6 Great Rock Bands Who Didn’t Quite Make It
How could a great rock band, if they are truly great, not become a phenomenon? Right?
Maybe new record label management left them out in the cold. Maybe substance abuse and interpersonal drama spelled the end. The reasons are many why these six great rock bands didn’t quite make it, with emphasis on the word quite, since most achieved an initial degree of success, followed by a failure to followup.
Greenwheel is one of those bands that mysteriously vanished into the ether right on the verge of breakthrough mainstream success. Greenwheel were riding high on the strength of their major label debut “Soma Holiday,” and their breakout single “Breathe,” in 2002, opening for Hoobastank, Default, and Our Lady Peace, but then… Greenwheel was dropped by their label. There were rumbles of a comeback in 2006, but no comeback ever came. Melissa Etheridge covered Green Wheel’s “Breathe” with a version of her own and the Greenwheel guys just evaporated. As of this writing, there is no Facebook or Twitter account for Greenwheel that I can find.
Audiovent are perhaps more famous for being the Incubus brothers’ band. Singer Jason Boyd is the younger brother of Incubus’ Brandon Boyd, and Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger is the brother of Audiovent guitarist Ben Einziger, and step-brother of bassist Paul Fried. Audiovent managed to record one full-length album, 2002’s “Dirty Sexy Knights in Paris,” an excellent hard rock effort that sounds, well, exactly like you’d think an album by the Incubus brothers’ band would sound, a band that grew up playing garage rock in the same neighborhood as Hoobastank. “The Energy“ was the leadoff single and minor hit, “Looking Down“ followed (a bad choice for second single if you ask me). My choice would have been Rain, which starts with sitars, builds to a crescendo and explodes into full-on Rock God voices and guitars badassery. Audiovent broke up in 2003-2004, during the recording process for their second album, and barring a miraculous reconciliation of some kind, we will never know the full promise that was Audiovent.
Injected had a brief flirtation with success, largely on the strength of the song and video for Faithless in 2001, but by the end of 2002 Injected had parted ways with guitarist Jade Lemons. An Injected reunion was rumored in 2006 but it crumbled before it could even happen. Guitarist Lemons wrote “Well the rumors aren’t true (anymore). We flirted with getting back together, but it’s just not gonna happen. Too many day to day things keep us having to focus on paying bills, eating, mowing the grass and expanding our waist sizes. Oh well… almost right? Thanks for the love my friends! Take care, Jade.”
In 2016, Lemons died of a drug overdose, sadly ending any hope of a reunion of Injected’s original lineup, but Injected frontman Danny Grady resurrected Injected (that might actually make a good tour title, Resurrected Injected) with a revamped lineup and album, The Truth About You, in 2017. Hopefully, it’s effective in making up for lost time.
The building, pulse-pounding anticipation of a great musical moment is nearly irresistible, so in the event you should pull into your driveway as the first verse of Oleander’s 1999 hit “Why I’m Here” winds to a close, you are excused for sitting in your car for a moment, because the hook is coming, and it’s a good one.
I can’t love you, anymooooorrre.
Great hook, and “Are You There” got some time on rock radio in 2000, but two more albums from Oleander failed to make a splash, and by 2004, the group had gone on indefinite hiatus. “Something Beautiful” was released in 2013, to little fanfare, which is a shame, because the title track is a great hard rock anthem. Just one more band that had potential to be so much more, but didn’t find their audience. At the time of this writing, there are no upcoming events listed at Oleander.net.
Seven Mary Three
Of all the bands on this list, Seven Mary Three might be the most-heard entry, since 1995’s American Standard spawned one of the most played radio rock tracks of the last two decades. Cumbersome, along with “Water’s Edge” drove American Standard to platinum status, but five subsequent albums on a number of labels met diminishing returns. Seven Mary Three’s Facebook page has been inactive since 2012 as of this writing. In an alternate universe where good things happen to good bands, 7M3 are superstars.
Days of the New
Days of the New set the rock world on fire in 1994 with Touch, Peel & Stand, a rock track which stood to prove that barefoot guys with hemp necklaces and drop-tuned acoustic guitars could rock just as heavy as the metal guys. And they did, but ego and drug abuse plagued bandleader Travis Meeks, chronicled on an episode of A&E’s Intervention, and the band parted ways, with Meeks retaining control of the name. The remaining members of Days of the New formed a new band, Tantric, with a new singer, and the Meeks-led Days of the New continued to record with diminishing results. Check out a sporadically updated Days of the New Facebook fan page.
What do you think? There are several artists I almost listed here, but didn’t for a number of reasons. Nina Gordon (not a rock band, primarily known as part of another group), Rocket from the Crypt (obscure), Mutha’s Day Out (more obscure), Toadies (next time), and Marvelous 3 (another for next time). Who else have I forgotten? Let me know in the comments.
Troy Larson is a father, author, and photographer originally from Minot, North Dakota, now residing in Fargo.