors going bankrupt taking our profits and paychecks with them, band members retiring at sound check or taking ill mid-tour, life threatening illness, tour postponements, and threats-scams-shakedowns of every size, and shape imaginable. Next.
"It's like a scene out of 'Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid', 'Who are these guys, anyway, they just keep coming?'
"TESTAMENT personifies the undaunted. Someone just shot the bear in the foot... Oh Shit!! This next record is going to be even more killer than the last two #1 Albums… from crushed, obliterated grapes come fine wines… 3 Days of Darkness in 2012, is closer than you think.
"In the meantime, it is Monday morning [May 5]. Do you know where your tour is? We are hunter/warrior looking for flesh. Just because this tour cancelled, does not mean that we quit and go home. It's…'gorilla marketing time'. I smell blood.
"TESTAMENT is ON tour — Got Venue? We're scouring for a way TO tour, NOW. Ready, willing, waiting — engine running. No intelligent options are being ignored all possibilities are being reviewed, so we can start our bus back rolling again. All roads lead to your town. We are coming Over The Wall and Into The Pit…any way we can. Put on your mouthpiece and wear a ripped shirt — TESTAMENT is going wireless in full body armor.
"So many times, I have seen TESTAMENT defined not by how it fights the fierce competition, but by how it bounces back after a knockdown. The chair at my desk requires a seatbelt. If you don't have faith, what are you doing in my church?
"Success through Plan Z.
"Get a job, buy a tee-shirt…that's the law. Any questions?
"Metal Forever… Thrill…"