Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Top ten heavy metal upgrades

The thing with upgrades is that it's not just about the talent of a player, but also about the end result being better, which means the album. A good example is when Poison brought in Ritchie Kotzen to replace CC Deville. So bringing in a virtuoso guy like Kotzen for a lightweight like CC should have been an upgrade, but Native Tounge was a bit of a dull album and good solos didn't save it. So an upgrade is not only about having talent in the band, but knowing how to apply it. Mainly drummers and singers here, there is one guitarist, one bass player and one keyboard player.

10)Andi Deris for Michael Kiske, Helloween, 1993
I liked Helloween with Kiske, but I think they had done as much as they could with him by this point. Deris brought a new dimension to the band and they have continued to grow over the last 13 years..

9)Eric Carr for Peter Chriss, KISS,1980
Not a popular move among some Kiss enthusiasts. However the truth is that Peter Chris was not that good of a drummer and I sincerely believe that. Eric Carr was a very good drummer and the difference was immediate even if his make-up wasn't all that great.

8)Nick Menza for Chuck Behler, Megadeth,1989
I remember seeing Megadeth open for Judas Priest in 1990 and from my seat I could see behind stage as Nick Menza was running in place and running in circles for ten minutes straight before they hit the stage. That's the kind of energy and enthusiasm he brought to this band.

7)Jimmy Bain(bass), Tony Carey(keyboards) and Cozy Powell(drums) in for Craig Gruber, Mickey Lee Soul and Gary Driscoll, Rainbow, 1976
I am allowing myself to pick a change involving multiple members because I believe all three were huge upgrades over their predecessors. The first Rainbow album was okay, but Rising and Live on stage were amazing and it was as much due to these three guys as it was to the big names Dio and Blackmore.

6)Matt Sorum for Steven Adler, Guns and Roses, 1990
G-n-R were on the verge of being huge and they knew it. This wasn't playing on the strip anymore so having an amateur drummer with major substance problems wasn't going to cut it. They brought in a pro and the difference showed. Besides they had enough problems with a singer who couldn't start shows on time so at least they cut their problems down to one.

5)Ian Gillan for Rod Evans, Deep Purple, 1969
Rod Evans was a very good singer both with Purple and with Captain Beyond. However, I think Gillan had a more unique voice and he just fit in well with the direction the band was taking.

4)Adrian Smith for Dennis Stratton, Iron Maiden, 1980
This change created the best heavy metal guitar duo of all time as Smith came in and just made magic with Dave Murray.

3)Joey Belladonna for Neil Turbin, Anthrax, 1985
The right decision at the right time rocketed Anthrax to the top of the scene. Turbin sounded like a dozen other guys playing the scene while Belladonna was one of a kind.

2)Neil Peart for John Rutsey, Rush, 1974
Neil Peart in for anyone would be an upgrade. Just an incredible drummer and a great writer. Where would Rush have been without him?

1)Bruce Dickinson for Paul Dianno, Iron Maiden, 1981
Don't get me wrong, I really liked Paul Dianno and he did a lot for this band in the early stages. The Smith change was the first step and this was the last step towards setting this band up to be the best heavy metal band of the 1980's and one of if not the best of all time. Dianno was about attitude, but Dickinson gave them the range that allowed them to do so much more musically.

So there are the upgrades to go along with the downgrades from yesterday.

15 Comments:

Blogger Bruce said...

The drummer upgrades are all excellent picks, most notably Peart and Powell. I've never seen anyone like Neil Peart work a drumset like he did, and still does. And Powell is one of the all-time greats, as well.

8:21 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

Right on with Peart. He amazed me when I saw them live. The whole band did actually. So much sound from so few band members. Awesome.

4:21 AM  
Blogger FredCQ said...

Once again, you are right on target with your upgrades. Especially true is Eric Carr for Peter Chris and Nick Mendza for Chuck Belher.

You forgot to mention all of the Spinal Tap drummer upgrades ;)

5:40 AM  
Blogger Strutter71 said...

