Music is a lot like life, where nothing is set in stone and everything is subject to change, and at the drop of a hat, your favourite band could have a new member – or even an all new lineup.
If you’re lucky it’ll be for the best, rejuvenating the band and driving them onto bigger and better things. If you’re unlucky, it’ll mean they’ll start producing duds and you’ll forget about them soon after.
There have been plenty of bands who have been cursed by the lineup change, but we’ve decided to take a look at some of the ones that actually learned from their early mistakes and went onto bigger and better things with an injection of new blood.
Blink-182 were already a pretty successful group in the mid ’90s thanks to their first 2 albums Cheshire Cat and Dude Ranch, and singles like ‘Dammit’ and ‘Josie’, but it wasn’t until they shuffled their line up before Enema Of The State that they reached superstar status.
Kicking out original drummer Scott Raynor due to alcohol-related issues, they recruited Travis Barker of The Aquabats to fill in. After famously learning an entire 20 song set list 45 minutes before his first show with the group, Barker became a permanent member of the group.
His first recorded efforts with the group saw them release singles like ‘What’s My Age Again?’ and ‘All The Small Things’, cementing them as pop-punk legends. The group pulled another lineup change a couple of years back, bringing in Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba to replace guitarist Tom DeLonge, but while they haven’t reached the dizzying heights of fame they saw in their youth, they’re doing pretty well these days..
Faith No More
Faith No More are one of the most famous alternative metal groups of the ’80s and ’90s, providing us with radio staples such as ‘Epic’, ‘Midlife Crisis’, and their cover of the Commodores’, ‘Easy’. However, it wasn’t until the group kicked out their original singer, Chuck Mosley, that their rise to fame began.
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Recruiting Mr. Bungle singer Mike Patton for the group’s third album, The Real Thing, the group managed to dominate the alternative metal scene for years, proving to be a huge influence for future bands, such as Slipknot and Korn.
Despite it being almost 30 years since he was kicked out, Faith No More proved they still care a lot about Chuck Mosley, and even performed a couple of shows with him in 2016.
Beginning back in 1975, Iron Maiden have certainly put in the hard yards in order to be considered one of the most influential and most-revered heavy metal groups of all time. However, it seems their success has been largely dependant on the presence of singer Bruce Dickinson.
After releasing two albums in the early ’80s with original singer Paul Di’Anno, they gave him the boot and recruited Bruce Dickinson. Dickinson’s first release with the group was The Number Of The Beast, widely regarded as one of the best heavy metal albums of all time.
After a twelve year stint, Dickinson left the group, only to be replaced by Blayze Finnigan. Finnigan’s 2 years in the group resulted in two albums, often touted as the group’s worst efforts. After being told to take a hike, they re-recruited Dickinson, and haven’t let him go since.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Undoubtedly one of the biggest bands of the last 30 years, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been one of the best selling bands of all time. Having formed in 1983 in Los Angeles, Anthony Keidis and ex-pat Aussie Flea have been the only constant members.
After original drummer Jack Irons left the group, and original guitarist Hillel Slovak passed away, the group recruited drummer Chad Smith and guitarist John Frusciante to complete their best known lineup.
After releasing the hugely successful Blood Sugar Sex Magik, in 1991, John Frusciante left the band amidst tensions with other band members, and a worsening drug addiction. The group recruited Jane’s Addiction guitar Dave Navarro for their next album, One Hot Minute, which failed to reach the expectations stowed upon it.
Frusciante returned to the fold for 1999’s Californication, the group’s most successful album to date. After two more albums, Frusciante left again, to be replaced by Josh Klinghoffer, whose presence sadly hasn’t yet lead the group to the level of their previous success.
A band that really needs no introduction, the famous trio of Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl burned the genre of grunge into the minds of millions of fans worldwide. Cobain had initially played in the band Fecal Matter in 1985 and 1986 with members of the Melvins after finishing his schooling. Teaming up with high school friend Krist Novoselic and local drummer Aaron Burckhard, the trio formed Nirvana in 1987.
Over the formative years of the band, they went through a small number of drummers, including Melvins’ drummer Dale Crover, before settling on Chad Channing to record their first album, Bleach. After some rising tensions, Channing left the band, only to be replaced by the ex-drummer of hardcore punk band Scream, the one and only Dave Grohl. One year later, Nirvana released their landmark record Nevermind, and the rest, as they say, is history.
AC/DC’s fame, both here and abroad, is legendary. From their early days as a costume-wearing glam-rock group, they were destined for greatness. With everyone except Angus Young dropping the costume angle due to Skyhooks doing the same thing, the group kicked out singer Dave Evans and brought in Bon Scott. Their career with Scott lasted six years, but produced legendary songs like ‘Highway To Hell’, ‘T.N.T’, and ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top’.
