The management of Shane Gibson, one of the guitar players currently touring with KORN as members of the group's backing band, has released the following statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET regarding the erroneous reports that Rob Patterson — former OTEP guitarist who was in the back-up band for KORN's Family Values Tour in 2006 — is replacing KORN guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer on the band's current European trek:
"Rob Patterson is NOT replacing Munky. In fact, Shane Gibson, the backup guitarist of KORN and the lead guitarist for [KORN singer] Jonathan Davis' solo tour, was asked to take over Munky's role as the lead guitarist soon after Munky's departure. Shane saved the day by re-learning new parts of all 22 songs in ONE DAY and was ready to rock out by the next evening. Rob Patterson was brought back to fill in for Shane's backup guitarist's role since Shane is now playing the lead and Rob knows the backup guitar parts by heart by being a backup guitarist in the past. Although Shane and Rob both are playing up front on the stage since two or three shows prior to last night's show (at first, Rob was in the back with Kalen), Shane is playing Munky's guitar parts, the major riffs, heaviest and loudest parts of all songs. Shane is on the right side on the stage from the audience, where Munky usually stands. When Munky is able to come back, it's expected that Rob goes back and Shane returns to his backup guitarist's position."
Shaffer left the tour for "personal and family reasons," according to a statement posted by the band at its official web site. Singer Jonathan Davis said, "We fully support Munky's need to be home right now and because we want to come through for all of our European fans, the tour will go on. It's what Munky wants us to do, too. We promise to give it our all every night!"
In a MySpace bulletin, Munky stated about his decision to leave the tour, "If you want to better understand my departure, then listen to the words in the song 'Watching the Wheels' by John Lennon."
Although his departure is not seen as permanent, Shaffer is the third original member of KORN to exit in the last three years. Guitarist Brian "Head" Welch left in early 2005, while drummer David Silveria went on "temporary hiatus" in late 2006 and has yet to return.
Shaffer posted an update online just a few days ago, saying that he had a "big surprise announcement coming very, very soon" about his future plans.
KORN's current touring lineup includes guitarist Shane Gibson and ex-ARMY OF ANYONE drummer Ray Luzier, in addition to remaining original members Davis and bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu.