Saturday, April 8, 2017
Op-Ed Piece: When People Feel a Specific Band Member is the Band
When perusing through articles online tonight for something to write about I came upon quite a few about Journey getting into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame and how former lead singer Steve Perry did not perform with his former band. Many fans were quite displeased with this and I suppose understandably so. What kind of got to me though was the numerous comments on these articles saying that Steve Perry IS Journey.
Countless people bashed on current singer Arnel Pineda and even on guitarist Neil Schon saying he wouldn't be anything without Perry. It kind of saddens me because I've listened to Pineda and that dude has one hell of a powerhouse voice. If anything, he can sing Perry's songs better than Perry can these days. As for Schon, that dude doesn't need Perry. He was in Santana making a name for himself for years before he even started Journey.
It's always bothered me when people say a specific member of any band IS the band. I agree that there are some cases where a band has a member who stands out and is noticeably talented, but that doesn't make them the only talent in the band. That doesn't make the rest of the band just backing musicians for that performer.
A prime example of this is Queen. I have heard countless people over the years say stuff to the effect of lead singer Freddie Mercury being the band. While Mercury was the big selling point of Queen, that simply could not be any further from the truth. Every last member of Queen was insanely talented. Each one wrote at least one or more #1 chart topping hits and both guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor are respectable vocalists in their own right in addition to being superstars on their instruments. If any one member of that band were to have left/been replaced Queen as we knew it would have ceased to be the amazing band we know it to be.
It just seems unfair to say such a thing when each member of a band is essential to the overall sound produced. If you switch out any component you're going to notice the difference regardless of whether it's the most paid attention to member or not. The other musicians in a band put in just as much time and effort into making the band great as the famous ones. Credit should be given where it is due, honestly.