OBITUARY’s DONALD TARDY On Former Guitarist ALLEN WEST: ‘He Was His Own Enemy’

In a recent interview with the “Scars And Guitars” podcast, OBITUARY drummer Donald Tardy was asked about the band’s split with guitarist Allen West more than a decade ago. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Allen was his own speed bump. He was his own enemy. He just made stupid choices and just couldn’t keep it together. I’m sure it’s been long documented with everything that happened with Allen and us, for God’s sakes, my brother [OBITUARY singer John Tardy] and myself and Trevor [Peres, OBITUARY guitarist], we tried our best to keep him on track and to sit him down and say, ‘Dude, isn’t this important? Isn’t this why we do what we do? We’re finally making headway here. We’re finally ready to get rolling on the road and become a band and become a powerful thing here.’ And he just steered one direction while we were headed straightforward to trying to stay successful and stay organized and stay professional.”

Asked if he and his bandmates are still in touch with Allen in any way, Donald said: “We’re not. We’ve reached out over the years. It’s been a decade, it’s been 15 years probably. And over the years, one of us, all of us, we all tried to reach out to him and find him. He knows where we live, for God’s sakes. John‘s house has been the studio for going on 25 years. So, unfortunately, we’re not in touch with Big Al anymore.”

West had had problems with alcohol and drug abuse over the years and even quit OBITUARY for a time in August 2005 because he was unable to remain sober enough to play shows. OBITUARY hoped West would sober up enough to work on the band’s 2007 CD, “Xecutioner’s Return”, but the guitarist couldn’t pull it off, and in May 2007 he was arrested and imprisoned after his fifth DUI (Driving Under The Influence) offense.

“If you’ve followed OBITUARY‘s history, it really shouldn’t be any surprise about West‘s absence,” John Tardy said in a 2007 interview with The Metal Forge. “If you look all the way back to ‘Cause Of Death’, you could see he had certain issues at the time. If I had to sum up the two years [after] we released ‘Frozen In Time’, I would say that [they were] a little challenging. His drinking was getting way out of hand. It was affecting us all personally, and affecting our shows with his poor performance onstage. It wasn’t fun to be around him at times. It was bad. We would sit down and talk with him, and even beg with him to get his act together, and the very next day you would have a whole day where you simply couldn’t get anything done because he was unavailable. There was something going on. His drinking got the best of him. In the end, he finally got himself one DUI too many, and in front of a judge, who by all means probably did the right thing by him, put him behind bars for a little while. That’s given him plenty of the time to think about the next time he gets behind the wheel of a car when he’s been drinking. He could kill somebody next time. As much as I certainly didn’t want to see that happen, I think it was all just coming to a head. I think this was the best thing to happen to him.”

After West‘s exit, OBITUARY utilized the services of guitarist Ralph Santolla, who had previously played with DEICIDE, DEATH and ICED EARTH, among others.

OBITUARY‘s current lead guitarist, Kenny Andrews, has been with the band since 2012.

OBITUARY‘s latest studio album, “Dying Of Everything”, came out in January via Relapse Records.

Last year, Decibel Books released “Turned Inside Out: The Official Story Of Obituary”, the fully authorized biography of OBITUARY. The book was written by David E. Gehlke, author of “Damn The Machine: The Story Of Noise Records” and “No Celebration: The Official Story Of Paradise Lost”.


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