Is Everyone Replaceable in a Band?

Is everyone replaceable in a band?

This is a question I have been contemplating for a long time.

Especially in the past few years since the pandemic shut down the world of concert touring.

Many bands have continued to do shows with fill-ins until the person they have replaced can return.  Whether it’s illness, some kind of emergency, whatever it is, it seems they are all replaceable.  Even if it’s just temporary or in some cases permanent.

Here are a few examples of fill-ins:  Armored Saint singer John Bush has had some vocal issues on the last few tours, so for a few dates, he was replaced by Dangerous Toys singer Jason McMaster.

Also, Jason McMaster has done the same thing for the band Accept, when their singer Mark Tornillo was having vocal issues.

Lamb of God brought in guitarist Phil Demmel (Kerry King’s solo band, Machine Head, Vio-Lence) to fill in for both guitarist Willie Adler and bassist John Campbell on different occasions.

Recently, I’ve seen the namesake of a band being substituted with someone else.  Singer Jack Russell of Jack Russell’s Great White has unfortunately had a lot of health issues, and trust me, I wish him well because I am a huge fan of his.  But for one show, and as of this writing two shows, his band have/are changing their name to Friends Of Jack and have singer Andrew Freeman (Last In Line and the other version of Great White for a few months a few years ago) filling in.

Now, at least they have changed the band name for those shows and I love these guys, but still, nothing against anyone, but as a music fan, this is all very frustrating.  I’m sure it is for them too and they feel this is the best way to go about it, but as a fan I don’t like it.

And one I just read is that singer Don Dokken of the namesake band Dokken may have to miss shows due to health issues.  It turns out it was just a rumor.  Don has since said that’s ridiculous and it is.

I know that the pandemic screwed up a lot of things and especially screwed up the concert touring business.  So I’m sure no one wants to lose money anymore if they can avoid it.  I’m sure that’s always been the case, but as a fan, I think there comes a time when a band should postpone or cancel a show because the singer, for example, cannot do it.

Can you imagine The Rolling Stones going on tour or even doing one show without singer Mick Jagger?  No way!!

Or could you imagine a solo artist like Taylor Swift, for example, have a show go on without her?  I don’t think so.

I know some bands have been able to replace everyone and continue on.  Foreigner and Molly Hatchet, for example, have continued to tour and make albums with no original or classic members.

Even Black Sabbath mostly did it for years (guitarist Tony Iommi was the only permanent member) seemingly replacing members constantly.

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Quiet Riot have done it as well as others.

The big question is:  do fans accept it or not?

And in the case of these fill-ins, do you go ahead and see the band, or do you demand a refund and hopefully get one?

In the case of Black Sabbath and Molly Hatchet, I have accepted it.  Even Quiet Riot and Lynyrd Skynyrd, as well, because I see it as the music being carried on.  People want to hear the songs and the songs should be kept alive.

But I also don’t think that everyone is replaceable.

I would NEVER pay to see Dokken without Don Dokken or The Rolling Stones without Mick Jagger.

Some of these I accept, and some I don’t.

What do you think?  Do you care?  Would you see a band without any original members and not care as long as you hear those classic songs?  Would you see The Rolling Stones without Mick Jagger?  How much is acceptable or unacceptable?  You tell me.

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