Regret is one of the strongest feelings a human being can have. It may come from wishing you hadn’t done something, or from a missed opportunity, but any way you experience it, it’s unpleasant, and sometimes it leads to rockers getting kicked out of their bands.
In the world of music, regret can come from a number of things, such as not recording that idea you had that was surely going to be a big hit, or even more heartbreaking: kicking out a member of your band who went on to become really famous.
We thought we’d take a look at some tales of talented musos who got kicked from big-name bands, only to carry on with very successful careers on their own terms.
Nick Oliveri has been a staple of the stoner-rock scene for decades now, having appeared in bands such as Kyuss, Dwarves, and Vista Chino, but it was with Queens Of The Stone Age that he gained the majority of his fame. Having joined former Kyuss bandmate Josh Homme in Queens Of The Stone Age soon after its inception, Oliveri would go on to perform with the group for a further six years, appearing on the legendary records Rated R, and Songs For The Deaf. However, due to some animosity between the two of them, Oliveri was kicked out of Queens Of The Stone Age, much to the dismay of fans.
However, this new freedom allowed Oliveri a lot of opportunities, namely the ability to cultivate his solo career, and to go back to his group Mondo Generator, that he had intitally formed during the wake of Kyuss’ dissolution. With a slew of solo records under his belt now, and a few more forays into the world of Queens Of The Stone Age, Oliveri has gone on to become one of the most underrated musicians in the stoner-rock genre.
Let’s be fair, Jimi Hendrix needs absolutely no introduction. As a legendary musician, his legacy and influence precedes him in a way that most musicians dream of. However, in the year’s before his famous career with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Hendrix made a name for himself with some of the 1960’s famous musicians. Originally performing with they Isley Brothers and playing guitar on their single ‘Testify’, Hendrix left the group after being tired of playing the same music every night.
Soon after, he joined the backing band for Little Richard, The Upsetters. After a short period in the band, Richard grew tired with Hendrix’s lateness, his onstage antics, and his flamboyant wardrobe, and enlisted his brother to fire Hendrix from the group. Let’s be fair though, it was probably for the best, because if it wasn’t for his overtly wild fashion choices, we wouldn’t have the brilliance of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and aspiring musicians all over the world would be left with nothing to play as they test out their new guitars.
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Before he was famous for his legendary solo career, and for being a member of one of the brilliant supergroups, The Traveling Wilburys, Roy Orbison started out as a member of the group The Teen Kings. Forming in the late 1950’s, The Teen Kings saw a lot of success in their native Texas, and even received a suggestion from Johnny Cash to approach Sun Records, Elvis Presley’s record label, in hopes of recording with them. After a few years, Orbison was reportedly kicked from the band and the group dissolved soon after.
However, luck was on Orbison’s side and he found himself recording ‘Uptown’ his first single, which was released at a time when a lot of music’s big stars were out of the scene, such as Elvis, who was in the army at the time. This allowed to Orbison to get his foot in the door, and soon after, he released tracks such as ‘Only The Lonely’ which saw people sit up and listen to the amazing voice that he possessed. Orbison went on to release countless singles in the following months and years and the rest, as they say, is history.
Black Sabbath are one of the seminal bands in the heavy metal genre. In fact, countless bands and academics state that if it wasn’t for Black Sabbath, we wouldn’t have the heavy metal genre as we do today. Forming in 1968, the group quickly made a name for themselves thanks to their dark sound, and the exceptional vocals of frontman Ozzy Osbourne. However, following the release of their eighth album, Never Say Die!, the group were forced to have Osbourne kicked out due to his excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs, and the group’s inability to perform due to this.
Ozzy however, proved resilient and managed to control his drug consumption to a level where he was able to perform without difficulty. Osbourne embarked on a solo career which saw him reach levels of fame that rivalled the success he saw with Black Sabbath. With singles such as ‘Crazy Train’, ‘Mr. Crowley’, and ‘Bark At The Moon’, Osbourne would go on to cement himself as one of the greatest rock musicians of all time. 2011 did see Osbourne reunite with Black Sabbath, and they would go on to release one final album before breaking up in early 2017.
At first glance, the name Neal Schon might not mean much to you, but his resumé is enough to make any rock fan stand to attention. Schon first gained fame in the early 1970’s as a member of the group Santana. Lead by legendary guitarist Carlos Santana, Schon provided rhythm guitar for a couple of albums, and performed on hits such as ‘Everybody’s Everything’ and ‘No One To Depend On’, all while at the tender age of 17. Schon was soon kicked out and would go on to form a group which was intended to serve as a backing group for a number of famous San Francisco musicians.
