Wow, here’s an oldie-but-goodie, first posted almost 5 years to the day, that many of our current daily participants have not had a crack at. This thread is so old that Wilco has had time to change its chemistry at least one more time. Enjoy.
This post initially appeared 1/28/07.
Changes in band chemistry need not ruin a band’s sound, but they will alter it greatly – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, sometimes for something just as good and interesting as the orginal but…different. Today, I’m most concerned with the first and last categories. We need not spend much time on the “for worse” category. Remember, this is a site to which fans on Ron Wood-era Stones need not apply.
Few bands withstood and prospered from changes in chemistry like The Yardbirds. The band’s sound changed and developed in unforeseen ways as they shifted from Clapton to Beck, but it’s hard to argue that one period was better than the other. By the brief time they got to Page, the band’s already-slim songwriting abilities had run their course, but who can argue with the byproduct of Led Zeppelin?
Band chemistry can extend beyond personnel. I could make a case that The dBs suffered more by moving Gene Holder from bass to lead guitar than they did by the loss of Chris Stamey. Sure, they lost their founding singer and songwriter, but Peter Holsapple was no slouch after joining the band in time for its first album. When Holder left the rhythm section, the band’s “American Attractions” foundation was gone. As a guitarist, Holder was a pedestrian, with bad tone to boot.
I’ve been doing SWOT analyses of band chemistry changes in the following bands, and I could use your help. Feel free to pick one of the following and expound. Feel free, as well, to add your own cases of successful changes in band chemistry.
- Buzzcocks with and without Howard DeVoto
- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers with Ron Blair, then with Howie Epstein, and finally, with the returning Ron Blair
- The Rolling Stones with Brian Jones then Mick Taylor
- Sleater-Kinney before and after Janet Weiss
- The Clash with Terry Chimes, then with Topper Headon, then with the returning Terry Chimes
- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers with Stan Lynch then with his replacement
- Guided By Voices with Tobin Sprout then with Doug Gillard (with about 72 other guys mixed in-between)
- The Move without Jeff Lynne and The Move with Jeff Lynne
- Roxy Music with Brian Eno and then without him
- Wilco with Jay Bennett and then without him
You get the idea. I look forward to your responses.