You’re Fired! – Top 10 Rockers Booted From Their Bands
Rock groups are like high-profile families. Within that structure, individual egos flair, personalities clash like 'rock 'em, sock 'em' robots and before you know it, members get tossed out like yesterday's garbage. Such changes are often attributed to good old “creative differences,” what they're usually saying is that “we hate each other's guts now.” We pay tribute to those unlucky musicians who have been told 'You're Fired' with a look at the Top 10 Rockers Booted From Their Bands:
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll. Or, for Dave Evans, it was actually a very short trip. The original lead singer of AC/DC prior to the charismatic Bon Scott, Evans recorded only two officially released songs during his yearlong stint with the group prior to being replaced by Scott in 1974. Evans would go on to record two albums with the band Rabbit and has maintained a steady stream of musical activity in the years that have followed.
Guitarist Pete Willis of Def Leppard found himself out of a gig as the band was recording 'Pyromania,' allegedly for excessive alcohol abuse. Replaced by guitarist Phil Collen, Willis later said on 'Behind the Music' that the firing was “likely the best thing that had ever happened to him.” Eventual second guitarist Vivian Campbell endured his own mishaps prior to joining Def Leppard, getting fired from both Dio and Whitesnake.
Talk about a bummer of a firing — for Pete Best, that is. There have been many rumored reasons as to why Best was fired from the Beatles in 1962, including his good looks and fan popularity, which allegedly made the other band members jealous. Paul McCartney called the firing a “professional decision” although the band members all later regretted how the firing — by manager Brian Epstein — was handled.
Struggling with drug addictions, Adler was fired from Guns N' Roses in 1990 while the band was recording the 'Use Your Illusion' albums. Adler says that for 20 years, he blamed the band for letting him down and much later, he realized that he was the one that let them down. Today, he says he holds no ill will against any of the band members. He's currently working out his issues on the show 'Celebrity Rehab.'
Health issues kept Jon Anderson off the road in 2008 and resulted in the cancellation of a planned Yes 40th anniversary tour. After taking a short amount of time off from touring, the remaining members of Yes elected to replace Anderson with Benoit David, a young vocalist plucked from a Canadian Yes tribute band. Anderson says now of the transition, “You find out who your friends are when you get sick.”
Steve Smith, Ross Valory
The departure of Steve Perry is another subject that's debatable. He injured his hip while hiking and after waiting around for him to recover, the band made the decision to move forward and hire a new lead singer. But Perry himself left many musical bodies in the dust during his tenure with the group. Drummer Aynsley Dunbar and Perry butted heads, which led to him being replaced by Steve Smith. Less than a decade later, Smith and bassist Ross Valory were fired and replaced for the 'Raised on Radio' album and tour by studio musicians, including future American Idol judge Randy Jackson, who covered bass duties.
After a very successful reunion in the mid-'90s, Dennis DeYoung either left or was fired from Styx, depending on which version of the story you believe, in 1999. But making his inclusion on this list officially valid, he was jettisoned from the group in 1979 as tempers flared during the making of the 'Cornerstone' album. The band couldn't find a replacement for him, so he eventually found his way back into the lineup a couple of months later. These days though, there's no love lost — Tommy Shaw recently said a reunion is “unlikely” and that “you only live once and you should be happy.”
Jason 'New Kid' Newsted endured a hazing ritual as a new band member that even the members of Metallica now admit was pretty harsh. Do you hear the bass on the 'Justice' album? Nope — turning Newsted's bass down in the mix was allegedly part of the ongoing initiation and needling of their new friend. Now, to be clear, Newstead wasn't fired so much as he left when he was told he couldn't work on outside musical projects. On the other hand, future Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine was quite clearly tossed out of Metallica's lineup as they were building towards their eventual success.
Although it's great having David Lee Roth and Van Halen reunited, it's a bitter pill to swallow not having Michael Anthony and his signature harmonies present in the current lineup. Allegedly he wound up on the wrong side of the fence with Eddie Van Halen for hanging out with and playing shows with Sammy Hagar after Hagar had departed from the band's lineup. When Hagar reunited with VH, Anthony was in the lineup — as a contracted player, not a full member — only because Hagar insisted that he would have to be included for the reunion to happen. But as long as we're on the subject, it's very likely that nearly every member of Van Halen has been fired at one time or another.
Heavy drug and alcohol abuse led to the Ozzman getting the axe from Black Sabbath in 1979 after his bandmates, Tony Iommi specifically, had enough of his behavior. The final straw, according to Osbourne, was a missed show in Nashville, the result of 24 hours of drunken slumber in the hotel. Drummer Bill Ward called to give him the news and Ozzy found himself starting over as a solo artist. As we all know now, things worked out pretty well.