Nov 162010

In honor of Pete Best and Ian Stewart, original members of The Beatles and Rolling Stones, respectively, who were kicked out of the band (or band proper, in Stu’s case) just as their mates were on the brink of major success, let’s commemorate musicians who were replaced shortly before their soon-to-be legendary bands took flight as we know them.

A few exclusions (of course):

  • Band members who died and/or went kee-RAAAY-zee right before their bands broke are disqualified (sorry, original brains behind The Gin Blossoms, whatever your name was). The musician had to have been capable of regretting his or her shot at the big time, and as far as we know the (brain)dead do not retain regrets.
  • Band members who actually made it to the band’s first, less-than-legendary album before the band broke with a bigger album do not count (sorry, Fairport Convention’s original woman singer, Judy Dyble), although the musician is eligible if he or she only appeared on an early single.
  • Original XTC keyboardist Barry Andrews is not eligible because XTC never really broke to any degree that would have caused Mr. Andrews to sit home and nurse his missed opportunity. Same goes for whatever guy or gal just missed the boat on your own band, if said band did not scale enviable heights.

  63 Responses to “Last Man Standing: Band Members Who Just Missed the Boat”

  1. Henry Padovani originally played guitar in The Police, I think appearing on their first single. Don’t know if he regretted not getting to tour with those a-holes.

  2. Davy O’List, who quit Roxy Music just before they signed a record contract. I’ve even heard that Manzanera pretty much just played parts written by O’List on the first album.

  3. misterioso

    With an asterisk, I know, but Mick Taylor, since my impression is that any meaningful money was made after his departure.

  4. Ron Roesing, drummer on Smashing Pumpkins’ first cassette, the “Nothing Ever Changes” demo, was replaced by a drum machine (ouch) even before the band’s first public concert.

  5. Ouch indeed!

    Welcome aboard, jjb!

  6. That chick who was in 10,000 Maniac before the uber-annoying Natalie Merchant.

  7. cherguevara

    There was another singer? I know there was another guy, who was the main songwriter, John Lombardo. He was there for the first major-label album. But I think Merchant was there from the beginning.

  8. I thought there was another singer too, which would be a great call!

  9. cherguevara

    How about Ludmilla O’Cragg, aka “Corpulent Spice?” I guess the other girls didn’t want her on the bus.

  10. cherguevara

    After Merchant quit, John Lombardo came back with a singer named Mary something.

    I know a lot about this band, given how much I dislike them.

  11. There was a singer named Teri Newhouse who was the guitar player, Robert Buck’s ex-wife. John Lombardo was the main songwriter but recorded their first album with them so is ineligible for this competition.

    Aside from knowing there was a woman in the band before Ms Merchant, I had to look up all of these other facts. It’s important to me that you know this because I hate that band in general and Ms Merchant in particular and I don’t want you to think that I knew this stuff off the top of my head.

  12. misterioso

    [in Butthead voice] Hehheh, hehheh. You guys know stuff about 10,000 Maniacs. Hehhehheheh.

    [in Beavis voice] Yeah. They suck!

  13. Didn’t The Who have a second guitarist, maybe at the end of their High Numbers’ period, before they were officially The Who? THAT guy must be a bit bummed!

  14. chad allan has to be the king of near misses. the guess who were originally chad allan & the expressions before he stepped aside in favor of burton cummings. later, allan was a member of brave belt, along with randy & rob bachman and cf turner, which morphed into bachman-turner overdrive after allan’s departure. allan blew it not once, but twice!

  15. i’d suggest that such a misstep might henceforth be known as “pulling a chad allan.”

  16. I never heard of this guy or his missteps. Excellent story. So it is written, so let it be done: Pulling a Chad Allan is henceforth the official term for this phenomenon!

  17. mockcarr

    I thought the second guitarist was Roger!

    He had to wait until It’s Hard to try that again.

  18. Maybe it’s the original singer and drummer for The Detours I had in mind? I could swear a couple of years ago I was watching some Who documentary and an original band member I’d never heard about was speaking on camera.

  19. Peter Gutteridge was the odd man out for the Flying Nun bands. He was the original bassist for the Clean before they became a trio and joined the rotating lineup of the Chills. He may appear on some early singles but I don’t think he was ever a permanent band member.

  20. Similar, but not quite the same as pulling a Terry Reed (declining to join two bands that went on to massive success).

  21. I do not!!!

  22. mockcarr

    I thought Ludmilla was “Old” Spice.

  23. The High Numbers had a 2nd, studio guitarist. Jimmy Page – that guy missed the boat.

  24. That chick who was in Jefferson Airplane before the uber-annoying Grace Slick.

  25. mockcarr

    There’s the multiple disappointments of Terry Reid. Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple.

  26. Signe Andersen, or something like that??? Was she on the first record? If so, she’s out per the Original Fairport Convention Woman Singer exclusion.

  27. mockcarr

    Yeah, he never made it as Dave Davies’ replacement either.

  28. mockcarr

    At least Grace was pretty in a really haunting, scary, look-through-the-back-of-your-head way. Well, maybe it’s just me.

