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Is a Band Without Its Original Members Still the Same Band?
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Pista
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PostPost #1  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 9:59 am    Post subject: Is a Band Without Its Original Members Still the Same Band? Reply with quote Back to top

I read this earlier &, as it threw up similarities with The Sisters, I thought it would be an interesting discussion here

How many people have to leave a band before it's not the same band anymore?

There is a lively thread on Fark with some great examples (along with the usual silly examples).
So anyway. 'Ave at it! Very Happy
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PostPost #2  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

good question. i think its partly down to who exactly leaves, but really and more importantly it comes down to what the fans will accept, and even more than that, what a sufficiently-large-enough-number-of-fans-to-make-it-finacially-viable will accept.
numerous bands i can think of have continued as live acts without their distinctive, "irreplaceable", idiosynchratic frontman, in nearly all cases sounding less like the original than whole swathes of tribute bands. and these are in instances where the original singer has died, and in situations where if they hadnt of died it would have been laughable to suggest they could be replaced.
i reckon -and plenty will disagree on principal- that after the 85 split, if eldritch had happily gone off to do something else or disappeared from view entirely, and the m*****n had been allowed to call themselves the sisters of mercy, it wouldnt have been long before it was generally accepted. sure, there would have been people who turned away in disgust, but plenty wouldnt have. and all those new m*****n fans who hadnt really been into the sisters would have just been new sisters fans instead. it pretty much happened like that anyway -except for the name thing- until this corrosion came out.
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PostPost #3  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Interesting view on the Mish there.
I am of the opinion that practically any band has a "signature" that identifies them with their fanbase.
In the case of The Sisters, that would be Von coupled with the Doktor.
It'd be hard to identify The Sisters without that I think.
There aren't many bands that could pull off a change of frontman/ woman.
AC/DC are one of the few who managed it. But I'm not sure Bon Scott could be described as "the signature", as Brian Johnson seemed to hit the nail on the head when he stepped up to the plate.
& yeah, it does depend on who leaves (or indeed dies).
There is no way on earth Queen could ever be Queen without Mercury in the same way as The Doors could never be The Doors without Morrison.
Why either of them would think they could carry on under the same banner still baffles me.
& being the cureboi that I am Embarassed it has to be said that, with only 2 original members still there, they are still unmistakably The Cure. Sure, in 83 they had everyone shouting, "WTF?" but since then, they have sort of gone back to their origins (kind of) & there's no question that Bob has a very recognisable voice. That (& his increasingly absurd hairdo) have become their signature I guess.
Bottom line is Bob is The Cure & without him they just wouldn't be the band anymore.

One band that really wasn't the same, despite retaining their signature was The Icicle Works & I think McNabb should have ditched the name & carried on as himself as he does these days.
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PostPost #4  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Another good example would be The Waterboys, which was always conceived as Mike Scott and whoever happened to be around at the time, and has always had a rolling line-up. Some members have stayed for years or even left and returned, but (apart from a brief return by Anto Thistlethwaite for a tour last year) Scott's been the only original member since about 1991 and no-one seems to have minded.

And then there's Sugababes (let's not have the debate again about what constitutes " a band"), who continued to have hits with no original members left. In fact, this led to the bizarre situation of the three original members reuniting and having to choose a different name for themselves.

Pista wrote:
There is no way on earth Queen could ever be Queen without Mercury in the same way as The Doors could never be The Doors without Morrison.
Why either of them would think they could carry on under the same banner still baffles me.

