Interview With Julie on the Departure of Jeff Young and James Lomenzo
With the newly revamped lineup of Hydrogyn with ex-Megadeth guitarist Jeff Young, and bassist James Lomenzo, many fans were excited with the fourth coming album: "Judgment." Jeff and Julie Westlake and Jeff Young posted video updates weekly on youtube updating on the recording process. Then, slowly, the video diaries were become less frequent. What happened? In late July, it was announced that Jeff Young has left due to "creative differences." James Lomenzo landed another gig with Lynch Mob.
I talked to Julie about these departures and the future of Hydrogyn. Julie and Jeff Westlake to the contrary, remain hopeful on their future and confident that the new album: "Judgment", will be a huge success.
Daniel Becker: So what exactly happened with Jeff Young and James Lomenzo? “Creative difference” is basically a euphemism to what? What is your side of the story? To me with the video diaries, it just seemed like Jeff Young was made for Hydrogyn. In essence, you guys seemed very happy. What went wrong?
Julie Westlake: Well, to clear things up about Lomenzo, James agreed to record the album with us, and we were very excited to have him on the album. He is a great person and an incredible player. He really did a great job on the tracks. As far as him being a member of the band for touring, that was always up in the air. We knew he had to do whatever was best for him, and so we completely understand Lomenzo for not being able to tour with us, as he has a better offer. Its completely understandable. As far as my statement regarding creative differences, yeah maybe that's not the whole story, but it is part of the reason things did not work out with Young. Jeff was in Megadeth along time ago, and he has done some stuff but nothing in this genre. Jeff said himself in interviews that he had not been part of a rock band since megadeth, cause he wanted to find the right singer, and he felt that he found that with me. All I can say is you do not know how something will go, until ya give it a try. And that's what we did. Alot of people are saying, "wow something explosive must have happened cause jeff deleted you from his facebook page!" Honestly, I do not feel anything "explosive" happened, and as far as deleting people on facebook, I just think its immature and I dont have time for it. In the end it came down to exactly what I said in the press release. I do not think the songs he wrote were Hydrogyn songs. Also, I do not think we were on the same page regarding our work ethic, and getting things done. Of course I can go on and tell alot more that took place in the five months that he was in Kentucky working on the album, but then its just gonna be a "he said she said" situation just like it has been for the last twenty some years between Young and Mustane. I just do not have time for the ego, and I honestly do not know if Jeff could ever truly focus on Hydrogyn due to his obsession with what happened years ago with Megadeth. As far as the video blogs, and how things looked, and that we all seemed happy...it is what it is. We did those to keep the fans up to date as to what was going on in the studio. We were still trying to make a go of everything, and keep a positive attitude with everything. So that everything regarding the Young situation.
Becker: So now that Jeff and James have left, who will be replacing them? Do you have any possible future recruits in mind?
Westlake: Jeff Young will not be replaced. We toured the last album with just one guitarist, and so, that's what we will continue to do. As far as the bass is concerned, we will be using the same guy we have been touring with for the last three years: Chris Sammons. Lomenzo was in for the recording, and it would have been cool to do some shows with him, and who knows maybe in the future we will. Lomenzo never committed one-hundred percent to touring as he had to take the best gig for him, and we knew that, so to say that he left the band I dont think is accurate, the only person who left, or who was let go from the band is Young. We will continue everything just as planned.
Becker: Do you think this is going to adversely affect the promotion of “Judgment,” or affect the touring schedule?
Westlake:Not at all. Im not trying to be mean, but Youngs short run in Megadeth, hasnt seemed to help in regards to labels, booking, promotion, or anything. Yeah, having him and Lomezo on the album sparked some interest in the fans, and got us a little press in the beginning. But them not being a part of the touring, has not had a negative effect at all on the promotion or touring of Judgement.
Becker: Can you explain the correlation relation to the album cover and the title of “Judgment.”
Westlake: Obviously, just like a lot of bands out there today, in this industry, you get judged constantly. We have been judged from the beginning, with Bombshell. Mainly regarding myself, and my image. People thought we were trying to use looks to sell the music, and just assumed the band sucked. I think that we have proven to be a good band. So when we decided to do the cover shot for Judgement, I did not want to have this over the top sexy photo, but more of a cover that showed me a little defeated from all the judgment that has been placed on myself from the beginning. I actually have on the same exact outfit that I wore in the Bombshell shoot, because that is when all the judgment began.
Becker: Has the departure of Jeff Young and Lomenzo affected the release date of “Judgment?”
Westlake: It has set it back from the first of October to the end of October, because we decided to remove the three songs that Young brought in, and replace them with songs that were more along the Hydrogyn style.
Becker: What label will “Judgment” be released on?
Westlake: Currently we will be releasing the album on our own here in the states, and we are working with a couple different labels for Europe. We will be making that announcement soon.
Becker: How does this new release compare to your previous albums? Does it have a different tone, style, etc?
Westlake: It's definitely a lot heavier than the other albums we've done, but still has the Hydrogyn sound.
Becker: Do you think that Hydrogyn will recover quickly from the abrupt departures of Lomenzo and Young?
Westlake: Honestly, there is no recovery necessary. Young was not in long enough to make a difference, and again Lomenzo was never an official member. So, to answer the question, we are moving along just fine, and looking forward to getting on the road again.
Becker: Any news you would like to tell the metal community at this time?
Westlake: Just keep a watch on tour dates, and come rock out with us.
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