Music News

Queen, Aerosmith, and Barenaked Ladies — Our Picks for Bands in Need of a New Singer

Most bands go into immediate brain death when their lead singer fatally overdoses on heroin, cocaine, or any combination thereof. From Sublime to the Blues Brothers, the case history is extensive.

Not Alice in Chains. It took 14 years, but the seminal Seattle grunge band is finally back with a new studio album, Black Gives Way to Blue, and a new face of the franchise: lead singer William DuVall, recruited to replace the late Layne Staley.

If anything, the Alice in Chains story proves that a band can undergo a face-transplant and remain a viable artistic force. The following in-limbo acts should take note.

Aerosmith: Steven Tyler is apparently calling it quits — for now — after tumbling off a stage in South Dakota last fall. Though Tyler threatened legal action, the band seems determined to find an interim singer while the 61-year-old recovers from a bouquet of leg and foot surgeries. Lenny Kravitz is a possibility, but if Joe Perry and the gang are unable to land the "Going My Way" rocker, there are other flamboyant, Tyler-esque bigmouths to be had. Our suggestion: Joan Rivers

Queen: Supposedly, the opera-rock legends — who haven't had a permanent lead vocalist since Freddie Mercury passed away in 1991 — took a shine to proudly queer American Idol star Adam Lambert after performing with him on the show. Could a formal partnership be in the works? Eff that. Foundation and eyeliner do not a Mercury-caliber showman make. Our suggestion: Hugh Jackman

Barenaked Ladies: Evidently, lovable Canadian nerd-rockers aren't immune from the occasional coke bust. So it was proved when Steven Page ran afoul of New York police in 2008, followed quickly by his departure from the Grammy-nominated quintet. The BNL lead vocalist job description is fairly straightforward: Any successful applicant must be able to sing "chicka-the-Chiney-the-Chinese-chicken" and not sound like a culturally insensitive asshole. Our suggestion: Mike Myers

Midnight Oil: Known for his spastic stage moves and screeching diatribes against aboriginal displacement ("Beds Are Burning," "Blue Sky Mine"), lead singer Jason Garrett quit music to pursue a political career in 2002, after which the Oils were effectively kaput. His replacement should evince the same mix of social conscience and bald-mutant freakiness. Our suggestion: Ed Begley

The Wiggles: When lead singer Greg Page quit the wildly popular kiddy group in 2006 due to a chronic abdominal ailment, the remaining Wiggles promptly replaced him with understudy Sam Moran. To which many of the Wiggles' adult fans said: "Meh." Face it, the new guy just doesn't have the old Page pizzazz. A new Wiggles frontman is clearly needed — i.e., a guy who can rock the yellow shirt and appeal to the band's aging fan base. Our suggestion: Scott Weiland

Van Halen: Eddie Van Halen goes through lead singers like hotel towels, but to date they've all been hair-rock guys. Time to think outside the box. Our suggestion: Wayne Newton

Hootie and the Blowfish: Though technically non-defunct, the '90s frat-rock darlings are currently without the services of lead vocalist Darius Rucker (who, if you haven't heard, is making some really great country music). Rucker swears he'll be back, but the band needs a stand-in; preferably a big-boned Southern tenor who likes to play golf. Our suggestion: Charles Barkley

Amy Winehouse: At this point in her career, the bedraggled British soul siren would be better off just licensing her name and likeness to a more reliable performer. You know, a sturdy girl — one less prone to blackouts and crack binges and public vomiting and whatnot. Our suggestion: Zooey Deschanel.