FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH frontman Ivan Moody has shot down reports that he is leaving the band, explaining that he has no intention of walking away from something he spent the last ten years working "incredibly hard" to build.
In an interview with the Denver radio station 106.7 KBPI conducted on Thursday morning (April 20), Moody revealed that he was planning to launch a side project with members of COAL CHAMBER and GEMINI SYNDROME, but never stated that he was intending to abandon his main group. He said during the chat: "To be completely honest with you, DEATH PUNCH and I have kind of come to a crossroads, and we're very proud of what we've done — I mean, years and years and years and years of work. But it's time for us to kind of take our way and go do something else. So after this new year, my new band VILLAIN… I'm so excited, man. I've got Brian [Steele Medina] from GEMINI SYNDROME [on drums], I've got Stitch on bass. You're not gonna believe this: I've got Meegs [Miguel Rascón] from COAL CHAMBER as our guitar player. It's gonna be fun, man. It's gonna be a good time."
After a number of web sites misinterpreted Moody's words to mean that he was leaving FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, the singer released a lengthy statement explaining his comments and vowing to return with a brand new FFDP album and extensive touring in support of the disc.
Moody said: "It's no secret that this has been a tough year for me and for my bandmates in FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. When you put everything you have into making music, both on and off the stage, it can be very frustrating when the music you work so hard to create is not allowed to see the light of day. I know we share this frustration with our fans too, who have come to expect new music from us — fans who mean everything to us.
"It is true that FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH has come to a crossroads — and that crossroads is we're all at a place where we will never again let someone or something hold us back from making music for our fans.
"The lawsuit by Prospect Park holding our new album hostage has taken a toll on me. I was in a rehabilitation facility when Prospect Park decided to sue the band last year, and that was very difficult for me to handle all at once.
"Yesterday I made a statement that was taken out of context by the media — a media always looking to create headlines that will make people click them. The truth is, I want to start a side-project like Corey Taylor has with STONE SOUR or Maynard has with A PERFECT CIRCLE and I want to do it when FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's deal with Prospect Park is over and we are out of this lawsuit.
"THIS DOES NOT MEAN I PLAN ON LEAVING FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH!
"The great thing about being a musician today is that you can explore your creativity in multiple ways without compromising your primary focus. I learned this watching people like Corey and Maynard and I think their fans are glad they've put more music out into the world. I hope my fans are, too.
"All that said, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH fans can expect our next album via Prospect Park and we are geared up to tour all throughout 2017. We are about to leave for South America and Europe and we have other dates [to be announced].
"All of us in the band have worked incredibly hard over the last ten years to build this band and none of us are going to let that go just because our record company is trying to sabotage us. I am sorry if the media took my statement as a resignation, but I assure you it wasn't."
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH recently filed a new lawsuit against its longtime record label Prospect Park, asking a judge to have the band released from its contract and order the company to pay the group more than a million dollars in damages. According to TMZ, the band's lawsuit called the company a "sinking ship" which is drowning in debt, and accused the label of "cooking up a bogus lawsuit last year to keep the band recording… while it shopped the label."
Prospect Park has countered that the band still hasn't delivered the album "required under the recording contract and expected by their fans."
The label sued FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH last year for breach of contract, alleging that the group wanted to rush the recording of a new album without proper creative input from the label and in order to "cash in" before the anticipated "downfall" of Moody, who was revealed at the time to be in rehab.
Moody has not helped his own case, acting erratically at several shows and causing the cancelation of at least one tour. He also missed eight concerts during FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's fall 2016 U.S. co-headlining arena tour with SHINEDOWN, with ALL THAT REMAINS singer Phil Labonte stepping in to take his place.
In addition, Prospect Park wanted more time to promote 2015's "Got Your Six" album. The group allegedly rejected that plan, insisting instead on recording a new full-length album. The label also hinted that it wanted "greater creative input" in the next record after allegedly being told by radio stations that the band's sound was "getting stale."
In the meantime, anticipating the end of its contract with Prospect Park, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH signed a new deal with Rise Records that will begin with its eighth studio effort.