Joe Lynn Turner vs Nikolo Kotzev: All About Integrity

Joe Lynn Turner & Nikolo Kotzev / Photo ©

Joe Lynn Turner & Nikolo Kotzev

The story behind BRAZEN ABBOT‘s attempt to celebrate their anniversary with a special package has become complicated. Once Joe Lynn Turner raised a question of its legitimacy, the band leader Nikolo Kotzev tried to defend his corner – rather unconvincingly, one has to say, given the ensemble’s heavy reliance on star contributors and Joe’s usual willingness to help other musicians – and now Turner has decided to address the situation in the ultimate way, yet without taking the case to court. Read the singer’s message below.

“I feel it is necessary to respond to the last statement by Kotzev to protect my integrity and reputation, and give a clear explanation to the fans. This would be the last response from me to this situation.

I would like to make it clear once and for all that it was never about the money or any financial compensation. When confronted with this issue, he offered me a percentage from the sales, but I immediately declined his offer.

My problem with Kotzev is the way that I had to find out about this release and the manner in which it was done. It was released two weeks before it was brought to my attention by my publicist that it was advertised on the social media. Through the email, I asked him why I was never informed – his response was: He was busy and completely forgot… Really?!

The lack of respect and consideration to me that Kotzev’s actions have shown are unacceptable and very unprofessional. To refer to me as ‘Not a partner, but just a hired band member on a per show basis’ is outrageous! I remain to be the only live vocalist for BRAZEN ABBOT ever! I sweated out every show trying to make something happen with the band because I truly believed in this project. Do I deserve to be treated with such disregard after all? I hardly think it’s fair.

When questioned about the need for my approval, he assured me that he has a document that I signed almost six years ago. Now, according to my lawyers, this document, DOES NOT serve as an instrument for any exploitation of commercial use and therefore the legality is ‘highly questionable’ and hence in no way binding to any terms. The words they used for this document were: ‘nonsensical, vague and misleading.’ In addition, they pointed out that it was signed only by one party (myself) and the lack of Kotzev’s signature on it again questions the validity of the agreement between two parties. Kotzev admitted that he composed it himself which explains the amateurish content and structure…

After a brief conversation, I signed this document in full confidence and understanding that Kotzev’s intentions were to use this video for promotional use only in order to procure additional shows for BRAZEN ABBOT in the future. Intentionally or not, Kotzev conveniently forgot to mention during his last interview, that NOT one show was procured by him since that last live performance in 2010, and the band members were LET GO by Kotzev shortly thereafter!

Kotzev assured me in his emails and stated later in his interview that this DVD ‘Will be sold exclusively on the BA website.’ However, my fans pointed out that the DVD is being currently sold by at least two other websites. I find his statement to be completely false.

I think it is important to note that in one of his recent interviews Kotzev also states a fact that I am a confirmed and committed artist to one of his other projects in order to procure investors and increase the budget by using my name without absolutely NO knowledge or permission from me! This is extremely disturbing and alarming to me. In no way am I committed to any projects that Kotzev is currently working on or seeking investments for and I can’t remain silent to it!

The last email to Kotzev on December 31st from my management in an effort to put all this aside stated that I give him full allowance to continue with the sales and wish him good luck in the coming year. In return, he insisted on removing my original statement and instead posted a retraction statement saying that I was wrong about the questionable legality aspect of his actions which I refused to do considering the advice and counsel I received from my lawyers. Had he contacted me prior to the release of the DVD, I am sure we would have come to an amenable agreement without no problems. I stand by the fact that I should have been given a level of respect to approve and sanction the video before release because it’s the ethical thing to do between two friendly professionals.

My lawyers suggested to serve him with a ‘Cease and Desist’ letter urging him to stop his activities. But I told them that this is not my true intention and would not achieve the results that I was hoping for and to just let it go. Life goes on.

Concerning the RATED X project, since Kotzev decided he needed to bring it up. Our guitar player suffered a sudden stroke and only completed 7 tracks out of 11. We needed to finish the album, and we had a timeline to get it done. Frontiers [Records] producer already assigned an excellent German guitarist, who finished the tracks within a few days. However, I thought it would be a good opportunity for Kotzev to play on the remaining tracks and his compensation would be an opportunity/association to play live with the band, which would generate income and very good visibility. I insisted in my negotiations with Frontiers and it took me a week to finally convince them to allow Kotzev to finish the album. Unfortunately, the band’s solo schedules didn’t permit the band to tour.

As a true professional, I am incensed and upset to be put in such a position. I highly value mutual respect that each and every artist should have for each other in all their efforts to achieve success – and all I expect is the same in return.

Apologize for the lengthy response – too many issues. Thank you all for reading and trying to understand this unfortunate situation.”

January 8, 2016

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