You’re out of the Band! 6 Punk Musicians Who Seriously Missed The Boat

There’s no getting around it, creating a successful rock band is hard, like, real hard. First you have to find some friends, and not just any friends, these friends have to know how to play different instruments, and play them well. Throw a singer in the mix and you are ready to go. What follows is the tricky part, elevating your band from a bunch of kids making noise in their garage to a well-oiled machine playing to sold out crowds. In order to become successful it takes tons of drive, armor against rejection and the realization that reaching that next level in the music world takes an extremely dedicated individual. Unfortunately, not every band mate is able to stick it out and is often left by the wayside. And that’s who we celebrate today. The musicians who gave up, gave in, gave out or got kicked out of a relatively no name band just before said band became famous. There can be numerous reasons for the phenomenon but today let’s look at some of the most notable cases from the world of punk rock.

1. Scott Raynor, ex-member of Blink 182

The Story…
Perhaps one of the best examples of a guy who dropped the ball is Scott Raynor, the original drummer and possible co-founder (depending on who you ask) of Blink 182. Together with Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge, they were a trio of go-getters who quickly began taking the punk world by storm. Together the three put out a few demos and CD’s, finally finding their single Dammit, off their major label release Dude Ranch, on the radio. Everything seemed just dandy. Unfortunately, things behind the scenes were not so pleasant. The story goes that Tom and Mark believed that Raynor had a bit of a drinking problem. Finally reaching its peak, they gave him an ultimatum: either calm down on your drinking or you’re out of the band! According to Raynor, “I was contacted over the phone and asked to quit drinking. I asked for the weekend to think about it, I came back and agreed. They said, ‘too bad,’ and I don’t really know why.” Either way, he was out, Travis Barker was brought in and the rest is history.

The Band…
Blink 182 went on to huge mainstream success, releasing many high earning records including Enima of the State, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket and their self-titled effort, some of which reached the platinum level. After a five year hiatus, the band returned to continued fanfare and remains one of the most successful punk bands of all time.

The Guy…
Raynor went on to play in a few other bands, including Death on Wednesday and One Track Mind. He reportedly spends his free time kicking himself in the ass for hours on end every time he hears Blink on the radio.

2. Dan Precision, ex-member of Rise Against

The Story…
Rise Against began as a conversion of bands 88 Fingers Louie and Baxter with Dan Precision, or Mr. Precision coming from the former. The new band, originally named Transistor Revolt released the Transistor Revolt EP then changed their name to Rise Against and released their first full length cd, The Unraveling on Fat Wreck Chords. This was the year that Mr. Precision took his exit, but why? In an open letter written by Precision, he states that an argument began when singer Tim McIIrath informed him that he didn’t like the length of Dan’s hair and that his appearance was “getting in the way of the message that the band is trying to convey,” whatever that means. There was some back and forth after this with Tim and the other band mates giving Dan mixed information about whether or not he was allowed to stay in the band, also stating that they felt that Dan “had his hands in everything and it was stressing them out.” In the end, the band decided that they wanted Dan out and due to the stress, Dan felt almost relieved to hear it and that was the end of that.

The Band…
Their fear of the fashion police aside, Rise Against soon signed with DreamWorks Records and released Siren Song of the Counter Culture which was certified gold. From there came The Sufferer & the Witness and Appeal to Reason, each record becoming more successful that the one before it. Today they are one of the only true hard rocking punk bands on the radio with no end to their success anywhere in sight.

The Guy…
With nothing else to rise against, Dan Precision went on to join the bands Break the Silence and more recently the punk band Set Fire to Reason whose debut EP, Remote Controlled was released earlier this year. With Mr. Precision still playing music and following his dreams, people say that both he and his hair have never been happier.

3. Ben Dobson, ex-member of Yellowcard

The Story…
There are many punk bands out there who have undergone major transitions in their musical styling’s, so much so that if you were to listen to their earlier stuff, you may not believe that they were the same band. Thus was the case with pop-punk band Yellowcard in the early years of their career. Before lead singer Ryan Key came into the fold, Yellowcard had a heavier, more hardcore sound. That was when they had front man Ben Dobson. With Dobson in the lead, the band released two albums, 1997’s Midget Tossing and 1999’s Where We Stand. That was Dobson’s last act and he soon exited the band. There’s little info about why Dobson left the band but the general consensus is that he just lost interest and called it quits. Refusing to give up, Yellowcard then drafted current singer Ryan Key who helped to convince the band to move to California, after which the band found considerable success.

The Band…
After only a couple years, the ‘new’ Yellowcard released Ocean Avenue which with the help of radio play and the assistance of the MTV crowd became a huge success, selling over one million copies. While their popularity has dwindled slightly, they are still a leader in the power-pop genre.

The Guy…
We may never know what happened to Ben Dobson, online research is slim. According to a 2008 article on Buzznet, there were plans of a reunion of the original members. Whether that came to fruition or not is a mystery. Rumors that Dobson erupts in cold sweats when asked to play soccer are also unfounded.

