Bands That Are Still Touring With No Original Members


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There are two kinds of music fans in the world. Some will not see a band perform unless key members are part of the show, so when Black Sabbath embarked on their farewell tour with only three of the four original members in tow, those fans boycotted the entire enterprise and refused to go.


The other kind of fan doesn’t care who’s in the band as long as they still play the big hits, meaning that no original band members are necessary for the band to tour. Here’s our list of some of those bands, almost all of whom are on tour this very minute, thereby creating the equivalent of a Beatles tour with nary a John, Paul, George, or Ringo in sight.

Image Credit: Skynyrd then & now by Shelbymay & MediaFeed (CC BY-SA).

1. Yes

Yes was one of the most popular progressive rock bands of the 1970s, and their hit 1971 song “Roundabout” is still in regular rotation on FM radio. Fans still come to see them, so they have continued to tour despite the lack of any original members. The band’s closest thing to a “mainstay” is guitarist Steve Howe, who joined the group for its third album. But hey, if you need to hear all 22 minutes of “Gates of Delirium” performed live, they’re touring Europe at this very moment.    

Image Credit: Yes by Stéphane Gallay (CC BY).


GWAR is a heavy metal band that took the Alice Cooper shock rock formula of fake blood, props, and mock executions as far as it could go, aided in part by costumes that fully obscured the band members’ identities. Countless people have come and gone through its ranks since frontman David “Oderus Urungus” Brockie founded the group in 1984, but when he passed away in 2014, the band chose to continue, in part because the costumes ensured that no one knew who was onstage anyway. The band will start its next U.S. tour in June.

Image Credit: GWAR by Metal Chris (CC BY-NC).

3. Iron Butterfly

Iron Butterfly was founded in the 1960s and is best known for the interminable “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” which lasts for 17 minutes, almost enough time for your last toke of the sticky icky to wear off. Everyone in the original band has died, except for singer Doug Ingle, but you would be wrong if you’d expect him to come back for the touring income. Every current band member was drafted in the 2000s, except for singer Eric Barnett, who joined in 1991. Their last tour wrapped up in 2021, but since even death hasn’t stopped this band from touring, you can most likely expect to see them onstage again at some point.

Image Credit: Wikipedia.

4. Canned Heat

Canned Heat is a blues rock band formed in 1965 that performed at Woodstock and is best known for the song “Going Up the Country.” Founding members Alan Wilson and Bob Hite both passed away decades ago and currently, the only member of the band who dates back to its olden days is drummer Fito De La Parra, who was not an original member but joined the group for its second album. This incarnation of the band will be touring Europe over the summer and then playing in Las Vegas in September, so buy your concert tickets and brown acid now.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Skip Taylor Productions / Liberty Records.

5. Blood, Sweat & Tears

Like Canned Heat, the 1960s jazz-rock band Blood, Sweat and Tears also graced the stage at the Woodstock festival, but they had already begun hemorrhaging original members before they ever set foot on that stage. In the mid-1970s, drummer Bobby Colomby became the last original band member to leave the group, and the lineup fluctuated countless times, at one point including singer Bo Bice, who came in second place to Carrie Underwood on the 2005 season of American Idol. See their current lineup in May 2024 if you’re in Illinois or Indiana.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Columbia Records.

6. Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Skynyrd had lineup issues from the get-go. Indeed, no two studio albums had the same lineup, but the band remained popular anyway on the strength of such hits as “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird.” In 1977, their private airplane crashed while they were on tour, killing two members, but they returned in 1991 with a revamped lineup that contained only three of the band’s original seven. Eventually, only guitarist Gary Rossington remained, but he passed away in 2023, and there is now nobody left from the band’s original lineup. Despite this, their current lineup goes back out on tour in May 2024.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

7. Molly Hatchet

Something about Southern Rock bands makes them different from other rock bands, and it’s not just about geography. What makes them different is the constant, revolving door lineup changes that plague these bands from the outset, and Florida’s Molly Hatchet of “Flirtin’ with Disaster” fame is no exception. Founded by guitarist Dave Hlubek in 1973, every single original member of the band is dead as of 2020, and the “Molly Hatchet” name is now owned by guitarist Bobby Ingram, who replaced Hlubek in 1987. The band’s next world tour begins in May 2024.

Image Credit: Mollyhatchetband/ Wikimedia Commons.

8. The Pointer Sisters

The Pointer Sisters were formed in 1970 and consisted of June, Bonnie, and Anita Pointer. They had multiple hit songs over the next two decades, including “Slow Hand,” “I’m So Excited,” and “Neutron Dance,” but June Pointer passed away in 2006, Anita Pointer stepped down from the group in 2015, and Bonnie Pointer had already left the group in 1977, leaving only Ruth Pointer, who had joined in 1972, as the last remaining sister. Today, the group is rounded out by her daughter Issa and granddaughter Sadako, and if you’re not bothered by the fact that none of them are sisters, you can catch them on tour starting in June 2024.


Image Credit: Wikipedia.

9. Heart

The hard rock band Heart may be synonymous with sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, but they were not original founding members. That honor went to guitarist Roger Fisher and bassist Steve Fossen, who formed the band in 1973. The Wilson sisters did not join until 1975, and the band had great commercial success for the rest of the decade. By 1982, the founding members had either quit or been fired, which put the Wilson sisters in charge of the band. The group’s lineup shifted numerous times, but they’re still at it and in the middle of a very long and ambitious world tour.

Image Credit: Wikipedia/Public Domain.

10. Quiet Riot

When Quiet Riot hit it big with their 1983 hit album “Metal Health,” many people were unaware that it was their third album and that singer Kevin DuBrow was already the only remaining original member. The band was formed by bassist Kelly Garni and guitarist Randy Rhoads, with Rhoads going on to play with Ozzy Osbourne after two 1970s albums with Quiet Riot that were only released in Japan. DuBrow passed away in 2007, and the band underwent multiple lineup changes. After the death of drummer Frankie Banali in 2020, bassist Rudy Sarzo, who had played on “Metal Health,” returned to the band to embark on a tour to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the breakthrough album.

Image Credit: Quiet Riot by Dopefish (CC BY-SA).

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