Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Finally, a quality article from that hack publication, The New York Times. This one, entitled "This Band Was Your Band, This Band Is My Band," covers the many "classic" bands that have replaced a lead singer.

Okay, great start: An excellent picture of Brian May and Paul Rodgers. (Paul Rodgers' leather pants freak me out, although given Freddie's old costumes, perhaps I shouldn't say anything.) (Was that a banana?)
MEMBERS of the British rock band Queen thought they'd never tour again after Freddie Mercury, their flamboyant lead singer, died of an AIDS-related illness in November 1991.
Sigh...Once, JUST ONCE, journalists of the world, can we have an article mentioning Freddie Mercury that doesn't mention the word "flamboyant?" Just call him "the homo gay" and be done with it. We know what "flamboyant" means!

Anyway, moving on:
on its own and as part of packages with other bands [Styx] has generated more than $90 million in box office sales since 1999, when it parted company with Dennis DeYoung, its singer and keyboardist, hiring Lawrence Gowan to fill in. Tommy Shaw, guitarist for the band, notes that anonymity was part of the formula from the start. "All you've got to do," he said "is look at our album covers" - thematic artwork rather than glamorous head shots.
Okay - you KNOW that, at one point, Tommy Shaw was thinking that maybe he'd get more chicks if they put themselves on the cover of their albums. Then Dennis came in with his idea for Kilroy Was Here and Tommy thought, "y'know, maybe we should not make our faces public."
For bands strongly identified with a lead vocalist, things are tougher. Not all Queen fans are happy with the arrival of Mr. Rodgers, who also sang for the bands Free, of which he was a founder in 1968, and the Firm, a short-lived 1980's outfit. On the message board at, one poster who goes by the name KingMercury echoed a common feeling toward Queen + Paul Rodgers, as the act is now known. "I will not complain about the current tour, and if its right to tour under the name of Queen," the message said, "but, Queen, that fabulous and giant band, died with Freddie, in 1991."
Ooh! Ooh! It's almost a PecanWombatism! And wait a second...did they miss the spelling error of "its?"

By the way, Mike and I are going to see Queen + PR on October 16th. We are fully resigned to the fact that PR is going to suck. "Don't think of it so much as a concert," I told Mike. "Think of it more as a telethon." We will, however, clap our hands in unison during "Radio Ga Ga," and that, my friends, is worth the price of admission.

Okay, maybe not really.
Soldiering on behind a new singer usually means selling fewer CD's and playing to smaller audiences, in venues like casinos and nightclubs instead of sold-out arenas and stadiums. And no one really thinks that these band's new songs will return them to their commercial peaks. Journey, for one, has been giving its latest album free to fans who bought tickets to its recent tour.
Ahh! Journey is trying to do what Prince did with Musicology. But too little, too late, Neil Schon!
Mr. Kalodner recently pulled out of plans to work with the newly formed INXS on its new album, which is scheduled for release on Nov. 29. "I just didn't fell good about trying to replace Michael," he said.
"Fell good?" I knew this article was too good to be in the Times.
Doc McGhee, who represents the rockers KISS, has another twist on the idea altogether: he has been toying with the idea of recruiting an entire band to replace the original KISS and don the band's famous makeup.
I think this is a great idea. First of all, dibs on playing Peter Criss, 'cause he gets no love. Second of all, how great would it be to work for a guy named Doc McGhee?

Okay, but enough with the snark. In regards to bands using other lead singers, I say go for it. I'm a music snob and wouldn't go to see Styx without Dennis DeYoung (and yes, I have seen Styx with Dennis DeYoung) or Journey without Steve Perry (I only wish I had seen Journey in the '80s, I bet that was a great show), but I've seen enough summer concerts to realize that enough people are really just going to see these concerts for the experience - the chance to have a beer, pass a joint and sing along. They don't care who's singing, as long as it sounds similar to what they've heard on the radio. And besides, think of the bassist in each of these bands. Without the tour, he's got nothing! If it's making people happy and people are coming to see your shows, then I don't see a problem.

I'm just really happy Brian May's poodle haircut made the Times.


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