No lie, as exciting as it is when our favorite musicians take on new projects, it’s always a little disconcerting. After all, we have to wonder if they’re going to live up to the greatness we’ve come to expect.
That said, a number of alternative artists have already proved that success doesn’t have to be a one-off. Be it with a side project or a new band following a departure, it’s totally possible to knock it out of the park with multiple outfits.
Read on for 10 artists who founded more than one successful band.
Jason Lancaster (Mayday Parade/Go Radio)
Though Jason Lancaster was one of the founding musicians of Mayday Parade in 2005, he left the band before they even released A Lesson In Romantics. The departure worked out well for the alternative music community, though, because the singer-songwriter went on to front Go Radio. He’s also fronted some solo work and just released his nostalgic new EP, Say I’m What You Want, this past December.
Ben Gibbard (The Postal Service/Death Cab For Cutie)
It’s not at all common for a side project to blow up to the same degree as the artist’s original outfit. Leave it to Ben Gibbard to front two iconic groups simultaneously, though. The Death Cab For Cutie frontman formed the Postal Service in the early 2000s alongside Jimmy Tamborello (Figurine) and Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley). The trio released their album, Give Up, in 2003—the same year that Death Cab dropped Transatlanticism. Despite it being their only full-length release, the Postal Service have maintained significant popularity ever since.
Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low/Simple Creatures)
Alex Gaskarth could have stuck exclusively with All Time Low forever and still would’ve boasted one of the most successful alternative music careers of all time. That said, we’re glad that he chose to branch out and form Simple Creatures alongside blink-182‘s Mark Hoppus. The world truly hasn’t been the same since Strange Love dropped in 2019.
Andrew McMahon (Something Corporate/Jack’s Mannequin)
Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin are such distinct, iconic entities that it’s hard to imagine them coming from the same creative mind. Of course, it’s Andrew McMahon that we’re talking about, so it shouldn’t be too shocking. Shortly after the band’s public debut, the Something Corporate frontman started Jack’s Mannequin as a solo project. Of course, it ended up growing into a full-blown band that would release three full-lengths. He eventually went on to launch a true solo project with Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness in 2013.
Gabe Saporta (Midtown/Cobra Starship)
We’d be lying if we said that Gabe Saporta‘s alternative synth-pop band Cobra Starship didn’t slightly overshadow its predecessor. That’s just what happens when you hit mainstream radio waves with the likes of Sabi and Mac Miller. But don’t let that fool you into thinking Midtown were anything less than iconic. Saporta’s foundational pop-punk band are still a scene favorite, even 17 years after their last full-length release.
Tom DeLonge (blink-182/Angels & Airwaves)
There’s no denying that Tom DeLonge‘s split discography is one of the best known (and controversial) in the scene. The guitarist and vocalist formed his second outfit, Angels & Airwaves, in light of blink-182’s hiatus in 2005. After briefly reuniting with his foundational outfit for their album Neighborhoods, however, he left to focus on his other projects.
John Nolan (Taking Back Sunday/Straylight Run)
John Nolan has had quite a run in Taking Back Sunday. But do you remember when the guitarist took a significant step away from the band for the better part of the 2000s? During that time, he formed the iconic indie-rock band Straylight Run. We honestly can’t decide which one we like better…
Joan Jett (The Runaways/The Blackhearts)
If any artist was going to front two timeless rock ‘n’ roll powerhouses, of course it would be Joan Jett. The vocalist/guitarist co-fronted the Runaways until they disbanded in 1979. She directed her talents to Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. Their latest studio album, Unvarnished, came out in 2013.
Adam Lohrbach (Home Grown/New Years Day)
Both New Years Day and Home Grown shared founding musician Adam Lohrbach, who contributed to Home Grown for over a decade before leaving to start NYD with Ash Costello and Keith Drover. Ultimately, however, he left the outfit after they dropped their debut full-length, My Dear.
Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra/Bad Books)
Manchester Orchestra were an undeniably successful act in the 2000s with their post-hardcore-informed, indie-rock vibes. So, when frontman Andy Hull teamed up with co-member Robert McDowell and singer-songwriter Kevin Devine for Bad Books in 2010, everyone knew the result would be epic. Hull also has a notable long-running solo conceptual project, Right Away, Great Captain!
Which of your favorite artists have fronted more than one successful band? Let us know in the comments!