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:

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…

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Comments

  1. KB wrote:

    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…

  2. GD wrote:

    I’ve read the “by the reports” in which EH explains the reason for the departure from SS. How on earth does one read that and get KBs very embellished comments? Why not add a vicious crime and a sex scandal to make it really juicy? It’s a real shame that we’ve come to the point where a legitimate story doesn’t create enough interest, so we have to make it more interesting.

  3. Cindy wrote:

    I totally agree with GD! I’m really surprised that you put KB’s comments on the main page. Granted, the press release from Ernie regarding Roy was very brief. But there has been no mention anywhere of the things that KB has said. We know that Roy was leaving the road temporarily to take care of things with his dad. Then this decision became permanent. The best thing we can do is pray for Roy and his family - not speculated or spread rumors.

  4. Cindy wrote:

    Sorry - excuse the typo - I meant speculate, not speculated!!

  5. TonyWatson wrote:

    The way all of the press was written screams out that there is more to the story than meets the eye - which is often the case. It was never said that Roy resigned, just that Roy was not the piano player anymore. In light of the circumstances described by Ernie in Roy’s life, this would seem to indicate that the decision to discontinue this relationship was not Roy’s decision ultimately. However, we may never know the whole story and probably it’s none of our business. It seems like it could have been handled better but we don’t know the circumstances. We just have to accept what we know and move on.

  6. KB wrote:

    Okay, apparently I hit a sore spot. I have met Roy on several occassions, and he is a very nice individual. It is very possible that it is a simple case of “I need time off the road,” cut and dry (and I really hope that is the case).

    The only reason I speculate the above is the fact that the announcement came a week after the video taping. They made an “unofficial” announcement via MySpace saying that Roy had taken some time off, but did not say that the change was permanent. Several days later, the e-newsletter was sent saying that he was out. To me, that seems like there MAY be a little more than what is being said.

    Again, I hope that I am sadly mistaken, but as things are with the business, things are not always cut and dry.

    DISCLAIMER - This is pure theory and speculation, NOT proven fact, and should be treated as strictly personal speculation.

    As for Roy himself, I know what it’s like to sacrifice for family, and I wish him the best either way.

  7. byeroy wrote:

    word I heard was that he wasn’t coming back to gospel music anytime soon and don’t expect him back and that he has some very personal issues he needs to straighten out

  8. KB wrote:

    If that is the case, do we have another Josh Cobb on our hands….????

  9. thom wrote:

    come on people - let’s just accept this at face value and move on. give the man a break already. i don’t know him or the situation, but reading Ernie’s statement is sufficient for me.

  10. Kent McCune wrote:

    Good grief, KB, you are bound and determined to gossip about this no matter what, aren’t you?

    It’s hilarious. It seems every time someone leaves a southern gospel group there is widespread hue and cry and wringing of hands because the traditional boilerplate reasons are given — e.g. “he/she is leaving to pursue other ministry opportunities” and/or “he/she is leaving to spend more time with family”. Here we have an instance where the group involved tried to give us something more specific than the standard fare and we still feel like we need to gossip it into something bigger and juicier.

    Let’s get a grip, folks, and act like Christians. And as Thom said, “move on”.

  11. quartet-man wrote:

    What a strange Webb we weave. ;-)

  12. TLS wrote:

    The mentioning of Josh Cobb got me thinking. Maybe Cobb and Webb could form a group called “gone but not forgotten.”
    Of course the members would have to meet certain criteria like being dismissed or disappearing from the SG circuit, but still be talked about. A bonus would be if they could find members whose last names had four letters and ended in BB’s.

  13. NG wrote:

    Isn’t Roy finishing up his college studies in jazz piano? If so, maybe he will try a different field of music.

