Sometimes a band needs to shake things up before it can make it to the top. Today, I take a look at the significant changes in personnel that actually have benefited the bands. I don’t usually explain my choices, but this week I’m saying, “Why not?” You’ve all been good to me, it’s the least I can do.
3. Vinny Amico replaces Chris Mazur in moe.: After Mike Strazza quit the band, moe. was in a rut and needed a drummer fast. It blows me away that moe. hired Chris Mazur, a drummer who strained just to keep up with the band. Ten months later the band cut their losses and hired Amico, who not only keeps up but also propels the band.
4. Jeff Holdsworth finds God and Page McConnell becomes a full member of Phish: The early tapes are fun to listen to, but not because of Holdsworth. With Jeff gone, Page’s role expanded and the band went on for 18 successful years.
5. Jimmy Herring replaces George McConnell in Widespread Panic: Say what you want about Michael Houser, but the man had a style all his own. McConnell, partly hamstrung by the expectations of playing Mikey’s leads, sounded overly generic. Herring, who can play all of Houser’s leads behind his head with his eyes closed, has thrived so far since taking McConnell’s role in the band.
[Concert Photography by David Oppenheimer]
6. Brian Johnson replaces Bon Scott in AC/DC: Hey, Bon Scott is a legend, and sadly the guy died. But Brian Johnson sold records like nobody’s business and allowed the band to continue their upward trajectory.
7. Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes take the Allmans torch from Dickey Betts and Jack Pearson: Ignoring Herring’s brief tour of duty with the Brothers, Derek and Warren have revitalized a band that had become stagnant. It’s kind of hard to call a band “a nostalgia act” when they come out and tear the shit out of a 30-minute Mountain Jam. As cool as it was to see a Whipping Post and One Way Out encore EVERY NIGHT, the band now changes it up more than it ever has.
9. Kris Myers replaces Mike Mirro in Umphrey’s McGee: Mike Mirro is a solid drummer. But Kris Myers is a fucking machine with potential to be one of the best drummers in rock ‘n roll. It’s truly no coincidence that Umphrey’s McGee has a fanbase that has grown exponentially over the past three years.
10. Ringo Starr replaces Pete Best in The Beatles: I couldn’t ignore the most famous “just missed” story in rock history. Ringo had an overwhelming personality that sold millions of dollars worth of merchandise in the mid ’60s. People often overlook his contributions to drumming, but songs like Tomorrow Never Knows, Taxman, The Abbey Road medley and Sgt. Peppers Reprise had distinctive drum parts that were way ahead of their time.
What do you think? Should I listen to Ace, who thinks that Brent Mydland should have made the cut? Did I miss anyone else? Sound off below…