“It’s not (band) without (original lead singer).”

We’ve all heard it before.

“It’s not AC/DC without Bon Scott.”

“It’s not Black Sabbath without Ozzy.”

“It’s not Van Halen without David Lee Roth.”

I can honestly say I don’t understand that mindset, even if, for example, I hated Hagar-era Van Halen. Even if it was different, with every one of those bands you could still hear elements of the band’s trademark sound. With all due respect, I always thought that the thought that “it’s not (band) without (original lead singer)” gave appallingly short shrift to the rest of the band; after all, for example, it was not David Lee Roth and the Van Halens. And we continue to see it even now, with “it’s not Queensryche without Geoff Tate” and “it’s not Accept without Udo Dirkschneider.”

And to the last thing, I have to say, “Really? That’s not the way I’m hearing it.” I saw Accept with Queensryche when they played the South Texas Rock Fest last October. I don’t know about anyone else, but I thought the older Accept stuff fit very well with what the band’s done so far with Mark Tornillo. And he does justice to the older material, to the point that folks like me who didn’t know he was the original vocalist would never had known it had we not done our research. I’ll admit that I am not that familiar with Accept past “Balls to the Wall” and “Restless and Wild,” but Stalingrad is a pretty fantastic metal album in its own right. And as I said before, it seems to fit very well with the rest of their catalog, judging from what I heard in their live set. Not Accept without Udo? I might beg to differ on that point. In fact, seeing what Accept has done with Tornillo as Dirkschneider’s replacement gives me hope for Queensryche as they forge ahead with Todd La Torre. After all, there seem to be a few people still clinging to the whole “it’s not Queensryche without Geoff Tate” bullshit, too.

As one of the Breakdown Room members put it some time ago:

While it is true that a band is the sum of its parts, the exit of one or more members and their replacement with new members does not mean the band doesn’t exist anymore. All those harping about QR being a cover band now because Geoff was fired didn’t open their mouths when DeGarmo left. Nobody said: ‘DeGarmo left and was replaced by Kelly ‘I Fight My Guitar And Still Lose On A Daily Basis’ Gray and later by Mike Stone, so QR is now a cover band’. All across this forum and on other digital news outlets (you know who I mean), people have given more than a few examples of bands who rose to even higher fame after losing their singer for various reasons. And just to illustrate a similar occurrence: Deep Purple existed in five different line ups that had four different singers, but even after Blackmore and Gillan left, they were still Deep Purple. One singer does not a band make, in spite of what Tate himself believes.

Yes, I know, QR is currently touring with a set list that highlights four of the first five records. But they are also in the studio, recording an entire new album, which will hopefully be released soon, and which, going by the Youtube trailer, sounds very much like QR. It may not be sufficient for some, but it is for me.

I don’t know. Why should a band just stop making music if they lose (or get rid of) their original lead singer? I certainly am glad Iron Maiden and AC/DC didn’t do that; in addition to the great original work they’ve done with those bands, Bruce Dickinson and Brian Johnson both do great renditions of the Di’Anno- and Scott-era tunes.  I am given to believe, though, that lo these many years later people are still saying, “Paul Di’Anno is Iron Maiden!”

(We all know, though, that if one person is Maiden, it’s Steve Harris. But that’s ultimately neither here nor there.)

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4 Responses to ““It’s not (band) without (original lead singer).””

  1. Albatross Says:

    Ditto, to all your points. Bands don’t necessarily have to die when they lose a key member. Sometimes they do, but sometimes they just carry on, albeit in a slightly different form. And sometimes they are the better for it.

    I’ll admit that I am not that familiar with Accept past “Balls to the Wall” and “Restless and Wild,”

    Accept’s self-titled debut and their third album, Breaker, are great rock/metal. Some of the really early stuff sounds a little amateurish, but you can tell that the band means business from the get-go. They deserve at least a listen or two.

  2. southtexaspistolero Says:

    They deserve at least a listen or two

    Oh, no doubt. I always liked their sound; it’s just that my money had always been going towards other stuff — like Symphony X, Queensrÿche, & Iron Maiden. 😉

  3. Lord fauntleroy Says:

    Pink floyd were only in their embryonic stages(1 album)when syd barrett left and had 8 albums before “the dark side of the moon was released their big Break through..However have seen the stranglers before and after Hugh cornwell”s departure & have to say “They should”ve called it a day after he left They replaced him with a tote different sounding&Looking lead vocalist”a square peg in a round hole!& he”s been replaced since to ..the hits dried up to pitty the band didnt!

  4. southtexaspistolero Says:

    They replaced him with a tote different sounding&Looking lead vocalist”a square peg in a round hole!

    Yep, that’s what happened with Blaze Bayley and Iron Maiden, too. His biggest drawback was that he didn’t sound anything like Bruce Dickinson.

    But Accept and Queensryche both have new vocalists that sound a lot like the originals, with some freaking amazing results so far.

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