Goodbye, Roy Webb
Why haven’t I commented on Roy Webb’s somewhat bizarre departure from EHSSQ? For one, I have been a bit busy lately with real-world deadlines and writing commitments. For two, I don’t really have anything worth commenting on and know nothing to report.
As a friend of mine said to me the other day, there are usually (though not always) three reasons why people leave groups: Pride, pennies, or petticoats. Someone isn’t playing well with others on the bus, someone is stealing, or someone is screwing around with the wrong woman or man. Rumors abound, in this case, as they do in most cases where the principal players involved have chosen to remain silent, and as a general rule, I usually assume there’s more to the story than the official line. But all I know in this case is what EHSSQ has said about the matter (which is: he don’t work for us no more) and so have no reason – other than my reflexive cynicism about official statements – to think Webb left for anything more than the vague personal reasons implied by the reports that preceded his departure. But then again, the word “reporter” or “news” or “update” isn’t in my URL either. So there you go.
On the bright side (for Webb anyway), he does leave with a pretty decent parting gift: a snazzy new solo album he can use as his calling card, resume, or audition tape for whatever he wants to do next, assuming it involves the piano. The timing couldn’t have worked out better if it had been planned.
Update: Reader KB provides some inside baseball speculation worthy of promoting to the main page:
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I would think that missing the Gaither taping would be the last straw. Perhaps this has been going on for a short while, and when he was not present for the “main event,” that was the end of it.
Granted, if the reports about his family matters are true (and as serious as they seem to be), I would understand missing the date. But it appears that only death or personal sickness is excused in the Gaither camp (Rex Nelon passed away the day before the London taping, George Younce was rushed out of the Carnegie Hall taping mid-shoot), and if someone is ill, the taping is rescheduled (as was the Old Friends taping with both George and Jake Hess).
One must wonder if Ernie knew that Roy wouldn’t be there beforehand, and if so, how far in advance. If Ernie knew about it far enough before the taping, could he have perhaps postponed it? Was it Ernie’s call to go on with the show, or was it Gaither’s?
If it was a last-minute deal, like either the day before the day of, then I would think that excusing the absence would be understandable. Especially if it is a family emergency. In that case, it almost makes Ernie look like the dictator (”I don’t care if your dad’s dying, you WILL do the show or you’re fired!”).
Granted, this is all speculation, but my guess is that Roy wanted to take off some personal time, and it was more than either Ernie or Gaither was willing to deal with.
My question is, though, why do they even need a piano player if they have those tracks? They’ve even gone as far as eliminating the piano intro to “Stand by Me” when done live (which was actually originally recorded and performed by Garry Jones!!). Save for the occassional “Plan of Salvation” number and the required “let’s actually hear our piano player PLAY something,” it’s kinda pointless at this point…