Aug 112009

I was disappointed to hear that Jesse Sandoval, the drummer from The Shins, was in his words “fired” from the band. He tells his side of the story in an article in the Portland Mercury. While he seems to have a bit of a complicated relationship with band leader James Mercer, I’m in agreement he was fired in a not-so-professional way. I’m sure it was awkward for all involved but still call it what it is and forget the “…I’m going in a different direction” statements.

I particularly like Sandoval’s drumming. Admittedly it was quirky but I think it added interest to what might have been some otherwise average indie rock songs. I’m not sure what Mercer will do next or what it might sound like but it will be missing the unique combination of his Shins bandmates and Sandoval’s drumming.

So the question is What are some other bands that lost players, either fired or quit, that ruined the “magic?” Can we say David Lee Roth out of Van Halen? Eno out of Roxy Music (maybe not)? Can you offer some suggestions?


  43 Responses to “You’re fired! I quit! Music Fans Lose!”

  1. Chris Isaak’s band Silvertone never recovered from the loss of James Calvin Wilsey, the guitarist on their 1st 4 albums. Aside from Isaak’s romantic falsetto, Wilsey’s haunting, tremolo laden, west coast guitar style was what made songs like Wicked Game send chills down your spine. After Wilsey’s departure, Isaak seemed to chase the VH1 market, producing more adult contemporary style music. Maybe it would have happened anyway, but I doubt the change would have been so drastic.

  2. Dave Gregory from XTC. Neil Conti, drummer for Prefab Sprout (subtle, but the groove was really lost).

  3. Also, when Roger and Andy Taylor left Duran Duran in 1984, the magic left with them. I really dig a few of their later hits, like Wild Boys, Skin Trade, and View to a Kill, but they are not as cool as the Rio album and Union of the snake and all those 81-83 jams.

  4. Mr. Moderator

    Well before Dave Gregory leaving XTC, I’ll say drummer Terry Chambers. The first guy who replaced him, midway through Mummer, was great, but I think Prarie Prince, Pat Mosteletto (?), and any other real or human drum machines who followed helped suck the life from them. I was really looking forward to hearing Dave Mattacks on Nonsuch, but he ended up playing on a bunch of songs that were either DOA or produced in a pit of ashes.

    I don’t think Eno’s departure from Roxy Music was as significant as the departure of Manzanera and MacKay’s balls on those last few albums, during which Ferry took over complete control of the band. I like those albums to varying degrees, but I really miss the wildcards that Phil and Andy threw into the first four albums and even a bit of Siren.

    Conventional wisdom might say that The dB’s never recovered from the loss of Chris Stamey, but I think Gene Holder’s move to guitar and away from bass was just as significant. They became just another American college rock band without Holder’s fat bass supporting the emotional content of the songs.

    Bruce Thomas leaving Costello really hurt EC, if you ask me. The newer guy, Davey Garragher (?), is a fine bassist, but Costello no longer has anyone driving the midsection of his arrangements the way Bruce Thomas could in conjunction with Pete Thomas. Garragher’s just one more American bassist worrying about locking in with the kick drum. No wonder younger bands are dropping the bass altogether. If that’s all they think a bass should do, why not save the money and let the kick drum work alone?

  5. Mr. Moderator

    Oh, and Matthew Sweet losing Richard Lloyd and Robert Quine from his records hurt REAL BAD!

  6. underthefloat

    I think the Replacements were never as good once they fired Bob Stinson. I mean he had to go but the group lost it’s “fire” and his rapid fire guitar chops and presence (which isn’t to say I didn’t like some post Bob Replacements but still…).

  7. I know it’s probably his best selling album ever, but I thought Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever kinda sucked. I suspect this was due to a certain lack of uh…let’s see…BENMOT TENCH!

    BTW, Prarie Prince plays on the whole first Chris Isaak album, Silvertone.

  8. Shame on all of you for forgetting the penultimate double whammy replacements that ruined one of the greatest kick ass bands of all time. Don’t tell me y’all forgot when Dee Purple’s Ian Gillan and Roger Glover were replaced by Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale?! Never has a band turned into a turn so quickly. I vividly recall spending my hard earned lawn mowing dollars on their “Burn” LP when it was released in the mid 70s, rushing home, tearing off the shrink, listening to the thing, and thinking, “What is this shit? This is like an econobuy version of DP?” Sure enough, all I had to do was look at those back cover credits. No Gillan, no Glover! That did it for me. Never again would I open my wallet for Deep Purple.