Didn't Queen use that guy who impersonated Freddie on Stars in Their Eyes for a while? They essentially became their own tribute band.
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PostPost #5  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Pista wrote:
Interesting view on the Mish there.
I am of the opinion that practically any band has a "signature" that identifies them with their fanbase.
In the case of The Sisters, that would be Von coupled with the Doktor.
It'd be hard to identify The Sisters without that I think.
There aren't many bands that could pull off a change of frontman/ woman.
AC/DC are one of the few who managed it. But I'm not sure Bon Scott could be described as "the signature", as Brian Johnson seemed to hit the nail on the head when he stepped up to the plate.
& yeah, it does depend on who leaves (or indeed dies).
There is no way on earth Queen could ever be Queen without Mercury in the same way as The Doors could never be The Doors without Morrison.
Why either of them would think they could carry on under the same banner still baffles me.
& being the cureboi that I am Embarassed it has to be said that, with only 2 original members still there, they are still unmistakably The Cure. Sure, in 83 they had everyone shouting, "WTF?" but since then, they have sort of gone back to their origins (kind of) & there's no question that Bob has a very recognisable voice. That (& his increasingly absurd hairdo) have become their signature I guess.
Bottom line is Bob is The Cure & without him they just wouldn't be the band anymore.

One band that really wasn't the same, despite retaining their signature was The Icicle Works & I think McNabb should have ditched the name & carried on as himself as he does these days.

i agree with you all the way of course, especially with regard to the sisters. but i have heard enough people -idiots in my opinion but there you go- say how nice it would be if the sisters had a "real" drummer. missing the point maybe, but still "fans" (supposedly). other bands we know and love have had real drummers who sound like drum-machines (the cure early on, joy division, the lorries....ghost dance changed to a real drummer seamlessly) and to the greater masses/lesser fans no big deal, so not at all beyond the realms of possibly being accepted. i wonder how many people 100% didnt even question that it was eldritch on the giving ground single until "gift" said otherwise? only purists would have complained about a sound-alike (ish) replacement. christian death were awful without roz williams, but many die-hard christian death fans prefer the valor era (go figure...) or at least have no problem with it. what if eldritch had given in and allowed wayne to do the odd b-side vocal to pacify his ego .....and then left? Wierded Out
fortunately because he is eldritch, he wouldnt have, and didnt , and we need only imagine these horrors to extrapolate a theory. if only others were as discerning.
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PostPost #6  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

@Lee.
I was having similar thoughts re Giving Ground Cool
Had we been shielded from all the back stage wranglings & presented with a record with no label or sleeve at all, we would instantly identify it as something Von had a part in making. Same with Gift really. No mistaking the "hand of Von" in there.

@Stu
I hadn't even thought of The Waterboys, but good call.
I seem to recall the Queen thing though. They even used George Michael at one point didn't they?

Another lot that spring to mind is Pink Floyd. Did Waters leaving really affect their overall sound?
I think Gilmour leaving would have had a bigger impact TBH
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PostPost #7  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Pista wrote:

Another lot that spring to mind is Pink Floyd. Did Waters leaving really affect their overall sound?
I think Gilmour leaving would have had a bigger impact TBH


But Syd Barrett was the original front man and Dave Gilmour only joined after the first album. For this discussion they are a whole new can of worms.
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PostPost #8  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Aye, fair point, but would it be fair to say that Gilmour was largely responsible for honing their sound after Saucer? Smile
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PostPost #9  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Pink Floyd are an interesting example; they survived the replacement of Barrett with Gilmour but I think that really, The Wall is the last "real" PF album. The Final Cut is effectively a Waters solo album (featuring Gilmour and Mason), and although the Gilmour/Mason/Wright lineup won the rights to the name in court, I don't really think they count as Pink Floyd without Waters. YMMV.

The canonical example of the "when is a band not a band" phenomenon is Yes; there was the situation in the late 80's when only Chris Squire* remained of what is arguably the "classic" Yes line-up, while the others toured as Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe.

* (RIP by the way - no-one seems to have started that thread)

On the other hand, for example Leeds United is still Leeds United; I would be very surprised if anyone involved with the foundation of the club in 1919 is even still alive, never mind still at Elland Road, so there are other measures of continuity available.

Edit to add: I think Lee is right; had Eldritch not bothered pursuing Wayne & Craig's band for the Sisters name (say if he had decided to retire from music, or been hit by a bus or something) many of us would be happily trundling along to "Sisters" concerts with Wayne as the front-man.