4. Eric Stefani, ex-member of No Doubt

The Story…
Like Yellowcard, No Doubt also started with a sound that was radically different from how the band sounds today. Although they had a definite ska influence for the first few years, their first album had a strong ska sound. Like really, really ska, almost as ska as you can get. Originally started by Gwen Stefani’s brother Eric Stefani, No Doubt also differed in their line-up which included a male singer, Gwen doing backup vocals and a few additional artists playing horns. Well, long story short, Eric maintained creative control during that time but that didn’t last long. When the band began work with producer Matthew Wilder on their second album, Eric was none too pleased to relinquish said control and left the band in 1994. A year later, No Doubt released their next album, Tragic Kingdom.

The Band…
Well we all know that Tragic Kingdom was a massive hit, eventually going eight times platinum. From there they released several other albums, each to varying success. Gwen also launched a very successful solo career while the band went on hiatus. They have returned and are still going strong.

The Guy…
Eric actually didn’t do too badly for himself. Upon leaving the band, he returned to his job on the television show The Simpsons where he worked as an animator. He has also worked on other shows including Ren and Stimpy and Mighty Mouse and spends a lot of time spying on Gavin and his sister while hiding out in their guesthouse.

5. John Kiffmeyer, ex-member of Green Day

The Story…
Once upon a time, back in 1987, the punk band Sweet Children, formed by Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt hit the scene. Soon they were joined by drummer John Kiffmeyer and their journey began with some successes and changes, including being signed to Lookout! Records and changing their name to Green Day. Kiffmeyer, also known as Al Sobrante, in reference from the name of his hometown, drummed his heart out as Green Day released an extended play called 1,000 hours and their debut cd 39/Smooth before departing on their first national tour. Shortly after that, in 1990, Kiffmeyer decided to leave the band in order to attend college and the band brought in the infamous Tre Cool to take his spot. It’s interesting to note that without Kiffmeyer, Green Day might have had a lot harder time getting where they are today, if they got anywhere at all. Kiffmeyer already had experience in the underground scene as well as friends who he was able to network with which eventually led them to Lookout!.

The Band…
Well let’s face facts; Green Day may be the most successful and well known mainstream punk band of all time. Their breakthrough Dookie was a major hit, eventually selling over 10 million copies. After a few years their success dropped a bit as their follow up records did not sell quite as well as Dookie. Fortunately, in 2004 they released American Idiot which re-propelled them to worldwide success.

The Guy…
After the fancy college boy attended Humboldt State University, he went on to join The Ne’er Do Wells and the The Ritalins before managing the now defunct The Shruggs and producing an album for garage band The Troublemakers. Currently he lives in San Francisco where he works as a Director of Photography for commercials. He’s probably pretty happy doing what he’s doing but let’s face it, he may be the only member of Green Day to graduate college but after seeing their success, who’s the real American idiot? Just kidding.

6. Bradley Nowell, always member of Sublime

The Story…
Unfortunately, not all of these stories can be taken quite as lightly, as is the case with popular ska-punk band Sublime. Founded byBradley Nowell, Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh, Sublime started by working small venues while playing their eclectic music style which many fans and venues became skeptical of. Sublime, however, would not let up and they eventually began making a name for themselves, mostly in their home of southern California. After releasing 40oz to Freedom and Robbin’ the Hood and getting radio play for their single Date Rape, their popularity increased even more. During this time, Nowell fell victim to an addiction to heroin which he used because he believed it helped with his creativity. In 1996, the guys began work on their self-titled album, originally titled Killin’ It. Soon after the completion of the record, Bradley Nowell suffered a heroin overdose and passed away on May 25, 1996. After some debate, it was decided that on July 30 their album would still be released but as a self-titled record.

The Band…
With the death of Bradley, the remaining members decided to call it quits but we all know that that is not where the story ends, not by a long shot. Their self-titled album went on to become a hit, producing some of the most widely heard, loved and played songs on the radio, even today. The album has sold over 6 million copies and is constantly seen on top ten lists. Years later, the remaining members of Sublime would go on making music in several reincarnations. They began with the relatively short lived Long Beach Dub Allstars and currently as Sublime with Rome with only Eric Wilson remaining and featuring lead singer Rome Ramirez.

The Guy…
Sublime with Rome has some good moments but it is my opinion that their sound is not quite the direction that Bradley would have chosen if he was still with us. Sublime was a great band. Their entire catalog should be celebrated and the passion and novelty of their music came straight from Bradley’s heart. He was an incredible musician and is remembered as a happy, polite and fun loving guy. His legacy continues as Sublime is probably one of the few bands that have kept the ska/reggae sound alive in mainstream radio and that presence influences new bands and their music to this day.


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36 Comments

  1. wastedpotential
    WASTEDPOTENTIAL9/5/2013 2:01 PM | Permalink

    AGREED!!!!

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