There is something that truly annoys me when it comes to how passionate we, as music fans, become about our favorite bands. We sometimes let our love for a band cloud our mind and we become very close minded. In reality, we all have favorite members of our favorite bands. I usually will have two people in a band that I gravitate to more than the others. For example, in KISS it is Gene Simmons and Eric Carr (R.I.P.) in Nightwish it is Marco Hietala and Anette Olzon, and in Lordi it is Ox and Lady Awa.
Usually the original line up of a band are the ones that fans identify with the most as those members are the force that founded the music they love. Those founding members did all the “grunt” work to make it in the music industry. They were the ones who made the initial connection with the masses and also shaped the sound of that we now hear.
Unfortunately there sometimes comes a time when a band starts to have issues internally. They never usually bubble to the surface right away, as the band will try to keep things amongst themselves at first but these things tend to never go well. After months of stress between the band members, it will hit a breaking point and we have three possible outcomes: 1- The band continues on unhappy and there is a good chance of it all falling apart 2- The band breaks up or 3- There is a shake up of the line up as new members are brought in.
I personally prefer to see a band atleast attempt to bring in some new blood to salvage what they had created. I know there are some people who will not agree with me but why have a band disappear if you can get some hungry musicians in there who can make it work. Here are some examples:
One of the worst examples of this happening is KISS. I want to say right away that I am a HUGE fan of KISS and I mean HUGE. I definitely do appreciate the original line up, as they were something special. However, KISS has had multiple line up changes over the years and I can honestly say that I have never taken issue with anyone who has ever been in the band. Whether it was Vinnie Vincent, Mark St. John, Bruce Kulick, Eric Carr, Eric Singer or Tommy Thayer….they each added something unique to the band.
KISS fans are constantly hating on Eric and Tommy for not just looking like Peter Criss and Ace Frehley but also for just being in the band. I do not understand all the hate for them as they both added a new life to KISS and you can see the band gets along a lot better now. These same fans complained they were never making new music when they both joined the band. That they were just a nostalgia act. Now that they are about to release their second new album with Eric and Tommy,the same people are pissed that they are making new music. It confuses the hell out of me.
Another passionate fan base I belong to is that of Finnish band Nightwish. Just like the entire “Ace Frehley/Peter Criss vs Tommy Thayer/Eric Singer” death match, Nightwish had their own personnel issue that has split the fan base and that is of “Tarja Turunen vs Anette Olzon.” However unlike the KISS situation, when Nightwish brought in a new lead singer, they altered the sound of the band.
You see Tarja is a classically trained opera singer and that is what she brought to the heavy metal Nightwish was playing. She also felt she was bigger than the band and the band was in danger of imploding. Tuomas Holopainen cut her loose and brought in Anette who is a classic rock and roll vocalist. This created a unique situation for the band as there were some songs of the older catalogue that Anette did not have the vocals to sing. Nightwish fans then stated that the band had alienated the older fans who loved Tarja’s vocals and they have never truly accepted Anette. They would not give her a chance whether she was singing some of the older songs or any of the new songs off of the first album she recorded with the band “Dark, Passion, Play.”
It is kind of ironic that Lordi was created when the founding members saw KISS in concert during the Reunion Tour and became inspired to create a very theatrical metal band of their own and they have had maybe more personnel changes as their heroes. It is a little different for Lordi than the other two bands I have discussed, as Lordi has not replaced the two members who have left.
Kita was a founding member of the band and was asked to leave when his outside projects were taking up more of his time and he was more free to be photographed out of his mask and costume. They did replace him briefly with a new drummer named Otus (R.I.P.) who just passed away this year. In the two years Otus was in the band they did not record a new album or tour very much, so it is almost as if the band is replacing Kita again. The fans rejected Otus, as Kita was really loved and it is too bad we never got a chance to see what he could do with some new material.
Coming into Lordi as a replacement for former keyboardist Enary, Lady Awa became more popular and loved by the fans for her personality and playfulness that she brought to the band. Just this year she decided to leave the band to pursue her own musical projects. She stated that it is a huge commitment to be in Lordi and one you need to be in every hour of every day. It really seemed like she was starting to burn out and I would much rather see her walk away before it creates friction in the band because she hung on too long.
MY 2 CENTS!!!
I truly feel that Tommy Thayer and Anette Olzon do get the crappy end of the stick way more than they deserve. Anette has worked so hard to become a more powerful singer, has belted out the songs that Tuomas wrote for her like a superstar and has assisted in reworking some of the Nightwish back catalogue to fit her vocal style. I really prefer her as a vocalist and appreciate the new energy she brings to the band. Whether people want to admit it or not, Anette Olzon saved Nightwish. The band would not have survived one more album with Tarja.
I have been a supporter of Tommy Thayer’s since he joined KISS. He had a history with the band and was actually the person who taught Ace his solos for the Reunion Tour as Ace could not remember them. He was given an opportunity to step into the biggest band in the world when Ace, once again, wanted to leave KISS and I do not blame him for taking it. By saying yes, he willingly walked into a very tough position for he knew how some of the fans would react. I do not have time for anyone who says Tommy is a worst guitar player than Ace, as he is playing the exact same songs that he had to re-teach Ace. Yes, he may not have Ace’s very quirky personality or style on stage but he is finding his own way.
Maybe I am someone who is more laid back and more open to accepting change or maybe I love a band from an overall stand point as well as an individual member one as well, but personnel changes do not bother me much. I guess the reason for that is, if the person who steps into the band is truly a terrible player/singer, the band will not survive long with them in the line up and some form of change will happen to remedy that. If the band breaks up at that point, then at least they attempted to carry on with bringing in new blood before parting ways.
Each new member brings a possibility of a band creating a new chapter and also some new music that we may not have had the opportunity to hear if the change did not happen. So we can either be a fan with a closed mind and never accept change in any form, or we can look at the band over-all and be willing to see it evolve as it carries on making music we love.
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