Music history is littered with artists having second or even third careers after their original claim to fame band splintered.
In some cases, artists re-invent themselves and the music they write. In other cases, artists just continue to write what they normally write, in the same genre and experience a second coming.
Like David Grohl and his little pet project called “The Foo Fighters” which today is one of the biggest rock bands around. Like, Ozzy Osbourne who went from Black Sabbath to a solo career and surrounded himself with excellent songwriters in Randy Rhoads, Bob Daisley, Jake E. Lee, Zakk Wylde and the mighty Lemmy Kilmister. Like Rob Trujilo who went from Suicidal Tendancies to Ozzy Osbourne to Metallica. Like Nikki Sixx who did Motley Crue and Sixx A.M at the same time and now is exclusively focusing on Sixx AM.
Dave Mustaine from Metallica to Megadeth
Mustaine is one of the many unsung heroes who pushed thrash metal guitar playing to new levels. His influence on Metallica cannot be underestimated. The songs “Call Of Ktulu”, “Ride The Lightning”, “Phantom Lord” and “Metal Militia” all brought in a certain technicality to the thrash world that was different from just playing metal at break neck speeds. The foundations that these songs set up would reach its zenith with the “…And Justice For All” album for Metallica and with Megadeth, he would reach that lofty height with the classic “Rust In Peace”. The first true Metallica album for me without any strands of influence from Mustaine is their biggest one to date, “1991’s self-titled “Black” album.
If Metallica are recognised as Hall of Famers, then Dave Mustaine is a must to be included on his own merits and technical song writing contribution to the world of thrash metal.
Marc Tremonti from Creed to Alter Bridge to Tremonti
Tremonti is a guitar hero, as good as any of the Eighties shredders. He had multi-platinum success with Creed, an act that was devoid of guitar solos and lumped in with the Nu-Metal, Alternative Rock scene. It brought out the haters, jealous that a person who could shred, didn’t shred. In the end, people live and breathe on the songs they write, not on the guitar solos they write and Tremonti has built a consistent legacy. The pinnacle of his career in my eyes would be when his second act, Alter Bridge played the Wembley Arena.
Here is a band that doesn’t have any platinum awards. In the past only platinum acts would be booked to play the Wembley Arena. It goes to show if people have access to your music, they will pay eventually. Spotify and streaming in general is very popular in the UK, so is it any surprise that Alter Bridge sold out the Wembley Arena.
Amir Derakh from Rough Cutt to Orgy to various soundtracks to guitar designer and Producer
This re-invention or second coming is one of the more special ones. In the majority of cases, artists go from one band to another and play the same style of music within the same era. In this case, Amir went from a hard rock band into an alternative industrial metal band.
“Rough Cutt” was a hard rock pet project by Wendy Dio. Even Ronnie appeared as a co-writer on a few songs. They had Tom Allom and Jack Douglas produce album number 1 and number 2 respectively, but they never caught on. Shortino would leave to join Quiet Riot and that would be the end of the band.
Many years later the industrial rock band Orgy would break through.
Apart from Orgy and Rough Cutt, he was involved in releases by Coal Chamber, Spineshank, Danzig, Julien-K and Dead By Sunrise. From a soundtrack point of view, Amir has been involved with Strangeland, Bridge Of Chucky, Scream 3, Zoolander, Freaky Friday, Sonic Heroes, Transformers, Underworld and many others. Like Marc Ferrari, he never was on the cover of magazines, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t successful in what he did. He’s had a longer career in the music business than a lot of the platinum stars of the Eighties.
Jack Blades from Rubicon to Night Ranger to Damn Yankees to Shaw/Blades to a solo career, back to Night Ranger and Revolution Saints
Tommy Shaw from Styx to a solo career to Damn Yankees to Shaw/Blades to a solo career and back to Styx
Ted Nugent from The Amboy Dukes to a solo career to Damn Yankees and back to a solo career
Damn Yankees were huge. As a super group, they really lived up to the hype and the name. It was no frills classic rock, with a modern pop twist. It was removed from the hair and glam metal at the time. It was a project that was able to stand on its own two feet and build on the foundations of the three creative forces in the group.
There is no escaping Jack Blades commitment to having a career in the music business. He tasted limited success with Rubicon in the 70’s, hit MTV stardom with Night Ranger in the early 80’s and by the late 80’s and early 90’s, he furthered his career with Damn Yankees. Add to that, the song writing partnership he struck up with Tommy Shaw. Their songs would grace albums from Aerosmith, Vince Neil, Ozzy Osbourne and Cher.
The mighty Nuge is a constant on the live circuit. That is how he made his money in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties and that is how he is still making his money. You don’t see the Nuge worry about piracy. As far as he is concerned, the more people who hear his music equals a bigger pool of people who could come to his shows.
Joe Leste from Bang Tango to Beautiful Creatures
DJ Ashba from Bullet Boys to Beautiful Creatures to Sixx A.M. and Guns N Roses live guitarist
Joe Leste had minor success with “Someone Like You” from Bang Tango’s debut album “Psycho Café”. “Dancin’ On Coals” was a much better album, but it just didn’t sell. By 1995, the band split up. By 1999, Joe Leste formed Beautiful Creatures with DJ Ashba and had the same level of success as he did with Bang Tango. From 2003, Bang Tango is still going with a revolving door of musicians. There is actually a Bang Tango movie coming out or it’s already out.
Beautiful Creatures claim to fame is the licensing of their songs to various movies and television shows, like Smallville and Sons Of Anarchy. They had a major label deal with Warner Bros. Then the merger happened between Time Warner and AOL and Beautiful Creatures suddenly had no record deal.
DJ Ashba on the other hand has gone on to bigger and better things. He was a solo artist to begin with, then he joined Bullet Boys in the late nineties, when no one even cared if the band existed. Then he was in Beautiful Creatures for two years, went solo and hooked up with Nikki Sixx. Along with James Michael, they have become a force to be reckoned with in the song writing world. They have written songs for Marion Raven, Drowning Pool, the whole “Saints Of Los Angeles” album, James Durbin, The Last Vegas plus their own project Sixx A.M. Add to the list a lucrative spot in Guns N Roses as one of their live guitarists and you can see why life is good for DJ Ashba.
There are many more who have changed and moved on to greater things or long careers. Some others that come to mind quickly are;
John Sykes went from Tygers Of Pan Tang to Thin Lizzy to Whitesnake to Blue Murder to Sykes to a Thin Lizzy tribute band and back to a solo career.
Ronnie James Dio went from Elf to Rainbow to Black Sabbath to a solo career and back to Black Sabbath, which would morph into Heaven And Hell.
Vivian Campbell went from Savage to Dio to Whitesnake to Def Leppard.
Gary Moore went from Thin Lizzy to a solo career.
Slash went from Guns N Roses to Slash’s Snakepit to Slash with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators and now back to Guns N Roses.
George Lynch went from Dokken to Lynch Mob to George Lynch to Lynch/Pilson to Sweet and Lynch to Shadowtrain to Souls Of We and always stepping back into the Lynch Mob scene.
There are many more.
This could come as a shock to all of the kids forming bands and recording songs in their own studios. There is a pretty good chance that the people you are making music with right now, will not be the same people you will make music with, years later. That’s just how it the music business rolls.