Replacing a lead singer is no easy task and can often make or break a band. Typically, the change will go one of three ways: death sentence, warm acceptance or full-on fan war. But let’s face it, when a new guy steps into the shoes of an already deified frontman, we never really know what’s going to happen. Here we pay tribute to the replacement singers who not only have done it, but also have done a pretty damn decent job—some with less drama than others.
1. TYLER “TELLE” SMITH (THE WORD ALIVE)
Naturally, fans were a little pissed when Craig Mabbitt’s side project kicked out Craig Mabbitt. But the Word Alive had become something much more than just a side project to fans. With an exploding fanbase and their singer wrapped up in his full-time band, Escape The Fate, TWA had to act quickly. Enter Tyler “Telle” Smith, at the time, playing bass for Greeley Estates. Fans were apprehensive at first, but after being picked up by Fearless Records, TWA’s first release, Empire, silenced the naysayers and ushered in a new era of the Word Alive. The group have since released two full-lengths, and it’s almost as if the replacement never even happened.
2. SPENCER CHAMBERLAIN (UNDEROATH)
It almost feels disrespectful to think of Mr. Chamberlain as a “replacement,” but pre-Chamberlain Underoath is practically its own entity. From 1997 to 2003, Dallas Taylor fronted Underoath but was asked to leave on the 2003 Vans Warped Tour. Taylor left a final mark on the band—co-creating what would become the song “Reinventing Your Exit”—and would eventually go on to form Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster. After Chamberlain took the reins, Underoath would go on to create four more albums, including their two most acclaimed releases: They’re Only Chasing Safety and Define The Great Line. The band have since called it quits, but Chamberlain is still rocking in his new project, Sleepwave.
3. COVE REBER (SAOSIN)
“Anthony Green vs. Cove Reber” was a thread title on every message board in 2005. Few member changes have riled up the masses like this one. After releasing their fan-favorite EP, Translating The Name, with vocalist Anthony Green, Saosin parted ways with the singer and held a series of auditions. Upon receiving a demo from Cove Reber, the band thought it was a practical joke being played by Green due to the similarity of their voices. In retrospect, it’s hard to imagine a more ideal situation. Now, the only Saosin release that is perhaps more coveted by fans than Translating The Name is the band’s self-titled, debut LP featuring Reber. Green went on to form Circa Survive, and Saosin eventually kicked Cove out—citing smoking as one of the reasons. The band have since moved into a state of hibernation. >>>