The Ol’ Switcheroo

Sometimes a band makes it big, releases several albums, has a devout fanbase, and is on top of the world. Sometimes a member of said band wants to branch out and try some solo work, which can go either way. Sometimes it’s the opposite, a solo artist teams up with other solo acts  to form a “Super Group.” Let’s talk about that.

Now, as many of my readers may recall, I’ve already discussed Super Groups in a Previous Post,  so I won’t be revisiting that topic. No, instead We’ll be talking about “going solo.”

How about the case of Billy Corgan? Let me start by saying that I’m a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan, and have been for many years. I was not, however, a fan of his Smashing Pumpkins clone side project Zwan, which featured all the SP members except D’arcy. And then Corgan decided to release a solo album, which, to me, sounded just like a less angsty SP and more Zwan. Luckily, Corgan “got the band back together” and Smashing Pumpkins have been releasing new music and touring ever since. Albeit, the lineup isn’t exactly original.

Hmmm, a solo album sounding similar to the artist’s previous band? Sounds familiar doesn’t it? That’s because Serj Tankian did the same thing. I vividly remember hanging out with my friends when one of them put Tankian’s debut solo album “Empty Walls” on. Moments into the opening track, I had asked “Wait, did System of a Down come out with a new album?”Not only is Tankian’s voice very unique, but the music style he pursued with his solo work was the same as the band he left. Now, System of a Down has since played several shows and toured, but a new album hasn’t been released since 2005’s “Hypnotize,” however Tankian has continued to release solo albums.

What happens when the entire band wants to do solo work? It can work after all. I mean, after the Beatles split up, all four members enjoyed successful careers. It doesn’t always work out though. Case in point: ALL FOUR KISS SOLO ALBUMS. 

I’m referring to the four albums that were released at the same time back in 1978. Yeah, they’re iconic album covers, but that doesn’t make up for the train wreck  that the albums actually were. Sure each one had a decent song or two, I mean Frehley’s “New York Groove” is a pretty solid tune, but overall the albums were just “meh.” Nothing compared to the success that KISS gained as a whole, so even though solo albums continue to be released, KISS still goes strong.

So yes, going solo can be a failed move, but sometimes it works out. You can’t really blame an artist for trying, right?

What are some of your favorite solo disasters? Comment below!

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