Sister Zina says “funky”
“You wanna know the rest, buy the rights.”
Whoever wrote that song must have been so, so high that day.
Serious question, at what point does a band stop being the original band and really become a cover band for the old band? What constitutes a band? A certain percentage of the original members? The members when they get popular? A lead singer? A guitarist?
I generally point toward Deep Purple for @davidm’s benefit but they are far from the worst offenders.
What passes for the Beach Boys in a live performance is one of if not the worst especially when multiple acts were touring under that name.
Or Guns N’ Roses when it was really just Axl.
Even smaller bands (by the number of people in the band) like Metallica, Blink-182 and Coheed & Cambria have had some pretty significant member changes over the years.
I should probably give my honest answer. I think it depends.
I don’t know enough about Deep Purple to make a call.
The Beach Boys without Brian Wilson is hard for me to accept even though he barely toured with them.
Guns N’ Roses at least needs Slash with Axl.
Metallica is the one I’m not really sure about. I’m sure there are people that would say it hasn’t existed without James Mustane but that was before my time.
Blink-182 is a bit of a weird one for me. When I first saw them at a show, I was surprised that Travis was playing with them and not Scott. However, I’m barely bothered by Tom DeLonge’s departure as I think he was dragging the band in a direction I didn’t care for.
Coheed and Cambria is mostly Claudio for me but I’m not sure if the magic would be there without the other members. Like Smashing Pumpkins is basically Billy Corgan but there’s just something different when James and Jimmy aren’t there.
Then there are bands like Led Zeppelin and Nirvana that just break up because they see themselves as that particular collection of members.
I was going to say one of the best examples of how to do it proper is Sublime with Rome where the remaining members added Rome Ramirez but stated that directly. It looks like they now only have one original member of Sublime which isn’t the same.
So I think it depends on what the driving artistic engine of the band is. I’m not so sure I buy a band as just a legal entity but I’m not sure I’m bothered by it either.
So I’ve decided to try and write more on my music blog.
This was meant to be January’s entry, so I have that going for me
This question usually ends in bloodshed on Deep Purple forums. Believe it or not, some people can’t accept change and want things to stay exactly as they were 40 years ago. I know, right?
My belief is that you can’t make a hard-and-fast rule about number of members or longevity or whatever. I think the only real answer to this is, “Does it feel like the same band?” And of course that’s going to be completely subjective and different “fans” will have different levels of tolerance. (I use “fans” here to refer to those people who care about the detail; casual listeners don’t care, in my experience.)
I see Deep Purple without Ritche Blackmore, and it still feels like Deep Purple to me. I never understood the fans who said “this is no longer Deep Purple”, because to me it self-evidently was. Then one day I saw Yes without Jon Anderson, and said, ok, no, this is no longer Yes. In that moment, I got it, and I understood where the Blackmorons were coming from. I couldn’t objectively say what was wrong with the current line-up of Yes, musically they were flawless, but it simply “felt” wrong without Anderson.
It is purely a feeling, you’ll never be able to quantify it, and you’ll never find a consensus among the fans of any given band.
I honestly mostly agree with that and it’s different with different bands but I think there has to be a thing that makes a band a band in spirit and not just as a legal entity.
So what makes Deep Purple feel like Deep Purple to you? To an outsider, it looks like the only thing consistent in the band is Ian Paice, the drummer. I find it hard to believe that the drummer is the binding creative force in the band.
That version of Smoke on the Water in the Hellboy clip? You know what makes that a bad version? No Ian Paice
For a more serious answer, I’ll have to have a think about it. Because it’s an irrational, emotional feeling, and I’m not sure if I’m a good enough writer to put it into words.
I generally have similar questions about sports teams. It’s odd to me that it’s basically a mascot or set of colors that people cheer for when all of the members switch around to different team. Sometimes (in the case of the Cleveland Browns) the entire team leaves and the only thing left was the mascot and colors. The best answer I think I’ve gotten on that one was that it had more to do with the city and a certain pride of where they come from. That doesn’t hold up for everything though as not everyone cheers for the team from their city or region.
I know it’s all mostly irrational. Just trying to understand how other people think.
I also love that there is a term for Blackmore Deep Purple purists. It’s almost as fun as the term people used for Van Halen after David Lee Roth left, Van Hagar.
Heart is a band that really has gone through some changes.
There’s always the fun that is Jefferson Airplane that became Jefferson Starship that became Starship debacle.
Otis Williams is the last surviving original Temptation. When he dies, the entire original group dies with him.
To me and maybe because I’m not an instrumentalist, it’s the singer. I think people can emulate the notes while playing to a level where I can’t discern the difference but can’t copy the specific voice and charisma of the front man/woman.
If you gave me a choice of tickets to either a gig all of Guns N Roses with a new frontman or Axl Rose with a new backing band I’d watch the latter.
The ‘start again’ concept is interesting, which is really what you see there with Starship, they made so many changes they renamed the band. Joy Division to New Order is a similar one where I like both pretty equally but consider them separate entities even though most of the main players are the same.
I should have noted with that one that I don’t think Axl is the same anymore either. Per my wife, he probably uses his voice in a more healthy manner now but it just doesn’t sound the same to me.
Also, we already had Guns N’ Roses with a new frontman. It was called Velvet Revolver. I liked them much better than what passed as Guns N’ Roses during the same timeframe.
No and I did think of that when typing the example, he probably could not sustain the way he sings (and is really fat). It was really just a random one though based on the previous discussion, to be honest I’ve never liked GnR much anyway, that kind of rock isn’t my cup of tea.
I stick by the general theory that the singer is key to me.
The Fall has had 66 members I think or there abouts. However, frontman Mark E. Smith was always the driving force.
In that extreme case, you have to ask, was The Fall was a band at all, or was it a solo singer who chose (for some reason) not to perform under his own name?
I mean, Tom Jones has worked with about 2000 different backing musicians in his career, but because he doesn’t have a band name nobody cares that they change with every gig.
The role of the singer is relevant in one of my favourite bands, Massive Attack. I only found out while looking at Wikipedia last week that after their 3rd album two of the original trio left and a new guy joined. They have always used a rotating cast of guest singers so I never realised the songs were being written by almost an entirely different team.
I think mostly the latter really, it was just Mark E Smith’s project. Saying that they did follow a rather set band template of bass, lead guitar, drums so the various members were filling in a specific role playing those notes on old songs.
I think with a solo artist like Tom Jones his backing varies significantly, he could be singing with a country band backing, or orchestral or an electronic dance beat.