It doesn’t look like the best way to kick off their eagerly anticipated debut headline tour of the UK but US rock behemoths Shinedown have parted company with lead guitarist Nick Perri just a fortnight before their opening show at Islington Academy.

Tipped to be one of THE bands to watch in 2009 by rushonrock, the band will now revert to a four piece with existing axe hero Zach Myers stepping up to the plate. It’s an amicable split by all accounts and Shinedown fans are assured that nothing will be compromised during their four-date UK jaunt.

“I’d like to thank Nick for touring with us over the past year,” lead singer Brent Smith told rushonrock. “I wish Nick the best in his future endeavours. That being said I’m pleased Zach is taking over Nick’s role in the group. Zach is one of the most phenomenal guitarists I know. We’re looking forward to all the upcoming touring we’ll be doing this year.”

“Brent offered me an incredible opportunity – one that I am grateful for, one that I have never taken for granted, and one that I will always cherish,” added Perri. “The truth is, however, after 10 months something inside of me just doesn’t feel right. This is a personal matter and has NOTHING to do with the band. They have ALL made me feel welcome, and for that I thank them. On a final note I wanted to thank my brothers – Brent, Barry, Zach, and Eric. You guys are the best musicians I’ve ever known, and are inspiring both onstage and off.”

Shinedown release their latest UK single The Sound Of Madness on February 23 – the title track from a record which has stayed inside the Billboard Hot 100 for 24 consecutive weeks. The album is due for release over here later this year.