Trivium Frontman Explains Firing of Drummer Travis Smith
A couple days after the release of Trivium‘s ‘Shattering the Skies Above,’ the band’s first release that doesn’t feature original drummer Travis Smith, frontman Matt Heafy opened up about why Trivium let Smith go and how the band is flourishing with Smith’s replacement, former drum tech Nick Augusto (Maruta).
“We were coming to the point where the band was — not necessarily dissolving — but dissolving in creativity and maybe in live fire and energy, so we had to make a change for the positive,” Heafy told Noisecreep. “Thankfully, we were able to find Nick, who was able to step it up and really be that guy to take us to the next level.”
While Trivium’s relationship with Smith had deteriorated over the years, the band had no immediate plans to replace him when he announced in late October 2009 that he would be sitting out the ‘Into the Mouth of Hell’ tour to take care of “some personal business.” It wasn’t until after the band members started playing with Augusto on the tour that they realized the injection of new blood served Trivium well.
“I was familiar with Nick’s stuff with Maruta, and I knew he could play really fast, but I was really curious on how he’d do with our band,” Heafy said. “I remember stepping out of the car and hearing him practicing ‘Into the Mouth of Hell We March,’ and I’d never heard the song played with that ferocity. It sounded like the album, but it was a little faster, harder and angrier. The first song we played [with him] was ‘Rain’ [from 2005's 'Ascendancy,'] and I remember him playing the end section and it was so effortless it almost looked fake. I looked at Corey and we both started laughing at the same time. I could tell we were both just thinking, ‘Who the f— is this guy?’ So it’s very cool he was able to bring that intensity to stuff that already existed and bring his own flair as well.”
To this day, Heafy insists he has no idea exactly what ‘personal issues’ prevented Smith from touring, but he’s grateful for the opportunity to play with Augusto, and wishes Smith the best of luck with his future endeavors.
“We told him over the phone [that we were continuing with Augusto,] and it was hard for everyone involved,” Heafy said. “But I hope it’s going to be something Travis recognizes was for the better for him in years to come. For his own health and well-being as well and for our own. I heard that he’s doing very well now and that’s the best you can wish for. And we hope he does amazingly, no matter what he picks in life to do next.”