When I was in high school, I had probably three favorite bands: Metallica, Van Halen, and Anthrax. (Okay, don't change the channel, I swear I'll make this post interesting to you folks who didn't like any of those three bands, just give me a chance). When alternative bands came into prominence, all three of these bands imploded.
Metallica was first, they sold out. They brought in Bob Rock, a producer who had worked with bands like Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, and Motley Crue. Suddenly there were ballads on Metallica albums, and the band was getting major airplay with rock-not-metal songs like "Enter Sandman." Most of you reading this probably had never heard a Metallica song previous to that, but those of us who liked Metallica already, have never heard a new Metallica song since then. As time went by, Metallica became more and more mainstream, and less and less special. In recent years, they've struggled to return to their early sound, but have been unable to recapture their mojo.
Anthrax was next. They recognized the coming trend, and despite several years of increasing popularity that would one day lead to their band being considered one of the "Big 4" heavy metal bands, they fired their lead singer Joey Belladonna in favor of some guy with a deeper voice that might sound less like a hair band singer. I listened to their first album with the new guy, and found that I no longer needed to purchase Anthrax albums any more, and I haven't heard another new song of theirs since then. Their mojo was lost quite completely.
Then there was Van Halen. Some might say they'd already lost their mojo before I ever made it to high school. David Lee Roth was their original singer, and he left the band in 1985 to pursue a solo career. The band replaced him with Sammy Hagar. This gave them a completely different sound, but it proved to be popular, and they still turned in number one albums and filled arenas for years. Personally, I like both versions of the band. Each one has their positives and negatives. But they couldn't keep it together. Just like with Roth, Hagar left the band after a fight. Hagar claims he was fired, the band claims he quit. It only got worse, as they tried to reunite with Roth, then instead installed Gary Cherone, ex-singer of the band Extreme. Then they got back with Hagar. Then they got rid of Hagar and got back with Roth. It's a sad story, and these days there are two bands out there, one called Van Halen with the Van Halen brothers and Roth. The other called Chickenfoot that includes Hagar and the old Van Halen bassist and background vocalist Michael Anthony. Mojo is thoroughly gone.
So, anyway. Today I discovered by chance on the interwebs that Anthrax has brought Joey Belladonna back in as their singer, and they are a few weeks away from releasing the first album with him as their singer since 1990. You can hear the first song off the album here, it sure sounds a lot like their old stuff. I suppose the band is trying to get their mojo back. Who knows if they'll succeed. I'm kind of excited about it though. I'll certainly check it out, and see if I can call one of my teenage favorites back for real.
This leads me to the question. Are there any bands you can think of that have simply weathered the storm of the years and never fallen apart and lost their mojo?
The only band that comes to mind for me is U2. Although some might say they lost their mojo in the nineties after they did their album Achtung Baby. Zooropa and Pop seemed to take the band in a direction that people didn't care to hear. They managed to return to their roots successfully with All That You Can't Leave Behind, and haven't seemed to lose it since, so you could make an argument for them. I can't think of any others, but I'm sure there's bands that you, dear reader, like and could support a claim for them never losing their mojo. Lay it on me.