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

Categories: Lists

When you consider punk rock, it seems like it is hard to find a band who hasn't replaced a key member at one point or another. Some other examples of bands who have replaced key members with relative degrees of success and failure would have to include The Damned, Misfits, The Vandals, TSOL, and Black Flag. Some of these have gotten away with it, and some, like the Dead Kennedys have not.

The Damned have had so many different lineups over the years it is hard to single them out, but to me, it's hard to imagine or accept them without Rat Scabies on drums. Arguably, the original lineup with Dave Vanian (vocals), Brian James (guitar), Captain Sensible (bass), and the aforementioned Scabies on drums is the finest, although Sensible is a more-than-capable guitar player. The Damned have achieved high levels of success, though, in terms of the quality of some of their post-original lineup recordings. The line up on "Strawberries," for example, with Sensible on guitar and Paul Gray on bass and Roman Jugg on keyboards, is stellar.


The Misfits, as they currently exist, are more punk rock second-bananas-gone-wild than anything else. My disdain for them is well documented, but even I can concede that a Misfits without Glenn Danzig is not really the Misfits, however shitty the "classic" lineup of the band actually was. They have attempted to replace the weak-jawed midget for many years with various levels of success, and now feature Dez Cadena, formerly of Black Flag, on guitar and backing vocals, with bass player Jerry Only handling the lead vocals, and a lad named Chupacabra on drums. Now that is both scary and punk, and perhaps slightly dumb.


The Vandals used to have a great singer named Stevo. Stevo and guitar player Nils Ackermann, for all intents and purposes, were the creative forces behind the band from the get go. Most of you little punks, though, never got to see the original band, which also featured super-douche Joe Escalante (thief, liar, and lawyer) on drums, and Steve "Human" Pfauter on bass. Check out the movie Suburbia to see Stevo in action, as he was one of the better SoCal frontmen ever. What the Vandals have been since 1984 is a joke band with lame jokes. When Stevo uttered the line, "Couldn't make it as a punker" in their classic song, "Urban Struggle," off of Peace Through Vandalism (1982), he was probably talking about Escalante, who ended up attempting to steal all of the Vandals' song rights and royalties.

Also on the Suburbia soundtrack and appearing in the film as well, True Sounds of Liberty (TSOL) attempted at one point, to replace the entire band. For several years, TSOL became a hair metal band led by a guy named Joe Wood, which was particularly disappointing to longtime fans expecting to hear songs like "Code Blue" and "Abolish Government." Eventually all was righted in the world, though, and the three of the four original members came back to the fold (Todd Barnes died at age 34 of a brain hemorrhage) and punk rock was alive and well, just like when TSOL formed in Long Beach in 1978.

Black Flag's (sort of) original lineup was its best. Sure, there were a few bass players before Chuck Duckowski took the helm in 1977, and Brian Migdol was no slouch before handing over the drumming duties to Robo in 1979, but the dudes who ran the show during the first three or four years were the bomb. There is no argument, and even if you do want to troll the comments section and slap high fives with the other mongoloids who have difficulty with polysyllabic words, you're still wrong if you think there was any Black Flag singer who could hold Keith Morris' tiny jock strap. Maybe the only irreplaceable member of Black Flag is truly Greg Ginn, and if so, great, but he's been trying to replace Morris, Robo, and Duckowski for years and it has just never come together the way it did in 1979.

Fortunately, though, the off-shoot band FLAG tours occasionally, which features Duckowski, Morris, Bill Stevenson, Dez Cadena, and All's Stephen Egerton on guitar.


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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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