Rock musicians’ egos are big. Sometimes musicians quit their bands, other
times they get kicked out. When bands bring in replacement musicians,
hoping to recapture the glory of their original lineup, it doesn’t always go well… and sometimes
fans aren’t happy. Vince Neil was the face of Motley Crue throughout
the band’s ’80s heyday. At the end of that decade, they notched their
greatest commercial success with 1989’s Dr. Feelgood. The album went straight to #1 and remained
on the charts for a staggering 114 weeks. A few years later, Nirvana came along to jerk
the rug out from under purveyors of so-called “hair metal.” Undeterred, the band regrouped to follow up
their biggest record. But then, Neil bolted due to internal disagreements. The Crue recruited John Corabi, the former
front man of little-known band The Scream. By the time Corabi made his first appearance
on the band’s self-titled 1994 release, a perfect storm of indifference was brewing. Label Elektra, in the middle of a major shakeup,
couldn’t be bothered to promote it. Neil’s absence meant even fans who were aware
of the record’s release generally held it in open contempt. It was Corabi’s lone outing with the band. Neil returned for 1997’s Generation Swine. Still, not everyone thinks Corabi’s tenure
should be consigned to the trash heap of metal history. Guitarist Mick Mars said in an interview: “I’ll probably get kicked in the nuts for
this, but I thought it was a really great album.” After an unfriendly breakup in 1986, the Dead
Kennedys announced in 2001 that they were moving forward without lead singer Jello Biafra. The band had a lot of options for replacing
Biafra’s frantic, swaggering stage persona and bleating vocal style. They ended up picking Brandon Cruz, the former
lead singer of punk band Dr. Know. He seemed like a choice specifically engineered
to make Kennedys fans flip their mohawks. Cruz wasn’t just any old punker. He began his career as a child actor. He achieved considerable fame in the 1970s
as the star of The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, opposite future Hulk Bill Bixby. His tenure in the Kennedys became an immediate
lightning rod for controversy. Biafra regarded Cruz as little more than a
“scab singer,” alleging that Cruz had modified his stage presence to more closely match Biafra’s. Biafra said the reformed band was essentially
pulling a bait-and-switch on fans. He sued for damages. The suit went nowhere, likely because Cruz
bailed after just a couple years to be replaced by a succession of less-notable singers. After the tragic loss of lead singer Michael
Hutchence in 1997, Australian rock band INXS carried on with a number of temporary singers
before deciding to permanently replace Hutchence in 2005… via a reality show. Rock Star: INXS pitted 15 contestants against
each other for a chance to rock in the big leagues. Despite being the underdog to fan favorite
Marty Casey, Canadian singer J.D. Fortune won. “You are right for our band, INXS. You are the rock star!” He joined the band on tour and for the recording
of the 2005 album Switch. Before his big win, Fortune had been broke,
homeless, and living in his car. While an adequate replacement, Fortune admitted
that he had become addicted to cocaine. At the end of a 23-month tour, the band let
him know that his services would no longer be required by giving him a handshake and
leaving him at an airport in Hong Kong. The unfortunate singer ended up in the exact
same situation he had been in before his big win: homeless and broke. It sounds like the plot of a kids’ movie:
a mild-mannered, rock n’ roll-loving teen gets asked to join a famous band. That’s the actual life story of the bassist
who replaced Michael Anthony in Van Halen in 2007. That replacement musician was Wolfgang Van
Halen, son of guitarist Eddie Van Halen and nephew of drummer Alex Van Halen. In 2009, Eddie Van Halen told Rolling Stone
that he had to bring in his boy because Anthony quit the group to join former Van Halen singer
Sammy Hagar’s band Chickenfoot. Anthony told Music Radar: “I never quit Van Halen. No way.” He’d previously told Rock Daily that Eddie
Van Halen had been trying to get rid of him since 2004, saying: “[Eddie Van Halen] was always put off that
I was going out and playing with Sammy when we weren’t doing anything.” Van Halen said goodbye to Anthony’s decades
of experience on the bass and his prominent backup vocals to bring in a new bass player
who was only 16 when he joined the group. For almost 60 years, the Beach Boys have been
a family affair, including brothers Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, plus their cousin
Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. Dennis Wilson died in a drowning accident
in 1983, leaving the Beach Boys crushed and in need of a drummer. Several musicians have filled in on tour and
in the studio, but for more than 30 years, the most prominent one has been John Stamos,
Uncle Jesse from Full House. According to a Mike Love radio interview in
2016, Stamos is a Beach Boys superfan and befriended some of the group back in 1982. Stamos played percussion on select concert
dates and in the video for the band’s 1988 hit “Kokomo.” The Beach Boys returned the favor with a guest
stint on Full House, backing up Stamos’ in-character performance of the love ballad “Forever.” Picking up Fleetwood Mac’s slack After years as a British blues-rock band,
Fleetwood Mac recruited Americans Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Buckingham’s agile guitar work and Nicks’
spooky, deeply personal songwriting and vocals propelled Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album Rumours
to sell more than 40 million copies. Buckingham left the band in 2018. According to “a source close to the situation”
who spoke to Variety, Buckingham didn’t quit. The rest of Fleetwood Mac wanted to tour,
but Buckingham wanted to focus on solo work. The group reportedly got so tired of waiting
for Buckingham that they told him they were going on the road without him. “Just a huge impasse and hit a brick wall
