During a recent appearance on “Drinks With Johnny”, the Internet TV show hosted by AVENGED SEVENFOLD bassist Johnny Christ, former BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE bassist Jason “Jay” James opened up about his departure from the Welsh metal band more than seven years ago. He said (as transcribed by Phoosi.com): “It is tough to talk about, to be honest, after all the little bits that happened. All I can say is everybody was partying, everybody was having a drink, and everybody liked to have a drink.
“My real problem started with alcohol,” he continued. “I was a pretty big drinker. And I’ll hold my hand up to some of the troubles that I caused the band or caused myself, absolutely. But a lot of what I was doing, other people were doing [as well].
“I think my real troubles came, with alcohol and everything, was afterwards, when the realization set in of everything. I couldn’t quite cope with [what had happened].
“All I can speak from is my side of everything,” James added. “But, yeah, I’ll hold my hand up to… There was times where I was a handful, and there was times when other people were a handful. [It’s] a rock and roll band — stuff happens. But, yeah, like I said earlier on, I wasn’t doing what other people [weren’t] doing. I think my problem, bigger problems with alcohol and other things, came, I think, after my departure, and I think that was from kind of a loss that I felt, ’cause they were family, and that hurt me. So I kind of wanted to hide from reality. And I was a pretty big drinker anyway during the band days, but that increased double [after I was kicked out]… It was a real pull on the old heartstrings.
“I’ve known Moose [former BULLET drummer Michael Thomas] the longest in my life out of anybody; I’ve known Moose since I was three years old… So I’ve been friends with him since then. And the other guys I met in my teens, so I’ve known ’em all my life.
“When all that happened, on a Thursday it kind of happened, I found out, and it was a shock. And I didn’t want Monday to come, because it was too much to deal with, so I thought, ‘I’ll just get fucked up for now and I’ll deal with all of that on Monday.’ But Monday didn’t come for four months. And I just kept on hiding behind the alcohol in my house, which is what happened to me, ’cause I didn’t know what to do. All I’d done for the last 10, 12 years was play guitar on stage, tour, management, all that kind of stuff. And then suddenly I felt like there was nothing; I didn’t know what to do. So the answer to me was in my friend alcohol. So that’s what I did. And that got out of control, which led me to get some help and go into rehab and become sober, to where I am now.”
Reflecting on the conversation that he had with the other members of BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE where he was told that he was no longer a member of the band, Jason said: “There was a meeting that I had to attend, and they talked about it. And a lot of that stuff [was] mentioned — the drinking and everything. But I think the decision was already made. I was kind of told that this is happening… There was debauchery happening and the parties that were going on within us all, really, and I think I was singled out for a few things that I had done here and there. I think there were statements released then by them, I guess, but I’d never really released anything to say what happened. This is the first time I’ve ever talked about it.
“It’s quite hard to talk freely and open about it, for legal reasons,” he explained. “It’s not an ongoing thing anymore. It was for a long time — for years and years and years. And it wasn’t until this year that it stopped.”
Asked if he would be open to talking to BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE frontman Matt Tuck and guitarist Michael “Padge” Paget again if he had a chance to, Jason said: “Communication with Matt and Padge, no. There hasn’t been, really. There just hasn’t been any communication since the departure and not really any attempts to, really.”
BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE announced Jay‘s departure in February 2015 during the recording sessions for the group’s fifth album, “Venom”, and recruited Jamie Mathias as his replacement in May of that year.
In July 2015, Tuck told Revolver about the split with James: “We parted ways with [Jay] a long time before we announced it. We wanted to make sure we were comfortable making that decision, and comfortable with making that statement publicly. We wanted to get the album ready to be recorded before we said anything…”
At the time, Tuck described the split with James as “the most difficult thing we’ve ever had to do, and not just in the band or in our careers, but in our lives, personally. It was awful. Losing a long-term member — and our best friend, which was much more important to us — was a very powerful moment that we’d never been through before, and it was a decision that we deliberated over for, like, three months; we kept fighting and fighting to find valid reasons for him to stay, but eventually it was just impossible.
“I’m not going to go into detail,” Tuck continued, “but it was in Jay‘s best interest personally, more than ours, that he was not in the band. People can read into that what they want, which they will anyway; but it was just stuff going on that was jeopardizing the band’s career, and it had to stop. And, unfortunately, it came to the point where enough was enough, and we just had to make that call.”
He added: “Behind the scenes, we were going through a bit of emotional distress. But apart from that, as far as the band was concerned, everything was great. We were writing good songs, and it probably helped having that emotional distress to bring out that feistiness that the last album lacked, you know? It’s good to have that emotional drama in a band, sometimes; it can really help with the creative process.”
James and Thomas have since reunited in a new band called KILL THE LIGHTS, which released a song called “Dead From The Start” last month.