In a shocking statement, funk group Kung Fu announced that the band and founding member/keyboardist Todd Stoops have parted ways, and that Beau Sasser, of the Alan Evans Trio and Beau Sasser’s Escape Plan, will be his replacement.
Stoops co-founded the band in 2009, and Kung Fu has been a staple of the festival circuit ever since, with a unique blend of psychedelic funk, high-energy rock and jazz.
Here is the band’s official statement:
Change is exciting, challenging, and a constant part of life. It is the process of evolution and growth. We do our best to embrace change in our lives and the music we play, and it is in this spirit that we announce that Kung Fu and Todd Stoops are parting ways.
Todd is our brother, a brilliant musician, and composer. This decision has been difficult for everyone involved. We wish Todd nothing but the very best for his family, his musical endeavors, and we are grateful for everything he has contributed as a founding member of Kung Fu.
We would like to give a gigantic welcome to Beau Sasser as our new keyboardist. Beau is most notable for his work with Alan Evans Trio, Melvin Sparks, Beau Sasser’s Escape Plan, The Z3, Uncle Sammy, Ryan Montbleau and more. He is a beast of a different flavor on keys, with incredible song writing skills, and we are very excited to have him on the Kung Fu team. With Beau on board, we know that Kung Fu will continue to be one of the best live bands on the scene.
We would like to thank you, our loyal and dedicated fans, for your continued support! We can’t wait to see you this summer!
Peace, Love and Music-
Stoops took to Facebook to issue his own statement, seeming to tell a bit of a different story. It appears the band kicked him out via email, and that it may not have been a mutual decision:
Dearest Family, Friends, and Fans,
This is tough, but here goes…
It has been the utmost honor to have performed for all of you with Kung Fu for the past 5+ years. I have experienced some of the greatest highs of my life onstage with the band that I co-founded, and I consider myself one of the luckiest humans alive to have been able to share that energy with all of you.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you…
After an incredible run out to the midwest for sets at SummerCamp and Revival, I came home to an email Tuesday from the rest of the band informing me that I was being replaced. Effective immediately.
Needless to say, it was as shocking to me Tuesday afternoon as it must be to all of you reading this now…
I can only wish the best for the remaining members of Kung Fu as they continue their journey. They are good musicians. With only two original members remaining, I’m excited to hear the evolution of that collective.
I have always kept a commitment to myself to perform with as many different artists and projects as possible. Always with the intent of broadening my musical vocabulary, personal growth, and most importantly, learning from everyone I have had the opportunity of performing with.
I fully intend on continuing this mission.
NYSMusic.com has reached out to Stoops and the band’s management for comment.