Rock resignations: the band members that quit

8 July 2024, 14:54

Suede in April 1993, having words? Mat Osman, Bernard Butler, Brett Anderson, Simon Gilbert.
Suede in April 1993, having words? Mat Osman, Bernard Butler, Brett Anderson, Simon Gilbert. Picture: Gie Knaeps/Getty Images

Most bands will have their disagreements, but sometimes it's enough to make one member actually leave the band. We profile some of the walk-outs and where they are now.

Radio X

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  1. Suede - Bernard Butler

    Not long after the ironically-titled single Stay Together was released, guitarist Bernard Butler left the band that had kick-started the wave of Britpop. Butler and Suede frontman Brett Anderson were a songwriting colossus, but a fractious relationship was only exacerbated by a disagreement over the production of the band's second album, Dog Man Star, and the death of the guitarist's father. On 8th July 1994, it was announced that Butler had left to go solo, while Suede regrouped and carried on. Anderson and Butler didn't speak to each other for the best part of a decade.

    Suede - Stay Together (Official Video)

  2. R.E.M. - Bill Berry

    One of the most famous rock departures in history saw drummer Bill Berry leaving R.E.M. at the height of their powers in 1995... to become a hay farmer. This was after a serious health scare where he collapsed on stage because of a life-threatening brain aneurysm. Thankfully, all the band members are still pals, despite the group calling it a day in 2011.

    R.E.M. - Turn You Inside-Out (Official Music Video)

  3. New Order - Peter Hook

    In 2007, Peter Hook announced that New Order had broken up. Founding members Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris later said that was news to them and New Order continued without him. The bassist now fronts his own band, Peter Hook And The Light.

    New Order - The Perfect Kiss (Official Music Video)

  4. Depeche Mode - Vince Clarke

    Cheeky leather-clad scamps Depeche Mode overcame the departure of their Vince Clarke to reach new heights. Plenty of things were blamed for the move, including diverging music tastes and fights on the band's tour bus. The Mode went on to get very, very dark indeed...and Vince formed Erasure.

    Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough (Official Video)

  5. Interpol - Carlos D

    The most eye-catching member of Interpol, Carlos Dengler walked out on the band in 2010 to pursue a career as an actor. His bandmate Sam Fogarino told The Guardian: "He really, really didn't like the bass. It's not his instrument of choice, and it definitely wasn't his first instrument."

    Interpol - Obstacle 1

  6. Red Hot Chili Peppers - John Frusciante

    Guitarist Frusciante is unusual in that he's actually quit the Chili Peppers on more than one occasion. The first time was in May 1992, after the band's sudden rise to fame with Blood Sugar Sex Magick. The fame - and increasing drug use within the group - led him to admit to NY Rock in 1999: "Everything seemed to be happening at once and I just couldn't cope with it." In 1998, after a spell in rehab and kicking his habit, Frusciante rejoined the Chilis for their Californication album. Exhaustion through overwork got the better of him and he left the band for the second time in 2009 to be replaced by Josh Klinghoffer. In 2021, Frusciante is back with the Chili Peppers and is working on their forthcoming twelfth album.

    Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge [Official Music Video]

  7. Kaiser Chiefs - Nick Hodgson

    Nick Hodgson was the main songwriter for the Chiefs, but he reckoned that age (he quit at 35) and a dislike of touring meant it was time for some quiet, rather than riots. He now focuses his attention on producing, but he released a solo album, Tell Your Friends, in 2018.

    Kaiser Chiefs - Oh My God

  8. Suede - Justine Frischmann

    A founder member of Suede with her then-boyfriend Brett Anderson, Justine left the band after falling for Damon Albarn. "Better to be Pete Best than Linda McCartney," she's said since. She formed Elastica and after quitting music altogether, became a painter.

    Suede w. Justine Frischmann - live at The Borderline (part 1 of 2)

  9. Genesis - Peter Gabriel

    Gabriel was the main focus of Genesis in the band's prog years, with his remarkable stage outfits and theatrical manner. However, in 1975 he sensationally announced he was quitting, following a string of acclaimed albums. In an open letter to the music press, he admitted that he was disillusioned with his band's success: "I had begun to think in business terms; treating records and audiences as money was taking me away from them. When performing, there were less shivers up and down the spine." Ironically, his solo career threatened to overshadow that of Genesis in commercial terms - his first solo single was the evergreen Solsbury Hill in March 1977.

    Peter Gabriel - Solsbury Hill

  10. Blur - Graham Coxon

    The heady days of Britpop had taken their toll on Blur guitarist Coxon - he'd been in rehab for alcohol issues at the end of 2001, leaving the rest of the band to continue making their seventh studio album. But when he returned, he found the atmosphere had changed. "The group didn't want me to record for the Think Tank album," he explained in 2006. "So I took it as a sign to leave." Coxon only appears on the track Battery In Your Leg... but he returned to the fold for Blur's reunion shows in 2009.

    Blur - Battery In Your Leg - Think Tank

  11. Pixies - Kim Deal

    The reunited Pixies stayed together a lot longer than many predicted but ultimately it was too good to last. Kim left the band in 2013 and has worked on solo material and released a fifth album with The Breeders in 2018. She has been permanently replaced in the band by Paz Lenchantin.

    Pixies - Here Comes Your Man (Official Video)

  12. Editors - Chris Urbanowicz

    The ultimate "creative differences" announcement came in 2012 when the band posted on their Facebook page: "In a decision entirely based upon future musical direction, and with huge sadness, Editors and Chris Urbanowicz have parted ways." He's concentrating on producing now, while the band have gone to release three albums with a new line-up.

    Editors - All Sparks

  13. The Velvet Underground - Lou Reed

    The whole Velvet Underground saga is something of a soap opera, but here's the short version: the original line-up of Lou Reed, John Cale, Moe Tucker and Sterling Morrison collaborated with the singer Nico and artist Andy Warhol, producing two hugely influential albums in the late 1960s. By 1968, Reed had fired Cale, and the band were now more of a showcase for Reed's songwriting chops rather than the experimental art collective they had been. Despite drafting in a new member, Doug Yule, Reed quit the band in August 1970 to go solo, leaving The Velvet Underground to struggle on for a couple more years.

    I'm Waiting For The Man