FOZZY guitarist Rich Ward has announced plans to reform his previous band, STUCK MOJO, for the recording of a new studio album, tentatively due late next year through an as-yet-undetermined label. Ward's statement on the matter, as posted on his official web site, reads as follows:
"I've spent the last four years explaining to people why I didn't want to do another STUCK MOJO record. The bottom line is that I just didn't want to do another record with [vocalist/rapper] Bonz. As I mentioned before, I don't do this for fame and wealth. And even though there were lots of financial incentives for me to keep going through the motions, I just didn't want to put on a fake smile and get back on the bus with Bonz just so that I could make some money. Drugs and alcohol abuse had made him completely impossible to live with on the road. His political philosophy and mine were drifting further apart. And, musically, I became unsatisfied with working with him and was tired of hearing him rap the same way on every song. For the record, Bonz is a very intelligent, likable and kind man and I would not have played with him for ten years if this was not so. Unfortunately, the substances that he did from the time he woke up until the time he went to bed, made Bonz someone that I didn't want to be around.
"Hey, I don't stand here without admitting a role in our destruction. Around 1999 I started alienating him from the writing and the business process of the band and started to treat him like an employee. When I realized that he wasn't just a recreational user, I never reached out to him and to try to get him treatment. I turned my back on him and waited for him self-destruct. Bottom line, I could have been a better friend to Bonz, but I wasn't. I have made some friends in the music business, but having friends was never my goal. I would rather be in a band with someone who works hard, respects the business and honors the opportunity to make music, than to play with my 'buddies.' Consequently, I have seen a number of musicians come in and out of the old rehearsal space door. Being 'all business, all the time' has cost me some friendships that I miss.
"The time that Bonz, Corey, Bud and I spent in 1996, '97 and '98 were amazing. I rarely reminisce about the 'old days,' preferring to keep my focus on what I am doing at that very moment. But, while going through hours of video footage and old photographs for the new MOJO DVD, I had a chance to reflect on some of the good times.
"Bonz has called me periodically for the last 6 months or so to talk about the future of STUCK MOJO. He appears to have successfully dealt with the lifestyle issues that made our relationship so challenging previously. After a couple of conversations, we recently agreed to put our 'stuff' aside and to write a new record. At this time I can't make any promises other than to my commitment to write the best MOJO record ever. The plan is for me to write the music and the vocal melody sections and for Bonz to write all of his rap sections. Until the 'Declaration of a Headhunter' record, this was the formula that we used to write all of our music. Because of political differences, we will stay away from lyrical concepts that we can't agree on and try to find common ground with a message that both of us can agree on without compromise on either side. The MOJO lineup will include Bonz, Bud, myself and FOZZY/DUKE bassist Sean Delson. The band has completed its obligations to Century Media Records and is currently speaking to several labels about releasing this new album. So, until a deal is reached, a release date cannot be set. For now, touring for this album will be limited to album release shows and European festivals."
As previously reported, the first DVD spotlighting STUCK MOJO is available for pre-order exclusively online at www.StuckMojoMedia.com. "Inside the Monster: The Evilution of Stuck Mojo Vol. I" is the first in a two-part series covering the history of the genre-defining band from their humble beginnings in the clubs of Atlanta to the European festival stages and everywhere in between.
In other news, the new FOZZY album, "All That Remains", will finally be released on January 18, 2005. "It is the most progressive and musically indulgent record that I have ever written and will certainly help to dispel the stigma that FOZZY has carried since the days of wigs and tight pants," Ward writes on his web site.
Also on the Ward-related front, "My next priority is to finish the DUKE [solo] album," Rich says. "Over half of the record is already tracked with Rick Beato (SHINEDOWN, BEN TAYLOR) taking on producer duties on half the record and yours truly on the other. If the stars all line up properly, I will mix this with Andy Sneap in jolly ol' England and have have it ready for a mid-spring release. I have also been working with Allison Irby, an amazing, 18 year-old singer from Atlanta. She made a guest vocal appearance on the FOZZY album and she gave me chill bumps with her performance. I am currently writing and recording demos for her in my rehearsal studio. Yeah, she's an R&B singer, but she wants to be a rock singer. With her voice and the right riffs (she came to the right place) she could be the next big thing."