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Bands That Replaced Irreplaceable Members (And Those That Shouldn't Have)

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Alice in Chains, for example, seems to have found a really good replacement for former lead vocalist (and currently dead) Staley in William DuVall, who sounds similar enough to the late junkie singer to please diehard fans, but also has the huevos to be his own man on newer songs. In addition, DuVall has a noticeable presence, which is very important in rock 'n' roll to be able to sell "it" to the masses. I would give them a passing grade, especially considering how difficult it is to replace someone as distinctive as Staley.

One thing folks who haven't been in bands might not realize is how much time and effort band members invest to achieve any kind of success, even just playing a few local shows. Band members who might not contribute a whole lot beyond time, effort, and loyalty have, at very least, the feeling of ownership of the band itself. In the end regardless of the reason, when bands break up it is rarely unanimous. There is always at least one member who wants to hang on and keep it going.

Having been a founding member of a band, a replacement for an original member, and just a fill-in player, I can say first hand that seeing a band end, even when you have just played a small part, is very difficult to do. There is that sense of ownership which can cloud even the best judgment and it is hard to stomach, at times, seeing someone else play or sing the parts that used to be yours. I can definitely empathize with every band on this list who kept it going, for better or for worse, but still...sometimes you do just shake your head and go, "What the fuck were they thinking?"

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Tom Reardon has written for Phoenix New Times since 2013. He's been in several notable bands over the last 25 years including Hillbilly Devilspeak, North Side Kings, and the Father Figures.
Contact: Tom Reardon