Buyer Beware: Bands With Different Lead Singers Are Almost Never Up to the Original Standards
A few Saturdays ago, Rocks Off was in the grocery store a few blocks from our house, slumming around Oak Forest wearing sandals and an old Misfits T-shirt when a group of junior-high punk rockers approached and applauded us for our good taste. We got to talking about the band, and they remarked that they were going to Saturday's show at the House Of Blues. Kids were totally excited to be seeing one of their favorite legendary bands live - that was, until Rocks Off had to tell them that it wasn't really the classic Misfits they know and love from Static Age . Rocks Off proceeded to tell them, in true punk-rock elitist fashion, about how Glenn Danzig was the Misfits' true lead singer, that Jerry Only was just cashing in on people's ignorance and that, instead, they needed to get into Samhain. We had to inform them that Danzig left the Misfits in 1983, and Only had restarted the band to cash in on the diminutive Evil Elvis' solo success. The kids all looked crushed but excited that someone older was giving them some sort of scoop they could bring back to school on Monday. They said they would go forth and tell everyone about how "some old bearded dude at Randall's told us that the Misfits that are coming to town are lame and we needed get into Samhain. He was buying a lot of fruit and baby wipes, but he seemed cool."
It's always irked Rocks Off when legendary bands tour with members who aren't part of the definitive line-up. In a way we feel that people who aren't clued in to the personnel are getting cheated somehow. It sounds silly, but we still look sideways at AC/DC for having Brian Johnson, because we love Bon Scott so much. But we understand when dudes die, their bandmates can't help it, and the show must go on for the surviving members.
In AC/DC's case, it actually works and the band continues making decent music. The jury is still out on this new Alice In Chains sans the late Layne Staley. Jerry Cantrell's riffs are still there, and the new guy William DuVall isn't so bad. Let's all just agree here and now that Axl Rose is not Guns N' Roses, but a pitiful dreadlocked tragedy that deserves its own memorial in Washington. Alternately, the thought of Thin Lizzy touring without Phil Lynott is maddening, and we will never get that "Queen + Paul Rodgers" abortion with Brian May and Roger Taylor a few years back. No one really wants to see a Jim Lindberg-less Pennywise, but then again no one wants to see Pennywise anyhow. In the next year you can plan on seeing a new version of Sublime with a new guy replacing the late Brad Nowell, but now that America has five Sublime tribute bands touring the land - Badfish, 40 Oz. To Freedom, LBC, Wrong Way and Second Hand Smoke, and make that six if you count the Expendables - you can pretty much get all the Sublime you want while avoiding that particular atrocity altogether.
The Beach Boys continue to tour without mastermind Brian Wilson, and it's probably better for both parties, considering Wilson still makes characteristically wonderful work that would only get bogged down by the touring grind. Today, now that Dennis and Carl Wilson have both passed on, Mike Love and Bruce Johnston are the only surviving members riding the Boys' nostalgia wave. Original member Al Jardine sued Love over the use of BBs' name back in 2003, and they came to a satisfactory agreement with Love retaining the rights to tour under the moniker. The Love version of the Boys hits Jones Hall next March 19, and is rumored to be making a SXSW appearance as well. If all indications from Joe Perry are correct, we can expect some sort of strange non-Steven-Tyler version of Aerosmith to tour in the next year or so. The band has technically split with Tyler, who, in addition to literally falling off stages, has been accused by his bandmates of falling off the wagon. Perry and company have publicly bandied about the idea of a new lead singer or team of singers, a la Santana back in the late '90s. It seems silly that, in their upcoming 40th year together, they would now decide to part ways, but we've heard cocaine is a helluva drug. Funny enough, local boys the Hell City Kings are opening for the Misfits this weekend, and have just replaced their old lead singer, the GFN, with Josh Wolf, who is in almost every single band Beau Beasley has been in for the past year. We haven't heard anyone grumble yet over this move, but we'll keep you posted.
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