The B List: A Change Will Do You Good

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Sometimes a band needs to shake things up before it can make it to the top. Today, I take a look at the significant changes in personnel that actually have benefited the bands. I don’t usually explain my choices, but this week I’m saying, “Why not?” You’ve all been good to me, it’s the least I can do.

B List

1. Neil Peart replaces John Rutsey in Rush: I’m guessing you didn’t even know Rush had a drummer before Neil Peart. Seems ridiculous to me, too.

2. Andy Summers replaces Henry Padovani in The Police: Of course, Sting, Andy and Stewart Copeland went on to become one of the best trios of all-time.

3. Vinny Amico replaces Chris Mazur in moe.: After Mike Strazza quit the band, moe. was in a rut and needed a drummer fast. It blows me away that moe. hired Chris Mazur, a drummer who strained just to keep up with the band. Ten months later the band cut their losses and hired Amico, who not only keeps up but also propels the band.

4. Jeff Holdsworth finds God and Page McConnell becomes a full member of Phish: The early tapes are fun to listen to, but not because of Holdsworth. With Jeff gone, Page’s role expanded and the band went on for 18 successful years.

5. Jimmy Herring replaces George McConnell in Widespread Panic: Say what you want about Michael Houser, but the man had a style all his own. McConnell, partly hamstrung by the expectations of playing Mikey’s leads, sounded overly generic. Herring, who can play all of Houser’s leads behind his head with his eyes closed, has thrived so far since taking McConnell’s role in the band.

[Concert Photography by David Oppenheimer]

6. Brian Johnson replaces Bon Scott in AC/DC: Hey, Bon Scott is a legend, and sadly the guy died. But Brian Johnson sold records like nobody’s business and allowed the band to continue their upward trajectory.

7. Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes take the Allmans torch from Dickey Betts and Jack Pearson: Ignoring Herring’s brief tour of duty with the Brothers, Derek and Warren have revitalized a band that had become stagnant. It’s kind of hard to call a band “a nostalgia act” when they come out and tear the shit out of a 30-minute Mountain Jam. As cool as it was to see a Whipping Post and One Way Out encore EVERY NIGHT, the band now changes it up more than it ever has.

8. Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks replace Bob Welch in Fleetwood Mac: Are you familiar with Future Games or Bare Trees? Well, I bet you remember both the Tusk and Rumours albums.


9. Kris Myers replaces Mike Mirro in Umphrey’s McGee: Mike Mirro is a solid drummer. But Kris Myers is a fucking machine with potential to be one of the best drummers in rock ‘n roll. It’s truly no coincidence that Umphrey’s McGee has a fanbase that has grown exponentially over the past three years.

10. Ringo Starr replaces Pete Best in The Beatles: I couldn’t ignore the most famous “just missed” story in rock history. Ringo had an overwhelming personality that sold millions of dollars worth of merchandise in the mid ’60s. People often overlook his contributions to drumming, but songs like Tomorrow Never Knows, Taxman, The Abbey Road medley and Sgt. Peppers Reprise had distinctive drum parts that were way ahead of their time.

What do you think? Should I listen to Ace, who thinks that Brent Mydland should have made the cut? Did I miss anyone else? Sound off below…

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0 thoughts on “The B List: A Change Will Do You Good

  1. Spurs Reply

    John Frusciante replacing Hillel Slovak in the Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Dave Grohl replacing Dan Peters in Nirvana

    Nels Cline replacing Leroy Bach in Wilco

    Carl Broemel and Bo Koster replacing Johnny Quaid and Danny Cash in My Morning Jacket

  2. Ace Cowboy Reply

    With a name like “Spurs,” I thought you’d say Aaron Lennon replacing David Beckham on the England national team…

    Good list, though. As for myself, I gotta give a thumbs up for Mick Shrimpton replacing Peter “James” Bond in Spinal Tap after the latter spontaneously combusted.

  3. super dee Reply

    Allen Aucoin replaced Sam Altman in the Disco Biscuits. What is it about drummers and medical school?

  4. super dee Reply

    p.s. I just realized that this thread is supposed to be about changes that made the band BETTER. I guess the jury is still out on Aucoin but I gotta give the guy props for dealing with those nuts! (With all my love to the Biscuits…)

  5. Ace Cowboy Reply

    Yeah, the jury is still out on Aucoin…but I like his French last name, even if he replaced a guy that went to my high school and whose brother scared the living shit out of us all the time…scary dude.

  6. ginz Reply

    skeeto–>webber–>sipe drummer hot potato

    Trey band keeps getting better

  7. Plates Reply

    how ’bout Sammy Hagar replacing a worn out DLR? i love both versions of Van Halen, but Sammy definitely raised the bar in the post-84 VH era. those first two Van Hagar releases were HUGE! (in my book)

  8. Scott Bernstein Reply

    John Frusciante replacing Hillel Slovak = Good one, should have made the top 10

    Aucoin replacing Sammy = I’m not a big enough fan to be able to know musically the difference Allen is making, but the fact that the band is actually touring is certainly an improvement.

    Skeeto -> Raymond Weber = Because Skeeto sucks so fucking bad at playing the drums this could be the biggest improvement music wise of anyone mentioned on this page. Sipe takes it up a notch but you can’t compare that to improving from Skeeto to Raymond.

    David Lee Roth -> Sammy Hagar = This one’s a wash in my mind. I loved (doesn’t it seem like every VH hit in the Sammy era featured the word love?) the Sammy era, but ’77-’84 is a hall of fame Michael Jordan esque domination of rock and roll.

    A future B list is gonna be the opposite, worst personnel moves.

  9. ahren Reply

    fleetwood was way better before the change.

  10. Monk Reply

    How about the incredible whirlwind of Pearl Jam Drummers?

    Matt Cameron > Jack Irons (passes) > Dave Krusen > Matt Chamberlin > Dave Abbruzzese > Jack Irons > Matt Cameron


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