11 of the greatest bands that rose from the ashes of others

Written by Tyler Jenke on 23rd May, 2018
11 of the greatest bands that rose from the ashes of others

We’re already far too aware of the fact that good things don’t last forever. After all, how many times have you discovered a band only to find out they broke up years before you got into them? This of course means that your dedicated, music-loving self will never experience the joy of seeing them live, or the anticipation of a new record coming out. In short, it’s a terrible feeling.

But sometimes we get lucky, and sometimes we witness a new group borne from the remains of the previous group. In some cases we’ve seen band members partially reunite under a different name, a new singer enter the group, or members from different bands coming together to make something brilliant.

Some might be a hit, others might be a miss, but most of the time we’re just glad our favourite bands are still making music. In that spirit, here’s a list of the great bands who rose from ashes of a former outfit to thrive.

New Order

If you were around Manchester, England in the late ’70s, you might have happened upon a little group by the name of Joy Division. One of the most famous bands on the Factory Records label, Joy Division were only around for a few short years before their frontman, Ian Curtis, took his own life at the age of 23.

Remaining true to their posthumously-released song ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, the remaining members split the group, before reforming as New Order. The newly-formed New Order would go on to become one of the most famous and influential bands of all time, with their biggest hit ‘Blue Monday’ becoming the best selling 12” single of all time.


Uncle Tupelo were an American alternative country group who were only active from 1987 to 1994. Influential in their time, their career was cut short by the departure of singer Jay Farrar after his relationship with his bandmate Jeff Tweedy went sour. The remaining members of the group decided to side with Tweedy, and took it upon themselves to reform under their new name of Wilco.

Incredibly influential in their own right, Wilco have made some of the most-revered albums of the last two decades, and have been covered by many artists, including Paul Dempsey, Fraser A. Gorman, and Courtney Barnett (who performed with Jeff Tweedy’s new band, Tweedy, back in 2016).

The Polyphonic Spree

Back in 1995, Tripping Daisy were a relatively popular alt-rock band from Dallas, Texas. While their success was mainly limited to their home country, their biggest song, ‘I Got A Girl’, managed to break the top 20 in the 1995 Hottest 100. Sadly, near the end of 1999, guitarist Wes Berggren was found dead from an apparent drug overdose, signalling the untimely end of the band.

The following year, Tripping Daisy’s singer Tim DeLaughter took it upon himself to create a new band to reflect the music he listened to growing up. The result was The Polyphonic Spree, a multi-member, choral-rock group with a revolving door lineup. The group have since become immensely popular around the world, with their music being featured everywhere from movie soundtracks, and even scoring the band a performance on the TV show Scrubs.


Back in the 90s, two of the most famous and influential bands of the time were Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden. While Soundgarden’s influential grunge sound was somewhat overshadowed by the success of a little known band called Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine managed to set their own trend, making rap and rock work together into something mind-blowing.

By 2001, both bands had broken up, but their members weren’t done with music. Rage Against The Machine’s members decided to effectively recruit Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell as their new singer so they could continue playing music. But this wasn’t an INXS-type deal where they continued the band with a totally different singer. Instead, they decided to make music under a new name, marking the birth of Audioslave, and providing fans the world over with plenty of new tunes to play air guitar to.

The Mars Volta

In the early 2000s, one of the most talked about bands was At The Drive-In, despite having been around since 1993. Confronting and unapologetic, the group’s popularity reached new heights with the release of their album Relationship Of Command. Following some groundbreaking tracks like ‘One Armed Scissor’ and ‘Pattern Against User’, and an infamous performance at the 2001 Sydney Big Day Out, the group broke up, much to the dismay of many fans.

Almost immediately after the group’s breakup, singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López formed The Mars Volta. Featuring a much more progressive and experimental tone than At The Drive-In, the group were hugely popular as well, but famously unpopular with the folks over at Pitchfork. Following the breakup of The Mars Volta in 2012, Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López worked together again to form Antemasque, and are now playing with At The Drive-In once again.

Crowded House

Crowded House are an Aussie (or New Zealand, depending on who you ask) musical institution whose tunes have soundtracked the lives of thousands of Australians. Like the rest of the bands on this list, Crowded House didn’t start without any experience though, their history lies within the breakup of New Zealand greats Split Enz.

