Keyboardist Coen Janssen will be forced to sit out EPICA's upcomiing North American headlining tour because of "personal reasons." He will be replaced by Oliver Palotai (KAMELOT, SONS OF SEASONS, DORO).
Commented Coen: "Having been in [EPICA] from the start and never having missed a single show made this a very hard decision, but a decision I had to make.
"I feel blessed being in a band like EPICA, with whom I can make the music I like, play great shows all over the world, meet a lot of people and live the rock and roll life. However, if I had to name one negative thing, it would be combining 'work' with my private life. It is always a struggle which of the two comes first. As you probably agree, most of the times the band wins. That is why you are always on the road when it's your girlfriend's birthday or your parents' anniversary. Luckily for me, the homefront is, and has always been, very supportive of me and they let me do whatever needs to be done to get EPICA to a higher level. This time, however, I have to choose the other way.
"As you might have heard, I am getting married to my girlfriend Linda in April of this year.
"Having released 'Design Your Universe' last October and basically having been on the road promoting the album ever since, we found ourselves lacking the time to get everything arranged properly. Because EPICA's schedule is very tight, there was also no room anymore to 'live towards the moment' together that should be one of the most important days of our lives. I gave this a lot of thought and finally have decided that I had to choose for the homefront for once. Fortunately, the band reacted very positive towards my decision and a replacement was found pretty easily.
"I'm very honored that Oliver Palotai [who is also EPICA singer Simone Simons' boyfriend — Ed.] will guard the EPICA keys during the tour. As I know Oliver, I am sure he will do his utmost to give the crowd what it needs and even make EPICA a bit more handsome at the same time...
"I hope that my guys and girl will have a lot of fun in the USA and Canada and I will follow their adventures closely.
"I was really looking forward to rock the States, see the fans and have breakfast at McDonald's with Willem. I'll surely miss being on stage with the guys and I wish them all the success they need!!"
EPICA's latest album, "Design Your Universe", landed at position No. 12 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.
"Design Your Universe" was released in Europe on October 16, 2009. The follow-up to 2007's "The Divine Conspiracy" was recorded at Gate Studio in Wolfsburg, Germany with producer Sascha Paeth.
Quality fan-filmed video footage of EPICA's November 3, 2009 performance in Toulouse, France can be viewed below (courtesy of "MetalDenCR").