From Jason Newsted's jaw-dropping departure from Metallica to At the Drive-In going on an "indefinite hiatus" at the peak of their popularity, 2001 certainly had its share of personnel shakeups and band breakups.
Only time will tell if some bandmembers are as replaceable as dead batteries or whether they were, in fact, the real power source of the group. And sometimes retirement is only as long as a much-needed vacation, as the Breeders proved most recently when they regrouped for a new album and tour (see "Breeders Reunion Spawns Monthlong U.S. Club Tour").
So while there's no telling how permanent any of these changes may be, they were made, and the rest of us, like it or not, will have to live with the results.
Limp Bizkit Loses Wes Borland: In October, the often-costumed guitarist and rap-rock kingpins parted company in what the band's management called an amicable split (see "Limp Bizkit And Wes Borland Part Ways"). Just days later, Limp Bizkit announced their open-audition search for a replacement (see "Wanted Ill Guitar Player; Must Know Limp Bizkit Tunes"). Although a roving hunt was to commence in November, they've yet to hit the trail.
Meanwhile, Borland is working on an album with his new band, Eat the Day, composed of members from his Bizkit side project Big Dumb Face. Eat the Day's debut is expected to surface in mid-2002 (see "Ex-Bizkit Borland Digs In With His New Band, Eat The Day").
Metallica Bassist Newsted Bows Out: The year kicked off with some shocking news when Jason Newsted announced in January that he was leaving Metallica after 14 years with the group (see "Bassist Jason Newsted Leaves Metallica"). An article in the April edition of Playboy suggested that Newsted had always felt like an outsider, despite having a longer tenure with the band than original bassist Cliff Burton (see "Metallica Bares All In Playboy").
After leaving, Newsted worked with musical youths the Moss Brothers (see "Ex-Metallica Bassist Newsted Plays With Young Duo") and his new band EchoBrain and produced various projects (see "Jason Newsted Gets Buys After Metallica"). Meanwhile, Metallica began work on their new record in April (see"Shorthanded Metallica Enter Recording Studio"), and three months later singer James Hetfield entered rehab. He left the facility in December (see "James Hetfield Exits Rehab, Rejoins Metallica"), and a new album is expected soon, though a void in the bass slot remains.
Weezer's Bassist Goes AWOL: Bassist Mikey Welsh, who had replaced founding member Matt Sharp, left the company of Weezer in August rather mysteriously. After skipping out on a scheduled video shoot for "Island in the Sun," he went missing and later turned up in a psychiatric hospital (see "Weezer Bassist Checks Into Psychiatric Hospital"). The band named Scott Shriner of Los Angeles' Broken as a temporary tour replacement, and Weezer are now working on the follow-up to Weezer, a.k.a. the Green Album (see "Weezer Continue To Hammer Away At New LP").
Rage Against the Machine Working With Cornell: Following frontman Zack de la Rocha's departure in October 2000, the remaining members of Rage Against the Machine began working with former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell in May (see "Chris Cornell To Rage With The Machine"). The group, which will not be called Rage Against the Machine, hopes its labors will come to fruition next year.
Guns N' Roses Reload With New Lineup: Although a new GN'R lineup was cemented in early 2000 (see "GN'R: Buckethead In, Freese Out"), it took some nine months before fans could see the result. Axl Rose was the only original member to hit the stage on New Year's Eve in Las Vegas, joined by guitarists Buckethead, Robin Finck and Paul Tobias, keyboardists Dizzy Reed and Chris Pittman, former Primus drummer Brian "Brain" Mantia, and former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson (see "Rose's New Guns Unveiled In Vegas").
The group, minus Pittman, was said to be readying its long-awaited new album, Chinese Democracy, for a June release (see "Guns N' Roses To Release New Album In June"), but perhaps not surprisingly, the date has been pushed back indefinitely. A European tour was also in place, but that, too, was scrapped (see "Guns N' Roses Cancel European Tour Again"). Next year will bring everything full circle, as the band will once again toast the new year in Las Vegas (see "Guns N' Roses Ante Up For Another New Year's Eve In Vegas").
Powerman 5000 Lose Some Juice: While retooling their new album, which once bore the title Anyone for Doomsday?, the rhythm section of Powerman 5000 pulled the plug. Bassist Dorian Heartsong (a.k.a. Dorian 27) and drummer Alan Pahanish (Al 3) announced in November that they were splitting with singer Spider One and guitarists Adam 12 and M.33 (see "Powerman 5000's Bassist, Drummer Split"). And though Spider said the split was amicable, he confessed that "Powerman 5000 will never be the same it will be better!" The follow-up to 1999's Tonight the Stars Revolt! is still without a release date.