    On the other hand, more satisfying than a Kilebasa swamped in sauerkraut is when a GREAT group decides to tell their arrogant lead singing SOB to take a hike. I’m referring here to the Temps firing of David Ruffin. Man, did that move take a lot of balls! They were rewarded for their bravery and courage by bringing in Dennis Edwards who was/is most probably just as kick ass as Ruffin.

    One more thing, I have yet to hear from you, 2000 Man, regarding your stand on Watts’ drumming. Please take a break from your 24/7 Stones hosefest and admit that the band is capable of a mistake once in a while. i.e. Watts, on occasion, may indeed look a little tired behind the skins.

    E. Pluribs

  9. Mike Mesaros from the Smithereens. Bass players in rock don’t always get love from the music writers out there (that dime-a-dozen thing) the way lead guitarists often do, but I’ve seen the ‘reens a few times over the years without him, and although they still rock it true, not having MM up there kind of messes up the picture for me a little; it’s not quite the same (unless he’s back in the fold somehow. Things change so quickly from day to day).

    That giddy tingle I used to get for Husker Du and the Byrds’ cover also used to happen with the opening bass lines to “Blood and Roses” in eighth grade. I still get that tingle…


  10. saturnismine

    speaking of petty, Stan Lynch is the MAN. and I haven’t really liked much of what he’s done since they made stan go away.

    the velvets without Moe weren’t the same either. gone, the charm. gone.

    mr. clean, i gotta tell ya, when i first heard the Shins much-anticipated and universally-viewed-as-let-down album, “wincing the night away,” i was let down, too. i put it away, and very recently stuck it back on the iPod because i realized i couldn’t remember a single tune from it: “perhaps it’s not as bad as i thought,” myself said to I.

    well, every time a tune came up, i was pleased to have my ears massaged by such pristine sounds, and mercer’s voice is in fine form, too (bear with me…you’ll like where i’m going with this), but it just felt like every tune was of little interest to me.

    what was lacking? no dynamics, for sure; hooks are few and far between; maybe the recording is TOO pristine? hmmmm….no…wait a minute…what’s really missing from that album is the personality i’m so used to hearing in sandoval’s drumming. on previous albums, he could GIVE a mercer song all the things i wasn’t hearing on ‘wincing;’ dynamics, yes, BUT he could EVEN give those songs HOOKS where they really weren’t.

    i thought maybe on ‘wincing’ mercer reeled him in too far. perhaps the split is evidence for that.

    too bad…

    they had already lost the magic. maybe they can get it back.

  11. Peter Gabriel’s departure from Genesis had an impact. I can’t decide if it’s for better or worse.

    Funny. I mentioned the David Lee Roth Van Halen to my rockin’ aunt the other day and she pointed out that the band was better because they got Sammy. Her words: “Sammy could sing Dave’s songs, but Dave couldn’t sing Sammy’s.” This may be true, but I always kinda liked Van Hagar. I can’t say that I liked them better than the originals, but I like them pretty good.

    What about RTH’s favrorite band Journey? I know Steve Perry wasn’t the original singer, but no one can deny that he brought the band to the next level. My rockin’ aunt was watching the new version of Journey (with the little Asian-looking dude singing) the other day when she said that Steve Perry must be at home kicking himself.


  12. GBV minus Tobin Sprout & Mitch Mitchell is not really worth listening to.

  13. saturnismine

    the idea that van hagar is better than van halen in any way is kinda dubious. at least the rationale that latelydavid offers for such a position is proff of how logic isn’t always logical.

    kilroy, since mag earwig it’s been rather fashionable to yawn at the non-tobin / mitch issues of gbv, but those late lineups came up with some great arrangements for some of bob’s best tunes (‘teenage fbi’ ‘glad girls’ ‘hives’). meanwhile, i yawn at ‘under the bushes,’ the last tobin / mitch album, which is so uninspired that you could smell the split coming the minute you clawed the shrinkwrap off of it.

    don’t get me wrong…i *prefer* the tobin mitch lineup. i’m an ‘alien lanes’ guy who was at the khyber watching those guys when they would draw 20. but to say the later stuff is ‘not worth listening to’ is an overplay.

    also, i need my bass back. gotta get ready for a jt gig and some recordings. is it still in one piece?

  14. saturnismine

    sabbath minus ozzy is also an obvious one.

    and the argument pro-dio is the same as the one latelydavid’s rockin’ aunt offers above: dio was the “better” singer.