  14. William wrote:

    The last comment SingingNews posted was Ernie saying that Roy was no longer their pianist. That was it. No reason, nothing else. This type of short statement always leaves room for speculation. That is just the way it is and always has been. I think I would have rather they say nothing. Then we would all think Roy was still with his family doing what he needs to do and just hasn’t come back to Signature Sound yet. But, I can understand people wondering what’s up when all you say is, and here is the quote:

    Ernie Haase has informed us that Roy Webb is no longer the piano player for Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. For more information, please visit www.erniesigsound.com.

  15. Janice wrote:

    Cobb-Webb sounds “catchy!”

  16. Good Man wrote:

    I don’t know Ernie or Roy that well. I’ve talked to them several times, but I am not close enough to actually call them close friends. Given the way that Garry Jones’ departure was handled, I have enough respect for Ernie to be satisfied with the information that we have been given about Roy. I don’t want to sound like a Holy Roller sweeping in on my white horse cutting down the gossiping heathens with the sword of righteousness…hack…., but I think that maybe it would be the Chrisian thing to do use our energies (and extra blogging time) to pray for Roy during this extremely difficult time in his life.

  17. Good Man wrote:

    erm………that should have read “..would be the Christian thing to do…”. My kingdom for a spell check.

  18. KB wrote:

    Ernie and Garry both handled the split very well. But I know for a fact that there is bad blood between the two….

  19. Alan wrote:

    Once again, I’m sort of sad to read some of the speculation about Roy Webb’s departure. Are we past the point where any and every explanation is just immediately discounted? I don’t know Russ Taff, though I’d like to. But I think his family and friends could tell us all what it means to lose a Dad without resolution to years-long estrangement. If indeed this is “all” that has caused Roy to leave EHSSQ, then it’s more than enough cause. Can we just leave it there for now, and pray for him, and his family? Or am I just hopelessly naive? He came to us to play piano, and he did so extremely well, and there was the bonus of some good humor. So, he did what he was asked to do, and I say Godspeed, Roy, and I pray that when you and your Dad have to say goodbye, that you’ll do so as the best of friends.

  20. dkd wrote:

    KB- #18. Definately Bad Blood between the two of them!

  21. Jake wrote:

    KB & dkd — What is this “bad blood”? Have either of them spoken unkindly of each other, or said things to indicate their dislike of each other? Do they refuse to appear together? I’m curious what kind of reaction there would be if they saw each other, or if they were scheduled to appear together. It seems to me that both have gone on to do what they wanted to do in the first place — each has a quartet with “their own” style, etc. so everyone ought to be happy for each other and with each other. It is too bad there had to be a split up, but if they were going in opposite directions, it was better to go their seperate ways when they did, rather than stay together and end up with a big problem later on. I hope they can forgive and move on.

  22. Montana Man wrote:

    for those of us who have no idea, what’s the josh cobb story and for whom did he play? and when did he disappear? was there a pizza truck on the scene?

  23. quartet-man wrote:

    Montana Man, Josh Cobb is the original tenor of Legacy Five. He was with them for around a year. He left the group after winning Favorite Horizon Individual at the Singing News Fan Awards in 2000. There were rumors around that Josh had been offered a deal after winning the award, but it fell through. He went on to badmouth Legacy Five, the Cathedrals (not so much personally, just derogatory remarks about their age) and the SG industry in general on one of his myspace pages.

  24. Jenn wrote:

    Why is there bad blood between Garry Jones and Ernie Haase? What happened that made them part ways?

  25. Grigs wrote:

    Avery, I don’t understand you. You poke fun at Aaron Swain for his Josh Cobb speculation, but you praise KB for his Roy Webb speculation and “promote” it to the front page. What’s the difference outside of Aaron coming across as a naive kid and KB coming across as a gossipy housefrau? Neither of these guys is an insider. Neither of them has a clue about Josh or Roy’s personal life. KB admittedly is not privy to Ernie’s business dealings. What’s the difference?

    It’s almost like you want discord in SG. You poke fun at Aaron because he insinuates Josh might be coming back to SG. You praise KB for his supposition that there’s trouble between Haase/Gaither and Webb. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you thrive on bad things happening to SG groups and good performers leaving this style of music.

