Lead Singers Who Changed Their Bands And Kept The Band Name

There are dozens of bands who replace their lead singers, but there are also many lead singers who replace their entire band and continue on with the band name. Here several notable lead singers who carried on their band's name with completely different band than they started out with.

Guns N' Roses

Axl Rose. Photo: Ethan Miller-Getty Images

Reportedly midway through the 1992 Guns N' Roses "Use Your Illusion" tour Slash said Axl Rose refused to go onstage unless his remaining original bandmates Slash and Duff McKagen signed over the Guns N' Roses name to Rose. Reported Slash and McKagen signed over rights to the GNR name to prevent the tour's cancellation. Rose has refuted the story. Slash left GNR in October 1996, drummer Matt Sorum was fired in April 1997, and Duff McKagen resigned in August 1997. This leaves Axl Rose as the only original GNR member. Rose took 14 years to release 2008's Chinese Democracy album which in featured contributions from at least 23 musicians and 30 different engineering and mixing assistants. Chinese Democracy was the most expensive album ever made at a total cost of reportedly over $13 million. Guns N' Roses lineup is currently in a state of flux.

The Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins. Photo: Burak Cingi-Redferns-Getty Images

The last tour of the original four members of The Smashing Pumpkins was "The Arising" tour in 1999. On December 2, 2000 The Smashing Pumpkins disbanded after playing The Metro in Chicago with bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur (Hole, solo artist) filling in for original bassist D'Arcy Wretsky who left the group in September 1999. In 2007 The Smashing Pumpkins reconvened for the Zietgeist album and tour with drummer Jimmy Chamberlain as the only original member besides Corgan on board. By March 2009 Chamberlain left the group leaving Corgan as the sole original member. In 2015 Corgan says The Smashing Pumpkins plan to release Day for Night their forth and final studio album. Chamberlain returned for The Smashing Pumpkins summer 2015 tour with no word on if he will continue with the group when the tour ends. 

Queens of the Stone Age

Josh Homme. Photo: Gary Miller-Getty Images

Although Queens of the Stone Age has been frontman Josh Homme's musical vehicle since their self-titled 1998 debut album they are nonetheless a band. Every member of the band has been replaced at least once except for Homme. QOTSA's shifting lineup has included nine past members and even more studio guests. The band's lineup has shifted numerous times over QOTSA's six studio albums including the firings of longtime bassist/vocalist Nick Oliveri in 2004 and drummer Joey Castillo in 2012. Oliveri returned to sing backup on the ...Like Clockwork (2013) song "If I Had a Tail" and sang 5 songs with the band live at the last show of QOTSA's 2014 tour, a Halloween 2014 concert at The Forum in Los Angeles.Oliveri is not expected to return to a band as a full member.


Art Alexakis. Photo: Rick Kern-WireImage-Getty Images

The band Everclear was started by singer/guitarist Art Alexakis in Portland, Oregon in 1991. Bassist/backup singer Craig Montoya joined the band shortly thereafter. In 1994 drummer Greg Eklund solidified Everclear's most successful line-up recording the band's 1995 breakthough album Sparkle and Fade featuring the smash hit "Santa Monica". This classic lineup recorded five LP's together until 2003 when Montoya and Eklund both left the band. Alexakis has continued Everclear with different lineups featuring over 18 different studio and touring musicians since 2003.

Breaking Benjamin

Benjamin Burnley. Photo: Scott Legato-FilmMagic-Getty Images

Breaking Benjamin is a post-grunge band formed by singer/guitarist Benjamin Burnley in 1998. The band's most successsful line-up included guitarist Aaron Fink, bassist Mark Klepaski, and drummer Jeremy Hummel. This lineup recorded two successful albums together: Saturate (2002), We Are Not Alone (2004). The lineup remained largely intact except for the replacement of drummer Chad Szeliga for Hummel on the next two albums: Phobia(2006) and Dear Agony(2009). Since the Dear Agony album all members of Breaking Benjamin except Burnley have left the band or been fired. Breaking Benjamin reemerged in August 2014 announcing an all new line-up and released a new album Dark Before Dawn in June 2015. Breaking Benjamin has never toured outside of the U.S. and Canada due to Burnley's fear of flying.

Puddle of Mudd

Wes Scantlin. Photo: Christie Goodwin-Getty Images

Puddle of Mudd was formed by lead singer/guitarist Wes Scantlin in 1991. The original lineup recorded two albums in 1994 and 1997 to little acclaim before breaking up in early 1999. Scantlin's gave Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst a demo tape. Durst contacted Scantlin and brought him to Los Angeles to put together a new band which consisted of bassist Doug Ardito, guitarist Paul Phillips and drummer Greg Upchurch. Puddle of Mudd's debut album 2001's Come Clean on Durst's Flawless Records label went on to sell 5 million copies worldwide and had 4 hit singles. The band's next album Life on Display (2003) was less successful than the band's debut. Drummer Upchurch accepted an offer to join the band 3 Doors Down permanently in 2005. Guitarist Phillips also left the band in 2005 and returned for a while from 2009-2011. Bassist Ardito left the band in 2010, and returned from 2011-2014. Puddle of Mudd currently consists on Scantlin an all new lineup. 


Brett Scallions. Photo: Scott Legato-WireImage-Getty Images

The post-grunge band Fuel was started by guitarist/songwriter Carl Bell and bassist Jeff Abercrombie in 1989 under the name Small The Joy. Lead singer/rhythm guitarist Brett Scallions was added to the the band in 1993 and they changed the band name to Fuel. Fuel's first LP Sunburn (1998) went platinum. Their second album Something Like Human (2000) went double platinum and spawned their biggest hit the U.S. #30 "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)".

After Fuel's third album Natural Selection (2003) didn't live up to expectations drummer Kevin Miller was fired in 2004 and Brett Scallions quit in 2006. They were replaced by former Godsmack drummer Tommy Stewart and new lead singer Toryn Green for Fuel's Angels & Devils (2007) album, Fuel's lowest selling album to date. In 2010 original vocalist/rhythm guitarist Brett Scallions was given rights to the name Fuel and recorded the album Puppet Strings (2014) with an all new band.

Days of the New

Travis Meeks. Photo: Scott Legato-FilmMagic-Getty Images

Days of the New was formed in 1995 by singer/guitarist Travis Meeks, lead guitarist Todd Whitener, bassist Jesse Vest, and drummer Matt Taul. Days of the New's self-titled debut album (1997) sold 1.5 million albums worldwide and spawned three Top 40 hits including the U.S. #1 Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks single "Touch, Peel and Stand". After that album's tour the band split up with Meeks forming a new band and keeping the Days of the New name. The remaining ex-members recruited singer Hugo Ferreira and former the successful band Tantric in 1999, though Ferreira is now the last remaining original member of Tantric. In 2014 the four original members of Days of the New announced a summer reunion tour and plans for a new EP in the fall. After a September 6, 2014 in which Meeks showed up too inebriated to play, the band called it quits again. Meeks still retains the band name.