Bands That Replaced Irreplaceable Members (And Those That Shouldn't Have)

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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.

See Also: 10 Underrated Punk Albums That Should Be Considered Classic
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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?"


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16 comments
Brandon Doyle
Brandon Doyle

Sublime was the hands down most annoying. Oh cool, ANOTHER random dude singing Santeria. Great. Can't wait.

Kat Johnson-Perea
Kat Johnson-Perea

You forgot John Corabi in Motley Crue who's a way better singer than Vince Neil anyday...

Brian Cummings
Brian Cummings

Unpopular opinion ahoy... Listen to Queen + Paul Rodgers. It WORKED. It wasn't a cash grab, Paul Rodgers' voice and Brian May's guitar went together like peanut butter & jelly. And both had the nuts to be themselves and not try to imitate who wasn't there.

Angie Rivera
Angie Rivera

Amy Horton I'm surprised that Gin Blossoms weren't mentioned, since they're kind of hometown heroes.

Chuck Rovegno
Chuck Rovegno

Right on with STP and that Audislave garbage

bwaggoner
bwaggoner

TSOL's first two albums with Joe Wood, Change Today and Revenge are both great alternative rock/punk rock albums and deserve to be credited as such.  Even Hit and Run (their 3rd w/Wood) sounded far more like a harder AC/DC (i.e. blues rock) and had nothing to do with hair metal.. and yet I keep hearing this repeated by lazy journalists who have obviously never heard any of those albums.  With the exception of their last one with Joe Wood I love all TSOL-Ron Emory and Mike Roche's musicianship and on those albums is fantastic-as is the songwriting.  If you listen to those albums and describe them as hair metal you are A.) an idiot or B.) a liar who actually hasn't heard those albums.  Do yourself a favor and download just one song off Change Today or Revenge.  It'll be worth it.

Drew Blank
Drew Blank

With John Corabi, Motley Crue was a different but excellent adventure. And Myles Kennedy (Alterbridge) singing G&R songs with Slash is frekking incredible.

phnart
phnart

@bwaggoner hair metal may have been more the look than the style, especially after Roche and Emory were gone, I'll give you that, but the first TSOL ep is one of my all-time faves and when Joe Wood joined the band, they were forever changed to me. I'll also give you Change Today. I actually own that one...but I can't go for Revenge. I probably should have put the word "lazy" in front of hair metal. Thanks, though, bwaggoner, for calling me out and making me think.


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