Musicians live in one of the most cutthroat and competitive worlds one can possibly inhabit, yet there’s still an oversaturation of them; musicians and bands keep coming and coming. If there’s something to be said about musicians, is that they’re a clan, a family, a tribe. This nature makes them more valuable to each other than money or businessmen do, or ever will. Need a place to crash? Ask a musician friend, they’ve probably been there too. Need equipment for a gig? The band before or after will have no qualms about lending it to you. Need to try and make a break, start playing shows in bigger venues? Other musicians will be there for you, trying to do as much as they can. Unlike any other industry out there, the music industry is one of connections and giving instead of wheeling and dealing.
So that offers up the question, why do so many bands have unceremonious lineup changes through their history? Your favourite bands have probably had some sort of shift, just mention Northlane to any teenager nowadays and they’ll argue to the death about which frontman is better. Look at the storm that ensued when Queen toured with Adam Lambert instead of Freddie Mercury. Given, Mercury had been gone for a while and was replaced with another strapping young gay man with incredible vocals, so not all bad. But then you take a look at the big ones. The Clash, in 1982 they were on top of the world, the smash London Calling 3 years past and Rock the Casbah having just peaked in the U.S top 10, with the connected album Combat Rock going 2x Platinum. Topper Headon (Drums) had already been sacked prior to the albums release due to a heroin addiction, but that’s not the worst of it. In 1983 founding members Mick Jones and Joe Strummer had had enough of each other, and Strummer promptly kicked Jones out of the band. Jones, who had convinced Strummer to give the punk band a shot, was no longer a member. Following this was the critical and commercial flop of Cut the Crap, thus cementing the end of ‘the only band that mattered’. From friends who shared the same views and love for music to the end of one of the greatest band ever, it doesn’t seem worth it, especially in the music industry. This is only one example, but Van Halen, Guns n’ Roses, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers into blur and Oasis have had their careers all but ruined by needless chopping and changing of lineups. In a world where music should mean more to people than the money they make from it, why are there so many changes?
We need to take a step back. When music is one of the most powerful tools one has to produce something, express something and feel something, why do we not take into account friendship, mateship and our personal relationships with other musicians as much as we should. From a personal standpoint, music and friendship are two of the strongest forces in this world, so why throw one, or both for that matter for no reason. We’re a band of brother and sisters, not a group that fights it out and tries to compete with others for the sake of it. Come on muso’s, we’re better than that. At least some of us can be.