I have a confession: I love seeing bands in their original format. You know, watching the men and women perform live the songs I love. I also realize life happens and band members change. Life happens.
Here's the thing: it's become popular among metal fans to throw the term "scab" around like it's nothing. I never gave it much thought until over the weekend when some people - who I won't name because that's totally classless - started throwing jabs at a band I love. The band has one replacement member. And he's a sweet man and very talented. I'm sure in that situation one is the loneliest number and all that but whatever. If one member leaves that shouldn't end a band and the livelihood of the remaining members, should it?
Can you imagine staying at the same job for oh, I don't know, 20 or 30 years? My dad has been with his employer for nearly four decades. Yeah, you read that right. That's a rarity and his generation will likely be the last to claim such distinctions. People my age and younger change jobs a lot because we have to - otherwise we'll never make more money or get any varied experience. Now, think about the things about your job that annoy you. I'm very lucky to have finally found a job I really enjoy and where I fit. Getting there wasn't easy. Along the way I made some wonderful friends - some of my best friends - at those jobs that didn't work out. You know what? I also had some really lousy experiences and met some people that didn't gel with me very well. I bet you've been there and done that.
The thing about bands is that the idea of forming a musical act is all very romantic. Let's "go out and tackle the world! Be inventive. Change the face of music!"
Well, okay. Some bands get there. What's the Puff Daddy song? "Mo' Money, Mo' problems?" Imagine being stuck in a job where you don't fit - where you despise your coworkers - for a couple decades. Only you have to live with them 24/7 because the way you make your living is on tour.
"Who cares?" You say. "The musicians just need to shut up, get on stage and get a paycheck." Perhaps. Or perhaps that's inhumane and an unfair expectation.
So a member (or three) quits and the band carries on. Sometimes it seems a little silly when there's only one original member of a band still out touring under the brand name. It's not quite as inane when only one guy (or gal) has dropped out. The fact is, music is a very cyclical business. Musicians are creative folk, remember. They don't like to be boxed in and they go as the wind blows. One too many fights and you'll likely see an exit stage left.
Maybe it's time for us to accept it and move on. Maybe bands aren't meant to stay together unchanged forever. Now you're thinking "Sure, Allyson can say that but her favorite band is Aerosmith and they are all back together."
Well, perhaps. With Aerosmith these days, you never know. And remember, Aerosmith had plenty of lineup issues in the past and simply realized they were worth more money together than apart. So they grit their teeth, play together, have some public battles and move on. But, they are rare. They are one of those legendary "arena acts" and everyone knows Aerosmith. Even non-rock fans know the name Aerosmith just as they know the Rolling Stones and AC/DC. It's the smaller bands we love like, say, Britny Fox or Bang Tango or LA Guns that really suffer from the "scab X sucks!" syndrome. Complaining likely won't make the departed member return and it's pretty hurtful to the replacement guy, too. I mean, how would you feel if you went to work every day and your boss was constantly comparing you to your predecessor. It would suck right? Now think of that times about a million and you've got the plight of a replacement member in a name band. I'm going to be better about my show reviews regarding replacement members in the future.
So I've rambled my piece. Oh, and KISS have done okay with replacement guys, right? Just sayin.'