Following Bon Scott’s death due to alcohol poisoning in 1980, the group recruited Brian Johnson as their new singer. Returning with Back In Black the same year, the group saw phenomenal success to the point where it is still the second-best selling album of all time.
Their career has seen its highs and lows, but in recent times, we’ve seen the departure of guitarist Malcolm Young due to dementia, the departure of drummer Phil Rudd due to legal troubles, and it looks like we’ve now seen the last of Brian Johnson due to hearing issues. Since we’re left with only Angus Young as the original member and Axl Rose as Johnson’s replacement, they’ll have to recruit one hell of a lineup for AC/DC to reach the top again.
Unbeknownst to most lovers of metal, Pantera began life as a glam metal band. That’s right, back in the day, Pantera could’ve been considered one of the biggest influences of groups like Poison. However, after vocalist Terry Glaze left in 1986, the group brought in Phil Anselmo as their new singer.
The addition of Anselmo lead to the group beefing up their sound, and their second album with him, 1990’s Cowboys From Hell, brought Pantera to the spotlight. After a further four increasingly successful albums, 2003 saw the breakup of Pantera, and 2004 saw the murder of guitarist Dimebag Darrell. Anselmo is these days the vocalist of the band Down, but he’s not quite hit the heights he did with Pantera again.
Metallica started off with the dynamic duo that is James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. Soon enough they were joined by Cliff Burton on bass and Dave Mustaine on guitar, and with that, Metallica was born.
During the recording of their debut album Kill ‘Em All, Dave Mustaine’s drug and alcohol dependency came to a head, and as a result, he was replaced by Kirk Hammet, who is now a household name to budding guitarists everywhere. Following his departure from the group, Mustaine formed his own group, Megadeth, who have been immensely successful in their own right.
Following the release of Metallica’s third album, the highly influential Master Of Puppets, bassist Cliff Burton died in a road accident on Sweden. The group decided to continue, recruiting Jason Newsted, who went on to help them record …And Justice For All in 1988. Two years later, the group released their self-titled album, commonly referred to as The Black Album, which has gone on to become one of the best selling albums of all time.
Frenzal Rhomb are one of Australia’s leading proponents of punk music. Having formed in Sydney in 1992 by Jason Whalley and Lex Feltham. Following the release of their album Not So Tough Now in 1996, guitarist Ben Costello left the band to attend university. Costello’s replacement, Lindsay ‘The Doctor’ McDougall, has been with the group since, playing on their biggest records, and has brought both his frenetic guitar playing and endearing sense of humour to the group.
Together, The Doctor and Jason Whalley became known to Australians all over due to their teaming up as Jay And The Doctor on triple j. The majority of Frenzal’s success seems to be directly linked to the presence of The Doctor, but despite this, some people, such as Frenzal Rhomb’s good pals Nancy Vandal, jokingly believe that Frenzal Rhomb were better when Ben was in the band.
We recently heard of a Tool-related lineup change in which Tool’s singer Maynard James Keenan was almost the singer for Rage Against The Machine. Regardless of whether or not Rage would’ve been the same with Keenan involved, we can definitely agree that Tool have made a name for themselves as it stands. Their impeccable musicianship, sense of humour, and ability to frequently turn out some of the best tunes we’ve seen have earned them voracious fans the world over.
Following the release of their debut album Undertow, Tool’s original bass player, Paul D’Amour, left the group. He was soon replaced by Justin Chancellor, just in time for the group to release Ænima, the record that really put them on the map.
Avid fans may notice that since Chancellor has been in the group, there has been a stronger emphasis on the bass guitar in songs. Whether this is coincidental, or whether Justin Chancellor’s bass playing may be the reason for Tool’s success is unknown, but either way, fans all over still love the band and wish they’d release their long-awaited fifth album.
The Dillinger Escape Plan
With The Dillinger Escape Plan now having called it a day, a very wild chapter of music history has come to a close. Staring in 1997, the group were quick to draw a devoted fanbase. With their frenzied playing, and their intense live shows, the group have managed to gain one of the most loyal fanbases.
Back in 1999, the group released the debut record, Calculating Infinity. It took them five years to release the follow up Miss Machine, considered to be one of their best, namely because their original vocalist left. Dimitri Minakakis, the group’s original singer left so that he could focus on graphic arts and design, so they recruited Greg Puciato as his replacement. Puciato was an instant favourite with fans, taking over the role of the highly energetic frontman, and managing to lead the group into the vast levels of success they’ve had since.