    Of course that’s not true…..please tell me it’s not true.

  26. Jake wrote:

    Jenn,
    Garry Jones and Ernie Haase started SSQ together back in 2003 or 2003. After a few months together, it bacame apparent that they were thinking in opposite directions as far as where they were going as a quartet. So Garry left and eventually began his own quartet (Mercy’s Mark). Shane Dunlop, who was the original lead singer with the group, also left, which paved the way for Ryan to join up with Ernie and SSQ. Doug and Tim have been with Ernie from the beginning.
    I don’t know just what the issues were that Ernie and Garry split up over. Business issues, I guess. If indeed there is bad blood between them, it is too bad, since now there are 2 quartets both doing well, and between the two they are having a much greater influence and are in far more circles than one quartet could ever have gone. Kind of like when Paul and Barnabas split up — it was too bad it happened, but it allowed for greater opportunities for ministry when all was said and done.

  27. Mary wrote:

    JAKE, or anyone,
    Where is Shane Dunlap now?? I remember a press rease from Garry Jones after the split that said he was going to form a quartet , and that Shane would be in it. Well, when Mercy’s Mark started, Shane was not a member.
    What’s up there?

  28. Jake wrote:

    Mary — Shane does solo work. Don’t know what happened between him and Garry, or if timing was an issue. Garry was quite a while between his stint with SSQ and forming his new quartet — it may have been as much as a year — so perhaps Shane needed to work for a living (?) I am not privey to information as to whether they had an amicable split or not.

  29. Shane Dunlap wrote:

    Hey Guys,
    I read these forums from time to time because most of the time there is alot of good info on them. I can tell you that First of all that Garry Jones is still one of my best friends in the world…. He is one of the most honest, genuine people that I know and just an all around great guy without a huge ego! As far as the split goes, well that is all I will say about that!

    The reason that I did not go with Mercy’s Mark in the beginning was a number of reasons.
    A. I had recently tasted a very bad side of gospel music and just decided that I should not go right back into singing fulltime with a group.
    B. I had a 7 month old baby boy and a wife in grad school fulltime and I really felt that I needed to be home for my family more than I had been.
    C. I was just plain “Burned out”

    I have been given other opportunities in gospel music since, but the timing or the situation has not been right for me yet.
    I can tell you that I hav great wife and two wonderful children, and have truly enjoyed my time at home with them the past 3 years…. As a wise man who had been in fulltime gospel music for years once told me,” The one thing that I regret is the years when I could not be there for my children. Remember, you cannot get your kids back” I will sing in a quartet again one day, but I did not have these children for someone else to raise.

    The one thing that I can tell you that I have learned over the past couple of years is that there are more imortant things than ” Quarteting”. Don’t get me wrong, I love the stuff, but so many people eat, drink and breathe it…..I used to be like that, but I realized that to most people it is just a business and they will turn on you in a heart beat! Lets just say that after my exit of the former group that I traveled with, it was not long before I found out who my true friends were….. People can be very cruel and they really just think they know you or what happened with your situation. Most of the time they don’t even have a clue about anything that happened! Press releases are great tools to get info out, but they do not always give you all the true facts about what went down.

    I have also found out by being a soloist, that most of the things that I thought mattered to me, really don’t matter to me anymore. I mean I love to sing for huge crowds, win awards, and have #1 songs like the rest of them, but it is just not my dream or focus like it once was. I guess God has shown me how to be content.

    Anyway, I am still around!
    SD

  30. jb wrote:

    Good post Shane: You are right, you can never get back moments and times you miss with your family. Quartet life is not all it is cracked up to be. I am thankful for the ones who travel and spread the word because I love SG music, but, I also know it is a hard life. I admire you for putting your family first. YOu can always go back to singing if that is where God wants you to be. God Bless You.

  31. dkd wrote:

    Good post Shane. I hope that one day you will find a group that you will enjoy singing with. Maybe you could start N’Harmony up again? have you ever thought about that?