Soon after forming, the group abandoned this idea and focused on more of a jazz-fusion sound. It was also around this time that the group decided to settle on the name Journey. After a few years of relative popularity, the group recruited Steve Perry as their lead singer, and would then go on to record such legendary rock tracks such as ‘Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin”, ‘Any Way You Want It’, and ‘Don’t Stop Believin”, rightfully placing them among the ranks of ‘legendary rock group’.
Ian Kilmister, better known as Lemmy to legions of adoring fans, was the bassist and frontman for heavy metal group Motörhead. One of the most prominent members of the English heavy metal scene, Motörhead are legendary for their intense live shows and crushing albums, but their origins lie within the space-rock group Hawkwind.
Lemmy, who was Hawkwind’s bass player in the early 1970s, had a reputation for being a big party animal with an appetite for drugs. During the group’s North American tour in 1975, the group were stopped at the Canadian border after they found amphetamine in Lemmy’s possession. Mistaking it for cocaine, they jailed the rocker, which forced the group to cancel a number of their shows. Having become tired of his behaviour, the group decided to have Lemmy kicked out, who quickly formed the group Motörhead, which he named after the last song he had written for Hawkwind.
One of the most famous musicians to fall into this category, Dave Mustaine is one talented son of a gun. Having served as one of the founding members of Metallica, Mustaine was ejected from Metallica prior to the recording of their debut album Kill ‘Em All due to his excessive consumption of drugs and alcohol. To replace him, they brought in former Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammet the very same day. Mustaine is one of the most famously bitter of all these musicians, but able to channel his anger into something very positive, going on to form the group Megadeth shortly after.
Two years after him being kicked from Metallica, Mustaine’s new group released their debut album, Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good!. Comprised of material that Mustaine had initially planned to use with Metallica, the album got the group’s foot in the door, and they would soon go on to release a number of highly influential albums in the genre, such as Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?, and Rust In Peace. While Mustaine held great disdain for Metallica for years afterwards, the groups are now on far more amicable terms, and Mustaine no longer attempts to top Metallica with everything he does.
Phil Lynott started his career as the founding vocalist of the Irish group Skid Row. Soon after the group’s formation, they introduced the talents of guitarist Gary Moore. However, the group’s bass player Brendan Shiels wanted to shake some things up, and decided to have Phil Lynott kicked out as a way to make the group a power trio, oh, and so that he could take over the role of vocalist.
The following year, Lynott would go on to form his own band, one which went by the name of Thin Lizzy. Thin Lizzy saw fame soon after forming thanks to the success of their cover of the traditional song ‘Whiskey In The Jar’. The band’s fame only continued to rise thanks to tracks such as ‘Jailbreak’, and ‘The Boys Are Back Again’, making them one of Ireland’s most successful music groups, or at least until U2 decided to get together.
Jesse Lacey is a name that almost any indie or emo-rock fan would be aware of. Having gained fame as the guitarist and frontman for US band Brand New, Lacey’s lyrics and music have found worldwide audiences thanks to his highly literate, and deeply emotional lyrics. Lacey originally had played in a group called The Rookie Lot back in the late 1990’s, who broke up, leaving Lacey looking for a new band to play with. Joining school friend John Nolan, they joined the group Taking Back Sunday, who had only recently formed.
Following the recording of a demo EP, tensions within the group lead to Lacey being given the boot, and again looking for a band to join. Disheartened, he recruited friends from previous bands to come together so they could make music. Soon after, the initial incarnation of Brand New was formed, giving birth to songs that would soon soundtrack breakups around the world.
Courtney Love is famous for a number things, most notably for being the leader of alternative rock group Hole, for being famously married to Kurt Cobain, and for having a relatively poor film career. Her career in Hole is just as well-known as her relationship with Cobain, but many fans aren’t aware of the bands that she played with prior to Hole. See, in 1982 Love was just your regular music fan, and after going to see an early performance of Faith No More, she convinced the group to let her become the lead singer.
While we don’t know what her career trajectory would’ve been like in Hole, we do know that she recorded a few tracks with the group before being kicked out, since they needed more ‘male energy’ within the group, whatever that really means. A few years later, and after playing within a number of different bands, Love formed Hole. After releasing their first record in 1991, the group were put on the back-burner while Love married Cobain, only to release their next album, the landmark Live Through This, a week after Cobain’s death.