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Almost Famous: 5 Millennial Bands Who Should Have Been More Successful

Nostalgia starts with burned CDs.
Nostalgia starts with burned CDs.
Photo by Cory Garcia

I recommend that once a year you dig out your old CD collection (or MP3 archive if that's how you roll) and give a spin to the music you haven't listened to in forever. Everyone should take a nostalgic listen down memory lane now and then; not only is it good to reconnect with old songs, but you also get to laugh about how wrong you were about certain bands.

We all have bands in our past that we thought were going to be more successful than they ended up being. They come in all different shapes: the band with a string of songs on the radio but no actual hits; the band with the unique sound that was too ahead of its time; the band with the mountain of wasted potential.

Twenty years ago, these groups would fade and you'd never know what ended up happening to them, but thanks to the Internet, no one ever really disappears. I dug into my own nostalgia vault to pick out some of the acts I was wrong about to see where they are now.

5. Dry Cell In terms of early '00s nu-metal, "Body Crumbles" is a hidden gem. Although Dry Cell was groomed to be the next Linkin Park, a label dispute resulted in their debut album being shelved. Dry Cell was largely forgotten. In a parallel universe, they might be booked at Scout Bar this weekend, but in this reality they exist as a vague memory to people who bought the Queen of the Damned soundtrack.

What Happened Next: Eventually they were able to self-release the album that got shelved, but this took place in 2008, long after the golden age of nu-metal. Eventually the band broke up. You may have seen lead singer Jeff Gutt on X-Factor last season, if reality TV is your thing.

4. Zebrahead Zebrahead arrived a year too early to benefit from the rap-rock tidal wave that hit mainstream rock radio in 1999. More Warped Tour than Ozzfest, they did a much better job merging rock and hip-hop than many of the bands that came after them. While they were good at what they did, it was a sound that few rock fans were ready to embrace.

What Happened Next: The remaining members of the band ended up finding success in Japan and are currently working on music for their tenth album. Ex-lead singer Justin Mauriello released an album of covers in 2010, giving you the ex-Zebrahead version of "Time After Time" you never asked for.

3. Joydrop With a photogenic front woman who could sing and a handful of solid songs, you can see why Joydrop seemed like a sure bet. The band's label must have thought they had potential, because it paid to put Tommy Lee in the video for "Sometimes Wanna Die." Unfortunately, the end result was nothing special; the video got a few spins on MTV2 but the stunt-casting didn't turn into album sales.

What Happened Next: After the band broke up, lead singer Tara Slone resurfaced briefly as a contestant on that silly reality show where INXS was looking for a new lead singer. She didn't win. She now cohosts a morning TV show in Canada.

 

2. The Ataris Kris Roe was always a hell of a pop-punk songwriter. With classics like "San Dimas High School Football Rules" to his name, the Ataris always seemed destined for bigger things than being on Fat Wreck. They seemed well on their way to being the next blink-182 when they made the choice to go darker and more indie on Welcome the Night. It was good for their art but bad for their record sales.

What Happened Next: Even though he hasn't released a full-length since 2007, Kris Roe continues to tour. Wikipedia claims there are 15 ex-members of the group, including the drummer Roe attacked at a show last October.

1. Lostprophets Sometimes success doesn't travel across the ocean. Popular in the UK, the group never quite stuck with American audiences even though they had plenty of singles that got radio play. While Start Something eventually went gold, most of the people that bought it would be shocked to learn they put out three albums after it. Like Our Lady Peace before them, sometimes all you get is that one album.

What Happened Next: The band is currently on hiatus while lead singer Ian Watkins sits in jail. He was arrested in December on charges of conspiring to rape a child and possession of child pornography, to the shock of fans and the rest of the guys in the band. Watkins denies the charges and is waiting for his day in court.



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