The Replacements

What happens when a famous band replaces the person who was the group’s voice?


Original Lead Singer: Peter Gabriel

What Happened? Creative differences within the band and personal issues in Gabriel’s life (notably family troubles) came to the fore during the creation of the band’s 1974 prog-rock magnum opus, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, prompting Gabriel to quit.

Replacement: Phil Collins, who was already in the band as the drummer. His ascension came after the band auditioned a number of famous singers, including Jeff Lynne (ELO), Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy), and teen heartthrob David Cassidy (yes, really).

Did It Work Out? Did it ever. The band’s 1976 album, A Trick of the Tail, outsold all the other Genesis albums combined and got the band started on its move away from its progressive-rock roots and toward radio-friendly arena rock, where they’d find great success in the 1980s.

Bonus Round: Phil Collins left Genesis in 1996 to focus on solo work, and Genesis’s two remaining members, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford, recruited Ray Wilson (formerly of the little-known band Stiltskin) and released 1997’s Calling All Stations. It flopped, and Wilson was fired from the band. Collins reunited with Genesis for a world tour in 2007.


Original Lead Singer: Steve Perry. (He wasn’t actually the group’s original lead singer; others before him included keyboardist Gregg Rolie, guitarist Neal Schon, and singer Robert Fleischman. But Perry was the singer during the band’s most popular era, from 1977 through 1987.)

What Happened? After a decade-long hiatus following the band’s 1986 Raised on Radio album, Journey reunited for 1996’s Trial by Fire. But their tour plans were delayed when a hiking accident required Perry to undergo hip replacement surgery, which he was reluctant to do. Annoyed by their lead singer’s indecision—he couldn’t continue touring without the surgery—the band decided to go on without him.

Replacement Lead Singer: Steve Augeri, former lead singer of the band Tall Stories, which had not had notable success. Augeri was working as a manager of a Gap store in New York City when he was tapped as Perry’s replacement.

Did It Work Out? Sort of. Augeri’s vocal delivery was reminiscent of Perry’s, and the band had a minor hit, “All the Way,” in 2000. But the album, Arrival, didn’t chart well (it topped out at #56, far below the #3 debut of Trial by Fire), and fans were ambivalent about the substitution of Augeri for the popular Perry. Nevertheless, Journey remained a big concert draw, especially when touring with other 1980s bands such as Def Leppard.

Bonus Round: In July 2006, Steve Augeri developed voice problems and was temporarily replaced on tour by Jeff Scott Soto. Soto was officially named the band’s lead singer in December 2006…and then was tossed out in June 2007. A few months later, the band hired 40-year-old Arnel Pineda, a singer from the Philippines, after guitarist Neal Schon saw videos of him singing Journey songs…on YouTube.

The Cars

Original Lead Singers: Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr

What Happened? The band rode high in the early 1980s with a series of hit singles and albums, but after 1987’s critically and commercially disappointing Door to Door, the Cars ran out of gas and disbanded. In 2000 Orr—the bassist and singer on “Drive,” the band’s most successful single—died of pancreatic cancer. Ocasek, the better-known former front man, continued with a solo career and as producer for other bands and musicians, including Weezer, No Doubt, and the Killers.

Replacement Lead Singer: Todd Rundgren, who had a notable career in the 1970s as a solo artist (“Hello It’s Me”) and as a record producer (Hall and Oates, XTC, Meat Loaf, Cheap Trick, and others).

Did It Work Out? Not especially well. The group Rundgren joined in 2005 called itself the New Cars and had only two original members: guitarist Elliot Easton and keyboardist Greg Hawkes. (It also included former members of Utopia and the Tubes.) The group released a single (“Not Tonight”) that went nowhere. There was no bad blood between Ocasek and the New Cars—Ocasek gave his blessing to the endeavor, although he perpetrated a fake feud between himself and Rundgren on the comedy show The Colbert Report in 2006. (The “feud” was conveniently timed with the New Cars’ “Roadrage” tour.)

Alice in Chains

Original Lead Singer: Layne Staley

What Happened? He died. As the band rose to fame with hits like “Man in a Box” and the No Excuses album, Staley was struggling with a heroin addiction that took an increasing toll on him—as well as on the band. During performances, guitarist Jerry Cantrell, whose voice sounded a lot like Staley’s, was often called on to pick up the verses when Staley wandered offstage. Staley sang with the band for the last time when they opened for KISS on July 3, 1996, and he worked in music only fitfully after that. On April 19, 2002, family members found his remains in his Seattle condo; he had died an estimated two weeks earlier. The cause of death was an overdose from a “speedball”—a mixture of heroin and cocaine. Staley was 34.

Replacement Lead Singer: William DuVall, also the lead singer and guitarist for the Atlanta-based group Comes the Fall.

