Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Triptykon Drops From Maryland Deathfest Due To H. R. Giger's Passing

Triptykon vocalist & H. R. Giger (photo: Metal Insider)As you likely already know, prolific artist, creator of aliens, and friend of many a metal/rock musician H. R. Giger passed away on May 12th following a fall that led to complications.

It seems that Thomas Gabriel Fischer of Triptykon and Celtic Frost developed a close friendship with the artist. I never knew this, but Metal Insider reports that Giger had actually employed Fischer as an assistant to him and his wife for the past seven years.

The Triptykon vocalist said via Facebook that he is assisting with funeral arrangements and helping his widow in any way he can, and will therefore not be attending Maryland Deathfest this year.

Here is Fischer's explanation in his own words:

The greatest surrealist artist of our time, H.R. Giger, died in a tragic accident on Monday, May 12, 2014. In the wake of Giger’s death, his closest friends are gathering to comfort his widow, Carmen, and to assist her in organizing Giger’s funeral and his memorial service. I am one of those friends.

We are all still attempting to deal with the shock of this unexpected and extremely painful loss.

For 30 years, H.R. Giger has been my mentor. As I wrote in my eulogy, a few days ago: “At a time when almost everybody ridiculed, ignored, or even obstructed the music the then almost completely unknown Swiss underground band Hellhammer was creating, Giger listened to us, talked to us, and gave us a chance.” The result was Celtic Frost’s “To Mega Therion” album which, in turn, was the basis for all subsequent collaborations between us.

In all of his work with Celtic Frost and Triptykon, H.R. Giger was immensely generous, in spite of repeated objections of mine and countless attempts to convince him to accept proper compensation for his amazing contributions.

I have also been an assistant to H.R. Giger and his wife for seven years. I have long seen them as very close friends, even as family. We have experienced many challenging events together, and we have repeatedly taken care of each other in every conceivable manner.

I thus simply cannot and do not wish to fail to attend H.R. Giger’s private funeral, and to take part in the subsequent public memorial service, to be held in one of Zurich’s largest churches. Moreover, I am an integral part of the group of Giger friends who are currently involved in the difficult task of arranging these events. I cannot possibly just be a recipient. In a moment like this, I have to and wish to give as much as I possibly can.

It is an extremely unfortunate coincidence that these unexpected and tragic proceedings collide with Triptykon’s planned appearance at Maryland Deathfest on May 22. We are thus regretfully forced to withdraw from the festival. Within Triptykon, we discussed the possibility of playing the concert without me, with a close friend of ours filling in on guitar and vocals. The other members of the band did not see any merit in performing as an incomplete line-up, however.

Withdrawing from Maryland Deathfest was not an easy decision to take by any means. We are disappointing our audience and the promoter of the festival, it contradicts our sense of commitment, and the band’s reputation will suffer damage. We were looking forward immensely to Triptykon’s return to the US. After a lengthy and expensive petition process, the US authorities granted us the required US work permits last week. Moreover, a US crew had been hired, and flights and hotels for band and crew had already been booked.

In 1985, during Celtic Frost’s very first tour, I was forced to cancel three concerts due to overstrained vocals. I vowed to never let such a thing happen again and took the appropriate steps. Ever since then, I have never again been the reason for a cancellation of a concert by either Celtic Frost or Triptykon. There have been instances, in Paris and London for example, when I went onstage with Celtic Frost in spite of flu and substantial fever, in order to avoid letting down the band’s fans.

It is thus utterly against my nature and my own professional demands to be the cause for Triptykon’s first cancelled show. But these are truly extraordinary circumstances, caused by the death of a truly extraordinary artist and friend. I hope our audience will understand, and I apologize sincerely. And I am extremely grateful for the incredible understanding and goodwill extended to Triptykon by the promoter of Maryland Deathfest.

Tom Gabriel Warrior, Triptykon, May 19, 2014

While it definitely sucks for those who were looking forward to catching them this year, I think we can all understand his reasoning. I hope he and everyone else struggling to make peace with his passing will find the comfort and peace they deserve.

On a bit of a lighter note, I don't feel so bad now about missing my chance to get Deathfest tickets this year. I feel like it'll have a very somber air to it this time around with all the loss and hardships that have been cropping up all over lately.

I only hope the rest of the band isn't harboring any resentment towards him for this, though I'm sure they were probably fond of the artist as well.

No worries, Triptykon! Everyone understands. See you next year \m/

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