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

Categories: Lists

Dead Kennedys

The first famous failure which comes to my mind in replacing the irreplaceable belongs to the Dead Kennedys. One of the greatest punk bands ever, the Dead Kennedys were Northern California's gift to the underground, at least until they decided to reform without original singer Jello Biafra in 2001. The iconic Biafra's voice helped make the Dead Kennedys' signature sound unmistakable, and his particular way of phrasing chorus and verse alike is unlike any other in music, let alone punk rock.

Now, though, the Dead Kennedys are a joke band whose instrumental brilliance is cheapened to the point of repugnance by possibly one of the worst choices in rock history as replacement vocalist. New singer, Ron "Skip" Greer has no presence and, sadly, attempts to mimic Biafra more often than not. At least he doesn't try to emulate Biafra's classic pantomime stage presence. If you're looking for something at least close to the power of the Dead Kennedys circa 1983, then check out Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo Bay School of Medicine next time they come through your town. You won't be disappointed, but if you are longtime DK fan and you go to a Dead Kennedys show, you just might puke.

Is there a more famous or notorious example of replacing the irreplaceable than Van Halen? When they first announced Sammy Hagar as a replacement for David Lee Roth in 1985 and Van Halen became Van Hagar, I couldn't believe the utter bullshit they put out. While I never really got into Van Halen after their first record, there was no denying their power as quartet led by Roth, and it has to be said: Their eponymous debut is a great, great record.

VanHalen.jpg

There was something a tad dangerous (although now it seems more ironic than anything else) about Diamond Dave, but all of that was out the window when they brought in Sammy Hagar. The success was there and fans eventually accepted Hagar to the point of millions of records sold and packed concerts everywhere, but there was always something missing. Even though they don't play very often anymore, Roth is back these days, even if the band's relevance is not.

The Who keeps trudging on even though its original rhythm section, led by virtuosos John Entwistle (bass) and Keith Moon (drums), is now deceased. Moon died back in 1978, and Kenney Jones of the Small Faces/Faces got the unenviable task of being his first replacement. Needless to say, the drumming on Who recordings post-Moon were never inspiring, although current drummer Zac Starkey more than holds his own. When Entwistle died in 2002, many Who fans wondered how they would replace him and while Pino Palladino is a capable bass player, he is not even close to being a suitable replacement for the The Ox (Entwistle).

The Who at their best:


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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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