S.O.S! Stop the presses! Let social media run amok! A member just left your favorite band, and if you’re really unlucky, it’s your favorite pop-punk band. Those punks tend to cause a bit more trouble, right? The music will never be the same. All hope is lost. In short, your favorite band is fucked.
Immediately, you start pointing fingers. Someone pissed someone off. Someone didn’t give someone else credit. Someone wasn’t carrying his or her load. Someone was the ultimate douchebag. Why else would someone leave your favorite band? Blame must be placed somewhere. Am I right?
Let’s travel back in time to 2008. You know, when Mayday Parade started writing the follow up album to A Lesson In Romantics … without Jason Lancaster. No matter how many times reasons were given for his exit, I still wanted to know why. In fact, I think some people still want to know why. But even when the departing member answers the loaded question of why (which Lancaster did, citing, among other factors, being denied credit for his writing on the band’s previous albums) music lovers are never sated. It’s in our blood. We’re exuberantly passionate and unerringly faithful, sometimes to the point where it becomes frightening for others. A fan comes to embrace this characteristic. So now, we need to better digest the news we didn’t want to hear and examine the five stages of grief, in our post-member-exit depression. (But Tom might still come back right? Or Danny?)
The first reaction you’ll have upon hearing the fateful news is simply to deny the reality of the entire situation. God forbid the word “breakup” is used. You’ll cry “publicity stunt” or “rumors” or dub the whole thing the invention of a satirical website. Lies. All lies. You won’t believe any of them, and you’ll probably spend countless hours on the Internet hoping to debunk these terrible, terrible falsities. Your favorite band is perfect and intact. No one will tell you different.
WTF. Blink-182 cannot exist without Tom DeLonge no matter how many times Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker call him “ungrateful” or how many times DeLonge shoots back by calling their relationship “poisoned.” Just the same, Asking Alexandria cannot exist without Danny Worsnop. You’ll troll Facebook and other social media sites along with numerous music news outlets, venting your frustrations to the masses.
And God forbid someone points out logic. Let’s remember Worsnop was not even a founding member; had an original member not left the band, we may have never known Worsnop as the front man for Asking Alexandria. Bands evolve. See what I mean here? No. No, you don’t.
Can’t we all just get along? The last time you saw this kind of publicized drama, it was scripted on the WB. Can’t they get it together for the fans? You’ll spend this stage toying around with ideas of alternatives and solutions. You’ll feel the need to regain control of the situation because this is your favorite band. Surely, you know what’s best for them. “If only they could have worked out their problems sooner …” “If only they had gotten credit …” “If only (insert name here) hadn’t been such an asshole …”
Yes, you’ll be sad. You might slip into a deep post-member-exit depression, the kind that necessitates marathon listening sessions in your well-worn concert t-shirt, but don’t worry. It’s normal. Yes, the band will be different. But different doesn’t always mean bad. Honestly, even if it is bad, we can admire any band that pushes through the adversity of losing a member. It’s rough. And it’s hard to remind yourself, as a fan and not a band member, all of the behind-the-scenes compromises, money management, and creative squabbles being in the music industry facilitates. You hear the artists’ final product, not the hours of negotiating, competing interests or bickering that went into making it. So, try to put it in perspective. And grab a tub of ice cream.
Find solace in the stories of blessthefall, the Word Alive, Chiodos, Of Mice And Men, Attack! Attack! and countless other bands who have lost their lead vocalist, got a new one, rearranged members and/or reconvened in some different, dynamic new form. Yes, there was drama, but how can there not be when creative people try to create together? Changing things up might just surprise you. I remember the 2010 Fearless Friends Tour, with Mayday Parade and Go Radio. When Lancaster joined Derek Sanders on stage for “Miserable At Best” their reunion made for an incredible and cathartic moment that kind of made me glad the two had parted ways. See, fans? Good can come of this after all.
Just remember this thing isn’t all about you. Would you really want a member to stay in your favorite band, miserable at best, just because that’s what you want? The music would inevitably suffer and without these breaks or departures, members may end up resenting each other to the point where a reunion would never materialize. Things happen. Life happens. Unfortunately, we may not always be privy to all the juicy or not-so-juicy details, but what purpose does it serve to place blame, point fingers and get so negatively worked up over the one thing we can all agree that we love — music.