5 Bands That Should Have Burned Out (Instead of Faded Away)

Posted on 11:24 AM by Mike Fye

Do you ever wonder how different the legacies of The 27 Club members would've went down if they, you know, hadn't joined the club? An alternate universe where a 300 lb, balding Jim Morrison makes people shiver by commanding them to "touch him babe"(we see that you're not afraid, but we would be)? Or a completely burnt out, arthritis-ridden Hendrix, doing duets with Adam Levine or Shakira in a lame attempt to stay relevant? Let's not even fathom Mr. Cobain (though a contemporary Christian album from a sober, born-again Kurt would be hilarious). It's a hard road, because there doesn't seem to be a way for musicians to stop while they're ahead AND not stop being alive. Here are a few bands that would've benefited from death's sweet release...or at least a better retirement plan.

5. Red Hot Chili Peppers

Pictured from left to right: Kiedis, Flea, Frusciante
They showed up outta nowhere and funked us in our tight little asterisks. One could almost justify their insane heroin abuse after seeing the seemingly endless amount of energy they had. Flea thumping, Anthony dancing and spit-singing, Frusciante shredding and Chad Smith holding down the skins. They brought the always unappreciated Funk genre back to the masses. It all came to a boiling, frothy head with 91's "Blood Sugar Sex Magik". Even if they had waited until after "One Hot Minute", they could have bowed out leaving behind a strong catalog. But the thing about crippling drug addictions is, well it's not something you put in a stock portfolio. Not conducive to retirement. And while you have to give kudos to anyone that can overcome something that awful, the damage it did to their abilities coupled with the fact they were getting older was hard to ignore. Flea's diaper seems more like a necessity than a fashion statement. So they came back to recapture that soft rockin' "Under the Bridge" magic with "Scar Tissue". Soccer moms and tattooed business dads everywhere cheered. Then Kiedis found his niche making puns on the word "California" and the rest is history. When they returned to their roots with "Stadium Arcadium" it felt like an insult, their way of saying, "Sure, we can still rock. But ya know, NOT rocking is what pays our bills these days." 


Hmm... Do bands with food names have an Expiration Date? 
Hard to believe these guys have twenty years in the business.  Being the first band to give the super-low, down-tuned A-string guitars a melodic touch that set them apart from the average "doomy gloomy" act,  they were a prime example of being in the right place at the right time with the right sound. In 1994. Somehow managing to pass the exact same album as a new one over and over by adding trendy flavor of the month shit (dubstep most recently). Their inability to evolve and test new ground turned them into a novelty act.  I guess this could apply to any band that runs on angst and "the darkness", but if you're still writing songs about being misunderstood by your peers and daddy issues in your 40s, you need to try again. You missed out on something important. Like living a real life.


No...I'm pretty sure this IS Metallica.
Ok, this it's the most obvious one, but it just needs to be told over and over till the end of time. I'm actually not going to consider The Black Album the sell-out point, but I will say it should have been their swan song. They could have went out proving that they could tailor their sound to suit a broader audience while keeping the hardcore fans. My opinion is that they immediately became irrelevant when they started attacking Napster. This was a band that was practically made through bootleg cassette tapes (the file sharing method of the 1980s, for all you youngsters out there). And it's not that file sharing doesn't affect musicians income, but it sure as he'll wasn't hurting THEIRS that much. If they had just started a quieter campaign, backing the smaller artists it was really hurting instead of making themselves look like the money hungry fat cats their own songs condemned, they might have saved some face. Instead of admitting defeat and bowing out gracefully though, they made a balls to the wall documentary... about hiring a therapist to fix them. Rock on Metallica...and thanks for making the dreams of all those that wished Spinal Tap was a real band come true.

2. Alice in chains

Damning evidence that people really can change for the better.

So your band comes, rocks the ears of the world off by making a grunge that even advanced musicians can appreciate. You make like a good rock star and develop a deteriorating drug habit that forces the band into early retirement, then die before you become desperate enough to piss all over the empire you made. There's no way the band would start up again without you, the defining member, right? RIGHT?!
Wrong. Bands should be legally required to change their name under these circumstances, instead of driving their good name into the Dirt(pun pun pun!). Something catchy and appropriate like "Jerry Cantrell and The Bees' Knees"

1. The Beatles

This is a bit of a cheat, since it refers to the post-Beatles stuff.  No, I'm not a Beatles "hater" and I'm not trying to say that the solo stuff is irrelevant or bad music (especially George, who got some much deserved love and recognition outside the colossal McLennon shadow), but could you imagine (get it?) how much stronger their legacy would be? No goofy Ringo shit, no hypocritical hippy Lennon shit, no George getting sued for ripping off an old doo-wop song shit and most importantly (I can't stress this enough) no shitty ass Wings shit? If it weren't for the recorded history, if you were just to hear, say, the last album each member made without ever having heard the Beatles, would you believe for a minute that they were from "the world's greatest rock band"? Even if you can't agree with that, nothing can excuse the travesty that was "Free as a Bird" and the over-hyped Anthology set.

+Honorable Mentions: The Ones You Expected to See and Why They Didn't Make the Cut

Elvis: The overweight jumpsuit Elvis was WAY more entertaining than the pretty boy hip-grinding Elvis.

Aerosmith: They were a generic rock group then, they're a generic rock group now. The End.

Rolling Stones: They've actually managed to keep their legacy in tact, probably due to knowing what made them big and respecting their audience. Or because they're best friends with the Satan.

5 Response to "5 Bands That Should Have Burned Out (Instead of Faded Away)"

Brandy Rogers Says....

As I'm sure you are aware, I don't even recognize Alice in Chains as Alice in Chains post-Layne Staley. And also, I've put a lot of thought into your question. And I REALLY wish Family Guy would have burned out like, 3 years ago.... Wait. Do these have to be bands? Well then I meant that band Closeted Gay Seths...

Anonymous Says....

wonder what kim wishes would have burned out instead of faded......

Leave A Reply

Comments Are NOT moderated...Anything goes, except bots and ads.