Monday, March 06, 2006

Top ten heavy metal downgrades

So what kind of downgrade an I talking about? I tried to pick the top ten line-up changes where I feel the band got a replacement who was not as good as the predecessor. In some cases it's not that the replacement was bad, but that the player they are replacing was just that good. Now so you don't think I am all negative, I am working on a top ten upgrade list and that will also be out this week. So here are the top ten downgrades, the band it happened in, the year and my reasons for picking them.

10)Brian Robertson for "Fast" Eddie Clark, Motorhead, 1982
Brian Robertson had played in Thin Lizzy and was a decent guitarist, but Fast Eddie is a huge influence on early speed metal and a real underrated player.

9)Blaze Bayley for Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden,1994
Somebody had to step in and Maiden had the guts to bring in someone of a different style, but Bruce was just such a huge part of Maiden's success. The bands watered down music during the Bayley era didn't help matters.

8)Ripper Owens for Rob Halford, Judas Priest,1996
Priest went the opposite direction of Maiden in that they went for a guy they thought sounded like Halford. Sorry, but there is only one Rob Halford. Priest's rotten musical directions and Ripper's inability to find his own personality only made the situation worse. Some shoes are just too big to fill.

7)Paul Bostaph for Dave Lombardo, Slayer, 1994
Paul Bostaph is actually better than average speed metal drummer. However, Lombardo is the God of speed metal drumming. He brought the thunder, he destroyed and he couldn't be replaced.

6)Tommy Bolan for Ritchie Blackmore, Deep Purple, 1975
This is mainly a matter of I don't consider it Deep Purple without the great Ritchie Blackmore. It doesn't matter if the replacement was the late Tommy Bolan or Steve Morse, it just didn't work.

5)Brad Gillis for Randy Rhoads, Ozzy Osbourne, 1982
Let me put it this way, Randy Rhoads was the best guitarist to ever play in Ozzy's solo band and Brad Gillis went on to be the second best guitarist in Night Ranger.

4)Sammy Hagar for David Lee Roth, Van Halen, 1985
Anyone who reads my blog much had to have known this would make the list. Sammy may actually have a better voice, but stage presence is just as if not more important than vocals. Diamond Dave in Van Halen was one of the best frontmen of all time.

3)Randy Castillo for Tommy Lee, Motley Crue, 1999
Randy Castillo was competent with Ozzy, but this move didn't work. Tommy Lee is certainly not the sharpest tack in the world, but he is an amazing talent with enthusiasm that is almost impossible to match.

2)Graham Bonnet for Ronnie James Dio, Rainbow, 1979
Graham Bonnet was an okay singer while Ronnie James Dio is one the greatest vocalists in heavy metal. After making this vocal change, Ritchie Blackmore also took the band away from a metal sound and they became much more commercial.

1)Brian Johnson for Bon Scott, AC/DC,1980
The situation that caused this change was sad. However, Bon Scott was not just a good singer, but a good frontman and a good writer. When he died, much of the personality of this band died with him. Johnson has a voice that grates on my nerves at times and his stage presence was just okay. Angus Young had to become the major focus of this band once Scott died.


Blogger FredCQ said...

Well, when I first scanned through your list and saw Ronnie Dio, I thought that you were going to say that he was a downgrade from Ozzy, lol. I'm glad that I went back and read the whole thing.

Your whole list is on target. The only thing that I will say is that, while Blaze Baily was a terrible choice to replace Bruce, the songs that he was given to sing were pretty awful. I doubt that you could get even the best singer in the world to sing, The Angel and The Gambler or most of the material off Virtual XI with conviction.

I did just see a live video of Blaze singing the Trooper and it was god awful. A heavy metal crime.

5:16 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

The 90's was not a kind decade for Maiden. Fear of the dark is probably my favorite album they did in that decade yet it's not as good as their debut which is probably my least favorite of their albums from the 1980's. I didn't quite understand why they picked blaze Bayley. There were a lot of rumors at the time that they might get Helloween's Michael Kiske to fill the spot, but nothing ever came of that. He was much more in the same style as Bruce.
Ronnie James Dio gave Sabbath a much needed boost when he came in. Heaven and hell was their first good album in five years.

5:26 AM  
Blogger FredCQ said...

From what I can remember, Steve Harris was friends with Blaze Baily's band Wolfsbane (?). I think Steve produced their first record or something like that. I guess that we was giving his buddy a shot.

I agree about Fear of the Dark. No Prayer for the Dying was pretty bad. The song Mother Russia was just laughable. Almost like a Maiden parody.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Bruce said...