Split Enz started in Auckland in the early ’70s, and quickly grew to be one of New Zealand’s premier quirky pop rock groups. As the years went on, singer Tim Finn recruited his brother Neil into the fold, and when Tim left the band in 1983, the group folded soon after.

Relocating to Melbourne soon after, Neil Finn and Split Enz drummer Paul Hester decided to form The Mullanes with Nick Seymour, younger brother of Hunters & Collectors’ Mark Seymour, on bass. After a name change, the group became Crowded House and soon released their debut, self-titled album, making them household names all over the country.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Nick Cave is a man who needs no introduction. His legacy speaks for itself, and his popularity both here and abroad has turned him into one of the music world’s most loved figures. But Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ history lies with The Birthday Party. Forming in Melbourne in 1978 as The Boys Next Door, The Birthday Party were a frenetic post-punk band whose influence is still felt today.

Fronted by Cave, alongside future Crime & The City Solution members Mick Harvey and Rowland S. Howard, the group’s short existence bought them worldwide attention for their intense live shows, and intriguing, innovative music.

Following the group’s breakup due to tension between members in 1983, Cave and Harvey joined forces with Einstürzende Neubauten singer Blixa Bargeld to form Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Following a shaky formation period which saw the group relocate to Germany for a while, Cave and the rest of the group slowly matured into the influential band we know them as today.

Pearl Jam

It’s hard to imagine a music scene without Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame members Pearl Jam, but prior to 1990, that was exactly the case. Between 1984 and 1988, the future American grunge capital of Seattle was home to the band Green River, a band whose success was mainly limited to their home city.

Following the group’s breakup, guitarist and bassist Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament formed Mother Love Bone with Andrew Wood. Following Wood’s untimely death, they recruited former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons into a new band. Looking for a singer, Irons gave the group’s demo to his basketball buddy Eddie Vedder, and the rest, as they say, is history.


If you’re keeping score at home, we haven’t forgotten what happened to the other members of the band when Green River broke up. That’s right, it seems as though Green River was as much of a creative zeitgeist as the Sex Pistols’ famous Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall gig in 1976.

You see, after the breakup of Green River, two of the group’s other members, Steve Turner and Mark Arm decided to form their own band, one which went by the name of Mudhoney. While they started two years before Pearl Jam, they never reached the same fame, though their debut single ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’ remains one of the most influential singles in grunge history.

Queens Of The Stone Age

Before the advent of the ’90s, the genre of stoner-rock was barely a thing, nor was California’s Palm Desert known as being a creative hub. Well, that all changed when Kyuss hit the scene. Heavy, rough, and psychedelic as heck, Kyuss were hugely influential in the stoner-rock genre, with plenty of bands, such as Australia’s The Fauves, drawing influence from their music.

However in 1995, the circus figuratively left town, as the working relationship between the band members soured and the group decided to part ways. Guitarist Josh Homme decided to start a new band though, and after recruiting Kyuss’ final drummer Alfredo Hernández, formed Queens Of The Stone Age. Now known as one of the most successful hard rock groups of the last two decades, QOTSA has seen numerous lineup changes, with former Kyuss guitarist Nick Oliveri serving as a member for a while as well.


Adelaide’s Bad//Dreems have been kicking around since 2012, and in that time they’ve released an EP, and two stunning full-length albums. The origin story you’ll always hear is that they met together at their local football club, but the roots of the band actually go back a little further.

Back in 2007, Adelaide had just seen the birth of The Shiny Brights, an indie rock quintet that included future Baddies drummer Miles Wilson and bassist James Bartold. Other members of the group included their charismatic singer Wolfgang Marwe, and future Battlehounds guitarist Alex Rajkowski. At the same time, Melbourne’s Dardanelles were kicking goals with rave reviews everywhere for their music and live shows.

Following guitarist Alex Cameron’s return to Adelaide, and a few happy events in-between, Miles, James, and Alex managed to keep things in the family by getting singer Ben Marwe into the mix, creating the band we all know and love today.

The article was originally published on Tone Deaf