Being in a band isn’t easy. Being in a crazy ol’ heavy metal band is even more difficult. It’s like a marriage, but with more booze and yelling. Just playing the music in some of these outfits is taxing enough, then you have to deal with the personal, financial and even political headaches most extreme metal acts have to endure and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Oh yeah, and it turns out that touring is really hard work.
With this sort of litmus test, it’s no wonder some band’s ranks thin out over the years. Chuck Schuldiner famously rebooted Death after every few albums [trying to guess the band’s lineup is almost as fun as listening to their music]. Napalm Death’s debut record Scum featured two different lineups on each side of the album! Of course there’s a difference between losing some musicians every once and a while; and not being able to stop your bandmates from dropping like flies. This list highlights a selection of metal bands that, for some reason or another, just can’t keep a stable lineup together.
In the beginning, there was Dave. He created Megadeth, the world’s state of the art speed metal band, in his own image. Three decades later and this sentiment still holds true…largely because all his bandmates keep quitting. Megadeth has been losing lead guitarists and drummers since the Reagan administration. Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson gave way to Jeff Young and Chuck Behler. Marty Friedman and Nick Menza survived through most of the 90’s but booked it right before the new millenium. Al Pitrelli and Jimmy Degrasso lasted until the band’s brief hiatus in 2002. Hell even Dave Junior was out of the band for most the 2000’s! The latest in a long line of shake ups occurred late last year, when lead axeman Chris Broderick and longtime drummer Shawn Drover left the band. What’s next for Megadeth? Mustaine will probably find some shredders and carry on…like always.
The Black Dahlia Murder
The Black Dahlia Murder have released a new album like clockwork, every two years for the past decade. The band’s intense work ethic means lots of touring, lots of recording, lots of music videos and unfortunately, it’s meant cycling through a whole lot of band members as well. Former Despised Icon bassist Max Levelle replaced Bart Williams in 2012, who had replaced Dave Locke in 2006, just as ex-Arsis shredder Ryan Knight took over for John Kempainen in 2008. The BDM’s laundry list of drummers is also, super Spinal Tap-ish. Cory became Zach, who morphed into Pierre, who was replaced by Shannon who is now, Alan. Let’s see how long this current iteration of the band holds up. [Fun fact, the author’s first Black Dahlia Murder show featured a replacement singer filling in for Trevor Strnad, who had temporarily quit the band in 2003. *head explodes*]