Did It Work Out? So far, so good. Alice in Chains went on a promotional tour for a greatest hits album in 2006, playing club dates with DuVall as the front man. The fan reaction was positive, and DuVall joined the band again on tour in 2007, this time as Alice in Chains opened up for Velvet Revolver (a supergroup of musicians from Guns N’ Roses and Stone Temple Pilots). DuVall has since been given the title of the band’s lead singer, and Alice in Chains’ Web site reports that the group is working on a new album.

Originally published in Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into Music”. Translated from original text in English. Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader books are currently printed in English only.

Our Interview with Alt-J

Spotify definitely helps keep us all sane on the tour bus…”, Alt-J

Seemingly from nowhere, Alt-J have arrived, fully-formed and near perfect, with a string of great singles, a deliriously happy fan base and an astonishingly good debut album. Formed five years ago in Cambridge, the four-piece played in front of hundreds of thousands of people across last summer’s biggest and best festivals. More recently they recorded a session for Spotify, but they had to pile into a car and head off straight after, so we wrote a few questions in an email and sent them to drummer, Thom Green. He was kind enough to answer them all – even the ridiculous ones – and send them straight back. Thanks Thom!

Hello Thom. Where are you and what are you doing?
Right now we’re at the BBC in London filming for Later with Jools Holland. We’re on a break so I’m listening to music.

Tell me, what music was playing in the house when you were growing up?
My Dad used to play a lot of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. Its a nice memory, very soothing music.

What were the first records you personally fell in love with?
Nirvana’s Bleach, Beastie Boys’ The Sound of Science, Deftones’ White Pony and Chemical Brothers’ Surrender.

What bands made you want to make your own music?
Chemical Brothers really wanted me to play the drums. I also had the Space Jam soundtrack which had some amazing beats on it. I don’t think there was a particular band or artist that actually made me want to be a drummer though, I kind of found it myself.

We like this line from your biog: “Joe played Gwil a handful of his own songs inspired by his guitar-playing dad and hallucinogens…” What were those songs like? Do you still play any of them?
They were great, very basic but very well written. You could hear how unique a voice Joe had very early on. We don’t play any of them anymore.

And, importantly, just how good a guitarist is Joe’s dad?
Exceptionally Good.

What five records couldn’t alt-J exist without?
We all have different tastes in music, so it’s hard to say as we never really listen to the same albums, but there were a few I remember the others listening to like, Radiohead’s In Rainbows, Metronomy’s The English Riviera, Laura Marling’s Alas I Cannot Swim and Portico Quartet’s Knee Deep In The North Sea.

Do you think such a thing as the perfect song exists?
No, I don’t think so. People have different opinions on what they like. Thom Yorke said that after recording Pyramid Song he thought it was the best track Radiohead had ever recorded. They are one of the best bands in the world, so that could be the best track. I’d be happy with that. Either that or Missing You by John Talabot.

Are Alt-J Spotify users?
Joe, Gus and I are.

Have you discovered any new music through Spotify?
Every day, I love Spotify. I’m really into John Talabot at the moment his latest album Fin is beautiful. I like the radio feature on iPhone, i’ve discovered a lot through that. It definitely helps keep us all sane on tour, in the bus. I use it a lot on my Tumblr which has a lot of followers.

What new bands are you all listening to at the moment?
Princess Chelsea, Hundred Waters, Stealing Sheep and Romare.

Were you surprised by the Mercury nomination?
We weren’t too surprised, just very relieved. We’d been tipped to win before we’d even been nominated so the pressure was on. We’re very pleased.

Could you express, in a percentage, exactly how likely you think you are to win?
8.3%. If we win we’ll get extremely drunk at an after party with our friends and family.

Who would Alt-J give an Album of the Year prize to?
Hot Chip for In Our Heads.

What new element do you think Mumford and Sons brought to their version of Tessellate?
I think they gave the track a lot of space, it sounded great. It was odd at first hearing his very recognisable voice singing our lyrics that i’m so familiar with.

What five records would you literally fight you way to the decks to put on at a drunken Christmas party?
Simon and Garfunkel’s, The Sound Of Silence, Jose Gonzales’ Veneer, Laura Marling’s Alas I Cannot Swim, Princess Chelsea’s L’il Golden Book and John Talabot’s Fin.

And what records would you lie on the sofa and recover to the following day?
Radiohead’s In Rainbows and Monstar’s Harder / Bastard

Finally, what’s your favourite noise?
Fingers down a chalkboard.

A very Quietus sort of week

Our friends at the Quietus listen to a fantastic amount of new music every week and now they’re going to share what they think about it all with us. This then is the Spotify playlist they built for pretty much everything they covered last week; look out for Depeche Mode, Jimmy Scott, DJ Shadow, Kylie Minogue, Bat For Lashes, Public Enemy and many more.

There’s information on all the tracks here and there’ll be more from The Quietus later this week.