It’s a story we all know too well; the news of an untimely passing of a beloved musician is enough to send waves of grief throughout entire communities. The loss of a band member from one of your favourite groups can feel like the loss of a friend, family. Someone who you’ve spent countless hours with, bonding over shared experience through song and sound.
Whether you play music or not, we’re all in a band of sorts. Your band members are your mates, your family or your loved ones and it’s your band of mates that makes live music so memorable.
With hundreds of thousands taking to the roads to attend festivals and live gigs across the nation this summer, ALWAYS LIVE, a state-wide program of live music events across Victoria, and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) have teamed up with the music industry to encourage fans to avoid taking unnecessary risks on our roads, like drink and drug-driving. They are using the power of live music to convey a simple message to fans… “Keep the Band Together.”
Throughout time, bands have experienced the tragic loss of some incredible band members. We’ve all felt their pain and wish there was something that could have been done to keep the band together.
So whilst we reflect on what we can all do to keep our band safe on the roads this summer, let’s also reflect on 5 band members we wish were still here.
1. Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters
Famed drummer of the legendary alt-rock band Foo Fighters for nigh on thirty years, the late Taylor Hawkins only passed away in March of this year while on tour in Colombia. Although throughout his life he struggled with drug addiction, his manner of death is still under investigation.
From being one of the most famed drummers in modern history, to also appearing as Alanis Morissette’s tour drummer, having his own side project, Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders, and forming supergroup NHC with both Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney of Jane’s Addiction, the bar was set high with his skills.
Although the band has held two tribute concerts in honour of Taylor Hawkins, even featuring his son Oliver Shane Hawkins as drummer, the band has yet to announce any further plans following the death of their beloved drummer.
2. Bon Scott of AC/DC
At the age of only 33, following a career that led him through The Valentines, The Spektors, Fraternity, and most famous of all, AC/DC, frontman Bon Scott passed away a few days past a recording session with Malcom and Angus Young for their Back In Black album from what coroners called both ‘acute alcohol poisoning’ and ‘death by misadventure’.
In his sixteen years of music activity, Scott cemented himself as being one of the most influential frontmen that any band has ever scene, with raw energy oozing out of his pores.
The time following his death weren’t without hardship for Aussie hard rockers AC/DC, who briefly considered disbanding. However, with the encouragement of Scott’s family, and the feeling that he’d want the band to continue on, AC/DC brought glam rock vocalists Brian Johnson on board, and eventually went on to release Back In Black as a tribute to the late frontman.
3. Cliff Burton of Metallica
Only 24 at the time of his death, bassist Cliff Burton’s short four-year involvement of Metallica managed to secure him a spot as one of the most revered bassists of all time, including landing him as number 11 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the greatest bassists.
Sadly, during tour in Sweden in support of Master of Puppets, Burton stole to a bunk on the tour bus for some sleep, and during an unknown series of events ranging from black ice on the road to the bus driver either falling asleep or being intoxicated, the bus flipped causing Burton to be expelled through the bus window before the bus ultimately landed on top of him.
Burton’s legacy continues today, with him even being posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, and Metallica, with subsequent bassists Jason Newstead and Robert Trujilo, have carried on despite tragedy to continue as one of the largest heavy metal bands of today.
4. Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac
Extremely fresh in our minds, vocalist and keyboardist of British-American rock group Fleetwood Mac, passed away only last month, causing a stir of tributes across the globe.
Known for her tireless work across over forty years of activity in Fleetwood Mac along with Chicken Shack, Sounds of Blue, and even her solo albums, Christine McVie passed away after “a short bout of illness,” with her family also stating that she was “an incredible human being, and revered musician who was loved universally.”
Even though Fleetwood Mac has had a great deal of musicians over the years, with this death so fresh in the music world, the future of Fleetwood Mac is currently uncertain.
5. Michael Hutchence of INXS
Co-founder of the legendary Australian band INXS, Michael Hutchence, was found dead in his hotel room in Sydney in November of 1997 following many dramatic turns of events which led to coroners and police coming up with multiple theories about his last moments alive.
Death aside, Hutchence during his times active in INXS managed to cement the rock band as one of the largest and most well-known Australian band around the globe, with numerous APRA Music Awards, ARIA Awards, and multiple awards won across the globe for their penchant for all-rounded good music.
Although, following Hutchence’s death, the band hardly played any shows for over a year, but the band foraged forward with 15 further years adding up to the bands impressive 45 total years as an active band.