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Many bands are like buses, people get on and off the bus or band, all the time of the journey. Not too many bands can be like U2, all four original members for their entire career. Possibly the Beatles, but they only were together a relatively short period of time, but the four of them stayed together.
The rock band Rush, while they had an original drummer, many feel the real band was with drummer Neil Peart, so it was the three of them, Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee for over 40 years.
That is a long time to work and play, and travel with someone.
Bill Bruford the original drummer in the band Yes stated, many people think bands are all friends and love playing music together, this is wrong. Bands gather musicians with the same ideologies and talent to form a band, play and make a living. In some bands no one gets along, but playing music is their job, and they all do it to the best of their ability, as to not make themselves look bad, but also to maintain the integrity of the band.
Think of it like going into your job each day, you may not have chosen to work with these people you are with, but you all work together to not just get the jobs done, but get them done in a proper manner and fashion, and do the best you can.
Add some creativity, and being an artist in the mix, some of which once they get a bit of fame and fortune, and you can have an odd mix of not just personalities, but other traits, that not all band members may share.
Let’s look at some differences bands have had, and also how this may play into the high cost of tickets to see out favourite bands, and then find out when we are watching them, it is not the band you thought it was.
The Doors and John Densmore
I find it hard to believe there may still be people who have not head of the LA band, The Doors. They were formed in the late 60’s, and had John Densmore as their drummer/percussionist, Robby Krieger on guitar, and Ray Manzarek on keyboards and keyboard bass. One reason why many people remember The Doors is because of their singer, Jim Morrison.
The 4 Doors stayed together a few years, made some great albums and music, then Jim died and they tried to carry on, but without their singer and frontman, they were not the same band. So they broke up.
The Doors had an interesting partnership agreement, I bring this up because it helps lead into other bands breaking up, that bands are “brands” and commodities to be sold, and why you may pay hundreds of pounds or dollars to see a band, and then find out, it is not the original members playing.
The Doors as a band agreed that each of the four members had a veto in the voting of band decisions, all four had to be in agreement for band business.
Back in the 60’s the Doors were offered a large sum of money for a Buick car TV advert, and three of the members agreed, but Jim did not. He was adamant their music was not to be used for adverts.
Fast forward 40 years and Cadillac the car company, offers the Doors $15 million to use one of their songs in a TV advert. Of the three remaining members, two agree, but one, John Densmore vetoed the deal.
Add to this the fact two members, Ray and Robbie, go out and tour under the name of The Doors, and it was changed to The Doors of the 21st Century, using Stewart Copeland from the Police on drums, and Ian Asbury from the Cult as the singer, and you have a very confusing situation for the fans.
Are they seeing The Doors, or what?
Mr. Densmore took his musical and business partners to court, and won.
So why use the name The Doors when it was not the original band….money. They remaining two members could draw larger crowds, and charge more for tickets, by using The Doors brand.
There are many bands that have tired and succeeded in using other members, some times you don’t know who you are seeing when you go to a concert.
Bands With Interchangeable Members or Some With No Original Members
In no specific order, here are a few bands, many of which are older established acts. Here are just a few from different eras and musical categories.
Also it must be noted, many fans who do follow their favourite bands know of the personal changes, and may feel, quite strongly, if one member is not in the band, then there is no band.
Guns and Roses: The band Guns and Roses came out of the gates storming! Their first album, Appetite for Destruction sold millions and the band was an instant success, or so it appeared.
The band had cracks on the wall from the beginning, drug and alcohol use, the singer Axel Rose was a very dominant force within the band, and soon they broke up….or did they. In the early 90’s Guns and Roses went back out on tour, this time with only one original member, Axel Rose.
Fans were happy to see this incarnation of the band, but there were still signs by fans that said, “No Slash, No Guns and Roses”.
Slash was the band’s original guitar player.
Yes: The band Yes began in the late 60’s, having their first album released in 1968. There were 5 original members, including the singer Jon Anderson.
Over the next 50 years, there have been around 19 different musicians that can lay claim to being in Yes. This includes three different singers, four different keyboard players, four different singers, and more. The only band member to weather all the changes is the bass player, Chris Squire, who sadly died in 2015.
So currently the band has no original members, yet tours under the name Yes. Which is not a bad thing in some ways. Some current members have been in the band almost if by now 50 years.
But if you by a ticket to see Yes, don’t expect to see previous sing Jon Anderson, or a few others who were in the band. You may go wanting to hear Roundabout, or Owner of a Lonely Heart, and they may play them, probably will, but it is not the same band. They sound and look good, but not the original band.
There are many bands that continue to play and tour, with no original members.
This is like the philosophical paradox “Ship of Theseus”. The paradox is if an object or item has all its parts replaced, is it the same object.
It is easier to list the bands that do have all their original members, than those that do not. ZZ Top being one of those bands. You have to enjoy Billy Gibbons the guitar player and one of the singers in ZZ Top when he says, “same 3 guys, same 3 chords”.
Other bands with interchangeable members include:
- The Doobie Brothers
- Iron Maiden
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
- The Grass Roots
- Many old Motown bands
This list could go on and on.
Concert Ticket Prices Have Gone Up
I have written and spoke about the high price of concert tickets. Bands need to perform nowadays as a way to make a living. Money off of record, or recoding sales is low.
So bands make up the lost revenue by the price of concert tickets.
As I have discussed the past, now some ticket sellers are using “demand pricing” for how they price or what they charge for concert tickets. The higher the demand, the higher the ticket price.
If you pay a small fortune for a concert ticket to a band you liked in the past but have not seen or heard in a while, there is a chance you may go to that show and not see the band members you expect to see. All while paying a pretty penny for your ticket.
Some bands today are doing shows with other bands from the same era, or style of music. You may get three bands playing, all for the price of one ticket.
This helps to stimulate sales for all bands involved, as alone they may not be able to draw a huge crowd, and by offering more bands, they can charge more for tickets.
But again, we are at that crossroads of who is now in the band?
With concert ticket prices as high as they are you need to research the bands you wish to see, just to know who is in the band. Especially if you are travelling, and booking flights and hotels.
Obviously if you are going to see Madonna, Billy Joel, Sting, Sir Paul McCartney, Lionel Ritchie, and other acts that are in essence solo acts. You don’t care who is in the band, just let me see and hear the main person.
Just a few thoughts to think before you grab the credit card and pluck down major money to see a concert or a band you loved years ago.
On a side note and epilogue:
When Pink Floyd first debut “The Wall” live in 1980, they used a surrogate band for the first song, musicians with face masks on. So you were unsure if you were seeing the real Pink Floyd or not.