The last article on TAP, “If A Band Loses Its Soul, Are They Still That Band?“, the question arises about bands losing key members (Van Halen without Eddie van Halen, Led Zeppelin without Page, Be Bop Deluxe without Bill Nelson, etc.)
It’s easy to note the hint of hesitation here. How does one discuss such an occurrence that is often considered subjective (?). For example, one of our long-time readers mentioned the Steve Perry-less Journey and how they have succeeded without him, with Pineda as vocalist. The point was made as the band has clearly moved on without the legacy singer in tow. (Trust me, I’m not even a Journey fan…at all. So I can’t get heated on this matter. The ONLY Journey song I like is “When You Love A Woman”, their last hit with Perry.) How does a band like Journey, who no longer have the popularity they once enjoyed (or do they?), survive the loss of such a golden voice?
Someone mentioned AC/DC without Bon Scott. Cheap Trick without Rick Nielsen. Pink Floyd without Syd Barrett, or Roger Waters. J Geils Band without Peter Wolf.
I wonder if we should isolate some of these potentials or actual instances and discuss it that way. I guess I’m just really intrigued at where this could go, discussion-wise.
So, let’s dig a little and see what really causes a fan separation when a key member leaves (however they do). And let’s start with Journey. And AC/DC.
Starting with Journey, what did Perry bring to the band, and what did he take with him when he left? Did Pineda (or Augeri before him) bring a new edge to the band? If so, why did the band try singers that sound so close to Perry’s style? Why not recreate as Van Halen did with the introduction of Sammy Hagar, which proved very successful?
AC/DC. Brian Johnson replaced the highly favored Bon Scott out of necessity. And yet, rather than failing, they created an album (Back in Black) that ranked higher than any Scott-led AC/DC set. How did AC/DC transition so effortlessly?