SONS OF APOLLO singer Jeff Scott Soto has commented on the announcement that bassist Billy Sheehan will be unable to join his bandmates on their South American tour next month due to "travel restrictions". His replacement on the trek will be ANGRA's Felipe Andreoli.
Late Monday night (July 25), Soto took to his Instagram to write: "It is now out there that Billy won't be joining us for the upcoming shows next month. None of us are happy about this, Billy is our bandmate and brother, to do any shows without any of these guys is something none of us wanted or normally would agree to.
"I don't need to go into any details further on why he isn't going to be with us, it had to happen based on far too many circumstances beyond our control and we will make the most of this challenging situation. I will cap this part with we'll miss him dearly on these shows and we have nothing but love and respect for our brother.
"That being said, from anyone else I can imagine to help us get through these shows, I can't be happier that my Brazilian bro Felipe Andreoli of ANGRA will take on the task to kick ass with us. He is one of the greatest contemporary bassists out there today and I feel his presence will make it so we can get through this successfully.
"It's a crazy time still, especially in music and touring, so many are dealing and doing what they must to get us back to YOU, thank you for the undying support and love along the way as we all navigate our way back to normalcy, Freddie [Mercury] said it best...the SHOW MUST GO ON!"
Top Link Music manager and concert promoter Paulo Baron said on Monday that Sheehan wouldn't tour with SONS OF APOLLO in South America "for personal reasons that he did not want to disclose to me."
Sheehan is an avowed member of the Church Of Scientology, which does not have an official position on vaccines, according to Time magazine. However, the church emphasizes the "harmful effects of drugs, toxins and other chemicals that lodge in the body and create a biochemical barrier to spiritual well-being," according to its web site. Sheehan has not publicly disclosed whether he has received the COVID-19 vaccine and it is not clear whether his vaccination status is related to his absence from SONS OF APOLLO's South American tour.
According to the official web site of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil, proof of vaccine is required for most travelers to Brazil.
On Monday, Sheehan took to his Instagram to share a few photos of him "getting all the required vaccinations" for a MR. BIG trip to India back in 2009. He wrote in an accompanying message: "While finishing an EU tour in Germany, we had a very kind medical doctor come backstage and he did a great job inoculating all of us. As a result--I had a fabulous time in India, and came home healthy!"
When one fan responded in the comments section that he heard Billy isn't coming to South America with SONS OF APOLLO because he didn't get the COVID-19 vaccine and lamented the fact that Sheehan had to "miss this tour leg because of some stupid restrictions," Billy responded: "thank you for understanding".
Another fan wrote "back when vaccines were…well….vaccines" in reference to Billy's 2009 inoculation, to which Sheehan replied: "exactly".
In addition to Sheehan and Soto, SONS OF APOLLO features former DREAM THEATER members Mike Portnoy (drums) and Derek Sherinian (keyboards),along with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (guitar; ex-GUNS N' ROSES).
SONS OF APOLLO's South American tour dates:
August 09 - Curitiba, Brazil @Ópera de Arame
August 11 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil @Circo Voador
August 13 - São Paulo, Brazil @Tokio Marine Hall
August 14 – Brasília, Brazil @ Toinha Brasil Show
August 16 – Santiago, Chile @Teatro Cariola
August 18 - Buenos Aires, Argentina @Teatro Flores
SONS OF APOLLO' second studio album, "MMXX" (pronounced: 20/20),was released in January 2020 via InsideOut Music/Sony.