  15. 2000 Man

    Eplurb, The Stones have made plenty of mistakes, but Charlie Watts isn’t one of them. How many drummers in rock can you tell just by their drumming? Charlie, Keith Moon, John Bonham and then everyone else pretty much could play in any other band and things might not be perfect, but they wouldn’t be terrible. Have you ever heard any of Charlie’s jazz albums? That shit bores me, but the drumming sounds pretty good to me. Certainly not like the guy is “tired.”

    Anyway, Burn is the rippingest, most awesomest blast of Rock Deep Purple ever did. Mistreated, the title track and Might Just Take Your Life are lean and mean, without any of the plodding that DP can easily fall into. I thought it was good enough when I was a kid to buy Stormbringer, too. That one wasn’t so good, but Burn is swell.

  16. hrrundivbakshi

    I kinda thought XTC fully and finally crawled up its own ass when Dave Gregory called it quits — illustrating how important political balance in a band can be. Andy Partridge is, in general, a good thing. Too much Andy Partridge is a bad thing. Dave Gregory’s musical contributions were good, but not, you know, *essential* or anything. But his departure allowed the “band” to become a mouthpiece for Andy, pure and simple. Even more than it was before, I mean.

    I suppose there are some who feel like that happened with Terry Chambers’ departure.

  17. hrrundivbakshi

    Whoops — missed all those other Dave Gregory votes there. Sorry about that.

  18. underthefloat

    What about Syd Barrett’s depature from Pink Floyd? Can we call it a kicking out? Or maybe a picking him up and setting him down in a new location? In either case, I can listen to that first album. The thought of listening to anything else by PF is hard for me to fathom.

  19. I think Rush really started sucking after the original drummer left. They might’ve sucked before too, what do I know?

  20. Wow look out here it comes, I’m gonna disagree with Saturn here on the internet, and I’m kinda freaked out about it. I don’t want him sharpenin’ his thesis teeth on my ass here.

    I may have over stated my boredom with Doug Gillard GBV, but I still maintain that overall, I like Under the Bushes, Under the Stars better than everything on Mag Earwig!(which i do actually like). Do The Collapse, and Isolation Drills were the last 2 I bought, because I just started getting bored with his output.

    Self Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia
    Same Place the Fly Got Smashed
    Vampire on Titus
    Bee Thousand
    Alien Lanes
    Under the Bushes, Under the Stars

    7 albums is enough for me to love by any band.

    unrelated to GBV, but pertinant to the thread:
    I think someone probably left Dag Nasty and took all the magic with them after their 1st 2 records, ’cause that 3rd one sounds WAY different and not as good.

  21. In regards to XTC,

    I was thrilled with the departures of both Chambers and Gregory. Any move that might have brought about an end to XTC always put a huge smile on my face.

    E. Pluribus

  22. I know many feel that Weezer lost something when Matt Sharp left. Same for Izzy Stradlin leaving GnR, but I can’t speak on the latter band too much.

  23. I am calling bullshit on the Bob Stinson thing. Every bootleg I have heard is half finished BS covers. It may make for great stories, but hearing a band constantly break down because the guitar player is drunk gets old quick. We have all been there.

    I will buy the argument that the environment of an off-the-hinges rock and roll band kept the talent -Westerberg- from indulging himself too much or getting too soft too early (I love the “sensitive soul on the tough streets” you can hear on “Go” “Kiss me on the Bus” and “Unsatisfied” for instance. It wouldn’t be the same if it was just “sensitive guy” but that doesn’t mean that The Replacements were better then.

    That’s enough use of phrases in quotes for one rant and I call bullshit on Bob Stinson, RIP.

  24. Mr. Moderator

    E. Pluribus, THAT was a great comment! Same for you, Northvancoveman. The best thing that ever happened to The Replacements is Pleased to Meet Me, when Westerberg was left to play all the guitars and was scared into realizing his free ride might be over.

  25. saturnismine

    kilroy…there’s nothing to be afraid of…I’ll hold your hand through this whole thing.

    bear in mind that if you had described the post-Tobin era as something a little more even handed than “not worth listening to,” then you wouldn’t have heard a peep out of me. did you even READ the part where i said I prefer the Tobin era? my point was simply that the post-Tobin era witnesses some of Bob’s best tunes, which are definitely “worth listening to.”

    so it seems that we’re simply in disagreement as to precisely when the GBV magic quotient took a significant downturn, and how much of a downturn it took.

