When the Voice Goes: 5 Rock Singers Who Have Lost It Live
Photo by Marco Torres
Last week, this video of Guns n' Roses playing at the Bridge School Benefit in California surfaced on YouTube, raising a lot of eyebrows among music fans. It was an acoustic performance of "Welcome to the Jungle," which might sound like a confusing prospect in and of itself, but what has everyone talking is the singer.
One might suspect that whoever is in this video is a bad karaoke singer, but no, it really is Axl Rose. While Axl has always been spotty off and on live, this one takes the cake for bad performances. Only once in a while does one hear a trace of the old Axl in there. The band quickly took to the Internet to explain that Axl was suffering from strep throat during this show.
Strep throat or not, though, it's hard to keep up a singing style like his over the years, as many legendary rockers have found out in their middle age. Unfortunately for them, YouTube has become a showcase for all their worst vocal moments, and there's no hiding it anymore when the voice goes.
5. James Hetfield
In this video from 2006, we see Metallica struggling their way through what must be the billionth performance of "Fade to Black." The band is sloppy, which is all right considering how many times they've played it. I mean, it's hard to imagine them really putting much effort into this one these days.
But still, James seems like he's barely trying to sing well. Here he lazily works his way through it and when he does try to put some edge into his voice, it's weak and flaccid. Even worse, he botches the lyrics early on. One could say this was a bad night or that the song just isn't inspiring anymore, but this is pretty much just James on everything these days.
4. Cedric Bixler-Zavala
After almost ten years of punk yelling in At the Drive-In and then switching to an intensive, high-pitched singing style in The Mars Volta, it's hard to believe Bixler-Zavala's voice has held up as well as it has. So maybe this video where his voice is cracking on almost every single high note shouldn't surprise anyone. It's a shame regardless, but The Mars Volta should probably consider tuning down in the future. Bixler-Zavala just can't hack it on those highs anymore.