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On Monday 17th January 2000, Dave Rollins quit Fragile for "personal and professional reasons". His decision was made on the eve of the band commencing rehearsals with new keyboard player Gonzalo Carreras, and only days after his successful debut performances with Fragile at the Bulls Head and the Gun.
Steve Carney speaking for Fragile emphasised that whilst the band were "shocked and disappointed by developments" there was no question of Fragile folding. "We have gone through constant changes since July 1998, and maybe Dave's departure is for the best. In his brief time with us we learnt a lot about ourselves and what it really means to perform Yes music. Dave was technically excellent and we have valued the experience of playing with him, indeed many of the ideas developed with him will continue into the future. However, we have also realised that Fragile and Yes music is a team game, and that to play with spirit and a childlike sense of enjoyment is as important as delivering the right note".
Steve hinted at problems behind the scene in the run up to January's gigs "Rehearsals were difficult and there was a tension not present before in the band. Dave was a plus for the band in terms of moving us forward, but in retrospect I think personal differences would have emerged sooner or later on certain key matters. He has a good sense of detail, but it's very important to convey such ideas in a positive way". Steve moved to refute rumours concerning the future of Tom Dawe in the band "Tom is an essential part of our live persona, and although January was a difficult time for him in particular, he will remain in the band on merit". Steve also denied that Paul McGinley had left under a cloud "Paul spoke for some time with Gonzalo before the gig and briefed him on the job, there was a good vibe between them and Fragile remain on the best of terms with Paul".
Steve confirmed that the band's plans for 2000 would need to be amended in the light of Dave's departure "clearly we need to recruit a new guitarist, and at the same time routine Gonzalo into the band. The reality is that this cannot be cracked before the end of February, and therefore the Robin on 4th March 2000 will have to be cancelled. We hope to be back in action in time for the gig on 7th April 2000 at the Standard". Steve also explained what the band were searching for in terms of a replacement "you must have the technique and ability to play like Steve Howe, but also still have your feet on the ground and be prepared to be a team member. We are not looking for a session guy who wants a tape and then turns up on the night!, you have to share the workload and play your part in the development of this excellent act". As to the future, Steve is clear "myself, Jon and Mitch are the heartbeat of this band, and as long as we are there Fragile will continue. We see Gonzalo becoming a long term addition to the band, and joining Tom as a stage favourite. All we need now is a guitarist without baggage!".
Fragile are now actively searching for a replacement lead guitarist and would like to hear from anyone out there who feels they can do one of the most interesting jobs in tribute rock!.
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