Peter Hook announced that New Order disbanded, since he left the group. The remaining guys didn't take kindly to this and maintain that New Order will continue with, well, a New Order! After all, Hook is only the bass player. Most people can't tell you who the bass player is anyhow. As a friend of mine always tells me, there are three rules you must follow if you want to make it in the business: Sing, sing and sing!
Here are five defections in rock that forever altered the landscape (for them, if not us).
Natalie Merchant leaves 10,000 Maniacs. This is why my buddy says SING, SING, SING. Would anybody care if the keyboard player left? Nope. Would anyone notice if the lead guitar player quit? Nope. If they kicked out the bass player? Nope. But when the singer leaves, suddenly the rest of the group go from playing in clubs and arenas to driving taxis and teaching school. And what does the singer do? She hires a back-up group to hire and fire at will. Is her new "sound" a radical departure? Please. Do you think anyone's waiting on a reunion?
Keith Moon "leaves" the Who. Who knew? The Who have now been reuniting and saying "Farewell" for longer than they were together as a viable, creative force. The only way to get Keith Moon to quit the Who, a band he loved more than himself, was to allow him to die - which was something Moon inadvertently attempted most nights of his life. The band have spent decades trying to pretend they don't need him, that somehow it still sounds like them without Moon's maniacal fills and rolls. The question here isn't Who, it's WHY?
Bill Wyman leaves the Rolling Stones. Sure, Brian Jones left the Stones a shadow of his former self in 1969. His replacement, Mick Taylor, kept them going strong until he left in the mid-'70s, leaving the field open for Ron Wood to make the Stones into the everlasting mediocrity they've been ever since, but it was Bill Wyman's decision to leave the group after 50 years of service that redefined the organization. This corporate re-shuffling allowed Woody to achieve Senior Management Status and the savings the band received by capping Wyman's pension account and by assigning bassist Darryl Jones permanent "temp" status is simply more win-win synergy for the IBM class of rock n' roll.
David Lee Roth leaves Van Halen. Perhaps the only lead singer of a hard rock band who knew he was a jerk the entire time he commanded the stage. Van Halen was unimaginable without him. Then they hired Sammy Hagar and our long national nightmare began - especially when the band started selling records, more records than they had before. It almost justified the move. Except the entire debacle was a mistake. It may take decades before we can undo the damage of this one.
Guns n' Roses leaves Axl Rose. I know Axl owns the name and has employed other people to be Slash, Izzy, Dizzy and Dopey, but just like folks waiting on the Rapture, the chances of the new album, Chinese Democracy, being released in our lifetime is remote and unsure. In the meantime, the rest of the guys have put out records, toured without incident, and adopted a few highways, children and farm animals. They've run successfully for political office, have major lobbying influence in Washington, made significant tax changes that benefit the majority of taxpayers in this country, and continue to work with the medical elite to put an end to human suffering around the world. You would prefer they work on, what? Use Your Illusion III?