The rock band, which is on tour with Mastodon in Fall 2021, released an official statement on twitter:
— Opeth (@OfficialOpeth) November 16, 2021
“Due to conflict of interests, Martin Axenrot is no longer apart of the Opeth collective. His replacement for the North American tour with Mastadon and Zeal & Ardor will be powerhouse drummer Sami Karppinen…”
The statement goes on to say that Karppinen is an “outstanding” drummer and that he will be finishing off the remaining shows on the tour, effective Nov. 16.
Axenrot had been playing with the longtime group for 15 years until this fall, having started out as a replacement for former drummer Martin Lopez. In an infamous slam to critical fans in 2007, lead singer Mikael Akerfeldt decried the comparisons to Lopez by posting, “Wow, looks like got ourselves a new breed of idiot Opeth ‘fans’ on our tail, huh? Mindblowing guys…really!” Akerfeldt went on to express gratitude for Lopez’s work with the band but was excited with Axenrot’s involvement. “When somebody picks on his drumming I can’t help but to feel that that person is a deaf moron who knows nothing about music or drumming.” Akerfeldt concluded his thoughts: “I get defensive not only because I brought him in the band, but mainly because he’s a f*cking fantastic drummer!”
Here’s to hoping for less pushback for Opeth’s current drummer.
photo credit: Raymond Flotat