I agree with everything, with the possible exception of Brian Johnson. While Scott was a great frontman, I think Johnson was a very good choice. In fact, I think AC/DC's music gained a harder edge after Johnson joined the group, and I prefer that stuff to the Bon Scott days, but that's just me.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

The top ten upgrades will probably be posted Tuesday as I am almost done.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Will said...

I was thinking that Gerry Charone should make the list ... but by the time Hagar was done with Halen, they weren't really anywhere near metal.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Bruce said...

I'll give you another one; Paul Rodgers with Queen. It's just wrong...

11:20 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion of Van Hagar. Sammy Hagar rocked, Van Halen Rocked, together it was just two great tastes that blanded together. It is the same opinion I have of AudioSlave. Rage against the Machine rocked, SoundGarden rocked, Rage Against SoundGarden sucks.

I have to disagree with Brian Johnson though. While I do not think that their music got better like Bruce does, I do think that it suffered no setbacks.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

fuzzbox-I always found that AC/DC with Scott had a sense of humor and wit, but I never found that with Johnson. I missed that greatly and I never found them to be as fun without Scott either.

12:08 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

You have something there. It did seem to get a bit darker. There was nothing like the great visuals of Scott in 'Let There Be Rock.'

3:47 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I still have nightmares about Hagar joining Van Halen. Who would have thought the man who brought us such classics as “I Can’t Drive 55” and “Three Lock Box” would have been a viable substitute for Roth… Van Halen/Van Halen… was actually the first “tape” I ever bought… the second, ironically enough was Diver Down.

I can’t believe Bon Scott died in 1980… doesn’t seem that long ago.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.


5:52 PM  
Blogger Tai said...

I agree with Bruce on the Paul Rogers/Queen issue.

Freddie Mercury was the epitome of Queen.

After he died, they should have shut it down out of respect for an artist that could never be duplicated.

(ok...I'm biased.)

7:26 PM  
Blogger Layla said...

What a great blog! I just found you through the comment you left for me, thank you for that! I have several friends who are going to really enjoy reading you!

As for this post...right on! I agree with you and I emphatically agree with the two comments about Paul Rodgers and Queen - but technically is he part of Queen or just touring with them or what?

Also, I loved that someone mentioned Gary Cherone - he gets forgotten alot.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Amy, Tai and Layla- Welcome.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Strutter71 said...

Here's another one...Vinnie Vincent for Ace Frehley.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Strutter- Vinnie Vincent, Mark st. John and Bruce Kulick were all better technical players than Ace. However unlike Peter Chriss I think Ace had his own style and that went a long way.

6:42 AM  
Blogger BeckEye said...

Gary Cherone with Van Halen was awful. It's weird because the guy has a great voice. But in VH it was like he was trying to sound like some weird combo of Roth and Hagar and just ended up yowling the whole time.

Paul Rodgers is my favorite rock singer ever. His voice is straight from God. put him in Freddie Mercury's place is insane. They are so stylistically different. So many Queen songs have that campy, theatrical quality to them. That was Freddie's element. Rodgers has the blues-rock thing down pat. The two just don't mix. It would be like Joe Cocker covering Meatloaf songs, for lack of a better comparison.

8:15 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

So much to say on this one, but I'll limit myself.

Paul Rodgers is amazing. But it's not Queen without Freddie. As I've said elsewhere, the only reason I'm OK with this is because -- unlike the items on your list -- Queen did not REPLACE Freddie with Paul, they are merely touring as Queen WITH Paul Rodgers. I'm OK with it due to that courtesy. Otherwise, we just have to insist that the guys in Queen never play again, which is both rude and stupid.

I agree, as usual, with your list. I'd say #1 and #2 are about as big as they get, although I might put #4 and #5 right up there, too. Although it doesn't fit quite as nicely, I'd have to say David Lee Roth letting Billy Sheehan and then Steve Vai go ranks up there as the biggest double whammy imaginable.

-- david

11:29 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Nice entry... I agree with most.
The Randy Rhoads mention is a particularly poignant comparison. Randy was a tiny little guy whose playing was revolutionary (even now 24 years after his death). Brad was a little more flash in the pan with nothing but dazzle licks. But probably the hair comparison does it. Randy had the best rock star hair and Brad was relegated to compete with Peter Brady for most awful 'fro.

check out my Randy Rhoads squidoo lense:

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blaze bayley stuff in maiden sucked cept for the clansman and mabye 2 more max.
His solo stuff is far better than his maiden days, not as good as chemicel wedding but a great cd none the less.

AC DC music became samey when brian joined, there is no varity, you know when you listening to a brian J tune.

4:00 AM  

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