What makes a band? Is it just a collection of people who have managed to get together regularly enough to actually make something happen? Is it a very specific group of people for each band? I’m not sure I have the answers. I have some thoughts on it but I’d love to know if you think I’m barking up the wrong tree or not.
I started this morning by thinking of The Who. They were easy to think about because I’m currently listening to Pete Townshend’s audiobook (Not THAT book though!) but who are The Who? To my mind its Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle and Keith Moon. The problem in this being the band that Keith Moon died just over 40 Years ago (7th September 1978) and the band has toured pretty extensively in the years following, his seat being filled by Zak Starkey (Ringo’s son) for much of the time. To my mind, Zak isn’t in The Who, even though he is their drummer where as Keith is even though he’s no longer with us.
John Bonham is similarly irreplaceable as Led Zeppelin’s drummer, even though his son, Jason, took the seat in recent times. I also have trouble seeing Black Sabbath as the same band after Ozzy left. As good and iconic as Dio was, when it comes to Black Sabbath it’s all about Ozzy.
I am not the original drummer for We Are Troubadour. In fact, the original band is just Mick and Andy (we now call this Twobadour) but when they decided to add Bass and Drums they brought in Bobby and (Chris) Tweedie. However, I feel there is a difference and I’m putting my claim in now that I am in the band, not just the drummer in residence. The identity of the band has evolved during my time, some of it has even been my influence or idea. I’m kind of like Scrappy-Do and get enthusiastic and excited about the things I love and I hope this comes across in what I do. But I am, I believe, a perfect fit for the band. As good as Tweedie’s playing is, I’m sure he’d admit that he wasn’t the right person for the band and his decision to leave, in order to pursue other projects, presented an opportunity for the band and I to come together.
Not that I’ve got delusions of grandeur or anything but my situation is kind of like The Beatles. I’m sure we’re all aware that Ringo is not the original drummer in The Beatles but there is no doubt that he is THE drummer. Similarly, Dave Grohl was only brought into Nirvana after the release of their 1st album Bleach. Having gone through a succession of drummers, Chad Channing being the Pete Best equivalent here having played on the debut album. We can stick with Dave Grohl’s career for another parallel in the Foo Fighters. Aside from Dave himself playing drums on a lot of the early recordings, original drummer William Goldsmith is a forgotten piece where as Taylor Hawkins, joining in 1997 after the release of the 2nd album epitomises the position.
Does the distinction come when a band makes a name for themselves? Even The Beatles were relatively unknown when they switched drummer from Pete Best to Ringo and fame only came after the switch. Had Pete Best been in the band when fame struck, would he be regarded as being the eternal band member? Is it length of time spent with the band? The Foo Fighters were already pretty established when Taylor Hawkins joined. Or is it simply that there is only 1 person epitomises their position in the band and that the image is everlasting because of their involvement, no matter who came before or after?