People get kicked out of bands. It happens. The Beatles nixed Pete Best because Ringo was a superior drummer. Metallica got rid of Dave Mustaine because only two very low IQ rageaholic jackasses are allowed in a band and they already had James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich.
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Actually, Lars counts as two.
But sometimes people are kicked out of bands for absolutely stupid reasons. Here are five of the most ridiculous band firings.
So you might know Lemmy Kilmister as that hard-drinking and -drugging badass who escaped the bowels of hell by kicking Satan in the balls to start a band called Motorhead.
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You might also know him by his other name, "eew."
In any event, before Lemmy was the frontman for one of the most respected no-B.S. metal bands of the last 30 years, he was in a little group called Hawkwind. Yep, Hawkwind was a space rock band best known for songs like, um, I have no idea. But in 1975, they kicked Lemmy out of the band. Why?
Well, knowing Lemmy, you're probably thinking he:
1. Did so much cocaine and heroin that he took control of the tour bus and drove it into a lake, or
2. Personally sodomized all the roadies with his bass guitar in a booze-fueled rage, leaving them without support staff, or
3. Ate their manager alive in one sitting.
But you'd be wrong. They kicked him out for getting caught with some pills (in powder form) at the Canadian border. That's it. How lame. He got kicked out of a band for possession of drugs so minor, Canadian authorities had to release him (although they did hold him for five days when they mistakenly thought it was cocaine). Maybe Hawkwind had other reasons and were just using the fact that Lemmy was temporarily behind bars to get a big enough head start running away. Of course, that's foolish. Lemmy beat them all to death with a hammer two weeks later. (I'm assuming.)
Do you like reunion stories? You don't? Oh. Well, I'm not sure I do either. Not sure what they are. Stories where people reunite, I guess. Anyway, if you're an old cheeseball, odds are that you love Journey. And I have to confess, I like Journey, too. "Separate Ways," "Don't Stop Believin'," and "Lights" were all pop rock classics of the '80s before the band went away to become professionally invisible.
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Band photo from 1992.
But then the spirit of the '80s returned! Meaning greed. And in 1996, the band reunited and put out some cheesy garbage and it sold really well. In fact, Trial by Fire made it to #12 on the Billboard charts and #36 for the year. A tour was inevitable. Mo' money, mo' money, mo' money (as people thought it funny to say back then, for some reason). But then Steve Perry had a hiking accident and broke his hip, requiring hip replacement surgery. When Perry didn't want to get it, they decided to hire some other dude who looked like a more masculine Kenny G and go on tour anyway.
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"I'm not Kenny G."
But, of course, after the tour and after they nixed Steve Augeri, Journey got back together with a healed-up Steve Perry, right? Nope. Journey decided to partner up with a Filipino dude who'd been fronting a Journey cover band.
I was never quite hip enough to like the Pixies. I mean, don't get me wrong. I liked them. I understood why they were important. I fully appreciate that, without a song like "Where Is My Mind," Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" would have never existed. Fun, talented, and influential, no doubt. But I also always felt they were a bit ... precious. Somehow a little too cool for school. They had a group aesthetic that said "Not caring is cool."
"No, we didn't pose for this picture. We were just busy not caring when someone snapped it without our permission."
Now, I might be totally wrong. I don't know the band, but I certainly don't seeeeeem wrong. When the band disbanded in 1993, lead singer Black Francis called lead guitarist Joey Santiago to let him know the Pixies were no more. Then he sent faxes to the rhythm section, David Lovering and Kim Deal. Yeah, that sounds pretty cool, but that's not what the story's about.
The Pixies recently got back together and replaced bassist Kim Deal with bassist Kim Shattuck, formerly of the Muffs. Things were going great. The band was touring. Then, after one leg of the tour ended, Shattuck got a call from the manager that things weren't working out. Shattuck believes it might have been due to the fact that the other Pixies are more introverted, and pointed to a show at the Mayan Theater in LA where she did a stage dive. In a Rolling Stone interview, she said, "I know they weren't thrilled about that. When I got offstage, the manager told me not to do that again. I said, 'Really, for my own safety?' And he said, 'No, because the Pixies don't do that.'"
Now maybe that's not true, but if you listen to Santiago's interview, it's not hard to believe. He claims it was impossible to fire her in person because everyone had gone home after the show. Also no one faxes anymore.