Second edit:
Mark E Smith wrote:
If it's me and your granny on bongos, it's still The Fall

So I think the answer is "it depends".
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PostPost #10  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

cf Trigger's Broom, also the Philosopher's Axe.
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PostPost #11  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I think mr whizz nails it for me Cool

I would say, in few words, 'the spirit' must be retained

curious, a few years' back I saw 3 incarnations of the Buzzcocks at the same gig. Twas weird seeing the numbers of people sitting at the bar whilst the support band - current buzzcocks were on stage (3 of the original line-up), the place bouncing for what was described as the 'classic' buzzcocks set and the place starting to empty as the 'speacial' headline with mr magazine (i.e. once in our lifetime) thrashing through the first ep.

other bands with spirit rather than membership - ministry, rev co, pigface

U2, same line-up, spirit lost
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PostPost #12  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

What about Black Sabbath as an interesting example?

I'd say Ronny James Dio did a pretty good job of replacing Ozzy, though not so much for the numerous other singers; I guess the really 'irreplaceable' member here is Tony Iommi.
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PostPost #13  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

markfiend wrote:

Second edit:
Mark E Smith wrote:
If it's me and your granny on bongos, it's still The Fall

So I think the answer is "it depends".


Laughing
I think I would class The Fall as a "collective".
How many members have they had over the years? 60 or so?
Laughing
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PostPost #14  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

With The Sisters it may depend upon your "entry point"

I didn't become a fan until 1987 where it was, obviosly, Eldo and backing band and so when I was exploring the wonders of the back catalogue I saw, and still do see, the the band structure in the same way.
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PostPost #15  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I don't think it's fair to describe pre-split Sisters as "Eldo and backing band". Poison Door is a Marx composition for example.

I think had Gary joined the Mission, the whole naming debacle might have ended up differently; he was after all the co-founder of the Sisters so had as much claim on the name as Andrew.
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PostPost #16  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Where the hell do Nine Inch Nails fit into this?
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PostPost #17  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

To answer Mark:-

It's not the name it's the sound

And the sound is a very deep voice, a drum machine and clever lyrics of several meanings (or none)

I think after the split in '85 he should have ditched The Sisters name and just recorded as Andrew Eldritch - it would have given him a lot more freedom. Maybe he was too shy
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PostPost #18  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

PS what I meant to say was that only the deep voice and the clever lyrics can come from Eldo so he ticks two out of three on his own
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PostPost #19  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Jeremiah wrote:
What about Black Sabbath as an interesting example?

I'd say Ronny James Dio did a pretty good job of replacing Ozzy, though not so much for the numerous other singers; I guess the really 'irreplaceable' member here is Tony Iommi.

and yet interestingly when it was down to Tony as the only original member it was very much sabbath in name only (with tony remaining distinctly tony of course). at it's bare minimum sabbath needs both tony and geezer IMO. as a huge sabbath fan who was lucky enough to first hear both incarnations at the same time i do actually think of ozzy/sabbath and dio/sabbath as seperate entities. however if you were a fan of the original line-up at the time and then dio replaced ozzy it must have been hard. or maybe because the vocal styles are so different it was easier to accept than an ozzy-imitation . ignoring the tony martin efforts Wierded Out i also think the gillan era/album is merit-worthy -again maybe as much for the distinct differences as for the solidity of continuity.

EDIT to add: weird enough hearing ronnie j. sing "ozzy" songs....glad the recent reunion line-up never even thought of doing any "dio" songs.
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PostPost #20  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Norman Hunter wrote:
Where the hell do Nine Inch Nails fit into this?


AFAIK Trout Razor is Nine Inch Nails as much as Von is The Sisters.

