ICED EARTH bassist James MacDonough has posted a message on the ICED EARTH fan message board Iced-Realm.de regarding the recent departures of drummer Richard Christy and guitarist Ralph Santolla:
"Ok, just so you can stop freaking out and saying all kinds of outlandish things this statement should be sufficient for the situation.
"All of us were worried because this situation was dumped in our laps, in the middle of a tour. Richard got in touch with [new drummer] Bobby [Jarzombek] as soon as everything was transpiring and within days were talking to him personally at the shows. Bobby practiced his ass off for the gig and when we rehearsed he jumped in the pocket like he had been there all along. There's a true sense of chemistry with this line up and I'm happier more than I've ever been with the rhythm section. So yes, he's in for the duration. It's kind of hard to describe, you play with awesome musicians and you think 'well that's the peak' then another 'fated' face comes into the fold and you're like' DAMN, that's what it's supposed to be like, well that's the feeling I get when I'm grooving with Bobby, enough said. Richard is an awesome drummer and one of the best I've ever played with and a damn good true friend at that. I'm overjoyed he got his position with the Stern show and it's because of Richard that we have Bobby, he didn't want to leave us high and dry. I've had some of the best times of my life playing with Richard and he is on his way to achieving all of his dreams. Kudos to Richie, he's my bro and I'll miss him always. However, people are destined for their roles, and like I said, Bobby is the man and every time I look back at him on stage it's telepathy, perfect symmetry.
"Ok, on to Ralph. Ralph is the best guitarist I've worked with on this level and there are always things to be considered. There are personal goals to consider on both ends, the way you interact, what you get out of your performance, the whole nine yards. Chemistry. Some things are destined to be and others aren't. I love Ralph's solos and his style, it was exactly what Jon wanted for this album. There was no 'out or in' for Ralph. It was as you saw it. Jon writes the songs, and the solos are the ear-candy, and I love that ear-candy by the way, but other issues come into play and Ralph was destined to do other things instead. Ralph has become a good friend of mine and will definitely do things in the future with him. He's a character and we talk all the time, his plate is pretty full and I'm glad for him. There are no hard feelings between the ICED EARTH camp and Ralph and that's the bottom line, sometimes things fit and sometimes they don't. There is no reason to look further than that. We are in talks with a few people for that role and all will be 'very well' before the next leg. Jon and I talked the other day, and we were wanting to find that person where before they even played a note you could tell that your souls were connected, exactly what Jon felt with Tim the first time they met. In closing, I hope this answers some questions and when we find that last link to the puzzle you'll be the first to know. We're looking for that soulmate that belongs in the band and when we meet 'like Jon and Tim met' then we'll have the stable lineup we've always wanted."