Slayer Drummer Gets Elbowed Out of Job: Slayer's Paul Bostaph, the band's drummer since 1994, was forced into retirement by a chronic elbow injury in late December, leaving the slot behind the kit open for original drummer Dave Lombardo to return. Lombardo's stint is temporary, however he's on board only for the next leg of Slayer's God Hates Us All tour, which begins in January. A permanent replacement has yet to be named (see "Original Slayer Drummer Dave Lombardo Back For Tour").
Methods of Mayhem Rapper Departs: TiLo, one of the two principals behind Methods of Mayhem with former Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee relinquished his post in February to pursue other interests (see "Methods Of Mayhem Un-Rapped: TiLo Leaves Band"). Lee, meanwhile has been working on the follow-up to MoM's eponymous 1999 debut, which he hopes to have out in May (see "Tommy Lee Pulls In Incubus, Cypress Hill Members For More Mayhem").
Kittie Guitarist Goes Astray: Guitarist Fallon Bowman was unceremoniously removed from Kittie's lineup in August without any explanation from the band's camp. A statement issued by their label announced that Kittie are now a trio while emphasizing that sisters Morgan and Mercedes Lander were always the creative force anyway (see "Kittie Guitarist Scratched From Lineup"). Guitar tech Jeff Phillips rounded out the group for live performances to support Kittie's latest album, Oracle, released in November.
At the Drive-In Take a Back Seat: The members of El Paso, Texas, rock group At the Drive-In, together since 1994, announced their indefinite hiatus in March, so that they can pursue other projects, such as DeFacto, a dub project consisting of guitarist Omar Rodriguez and singer Cedric Bixler (see "At The Drive-In Suspend Activity, Cancel April Dates"). Their last album together was 2000's Relationship of Command.
Static-X Score Some Dope: In January, techo-metal group Static-X replaced guitarist Koichi Fukuda, who announced his departure in November 2000, with former Dope guitarist Tripp Eisen (see "Static-X Finishing Album, Hire Dope Guitarist"). Eisen's handiwork can be heard on the band's latest album, Machine, released in May.
New York rap-rockers Dope then recruited guitarist Virus and drummer Sketchy Shay while moving bassist Acey Slade to guitar and filling the void with original bassist Sloane Jentry. They released their second album, Life, in October.
Bad Religion Reunite With Gurewitz: Original Bad Religion guitarist and Epitaph Records founder Brett Gurewitz re-entered the band's lineup in May to write and record the two-decade-old band's twelfth album, The Process of Belief, scheduled for a January release (see "Bad Religion Reunited With Brett Gurewitz"). Drummer Bobby Schayer was permanently sidelined by a shoulder injury in June (see "Bad Religion Drummer Forced Into Retirement"), and Suicidal Tendencies drummer Brooks Wackerman replaced him behind the kit.
Savage Garden No Longer Growing: The harvest month of October yielded no crop from Savage Garden, as the pop duo of Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones went their separate ways after five years together (see "Savage Garden Grow Permanently Apart"). Jones is pursuing a nonmusical career, while Hayes is preparing to release his solo debut, Spin in the spring.
Wilco's Tweedy Weeds Out Members: The only members left from Wilco's original lineup are frontman Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt after two torches were passed to successors. Drummer Ken Coomer was replaced in January by Glenn Kotche, and multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett quit the band in July, allowing Leroy Bach to climb aboard. After being dropped from longtime label Reprise, the quartet streamed their new album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, online while searching for a new home (see "Wilco Stream New Album Online While Shopping For Label"), which they found at Nonesuch. The group's fourth album is due in April.
Fu Manchu Drummer Hits the Road: After receiving some mainstream recognition with last year's King of the Road, Fu Manchu said goodbye to drummer Brant Bjork, who quit the stoner-rock quartet in November to pursue other endeavors. Before leaving, he had already recorded his parts for Fu's forthcoming seventh album, California Crossing, due February 5. A replacement drummer has been selected but not yet announced.
Our Lady Peace Guitarist Departs: Canadian rockers Our Lady Peace got a little less tranquil when founding guitarist Mike Turner announced his departure in December, citing musical and creative differences. The band has been working on its fifth album, the follow-up to the conceptual Spiritual Machines, in Maui, Hawaii, with producer Bob Rock, and will continue to labor away in January. A six-string successor has not been named.
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