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From the Eagles to Korn: How bands weather lineup changes
Following Glenn Frey's passing, Don Henley said that the Eagles were done. After all, how could they replace an irreplaceable member? Or as Henley put it, "I don't see how we could go out and play without the guy who started the band."
The surviving members regrouped with Jackson Browne for an authentic tribute performance to the Frey at the 58th GRAMMY Awards, which seemed to be Eagles' swan song.
But, with millions of fans still clamoring for their golden catalog and an opportunity to celebrate the memory of their fallen brother, the Eagles have had a change of heart and will take to the road this summer. Henley recently announced Frey's son, Deacon, would fill in for his late father, a fitting choice for a hard decision.
"There's an old system both in Eastern and Western culture called the guild system, where the father is the master and the son is the apprentice," Henley told Dallas sports talk station KTCK-AM. "The trade, the craft, the business is handed down from father to son."
The Eagles are merely the latest in a long line of musical acts who have decided to carry on after making a lineup change.
Korn are keeping it in the family — the genre family that is— with their newest bassist, Tye Trujillo, who is the 12-year-old son of Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo. This lineup change happened after Korn singer Jonathan Davis and bassist Fieldy bumped into Metallica members at an airport. Davis and Fieldy were impressed with videos of the younger Trujillo's bass skills, and when the latter couldn't join Korn for their South American tour, the 12-year-old was deemed the best fit.
Founded in 1990, Pearl Jam have experienced personnel shifts, specifically in going through five drummers. Their original drummer, Dave Krusen, was recently inducted with the rest of Pearl Jam's current lineup — including current drummer Matt Cameron — into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"I was there at the beginning, but it was such a short period of time," Krusen told Rolling Stone. "I was quite surprised and very excited. I'm very proud to have been a part of that thing. I'm glad to be included."
Similarly, Journey is one of the many legacy rock acts who have grappled with their fair share of lineup changes. Singer Steve Perry fronted the band from 1977 to 1987, their most commercially successful period, and again briefly in the mid-1990s. But the current incarnation of Journey, currently playing a residency in Las Vegas, has been fronted by Arnel Pineda since 2008.
Journey were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, and while Perry didn't perform, he showed reverence for the band he once led.
"I would always go to see Journey perform, I watched with amazement, their musicianship was par to none," Perry said during his induction speech regarding his introduction to the band. "From my heart, I must tell you, I've been gone a long time, you've never not been in my heart. Thank you so very much."
Some groups go in a different direction when faced with a lineup change.
Following Phife Dawg's death on March 22, 2016, A Tribe Called Quest kept his memory alive without a permanent replacement. During their November 2016 performance on "Saturday Night Live," the Tribe's two remaining members performed "We The People" with a larger-than-life photo of Phife Dawg in the background as his verse played. For their 59th GRAMMY Awards performance, an empty mic stood on stage in Phife's honor, and Busta Rhymes and Consequence joined with A Tribe Called Quest and Anderson .Paak to add a little more punch to their resistance anthem.
"[Phife is] actually the one who was the most spirited about us getting back together and was probably the most ardent about it for many years," Q-Tip told NPR Music. "When it finally happened, he was just so filled with joy. You saw the joy every day. I know that in spirit, he's here."
Whether it's replacing members due to creative differences or finding a way to move forward in the face of loss, lineup changes are a reality of the music business. But aside from the concerts and potential dollars at stake, the adversity of going through a lineup change can show the true makeup of the musicians involved.
"I think it's the only appropriate way to carry on," said Henley. "I don't think I'd do it otherwise. Since it's Glenn's blood, it's his son, I think that's appropriate."
"The cool thing was [Pearl Jam] are really good people," said Krusen. "It's not just a musical influence. They've influenced me in how they've conducted themselves. … Having been in that band, when you leave you are still representing them. That was a big part of how I got myself together. … You're like an ambassador and … that whole thing was instrumental in me getting my s*** together."