Bands That Replaced Irreplaceable Members (And Those That Shouldn't Have)
Cable television is confounding, for sure, and the inevitable question often arises: "All these channels and nothing to watch? What the ______?" Recently, I was having one of these moments until I stumbled across an interview/live performance show on the Audience Network called Guitar Center Sessions. This one caught my eye because it featured Alice in Chains. I got curious. Who is this new singer? How could they try to keep it going without Layne Staley?
Of course, this only brought up more thinking, which is never encouraged by any discernible taste-making entity, but darn it, thinking is so fun and on that particular afternoon, I wondered, what other bands have replaced seemingly irreplaceable members and either failed miserably or been successful? Obviously, it is way more fun to write about the bands who have failed miserably, but I also have to be fair and give credit where credit is due.
Alice in Chains, for example, seems to have found a really good replacement for former lead vocalist (and currently dead) Staley in William DuVall, who sounds similar enough to the late junkie singer to please diehard fans, but also has the huevos to be his own man on newer songs. In addition, DuVall has a noticeable presence, which is very important in rock 'n' roll to be able to sell "it" to the masses. I would give them a passing grade, especially considering how difficult it is to replace someone as distinctive as Staley.
One thing folks who haven't been in bands might not realize is how much time and effort band members invest to achieve any kind of success, even just playing a few local shows. Band members who might not contribute a whole lot beyond time, effort, and loyalty have, at very least, the feeling of ownership of the band itself. In the end regardless of the reason, when bands break up it is rarely unanimous. There is always at least one member who wants to hang on and keep it going.
Having been a founding member of a band, a replacement for an original member, and just a fill-in player, I can say first hand that seeing a band end, even when you have just played a small part, is very difficult to do. There is that sense of ownership which can cloud even the best judgment and it is hard to stomach, at times, seeing someone else play or sing the parts that used to be yours. I can definitely empathize with every band on this list who kept it going, for better or for worse, but still...sometimes you do just shake your head and go, "What the fuck were they thinking?"