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New.Music.Live.: What Would You Do? (If a band member quit)

Posted on December 20th, 2010

Hey, this is Cam from the New.Music.Live. team. Picture it: You’re watching a future episode of What Would You Do?, and John Quinones presents a young, platinum-selling band at their peak who all of a sudden lose two founding members. What would you do… if you were one of the three remaining members?

This is the harsh reality of the melodramatic emo band Paramore, who over the weekend announced that founding members and brothers Josh and Zac Farro had left the band (conveniently, Zac did so to pursue his other band, Tunnel). In a message posted on their website, the now trio of Hayley Williams, Jeremy Thomas and Taylor York said they have “some amazing things lined up for next year” and will continue with their South American tour. But should we believe them?

We’ve seen it so many times before. Bands lose members and announce they will keep going. Sure it works whenever it’s just a bassist or a drummer. Those two positions have and will remain to be interchangeable with virtually anyone, but what happens when it’s the guitarist who gave the band a signature sound? And what if that guitarist is also the band’s main songwriter? With Josh Farro gone Hayley, Jeremy and Taylor have a massive void to fill.

It’s not so bad though. They have options. Here are four of them:

Break up and go solo. Hey, it worked for Nirvana. Well, it worked for Dave Grohl, who went on to superstardom fronting a far inferior rock act (Foo Fighters) that people grew to love. But Krist Novoselic? Well, he’s not quite as successful, but his political career is just waiting to take off any day now.

Fire everyone and start all over under the name Paramore. This option is purely for Hayley. Yes, Jeremy was there from the beginning, and sure, maybe you keep him in the line-up, but you take away his power and demote him to session/live member. Sound unfair? Well, Billy Corgan pulled it off with the Smashing Pumpkins, Axl Rose has flogged the corpse of Guns ‘N Roses enough to make a fortune and Liam Gallagher, well, he’s taken two of the silent guys from Oasis to form Beady Eye, but it’s pretty much just Oasis sans Noel Gallagher now isn’t it? I’d like to add Courtney Love to this list, but Hole was an embarrassment, c’mon!

Go on a hiatus but don’t call it a hiatus. So far it’s worked for Panic At The Disco and The Shins, both of whom lost multiple members and just all of a sudden fell out of the public eye. While Wikipedia says Panic At The Disco will have an album out in March, we have yet to see much proof of that.

Don’t give up! Question: What do the Backstreet Boys, The Drums and The XX all have in common? Answer: They all lost key members. Okay, so by “key” I mean “replaceable,” but none of those acts hired official replacements. Instead the Backstreet Boys successfully came back without Kevin Richardson. The Drums continued on minus Adam Kessler but hired a nameless live guitarist. And when Baria Qureshi walked out on The XX, they pared down to a trio and became an even stronger live act. Actually, this might not be the best option…

- Cam
New.Music.Live. Team