    “under the bushes”: it’s definitely not the worst thing I’ll ever listen to, and it *does* have its moments. but it’s easily the least inspired effort by the tobin-era lineup. there’s a *reason* why bob went away from that lineup in the wake of making that album: the magic was already gone.

  26. I don’t really think that Van Hagar is better than Van Halen, but I might argue that they were more musical. “Musical” doesn’t always mean “better.” I never had a big beef with Sammy. Plus, he had cool hair.

    The problem I have with my aunt’s logic on Hagar/Roth is where is the proof that Diamond Dave couldn’t sing Sammy’s tunes. Since Sammy came on board after Dave, it’s not like we had a comparison. Did Dave try to sing Sammy’s stuff on this last tour?



  27. saturnismine

    latelydavid, i saw a solo dave show during the sammy era, and dave couldn’t sing dave’s songs. there’s no way he could’ve ever pulled off some of the stuff sammy sings on the van hagar era songs.

    sammy has cool hair?

  28. alexmagic

    Roth himself would probably claim that Dave not being able to sing Sammy’s songs could be the best pro-DLR case anybody could make. He’d probably rhyme while making that argument, though.

    The pro-Dio argument would be that, with Dio, Sabbath would have greater defense against the dark arts and could probably teleport to various gigs instead of having to travel by bus.

    XTC’s dissolution kind of reminds me of that scene in Bottle Rocket where Dignan tells Anthony that Bob’s out of the gang, and then that Anthony’s also out of the gang and finally that Dignan’s not sure he’s even in the gang anymore.

  29. Dignan!

  30. Don’t get me started on Van Halen (my favorite hobby is discussing the Van-Soap-Opera)

    OK, short version. Ed fires people when they “abandon” his vision (vision of the future or vision of that particular day) Dave, Mike, Sammy,Gary were all fired for “crimes against Van Halen (TM)” …both real and imaginary.

    Full Moon Fever DOES have Benmont on it, only Stan was left off of the solo records (leading him to quit)

    I too call Bullshit on Bob Stinson. Paul played most of the guitars anyway. Slim Dunlap gave them a new more textured sound. Don’t blame the strange late 80’s production of Don’t Tell al Soul..the songs are fantasic.

    Smithereens – do they have a real studio record post Mike M? I have not seen the new guy play, but I consider Mike among the best 80’s bassists.

    Living Colour – Muzz Skillings is another great 80’s bassists. The 1st two records are amazing. The one with the guy from Tackhead just does not do it for me. the distored slap bass bugs me. Muzz was a soul player…

    The other side of this coin is Wilco. I think the current lineup is by far the best. Nels Cline is the MVP of this band all the way.

  31. Mr. Moderator

    jungleland2, you deserve a special commendation, not only for being the first person to ever mention Muzz Skillings in the Halls of Rock, not only for remembering that he was replaced in Living Colour, but for having a clue as to the identity of his replacement!

    The accumulated knowledge of Townspeople never fails to impress me!

  32. I have a liking to Sammy Hagar’s hair. Coming form the hairless, this may not mean anything. If I could have hair, it would be like Sammy’s.


  33. 2000 Man

    Why would David Lee Roth ever want to sing those shitty Sammy Hagar songs?

  34. BigSteve

    I noticed this week that there’s a new Beat Farmers album. I acknowledge that a founding band member dying onstage is not the same thing as ‘you’re fired/I quit,’ but I just can’t bring myself to buy that new album. I loved the Farmers, though I was actually not that big a fan of Country Dick Montana’s Happy Boy schtick. But when I saw them play in a club, during those songs when he was behind the drumkit I felt like I was watching the greatest rock & roll band in the world at that particular moment. I can’t imagine that they can get that magic back.

  35. What do you know? Another Beat Farmers fan!

    I loved those guys. I saw them about 7 or 8 times and I thought they were a great live band. Happy Boy was lame but I liked a lot of Country Dick’s other songs like Big Ugly Wheels and California Kid.

    I only have their first three records, and while they’re not groundbreaking, I think they are really solid.

  36. underthefloat

    Regarding my comment on the Mats and be given the BS x2.

