The punk police investigate, the rock regulatory office checks the musical paragraphs and Herbert Grönemeyer changes the text of an old song: “When is a band a band?” What happened? A band has a new singer and the internet goes crazy. Well, in the current case it’s Slime, one of the oldest and most legendary German punk bands, who lost their influential vocalist Dirk Jora in 2020 after 40 years and at the end of 2021 a featured previously largely unknown former street musician Tex Brasket on the mic.
Well, bands that have been playing in the same formation for many years are rather the exception. The “original cast” sounds pretty mythical, but what does it even mean? Yes, going to the “front” is often life-threatening and often a reason for separation. But there is also plenty of counter evidence where it works. Maybe AC/DC’s Axl Rose isn’t the best example, one or the other hard rock retiree will gasp anyway: Bon Scott! But after 42 years, Brian Johnson deserves a pat on the back. Pierre-Gabriel? Philip Collins? The main thing is Genesis!
Elsewhere it was the voice change that made the breakthrough in the first place, see Judas Priest, who was still playing blues without Rob Halford. And in Saxony, even the latest authority knows that Holly Loose will never reach the vocal qualities of her predecessor Robin Sohn – but with sympathy and charisma, Loose has been stable and popular for the longest period of the group. Punk horror legends Misfits have been proving for 45 years that changing singers is sometimes great, sometimes embarrassing.
Once great, once rather embarrassing would also be my assessment of the two previously released Slime songs with “the new one”. The excitement about this amuses me for two reasons. First: Jora may have been charismatic, but he neither founded the band nor wrote any songs for them. Second: The oh so open punk scene suddenly discovers a cult of personality in the comment columns: “A band with a new singer may never keep its name!”, it is said in a similar and often expressed way less diplomatically. Just marginalizing four other longtime members: full of punk. Even more punk: “It’s a completely different product!” As if music were like children’s chocolate: the child on the wrapper has changed there too, and yet the stuff no longer has a name and no longer tastes the same!