He's the one who calls the shots in the same way as an orchestra conductor defines how his/her ensemble play the music.
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PostPost #21  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Pista wrote:
Interesting view on the Mish there.
I am of the opinion that practically any band has a "signature" that identifies them with their fanbase.
In the case of The Sisters, that would be Von coupled with the Doktor.
It'd be hard to identify The Sisters without that I think.
There aren't many bands that could pull off a change of frontman/ woman.
AC/DC are one of the few who managed it. But I'm not sure Bon Scott could be described as "the signature", as Brian Johnson seemed to hit the nail on the head when he stepped up to the plate.
& yeah, it does depend on who leaves (or indeed dies).
There is no way on earth Queen could ever be Queen without Mercury in the same way as The Doors could never be The Doors without Morrison.
Why either of them would think they could carry on under the same banner still baffles me.
& being the cureboi that I am Embarassed it has to be said that, with only 2 original members still there, they are still unmistakably The Cure. Sure, in 83 they had everyone shouting, "WTF?" but since then, they have sort of gone back to their origins (kind of) & there's no question that Bob has a very recognisable voice. That (& his increasingly absurd hairdo) have become their signature I guess.
Bottom line is Bob is The Cure & without him they just wouldn't be the band anymore.

One band that really wasn't the same, despite retaining their signature was The Icicle Works & I think McNabb should have ditched the name & carried on as himself as he does these days.


2 original members? It wasn't me... there was only one last time i counted
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PostPost #22  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Pista wrote:
@Lee.
I was having similar thoughts re Giving Ground Cool
Had we been shielded from all the back stage wranglings & presented with a record with no label or sleeve at all, we would instantly identify it as something Von had a part in making. Same with Gift really. No mistaking the "hand of Von" in there.

I came to the Sisters late (Floodland) and didn't know anything about the wranglings for a few years after that, so for all that time I still thought it was Eldritch. Even when I learned that he was contractually obliged not to sing, I assumed he'd still done so and just not credited himself!

Pista wrote:
@Stu
I hadn't even thought of The Waterboys, but good call.
I seem to recall the Queen thing though. They even used George Michael at one point didn't they?

Really? Didn't know that.

markfiend wrote:
On the other hand, for example Leeds United is still Leeds United; I would be very surprised if anyone involved with the foundation of the club in 1919 is even still alive, never mind still at Elland Road, so there are other measures of continuity available.

And I'm pretty sure the London Symphony Orchestra doesn't have any original members left.
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PostPost #23  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

paint it black wrote:
I think mr whizz nails it for me Cool

I would say, in few words, 'the spirit' must be retained

curious, a few years' back I saw 3 incarnations of the Buzzcocks at the same gig. Twas weird seeing the numbers of people sitting at the bar whilst the support band - current buzzcocks were on stage (3 of the original line-up), the place bouncing for what was described as the 'classic' buzzcocks set and the place starting to empty as the 'speacial' headline with mr magazine (i.e. once in our lifetime) thrashing through the first ep.

other bands with spirit rather than membership - ministry, rev co, pigface

U2, same line-up, spirit lost


I was at that Buzzcocks gig. It was a strange one. I'm not a huge Buzzcocks fan and I went mainly to see Howard play with them. But many did treat it like an anti-climax


Last edited by Mav787 on Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPost #24  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

million voices wrote:
I think after the split in '85 he should have ditched The Sisters name and just recorded as Andrew Eldritch - it would have given him a lot more freedom. Maybe he was too shy


But he wouldn't have been able to get Wembley Arena, Birmingham NEC, or headlining the Reading Festival if he'd played as Andrew Eldritch.

He's not stupid.

And when he did play under his own name at the charity gig in Leeds T&C in 1993 it was quite a disappointment.
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PostPost #25  Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The Damned, the Bunnymen and the Nephs have all soldiered on with two remaining founding members. But to be fair, even without Pettitt, McCoy pretty much embodied the band.
That said, I saw James and Scabies play with another vocalist and it just didn't feel like the Damned.
The Stooges survived the passing of Ron Ashton, but not Scott.

Hawkwind is, and has been for a long time, essentially Dave Brock, even though he largely confines himself to playing guitar now.

Is answer to the original question, as have been said, it's very much a case of what the fans will accept.

Kinda makes me wonder if we could have had Bauhaus minus Mr Murphy.
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