It's no secret that I'm a huge KISS fan, but you won't get an argument from me about Eric Carr being better than Peter Criss. In fact, after the initial disappointment of Criss leaving the band, fans really grew very fond of Eric. I've always been of the opinion that the big KISS reunion in '96 may not have gone over as well as it did were Eric Carr still alive.

5:45 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

The drummer upgrades are easy to see. All the guys I listed brought a lot to their bands.

Strutter- I agree about Carr and Chriss. Both Carr and Kulick brought some technical playing that Kiss lacked in the 70's. In order to keep up in the 80's, I think those changes needed to be made. Although Ace is my favorite guitarist in Kiss just due to his style while Carr is my favorite Kiss drummer.

6:38 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Eric Carr was WAY more talented that Peter Chriss. Carr's paint was pretty bad, though. Wasn't he supposed to be a fox or something? But he looked more like a raccoon.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Phoenix-Yes, Eric Carr was supposed to be the fox. I remember seeing the Animalize live video around 85 and just realizing how much better Carr was than Peter Chriss.

11:34 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

Well done!

I'd put Peart, Dickinson, and Carr in the top spots. Sorum is close, but Appetite was so much better than anything that came after that even Sorum's clear superiority in every way makes this one fall off the list; see your point re: Kotzen.

One to add to your downgrade list: As good as Carlos was, you can't forget to put the Randy Rhodes to Carlos Cavazo switch on the same level as the notorious Red Sox goodbye to Bave Ruth. (Or for Bruce and I as Cardinals' fans, the Cubs letting Bruce Sutter go.)

-- david

11:35 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

David-I think Sorum makes the list because I think back to G-n-R's live doubel video from the Illusion tour and Sorum was all over it. So I do count live recordings and videos as evidence of an improvement and I saw and heard the improvement. There are numerous reports of Adler struggling live and I saw it on MTV's special which was recorded when they played at the Ritz in 87. There are also the reports of it taking him like 60 takes to get the drums right on the original recording of Civil War (his last recording with the band).

The thing about Quiet Riot is that Dubrow always said he considered the band that did Metal Health a different band then the one with Randy Rhoads despite using the same name. The band did break up after Rhoads left around 79-80 and then Dubrow started it up again around 82 so it could be seen as being two seperate bands.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Sgt Fluffy said...

Some people call me crazy, but John Bush was an Upgrade over Belladonna in Anthrax.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Big D said...

How about the metallica upgrade from Jason to Rob. Rob is a much better performer live.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Bar Bar A said...

Wow, thanks for the Matt Sorem memory. I knew Matt in high school, not real well but I did know some of the guys he was in his firt band with. They were called Prhophecy and did a few gigs in LA but then he went on to bigger and better things.

We lost a mutual friend, Scott Griffith, in that tragic Great White fire a few years ago. I think him and Matt were friends...those years a bit of a blur....

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BELLADONNA WAS A DOWNGRADE OVER NEIL TURBIN. BELLADONNA WAS AT THE RIGHT PLACE RIGHT TIME. SIMPLE AS THAT. TURBIN WAS WAY MORE POWERFUL SINGER THAN BELLADONNA. TURBIN ALSO WROTE HITS LIKE METAL THRASHING MAD, ARMED AND DANGEROUS, GUNG HO AND DEATHRIDER. BELLADONNA JUST TRIES TO TAKE ALL THE CREDIT FOR IT.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BELLADONNA WAS A DOWNGRADE OVER NEIL TURBIN. BELLADONNA WAS AT THE RIGHT PLACE RIGHT TIME. SIMPLE AS THAT. TURBIN WAS WAY MORE POWERFUL SINGER THAN BELLADONNA. TURBIN ALSO WROTE HITS LIKE METAL THRASHING MAD, ARMED AND DANGEROUS, GUNG HO AND DEATHRIDER. BELLADONNA JUST TRIES TO TAKE ALL THE CREDIT FOR IT.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian Johnson for AC/DC! I really like Bon Scott, but I prefer Brian.

11:41 AM  

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