When a bandmember leaves the lineup of a successful band, rumors begin to fly! Are they going solo? Was the split mutual? Or did they get the boot? Inspired by the October birthdays of Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth, we’ve put together a list of the Top 5 Rockers Who Were Fired!
1. Van Halen: David Lee Roth/Sammy Hagar
For over 10 years, David Lee Roth enjoyed immense success as the frontman for Van Halen, perhaps the most electrifying rock band of the 1970s and ‘80s. However, in 1985, he began to pursue a solo career in music and film, much to the disdain of guitarist Eddie Van Halen. That same year, Roth left the band, with the singer saying he quit but rumors stating otherwise.
Van Halen wasted no time finding a replacement for Roth, as they brought Sammy Hagar on board. The band didn’t seem to miss a beat and released four consecutive No. 1 singles in a decade’s time with Hagar at the helm. In 1996, tensions began to escalate between Eddie Van Halen and Hagar once word got out that Van Halen had begun recording new material behind Hagar’s back, the Red Rocker also left the band.
Over the past 15 years, Van Halen has continued to juggle lead singers. Following a stint with singer Gary Cherone, a botched reunion with Roth at the MTV Music Awards and a failed Hagar-led tour, the band has finally settled back in with DLR at the mic, releasing A Different Kind of Truth in 2012.
2. Stone Temple Pilots: Scott Weiland/Chester Bennington
Earlier this year Stone Temple Pilots gave frontman Scott Weiland the boot! The singer was unexpectedly kicked out of the band back in February, and subsequently sued by his former bandmates.
The move agitated Weiland, prompting him to file a countersuit. He is reportedly seeking over $5 million in compensatory damages for the unauthorized use of the STP name and likeness.
Stone Temple Pilots has since brought on Linkin Park singer, Chester Bennington, as Weiland's replacement. The band released their debut EP High Rise this month under the moniker, Stone Temple Pilots ft. Chester Bennington, and is set to embark on a series of concert dates later this fall.
Meanwhile, Scott Weiland is currently touring and working on an album with his solo band, the Wildabouts while he waits out the results of the legal battle.
3. Motley Crue: Vince Neil/John Corabi
Throughout the 1980’s, Motley Crue was one of the most popular bands in the world. However, at the peak of their fame in 1992, the band and lead singer, Vince Neil, went their separate ways.
Until this day, it is unclear whether Neil was fired from Motley Crue, or if he quit. Neil claims he had no say when it came to Motley Crue’s direction, but insists that the true story of the breakup will never be revealed due to conflicting stories within the band.
Motley Crue elected to replace Neil with John Corabi (The Scream), and continued to release new music until 1997, when Corabi was fired by the band.
The singing carousel came full-circle, as Neil was chosen to return to the lineup following Corabi’s termination and has been with the band ever since.
4. Black Sabbath: Ozzy Osbourne/Ronnie James Dio
Heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath, led by iconic frontman Ozzy Osbourne, took an unprecedented approach to music that landed them nine consecutive albums on the Billboard 200 from 1970–1978. Due to Ozzy's heavy drug use, he was dismissed from the band in 1979, and subsequently started a solo career.
Black Sabbath quickly replaced Ozzy with Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio, who was with the band until 1983. With the new lineup, Sabbath released back-to-back Top 30 albums before they eventually fell apart prior to the release of a concert album, Live Evil, before a short reunion with Dio on Dehumanizer in 1992.
The original members of Black Sabbath got back together in 1997 for the release of Reunion and again in 2001 at Ozzy Osbourne’s concert festival, Ozzfest, but when the time came to create new music, they disbanded once again. By 2011, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi had reunited once again to tour and create new material, releasing their most recent album, 13, earlier this year.
5. Queensyrche: Geoff Tate/Todd La Torre
For the last 30 years, the Seattle-based heavy metal band Queensryche has produced numerous successful Rock and Roll albums. Beginning in 1981, Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton formed Queensryche with their high school friends, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Geoff Tate.
The late 1980s and early ‘90s would prove to be the peak of Queensryche’s reign, during which time they released their biggest two albums, Operation: Mindcrime (1988) and Empire (1990). Shortly after the release of their 11th studio album, Dedicated to Chaos, the collective members of Queensryche unexpectedly fired founding vocalist Geoff Tate and replaced him with Todd La Torre, formerly of Crimson Glory.
Tate immediately sued the band and released Frequency Unknown under the name “Original Singer Geoff Tate & Queensryche,” in an effort to claim the rights to the band’s name. Tate has since been countersued by the La Torre version of the band, which is currently touring under the name “Queensryche with Todd La Torre.” The legal battle has not been resolved, as each side refuses to surrender the rights to the name.
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