    Um, I did say Bob “had to go” so I wasn’t implying that he shouldn’t have been kicked out per his alcohol and his mental health problems. You made that jump on your own. I was mentioning his departure in terms of my impressions of the loss/change on the group’s live dynamic (which I admittedly wasn’t clear about). I wasn’t questioning the reasons behind his departure. All things must change and all that..
    I also wasn’t saying Slim isn’t a good guitar player, he is. I saw him in local Mpls bands prior to his time with the Mats. On stage post Bob they were still very good but Bob was an exciting player and I thought the dynamic live was better (as in: great with Bob to near great with Slim). On record perhaps they were better without Bob even if sober given the changes in sound.
    As an obvious aside.. You certainly can’t blame all the drunken playing on Bob, I witnessed more then one show post Bob where they (usually Paul and Tommy) were toasted, sloppy and not finishing songs they started. But, yes Bob was a mess in and out of the studio and needed to be booted.
    Finally, I’m not saying I prefer the punk only side of the Mats. Let it Be is my fav by them. I love Paul’s slower, “heart felt” tracks. Actually, to me as years went by the rockers, at times, started to seem forced. Thus, to this point, I can’t agree that each song on “Don’t Tell a Soul” is fantastic. Nope, gotta disagree with you on this one…

  37. I wish rock and roll was like sports and a member could choose to be a free agent or be traded. That way Bob Stinson could have been traded to another band in need of shaking up. It would make for interesting headlines, too. Imagine waking up to see “Charlie Watts traded for Max Weinberg, Clarence Clemons, future considerations..”

  38. London (AP)

    Thursday August 13th, 2009:

    The Rolling Stones today shipped struggling veteran Charlie Watts to New Jersey in exchange for the E-Street Band’s Max Weinberg, Clarence Clemons and future considerations. The move came after increased media criticism of Watt’s lack of hand and foot speed in live performances.

    “we’re sad to see Charlie go”, commented manager Jagger. “He played a huge role in our first championships in Rock and Roll’s UK expansion years. But we feel we are getting a solid live performer in Max Weinberg and he helps with our youth movement.

    Clarence Clemons was immediately placed on on waivers by The Rolling Stones and subsequently signed by The Dave Matthews Band.

  39. Re: Living Colour: Aw, Doug Wimbish is all right enough. I’ve seen the odd Living Colour gig over the last couple years and he does what he’s gotta do with what he’s got to do it with. Granted, he does look a little weird when he gets into it, though, with an expression across his face akin to horror crossed with bad porn actor grimmace, but in this imperfect world we say thanks for both our blessings and curses, and we don’t complain.

    Maybe I am a little biased because he happened to grow up in the same region as I did. Gotta rep for the hometown homies.

    ***(But I do give props to Mr. Skullings. He was baaaaaadd…)


  40. Speaking of bass players, I think Midnight Oil losing their bass player, Peter Gifford, was a loss. He was an interesting player, and could even bring “the stick” into an aggressive musical arrangement. The guy who replaced him played root notes with a pick. The low end on their last few records was not as interesting.

  41. underthefloat

    Updated AP story:

    Clarence Clemens announces his retirement after being claimed off of waivers by the Dave Matthews Band. Clemens stated “I guess everyone has their it’s time to retire moment and this is mine”. A spokesman for floundering The Dave Matthews Band stated “We wish Mr. Clemens all the best. We continue to look for talent to fill the many holes in our lineup”.

  42. alexmagic

    Total salary dump by the Stones. I read in the Rock Prospectus that they have a drummer in their farm system who they’re hoping to bring up for the next tour, like they did when they let Wyman retire.

    Curious move by Springsteen, though. I’m guessing Charlie has an expiring contract, and once they get him off the books in November, they’re going to pursue whoever the biggest free agent drummer is on the market. Is Larry Mullen Jr. near the end of his current deal with U2? That seems like the kind of move The Boss would make.

  43. BigSteve

    Did you read the recent interview where Dylan weighed in on the Stones personnel issues?

    “What do you think of the Stones?
    What do I think of them? They’re pretty much finished, aren’t they?
    They had a gigantic tour last year. You call that finished?
    Oh yeah, you mean Steel Wheels. I’m not saying they don’t keep going, but they need Bill. Without him they’re a funk band. They’ll be the real Rolling Stones when they get Bill back.”

    After that he backtracked a little:

    “Bob, you’re stuck in the 80’s.
    I know. I’m trying to break free.
    Do you really think the Stones are finished?
    Of course not, They’re far from finished. The Rolling Stones are truly the greatest rock and roll band in the world and always will be. The last too. Everything that came after them, metal, rap, punk, new wave, pop-rock, you name it . . . you can trace it all back to the Rolling Stones. They were the first and the last and no one’s ever done it better.”

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