  32. tom wrote:

    I am glad Shane is where he needs to be. Traveling, singing, and being on the road all the time is not a way for a man with a family to live. Most people do it because they HAVE to and can’t make a living any other way. Family time is far more important than quartet time and all of the BS that entails!!

  33. Mary wrote:

    Thanks, Shane.
    It’s certainlly hard to sing!
    I’m blessed with a family able to be a very active part of my ministry, but it still is challenging.
    I’m part-time in Ohio, a little over 100 dates per year. So, I can’t imagine what it must be like for the “big guys”.

  34. Glow wrote:

    I have just read things on this site that I know nothing about and don’t care to. I love Signature Sound. Being together all the time is a strain on any relationship. Let’s all just listen to the music and praise God for the talent they all have.

  35. Traver wrote:

    It is amazing to me how speculative people can be even on the SG cirucuit, shocked actaully. I am sure the split between Ernie and Roy has more than know going on behind but also pretty sure it is nothing like every seems to think it is. Groups split all of the time, business is busines - it’s the entertainment business. Move On.

  36. Jeremy wrote:

    the bible warns us of idle gossip. I just read where Roy had to go home to be by his dad’s bedside because of cancer. I am appalled at the idea of “having a reason NOW”. you people need to trust Him and trust when His people say things when they say it. DO NOT be stupid enough to say “this is MY educated guess” or “Here’s what I think”. it’s about trusting Him and not giving an ear to the Devil.

  37. Verna wrote:

    Your comments imply a somewhat judgmental spirit (which should never happen)…AND without any substantial information. Do I sense “sour grapes”? I only heard his playing on XM radio and was very blessed.

  38. Kimberly wrote:

    Breaking News www.Sogospel.com

    May-29-07 Roy Webb Resigned
    According to a newsletter sent out today from Ernie Haase and Signaturre Sound, Roy Webb will no longer be playing piano for the group. It has recently been reported that Roy Webb had to attend to some urgent family needs concerning his estranged father.

    An on going bad situation worsened this weekend….. Roy’s estranged father has been fighting cancer and is right at deaths door. Roy said it is very VERY bad! In the light of the situation and the fact that there are years and years of “issues” between them that need to somehow come to a close “Real Fast” He (Roy) felt the right thing to do was come off the road and “Deal” with these “Real Issues” of life, death, family and healing.

    All the guys and the families of EHSS support Him and request prayer for Roy and his family as they wade through these uncharted waters.

    Webb, Thomas
    From: DaytonDailyNews.com
    WEBB, Thomas L. age 63 of Dayton, went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, August 21, 2007. He was born December 22, 1943 in Dayton, OH, the son of Foster E. Webb & Joy E. (Ankney) Jones. He is preceded in death by his father & step-mother, Jessie Webb. Survivors include his mother; children, Jenny (Don) Lewis of Huber Heights and Roy (Jamie) Webb of Liberty Twp.; grandchildren, Josh & Justin Lewis and Mallory & Braydon Webb; lifelong friend, Faye Webb; sisters, Julie Jewett, Debbie McCallister, Barbara Thompson, & Sue Caplinger; brothers, Charles Webb, Mark Jones, & Rob Webb; and many aunts, uncles, nieces & nephews. Tommy retired from Montgomery County Engineers as a mechanic. He was an active member of the Dayton Area Deaf Club and he enjoyed traveling in his R.V. His wonderful sense of humor, warm smile, and loving spirit will be greatly missed by all those who loved and knew him. Funeral services will be held at 10 AM on Saturday, August 25, 2007 at Newcomer Funeral Home & Crematory, 4104 Needmore Rd., Dayton, OH. Burial will follow at New Carlisle Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Friday from 6-8 PM. If so desired, memorial contributions may be made to the Miami Valley Hospital Foundation, 30 Wyoming St., Dayton, OH 45409 in care of cancer research. To send a special message to the family, please visit www.NewcomerFamily.com Funeral Homes Published in the Dayton Daily News on 8/23/2007.

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