The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 832: Groups that changed frontpersons and survived

Building and maintaining a band is a lot like building and maintain a sports team. You struggle and wheel-and-deal and trade and sometimes steal to put together just the right lineup.

And it’s not just sound and talent. It’s chemistry, leadership, ambition, stamina–all those intangible things that go into making the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

The perils are the same, too. Your star quarterback goes down. That guy on the second line has tons of talent but he’s a cancer in the dressing room. The person you thought was healthy and strong turns out to have a bum knee that’s getting worse and worse. Or someone might just die on you.

When everything goes pear-shaped, you have two choices. Give up and call it a day. Or you rebuild.

With a sports team, there are enough players out there that you can find a replacement. A trade, some cash, a draft pick, a free agent, and you’re back in business. Or maybe someone on the team steps up and unexpectedly fills that void with talent and leadership.

The same kind of thing can happen with a band, too. Sometimes when a star departs–especially a lead singer and frontperson–that can create a fatal vacancy that can never be filled, so the band breaks up.

Sometimes, but not always.

Songs on this show:

Joy Division, Love Will Tear Us Apart

New Order, Blue Monday

Faith No More, We Care a Lot

Faith No More, Epic

Alice in Chains, Them Bones

Alice in Chains, Check My Brain

Rage Against the Machine, People of the Sun

Audioslave, Cochise (live)

Stone Temple Pilots, Vasoline

Stone Temple Pilots, Meadow

Eric Wilhite has provided this playlist.

Don’t forget that you can get the podcast version of this podcast through iTunes or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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