Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Nowadays pretty much any hard rock/metal band has gone through a number of line-up changes. Some more than others as bands like LA guns and Krokus have gone through more than their share of changes. However there have been times when a replacement comes in and there is perhaps a time of uncertainty. It depends on the musician and sometimes how big the shoes they have to fill are. Music critics are always quick to point to Van Halen and AC/DC changing front man and selling more albums with the replacement, but I always prefered Diamond Dave and Bon Scott. Whenever I think of replacements I also focus in on Iron Maiden. Here is a band that in 1981 were on the rise, the replace Dianno with a much different vocalist in Bruce Dickinson and to say it worked out would be a massive understatement. Years later when Bruce decided to leave Maiden and they were faced with filling the singer spot again. This time they of course the expectations from fans were higher because they were now a major player although in a somewhat turbulent time in the not so metal friendly 1990's. Rumors swirled about who they would get and again they went for a singer different from the predecessor in the form of Wolfsbane vocalist Blayze Bayley. Only this time the results were not as favorable. It wasn't all Bayley's fault as the writing suffered too. Still looking back it doesn't seem that he was the right guy for the job. Maybe that's just hindsight. Then again Maiden are back on top in recent years and Bayley's recent solo efforts have been solid. Another replacement I come to is Ripper Owens in Judas Priest. These were some huge shoes to fill. Halford was the metal vocal god. We knew Maiden without Bruce, but Priest without Rob. Priest went the opposite route of Maiden. Instead of getting a different style they went for a guy who had been in a Priest cover band. The head scratcher for me was they get a guy with the same vocal style, but then change the music to a sound that doesn't really compliment the vocals. The result was two bad albums. Then when Halford came back they came out with two more bad albums with the writing still suffering. Owens has found steady work since, but bounced around as more of a journeyman vocalist. That's the downside. On the upside a surprising one for me was Brian Robertson in Motorhead. Okay he was in Thin Lizzy and he was a solid hard rock guitarist, but a very different style and image from Motorhead. We have all heard the stories of Lemmy complaining about him taking too long in the studio and Robertson still only lasted one album. However "Another perfect day" was a real gem and too often overlooked in their long catalog. So he was a surprise in how well he worked out in the end product.

***Any replacements that you hated or loved in hard rock/metal bands?

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Blogger bob_vinyl said...

I was hoping this was a post about the Replacements. No luck.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Then it would have been entitled The Replacements and it would have been at a different blog.

11:56 AM  
OpenID tokyo5 said...

I know it's almost sacrilegious to say it, but I liked Ripper Owens' "Priest" and Sammy Hagar's "Van Halen" (not really a fan of "Van Halen III" with Gary Cherone, though).

Of course, I'm a big fan of the "original" line-ups with Halford and Roth...but if a singer of a great band quits, I'd like the legendary bands to continue, if possible.

(I also liked Rob Halford's "Halford" (not "2wo" though) and David Lee Roth's solo albums too).

How about:
Motley Crue with John Corabi,
KISS with various drummers and lead guitarists (including two in the originals make-up),
Black Sabbath's various post-Ozzy singers.

I like John Corabi (Union, ESP, etc) but with Crue, it wasn't the same (maybe it was just a bad album though).
KISS is my favorite band, so I appreciate every line-up (I think the "Lick It Up" line-up was the best...with Vinnie Vincent and Eric Carr).
I'm a big fan of Ozzy Osbourne...the only Sabbath albums I have are with him on vox.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Mighty High said...

I had no problem with Dio and even Gillan joining Black Sabbath, but after that I lost interest.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

tokyo5-I was going to bring up John Corabi in a related topic at some point about if you could pick a different replacement than what really happened. The s/t Crue was okay. I think it was more the writing than Corabi because he has been good in other projects. It hit when 80's style hard rock was out of favor so Motley Crue tried something different and was hit and miss.

Mighty High-Dio was a good fit with their different direction. I wasn't so big on Born Again. It's dull, but that was the whole band. After that it's like the Tony Iommi band. Tony Martin was a decent singer, but really just a hired gun for some alright albums.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Magpie said...

Oh, and at the risk of ridicule and ostracization, I think that Tony Martin was the best singer Sabbath ever had.

2:02 AM  
Blogger Magpie said...

I think Anthrax made a wise choice in recruiting Joey Belladonna.

Fates Warning snagging Joey Vera was a definate improvement too.

Sentenced were just another band until they got a new singer.

The Gathering would have faded into nothing without hiring a female singer

And the big heresy: I think the new Nightwish singer is a vast improvement, and I don't care who knows it.

2:02 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

liked John Corabi in the Crue's a better album than most of their post-Feelgood albums minus Saints of LA....I haven't heard a single person stick up for Cherone in VH...Flea in Jane's Addiction became more a novelty than moving their sound forward...Vinnie Vincent of course draws infamy for outplaying his bandmates but as time proved, proficiency can sometimes get you fired, particularly if you show off too much

4:12 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

Ray, did you like Saints of LA? Seriously? The only thing good about it is that it showed they recognized when they didn't completely suck. However,it also showed that they were too old to actually go back in time and relive it. It was an awful record.

How about Navarro in Red Hot Chili Peppers? One Hot Minute is a real anomaly in their catalog, because Navarro really changed the sound just by being there.

4:51 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Magpie-Joey Belladonna was an upgrade although I like Neil Turban too.

Tony Martin had range, but to me it wasn't Sabbath anymore by that point.

Ray-VVI was rotten, but with KISS he sounded good despite what may have gone on in the process.

For replacements I definitely should also mention guitarist James Murphy. For a time there in the late 80's-mid
90's it was like every band he joined got better because of him. Although he would normally only stick around for one album.

5:50 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

I remember the last song of Saints of LA being good, but the rest was like a messy mix of half baked ideas.

Bob-Never heard One hot minute. Is it worth hearing?

The most important replacement ever in the metal world IMHO would be Adrian Smith coming in for Dennis Stratton in Maiden. Not that Stratton wasn't good because he was, but Smith brought a whole nother dimension to the band. Bruce abd Nicko would later elevate them too when they came in. Still the debut was solid, but I think the biggest single album jump they ever made was from the debut to Killers. It was like another world with Smith in the fold.

7:37 AM  

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