Five Replacement Lead Singers Even Weirder Than Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington
The New Cars
Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington has gotten all the way off the ground, which is a first step that a lot of reconstituted rock bands never quite reach. Diehard STP fans are still mostly nonplussed, but a lot of them are going to the shows anyway; casual fans are interested enough in the weird but earnest combination of the guy from Linkin Park and an infamous post-grunge band to pay their money and take their chances.
For a band that's forced to replace its lead singer, that counts as an unqualified success. Here are five attempts to do the same thing that went a little differently.
5. Sublime becomes Sublime with Rome
Like Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington, Sublime with Rome has officially changed its name to reflect the departure of its most visible member. Unlike Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington, Sublime with Rome was required to do so under the threat of legal action and now has one original member left (out of three.)
I can't fault the guys in Sublime for trying something like this--their 15 minutes began after Bradley Nowell died, which had to be awful--but replacing a dead star is much more fraught than replacing Scott Weiland, who even now is inspiring stories of unreadiness and poor performance across the United States.
Nowell wasn't just a dead star--he was a star, a cult hero, who most of his fans only knew once he was dead. Poor Rome never had a chance, although the presence of Replacement Drummer to the Stars Josh Freese would normally be pretty reassuring.
4. Todd Rundgren joins The New Cars
The most unusual thing about this one was just the thought of Todd Rundgren, the ultimate control-freak-genius archetype, joining a band--especially somebody else's band, previously fronted by someone nearly as idiosyncratic as he is. The end result was--well, a little weird.
Unlike the actual Cars' eventual reunion, though, this video has a solo from Elliot Easton in it. So it could definitely be worse.
3. Journey picks Arnel Pineda
This has become old hat by now, but back in 2007 it still seemed novel when Journey chose, as Steve Perry Replacement No. 3, a 40-year-old Filipino guy who was covering Journey songs with his band on YouTube.
Also, he sounds remarkably like Steve Perry, which is even more difficult than anyone who hasn't attempted to do Journey karaoke solo will understand. This one has lasted six years and earned the approval of most dyed-in-the-wool Journey fans, which is pretty incredible.
2. INXS becomes a reality show
There are so many weird things about INXS' reality-TV-oriented comeback following Michael Hutchence's death that it's had to know where to start without making a sub-list out of the components. In no order: 1. There was an INXS reality TV show in 2005 ; 2. The winner's name was J.D. Fortune, second-place finisher in the previous year's I'm A Pulp Novel Adventurer, Get Me Out Of Here ; 3. Fortune proceeded to leave-the-band-or-be-kicked-out twice, despite having been homeless before he got the gig, but 4. in spite of all this, INXS-with-TV-Show continued to tour, somewhat successfully, for like five years.
1. Paul McCartney joins Nirvana
Okay, okay, okay, it wasn't actually called Nirvana with Mac--it was just Dave Grohl and Krist Novaselic and Pat Smear. But the bewildered reaction to Paul McCartney fronting, uh, those guys, and playing a song in, uh, that genre is evidence of just how weird these not-quite-reunions can make us feel.
If it were just Dave Grohl and Paul McCartney the result, "Cut Me Some Slack," might not have sounded appreciably different. But it wouldn't have inspired so much fear, uncertainty, and doubt--it just would have been Paul McCartney playing a grungey song on a weird-looking guitar and showing he still has the "Helter Skelter" register of his voice.
If Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington were just a Chester Bennington side project with a lot of STP influences--even if it had all the other members--nobody would be particularly bothered by it. If Sublime with Rome were Rome with One Sublime Guy, and they just happened to cover "What I Got," there'd be no fandom angst.
But when you invoke the name of the band, you're on notice--even if you're a remarkably well-preserved member of The Beatles.
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