10 times musicians left a band to pursue their own project
As bands morph and grow, they can become more cohesive, or they may choose to break up or replace members who need to follow their passion.
These splits may hurt longtime fans, but it’s usually for the best. Everyone deserves a chance to explore their interests and what feels right in and out of the music industry.
Plus, if these band members didn’t leave their original groups, we may never have amazing songs from them, such as in the case of Dallon Weekes finding his own sound and Little Hurt going solo from the Mowgli’s. All these changes are necessary, healthy and oftentimes result in a new band to obsess over.
Here are 10 musicians who left their first band to start a new one and did it splendidly.
If this voice sounds familiar, you may recognize Little Hurt, aka the solo project of Colin Dieden, from his time fronting the Mowgli’s. He departed from the sunny pop band to pursue his own unique sound and tell his own story in the form of a new project. Dieden still captures upbeat and optimistic themes in his songs such as “Alaska” and “It's Ok Not To Be Ok.” If you need a little pick-me-up, this is exactly the artist you need to hear ASAP. Check out his most recent EP, Every Second, just released at the end of January.
Ryan Ross and Jon Walker
With creative differences getting in the way, Ryan Ross decided to leave Panic! At The Disco along with fellow member Jon Walker in 2009. The two teamed up with drummer Nick Murray, keyboardist Nick White and bassist Andy Soukal to form the Young Veins. The vintage-sounding surf-rock outfit lasted a little over a year until they announced their hiatus in late 2010. They shared such hits as “Change” and “Defiance” from their one and only record, Take A Vacation! The band re-released a deluxe version of the LP in 2019 with 16 songs in total. Though their discography is short, Ross and Walker proved they were capable of making their own outfit with classic-rock vibes.
John Nolan and Shaun Cooper
John Nolan, guitarist and backing vocalist for Taking Back Sunday, left the band in 2003 along with bassist Shaun Cooper to form Straylight Run. The duo teamed up with Nolan’s sister Michelle DaRosa and Will Noon to craft two studio albums and a handful of EPs, with their most popular track being “Existentialism On Prom Night” from their self-titled LP. In 2010, Straylight Run went on hiatus, and Cooper and Nolan returned to their roots and rejoined TBS.
Caleb Shomo began his career in Midwestern metalcore outfit Attack Attack! But he left the band in 2012, citing mental health issues. However, he was working on Beartooth tracks even before his departure and decided to commit full time. Beartooth are heralded as one of the best acts in both hard and emo rock, with three studio albums out in the world. Shomo also dabbles in electronic music under the moniker CLASS.
Dallon Weekes began his music journey in the Brobecks, with their beloved album Violent Things featuring songs such as “Small Cuts” and “Better Than Me.” This band featuring Ryan Seaman actually played on the same bill as Fall Out Boy, Phantom Planet and more. Next, Weekes joined Panic! At The Disco in 2009, first as a touring bassist, then as the band's official bass player. In late 2017, though, he announced that he was leaving Panic! and dove headfirst into I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME. He was joined by Seaman, which resulted in a full-circle music moment. The two have gained a large following for their dark electro-pop hits such as “Choke,” “Leave Me Alone” and much more.
That's Outrageous! ruled the post-hardcore world after signing to Rise Records in 2011 and sharing such hits as "Teenage Scream" and "#Winning." Prior to the band breaking up in 2013, bassist Kyle Hulett did depart early to pursue his short-lived electro-pop project WLDCHLD.
Many know Tyler Posey from his role on Teen Wolf, but the actor also has deep roots in the pop-punk and alternative scene. He started his music career in L.A. with Lost In Kostko (later renamed Disappearing Jamie), though the band broke up in 2013. Posey then hopped into pop-punk act PVMNTS but ultimately left in 2019 to pursue his work with Five North.
Though Tom DeLonge parted ways with blink-182 for a myriad of reasons, one of them was that he wanted to pursue other avenues of entrepreneurship and creativity. One of the things he pursued musically was Angels & Airwaves, who have put out five studio albums since their inception in 2005.
Andrew McMahon is a talent beyond words and a musical force beyond measure. When Something Corporate were too exhausted from touring, he formed Jack's Mannequin, which blasted to the forefront of our playlists with hits such as "Holiday From Real" and "Dark Blue." Though he never officially left Something Corporate, his new project took priority, and Something Corporate have been on a hiatus. Many of the songs he wrote on his own didn't fit the "I Woke Up In A Car" style of punk. McMahon has since put out solo music under Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness.
Daniel Davison has been in several acts, from Underoath to Every Time I Die. In fact, he played with Norma Jean as their drummer for 10 years but left to pursue other musical endeavors. This led to him joining the indie band Colour Revolt a few years later. His last major project was performing on ETID's Low Teens.