  29. mockcarr

    Didn’t there have to be about five drummers Nirvana had before Dave Grohl?

  30. Leppo, the 5th Rutle.

  31. I just realized: it’s not The Who who had this mysterious second guitarist but, I think, Pink Floyd, back in the early Syd Barrett days. Does that sound right?

  32. hrrundivbakshi

    Original lead singer for AC/DC, Dave Evans — seen in glorious spandex-clad action here:

  33. cherguevara

    In the mid 90’s, I was helping out on a Kenn Kweder album. One night, Kenn, Al the producer and I decided to share a cab home. We hop into the car and Kenn is being really boisterous saying things like, “Yeah! We were rockin’! That was jammin’! Kickin’ ass! Whooo! Yeah!”

    Cab driver leans back a little and says, “you guys are musicians?” We mumble some consensus, “yeah, we’re musicians….” The cabbie says, “I used to be a musician… back before my partner got famous.”

    We take the bait and ask him who was his partner and he says, “John Oates.” Apparently they had a country band together. It was a sobering moment for me, for sure.

  34. cherguevara

    To put in a real entry, Stephen Duffy was the original singer for Duran Duran. He quit and found a bit of fame as Tin Tin and solo, but obviously not at the level of Duran. There seem to have been a number of other pre-fame members of that band.

    I’ve not heard it, but Duffy did get together with Nick Rhodes a few years back to record the songs from those early days, under the name, “The Devils.”

  35. ladymisskirroyale

    I was going to say (in jest) Grace Slick.

  36. ladymisskirroyale

    Darn, you stole my thunder, cher.

  37. ladymisskirroyale

    Bob Welch. Too bad Fleetwood Mac found so much fame and fortune, and he just got a grape juice named after him.

  38. cherguevara

    Dave Mustaine, kicked out of Metallica before they recorded their first album because of his heavy drinking. Went on to form Megadeth.

  39. ladymisskirroyale

    Glen Matlock of the soon to be very well known Sex Pistols.

  40. jeangray

    Does Tory Crimes qualify?????

  41. No, he’s on the first album.

  42. No dice, he made it to albums.

  43. Matlock and Mustaine are good ones!

  44. shawnkilroy

    additional Clash guitarist Keith Levine, sacked for not being committed enough.

  45. Jason Cropper, replaced by Brian Bell in Weezer. Just in time for the cover shoot on the famous 1994 breakthrough “blue” album.


  46. Angus MacLise, original drummer for the Velvet Underground

  47. BigSteve

    When I bought my house, the guy that came in and touched up the flooring claimed to have been in Camper Van Beethoven before they got big. Ok semi-big. I think he may have been lying though.

  48. cherguevara

    No Doubt had two “co-singers,” who sang with Gwen Stefani. One committed suicide, the other quit the group before they got signed. The quitter was named Alan Meade (had to look up his name, though).

  49. mockcarr

    Mickey Willett was drummer for the Ravens, but was fired for, I guess, being too old when they became the Kinks.

  50. How about the Dixie Chicks’ founder Laura Lynch, who played bass and guitarist Robin Lynn Macy, who were part of the original line up with sisters Emily and Martie (now the Courtyard Hounds)? They did some independent recording, but nothing I’ve ever even heard. A guy I know said he used to party with them at dives all over Texas, before they got Natalie and did Wide Open Spaces.

  51. jeangray

    I read somewhere that Matlock made a lot of $$$ off of those reunion tours.

  52. jeangray

    Good one!

  53. What about Chad Channing? He filled in on second guitar with Nirvana, then moved over to help on bass with Soundgarden. Once he was out of each band they respectively took off.

  54. …and there is always Margaret Olivarria who was booted out of the Go Go’s before they recorded their first album. I believe that she co-founded the band.

  55. Oooops, not Chad Channing but rather Jason Everman. My bad.

  56. cherguevara

    I’d like a ruling on Tracii Guns – his name was still part of Guns N’ Roses, although it was apparently two years between when he left the band and the first album.

  57. Guns seems to count. cherguevarra is currently LAST MAN STANDING!

  58. BigSteve

    Michael (then known as Micki) Steele, later bassist in the Bangles, was in the first version of the Runaways, before they recorded their first album.


  59. Every drum teacher in my hometown was in Journey before they made it.

  60. cherguevara

    Was just reading this obit:

    It mentions Chris Curtis, who had the idea for a band. After they got together, they gave him the boot, changed the name to Deep Purple and had a hit with Hush.

  61. cherguevara

    From wikipedia

    “In retirement he was active in his parish church of Holy Rosary in Sefton, Liverpool, where he sang folk music and rock and roll to attract younger worshippers. He also sang frequently with a karaoke machine at Cooper’s Emporium and the Old Roan pub near the home he shared with his mother when the Searchers first started. Many of his audience had no idea who he was, but he had kept his skill and delighted to tell of someone stopping him in the supermarket to say how much they had liked his singing at the Old Roan.”

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