Archive and Search
« What's with All the Repackaging? | Main | Eddie Van Halen Does Prime Time »

What's with All the 'Scab' Talk?

If you've ever spent five minutes on Metal Sludge, you understand the title of this article. If not, then "scab" basically means "not authentic" or "replacement."

I swear, every thread over there these days mentions "scab" members. Look, I'd rather see an original lineup of a band too, but sometimes that isn't an option. I'm not sure it's fair to brand replacement members as "scabs."

If you think about it, very few bands that we love have the original members. Sure, Motley Crue is made up of the original guys, but they had different members in the past. Same for Aerosmith. Look at Van Halen. Is Wolfgang Van Halen a "scab?" I'm not sure. He's got the right surname, so he won the job. That also means he's probably not going anywhere and the chances of Michael Anthony coming back are pretty slim.

So, Crashdiet is on singer number three. Pretty Boy Floyd has had more members than I can even list. Same with Guns n' Roses. The list goes on and on.

Does it matter?

Put it this way: if a member leaves and is replaced, it's a little sad but we still get to hear the songs we love performed live. Sure, there are times the entire dichotomy of the band is ruined. Poison is a great example of this...and yet, that band kept on until C.C. DeVille came back. Of course, the time he was gone from the band has been basically "erased," which is also unfortunate.

The hardest member to replace is the lead singer, just because a person's voice becomes signature to a song. I happen to quite enjoy the 1994 self-titled Motley Crue release with John Corabi, but a lot of people do not share my view. Still, I don't think it's very fair to call Corabi a "scab."

So, to bring all this full circle, Bonham is going to play a few gigs. That's right: Bonham. As in, The Disregard of Timekeeping - Bonham. The original singer is dead, but the short run is billed as a tribute to Daniel MacMaster. So, is this considered a "scab" situation?

What do you think? Is it fair to deem replacement band members as scabs?


Reader Comments (9)

I hate scab talk.

Is Ringo Starr a scab? Howbout Ronnie Wood? Brian Johnson?

There are legion of KISS fans who HATE Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer in the Catman and Space Ace outfits and make-up. Of course, they forget that Peter and Ace sold the rights to the make-up to Gene and Paul. Besides, Eric can play circles around Peter Criss and Thayer plays all of Ace's licks just as well, but without all the drunken crashing of cars of yore.

I never thought of Buckethead as a scab, but I can tell you nobody gives a rat's ass about GnR without Axl and Slash. The rest are interchangeable. Same with Aerosmith - no Tyler/Perry? Nobody cares.
September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSean
It's sludge and there are far too many loons over there!
September 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlajustice77
You have GOT to be kidding about BONHAM! I worked with Danny the last year and a half of his life...his ONE single dream; to get Jason to play with him on the new music he wrote. Sadly it got back to us via "friends" that Jason had zero interest in working with Daniel again. I do hope that Daniel's WIFE and KIDS are going to see some of the "tribute" money.
September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Lou
Blabbermouth is another site where there are a TON of "scab" haters. They endlessly bash Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer calling it "scab" Kiss. What they fail to realize is that Ace's drunken ways and Peter's greed are what caused them to split up (twice). If not for Singer and Thayer, there would be no Kiss. We'd be stuck listening to Gene solo records (God help us).

Very few bands keep all of their original members. And I ask all of the haters this... is Matt Cameron (drummer for Pearl Jam) a scab? He is their third drummer.

We all want original members. Sometimes it's not possible and 1/2 of a great band is better than no band at all. (Except for Dokken, but that's only because George Lynch is the band IMO).

Ryo Vie
September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRyo Vie
I've been reading Metal Sludge for what seems like FOREVER. Have to have it every day, almost like that cup of coffee in the morning. I know exactly what you mean about the "scab" talk. I don't normally read those posts but I do find them comical. Long Live the SLUDGE!
September 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkari
I think the problem is now there are a stable of guys that just go from band to band and fill in (keri kelly, alex grossi, dj ashba, etc). These guys are all great players, but it seems like they just go from band to band to band and aren't committed to any of them. The fill in, get paid, and move on. I can't fault them for making a living playing, but they don't seem like replacement members, just someone who is filling in, and therefore more likely to be labeled a scab. Eric Carr wasn't a scab in KISS because he didn't jump from KISS to another band and then another. But KK has seemingly played with just about every 80s band out there still gigging. I think that is where part of the resentment of scabs comes from...
September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrian
Scabs is an awful term. If I want to make my living as a musician and Axl Rose or Gene Simmons asks me to be in their band I'm there. Make up or not, I'm going to play the music I love and make money doing it.
September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJB
The term only really fits for KISS, because a scab is someone who works to stop union work from striking. Not that Ace and Peter are even on strike, they just got kicked out. But then KISS have never been a real band. If they were, Gene would let them play on their own records, instead of hiring people who he thinks can play better. It's not that Ace and Peter have problems, it's that Gene is consumed by greed.

In general, I think it's a real shame if you can't see the original members, but it's never the fault of the replacements, they are just trying to make a living in music. So, I blame Scott Ian for the Anthrax fiasco of recent years, for example. I didn't bother watching them with Dan, but I don't blame Dan for it. Basically, if a band changed members over it's career, it's fine. If the drummer gets together a bunch of young folks to tour under the name, if the band playing the old hits is made up mostly of people who have never recorded under the band name, I'd rather not see them, but I wouldn't call them names for trying to make a living.
September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
Actually Pearl Jam are on drummer #4....Lets not forget Dave Krusen played on the first record. And even though Kiss is the reason why I became a music fan in the first place I do agree that Gene and Paul should have given Tommy and Eric their own identity/characters. Tommy and Eric are hands down better musicians than Ace and Peter but I think the majority of Kiss fans want to see an original sloppy Space Ace and a Catman who uses drum triggering. Then again, the Alive 35 tour seems to be selling extremely well without them.
September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMK

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.