When is a band no longer a band?

There comes a time when it’s just over. But when your livelihood has depended on it for years, it’s hard to let it go. I get it.

What is a band to do when the “face,” or “faces” of the group, are no longer? Is it still the same band? 

Would Fleetwood Mac be Fleetwood Mac without Mick Fleetwood? No. Keep in mind he’s the drummer.

Would a line-up of Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Jason Bonham and some non-Robert Plant dude as lead singer constitute an actual Led Zeppelin reunion tour in 2009? I say no, although one-half of the original band is present in this (much-rumored) line-up. One original member is no longer alive, but you have the closest representation possible – John Bonham’s son. Regardless, could we really call it Led Zeppelin without Plant? I say no.

Pink Floyd without Syd Barrett? We know that happened. Pink Floyd without Roger Waters? Yes, that happened too. A Pink Floyd reunion tour in 2009? Well, the version that toured and released a couple of albums (A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell) without Waters had Richard Wright, but he passed away in 2008. What if David Gilmour and Waters were to let the past be past, join up with Nick Mason and hit the road right now? Would that be a full-on Pink Floyd tour?

How about Stone Temple Pilots without Scott Weiland? I say a resounding no.

GNR without Slash, Duff, Izzy and Steven/Matt? I say absolutely not. And if Axl is the primary “face” of that band, and he’s still putting out GNR albums, why does it so feel like it ended about 15 years ago?

Lynyrd Skynyrd? GNR’s laughable line-up changes almost disappear when put next to Skynyrd’s. 

We could go through countless case-studies like these, and there’s never going to be a clear-cut answer. But my thinking here is that at some point, retain the true credibility by calling it quits.

There simply comes a point when you need to let the past be the past. Hey, I wanted that Zeppelin reunion as bad as anyone. However, the more I think about it, it’s probably better that it didn’t happen. 

The mystery is way more intriguing.


2 thoughts on “When is a band no longer a band?

  1. Agreed that the past should be the past. That said, if the motivation behind these artist comes out of the love of music, the longing to creative, perform and share their love for music, then I say go for it.

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