UPDATE: In the mean-time the argument has escalated at the Hellride board, also featuring other members of the band. Follow it HERE.
Manny Cooke has left Pagan Altar. In a post on the Hellride forum, the bassist speaks his mind. So without further ado…:
“I (Manny Cooke) have left Pagan Altar. I took the decision to go during the first rehearsal after our Wurzburg show back in January, when I got the blame for things going wrong on stage because I didn’t turn round enough to cue in Dean Alexander, the band’s drummer. Dean is a piss-poor drummer who doesn’t know the songs properly (despite having been in the band nearly 3 years) who was only shoe-horned into the lineup because he happens to be vocalist/band leader Terry Jones’ step-son. As well as being the bass player I was expected to be a sort of onstage conductor, spending half the set with my back to the crowd making eye contact with Dean. Terry (someone who never goes to gigs and rarely even watched the other bands we played with) told me (someone who has been going to gigs on an almost weekly basis since 1985!) this was how all bands operate in order for the rhythm section to be tight, before laughably using Motorhead as an example of a band who’s success is founded on a tight rhythm section. Completely failing to explain how Lemmy manages to make constant eye contact with his drummers while singing at the same time.
It’s no mystery why Diccon Harper left the band shortly after Dean was installed as drummer and why his 2 successors hung around just long enough to get some juicy foreign travel under their belts! As an example of how ludicrous the situation is, during our last rehearsal Terry was still having to hold up either 2 or 4 fingers to let Dean know how many times a recurring riff during “Judgement of the Dead” had to be played! My wife has never played drums in her life but give her a set of saucepans and a couple of wooden spoons and she’d be able to tap out the rhythm to that song just from having heard me play it so many times and she wouidn’t need anyone holding up fingers to let her know how many times each section had to be played.
The writing had been on the wall for me long before this, in fact ever since Terry told me I could no longer use my prized BC Rich Warlock and had to use my cheapo Westfield bass (which I’d brought to rehearsal when my BC Rich was in for a set up). Imagine confiscating a biker’s Harley and telling them they had to ride around on a nice sensible 250cc Honda, that’s how that felt! Maybe the Warlock was too Metal for Herr Jones’ liking? I could understand if BC Rich was some obscure make, but I have seen hundreds of bands playing every style of rock and metal imaginable using them, I myself have played in everything from 70’s punk rock to extreme tech-death bands and no one else has had a problem with the sound of my Warlock! Sad fact is, Pagan Altar rapidly became the first band I have ever been with where I enjoyed playing the songs at home more than I was enjoying playing them onstage or in the studio with the band!
I could write pages on the other shit I’ve seen during my time in Pagan Altar, but quite frankly, I can’t be bothered. I just want to wish Alan Jones well. He is a truly great guitarist and songwriter, and more importantly, a genuinely nice guy. I hope one day he can put aside family loyalty and find band members who at least come close to being worthy of his prodigious talents. It pains me to admit it, but I have to say that Rich Walker was right in a lot of what he said about the band dynamics in Pagan Altar, and after the vile insults he hurled at my wife on this very forum, that is NOT something I would ever say lightly!”
A video of the band performing at Up The Hammers VII can be seen HERE.
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