where we decided that we had to part company.” The band hired two accomplished musicians
to fill the void: Neil Finn of Crowded House and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Beyond vocals and a distinctive guitar style,
the new Fleetwood Mac suffered the loss of what Jim Harrington of the Mercury News called
“intangibles,” such as “passion and power” and “heart and soul,” as well as chemistry
with Nicks, with whom Buckingham once had a tumultuous relationship. AC/DC weathered the tragic loss of singer
Bon Scott in 1980 by replacing him with Brian Johnson. Johnson and AC/DC pressed on, filling arenas
with their rock songs about rock, until it all fell apart. Guitarist Malcolm Young left the band in 2014
due to escalating health issues. Drummer Phil Rudd was out later that year
after pleading guilty to threatening to kill an assistant. Replacements filled out the lineup when the
group headed out for its “Rock or Bust” tour in 2015. Then, Johnson’s doctors diagnosed him with
profound hearing loss. They said if he continued performing, he’d
go completely deaf. AC/DC opted to continue with the tour, but
they needed a high-profile singer who could hit the high notes. One man fit the bill: Axl Rose, the frontman
of Guns N’ Roses. AC/DC fans still flocked to see the band,
but some weren’t impressed. Rudd told the New Zealand Herald that he’d
never return to the band if Rose is still around. The drummer also told the Bay of Plenty Times: “I don’t want to play with Axl Rose. I don’t really rate him.” Alice in Chains was one of Seattle’s biggest
grunge bands, releasing radio staples like “No Excuses,” “Rooster,” and “Would?” All the while, singer Layne Staley struggled
with drugs. After a show in July 1996, he overdosed on
heroin. He lived but would never perform live with
Alice in Chains again. In 2002, his body was found at home after
a fatal dose of cocaine and heroin. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell embarked on a solo
career. A band called Comes with the Fall served as
both his opening act and backing musicians. When Alice in Chains decided to reunite, Comes
with the Fall’s William DuVall was an obvious pick to replace Staley. He auditioned and beat out candidates such
as Vin Dombroski of Sponge and Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots. DuVall doesn’t imitate Staley, which might
be the problem, since he’s singing another man’s very personal songs about addiction. Mark Beaumont of the Guardian called DuVall
a “charismatic presence” but said the reformulated Alice in Chains was: “… both a tribute act to themselves and
a touring public-health warning against substance abuse.” The Doors’ sound is wrapped up in the cult
of personality surrounding singer Jim Morrison. Recognizing that replacing its iconic frontman
after his death would be foolhardy, the Doors at first carried on without Morrison. Guitarist Robby Krieger and keyboardist Ray
Manzarek split vocal duties on two forgettable albums. The remaining Doors reunited in 2000 at the
behest of VH1’s Storytellers. In between Krieger, Manzarek, and drummer
John Densmore telling ’60s stories, guest singers sat in, including Scott Weiland of
Stone Temple Pilots and Ian Astbury of the alternative band the Cult. “Singing it for us, yes indeed, Ian Astbury
from the Cult!” Astbury and Doors biographer Danny Sugerman
were friends. Sugerman frequently recommended the singer,
despite his having a completely different style than Morrison. The Doors toured in 2002 with Astbury as Riders
on the Storm. Why the name change? Because it upset the Doors’ Densmore so much
that he sued. He said: “It can’t be the Doors without Jim. It could be the Windows, the Hinges, I don’t
care, as long as it’s not the Doors.” Guitarist Tom DeLonge and bassist Mark Hoppus
shared vocal duties in Blink-182 for years. Hits including “First Date,” and “What’s My
Age Again?” made them one of the most popular pop-punk bands ever. Fans were surprised when DeLonge left the
band under mysterious circumstances in 2015. Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker said in a
statement: “We are all set to play this festival and
record a new album and Tom kept putting it off without reason. A week before we were scheduled to go in to
the studio we got an email from his manager explaining that he didn’t want to participate
in any Blink-182 projects indefinitely.” DeLonge subsequently told fans via Instagram,
“I never quit the band.” In the same statement announcing DeLonge’s
exit, Blink-182 announced his replacement: Alkaline Trio guitarist Matt Skiba. Skiba told Ultimate Guitar that his arrival
received a mixed response: “There were some people who were like, ‘This
is an amazing fit,’ and some Tom loyalists who were like, ‘F— you!'” Some expressed their distaste on Skiba’s Instagram
page, saying his guitar was ugly, telling him “that last album sucked” and noting
“your time is up.” Skiba responded in kind, saying, “Get a new face you f—ing jive turkey.” The band Chicago had a ton of hits in the
’80s thanks to the combination of schmaltzy keyboards and the vaguely otherworldly vocals
of singer Peter Cetera. Soft-rock radio staples included “You’re the
Inspiration,” “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” and “Stay the Night,” but classic rock stations
also play songs by Chicago. “Saturday in the Park” and “25 or 6 to 4”
are harder-edged and more aggressive, and the big change came when Cetera took over
as main lead singer, along with the assistance of songwriter and producer David Foster. In 1984, at the peak of its popularity, due
to Cetera’s style, he left the band for a solo career. The band promoted longtime band member Jason
Scheff to lead singer duties, which he shared with Bill Champlin. Scheff performed respectably for 30 years,
but only one Scheff-led song hit the top 40: “What Kind of Man Would I Be?” in 1989. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about rock bands
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