It’s always a bit of a shock when a band you follow loses a key member, or in the worst case splits entirely. It’s especially true when it’s a band you’ve spent a lot of time, energy and money in supporting. It’s natural for fans to be upset and find it difficult to look forward to the music new lineups and new collaborations might bring in the future.
No, they’re never quite the same, which is why always I try to make the most of great bands while they exist in their current forms. So many smaller bands struggle to juggle making music around commitments to day jobs, families and in some cases other bands that it’s amazing some bands hold together for as long as they do.
Sometimes it’s better than lineups change than ending with the situation where some hearts aren’t really in it any more. Much as we want to see our favourite bands continue as they were, do we really want to see people going through the motions? And sometimes it only becomes clear in retrospect when a musical partnership has run it’s course even though the individual members still have something to say.
We can all point to bands who lost something vital when a key member left. But there have also been plenty of occasions where a change in personnel has sent an established band in an interesting new direction, lifted them to another level, or where the disbanding of one project has opened the door for an exciting new one.
Look how Mostly Autumn have reinvented themselves over the past three years, for example. If Breathing Space had continued we would never have had Stolen Earth. And had the original version of Karnataka never fallen apart, then Panic Room would never have come to be.