I Am the Band

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"The band of the nineties! If you want to call it a band, because it's a one-man name."
Fatboy Slim, "The Rockafeller Skank"

Sometimes, casual fans of a rock band can only identify one member by name. And sometimes, those fans are absolutely right, because that one guy is the band.

There are two ways this can happen:

  1. Rock music is perceived as unfriendly to solo artists: the functional unit is the rock band, with artists like Meat Loaf and Elvis Costello the exception rather than the rule. Singer-songwriters who want to rock will avert this by taking this trope to its Logical Extreme and performing under a moniker that's A Good Name for a Rock Band. You can identify this type of crypto-solo artist by these signs:
    • He writes all the songs himself. All of them.
    • He either plays all the instruments on studio albums himself, or he has other musicians (who are frequently replaced) to hold the instruments for him.
    • Live shows require backing musicians. But they won't be listed as guest musicians in advertising for the show.
  1. In a Long Runner band, every member leaves, except for one. These splits can be friendly or not, they can happen all at once or over several years, but either way the one founding member who doesn't leave becomes the only constant. Often becomes a case of Revolving Door Band.
  2. In a similar fashion to the above, a famous member of a band may leave and form a new group with several less well-known performers, thus becoming the most recognizable (and usually controlling) member of the new band almost by default.

Compare with Face of the Band, Spotlight-Stealing Title, One Name Only. Also see One-Man Band, for the guys who play all their instruments simultaneously. Sounds like, but isn't, I Am the Trope.

Examples (alphabetical order, please):


Real Life[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Alan Parsons Project's only regular members were Alan Parsons (producer/sound engineer) and Eric Woolfson (songwriter), neither of whom sang or played instruments regularly (although Woolfson does sing lead on the band's biggest hit, "Eye in the Sky").
    • Eric Woolfson played keyboards on a lot of their later stuff.
  • Sort of confusingly, Alice Cooper was always the name of the band AND the lead singer. During the "band" period, they had a stable lineup who were "members of Alice Cooper", including Vince Furnier "playing" Alice. Afterwards, Alice went "solo" and has had a revolving door of musicians / collaborators who are merely "his backing band" or playing "with" Alice Cooper. The singer though, was ALWAYS supposed to be Alice Cooper.
    • And as he uses the name he has to pay royalty rights to all the previous band members. He has stated that they are all very happy.
  • Amethystium is Øystein Ramfjord, although this may be more of a Stage Names.
  • Anal Cunt was Seth Putnam + whoever else, usually including Tim Morse.
  • Annihilator is Jeff Waters...has been, probably always will be.
  • Anthrax is Scott Ian, and to a lesser extent, Charlie Benante.
  • And One is Steve Naghavi.
  • Aphex Twin is Richard D. James.
  • Aquarium went through so many lineup changes in its 35 years history, that it's now accepted fact that it is whoever Boris Grebenschikov feels like playing with at the moment.
  • Aqualung is basically Matt Hales, and sometimes his brother Ben.
  • Assemblage 23 is Tom Shear.
  • Autopsy is almost entirely Chris Reifert.
  • Autumns Eyes is a one-man metal band, Dan Mitchell.
  • Ayreon is Arjen Anthony Lucassen... sort of. It's more of a musical project he directs.
  • Ayria is Jennifer Parkin.
  • Aztec Camera is centered around Scottish singer-songwriter Roddy Frame.
  • Bat for Lashes is Natasha Khan.
  • Bathory is Quorthon (Tomas Ace Forsberg)
  • Aversion: Brian Wilson tried to be The Beach Boys in the mid-1960s, but darned if Mike Love just wasn't going to let that happen. This has made Love very unpopular among many Beach Boys fans.
    • Mike Love is The Beach Boys now, as he is the only original member currently in the ensemble, and has largely ruled the band with an iron fist since the late 1960s.
  • The Beatles consciously tried to avert this throughout their career, attempting to give each member a somewhat equal spotlight. It worked mostly, each member having attained quite high popularity, though John Lennon and Paul McCartney are usually regarded as more key members by the general public for the sole virtue that they wrote and sang the majority of the music. Before the band struck it big and had their final lineup, however, it was essentially John Lennon's band (and one of their early name ideas was Johnny & the Moondogs).
  • Barry Gibb has been the only constant member of The Bee Gees since their inception. Robin temporarily left the band in 1969 to attempt a solo career, and the band nowadays is just Barry, Maurice having passed away in 2003 and Robin in 2012.
  • Beirut is Zach Condon. Realpeople is Zach Condon with no one chipping in.
  • Black Sabbath, for a period in the '80s, was essentially "Tony Iommi + three".
    • Tony Iommi came to essentially own the name by virtue of being the only member to never quit the band, and if he wanted to could start up Black Sabbath again with three complete newcomers. The most recent incarnation of the band was billed as "Heaven and Hell" solely for the reason that Ronnie James Dio fronted it rather than Ozzy. Also, Ozzy Osbourne said that one of the reasons he wasn't very enthusiastic about making a new Sabbath album was he preferred being the boss instead of being one of four equals, which could qualify.
      • Subverted in recent years thanks to the original lineup (and *only* the original line-up) being inducted into the R&R Ho F in 2006, and a later lawsuit filed by Ozzy that was settled. There are still more Sabbath studio albums without Ozzy than with him, but presumably, a band named "Black Sabbath" will only exist again if Ozzy is involved.
  • Black Label Society was originally Zakk Wylde's solo project for when not working with Ozzy Osbourne. He wrote everything and performed the guitars and bass (his live band's drummer has always recorded for him) for studio recordings. After four albums, he realized he hated playing bass and felt that the bass felt empty with a guitarist playing it, so he brought his live band's bassist(s) to the studio for the next album. He still writes and records everything else himself.
  • Blaze was the band that Blaze Bayley formed after leaving Iron Maiden. After he hired a producer the rest of the band hated, they quit. Bayley has since changed the band's name to Blaze Bayley due to being effectively a brand new band.
  • Blood Vomit is Keith Barnard.
  • Bloodsoaked is Peter Hasselbrack, former owner of Bloodsoaked Records, the label that Blood Vomit's sole album was released on.
  • Blue Amazon was originally a collaboration between Lee Softley and James Reid; after they split up, Softley continued producing solo under the name.
  • Bon Iver is Justin Vernon.
  • Bon Jovi is a subversion. People often think it's Jon Bon Jovi's solo act but Tico Torres, David Bryan, and Richie Sambora have been there almost from the beginning and are fairly important members, especially Sambora.
  • Bosson, a one-man One-Hit Wonder Boy Band, is Staffan Olson.
  • Boston is Tom Scholz, the main composer who plays most instruments on studio (but on stage is the lead guitarist).
  • Brian Jonestown Massacre: Anton Newcombe.
  • Bright Eyes is a subversion as Conor Oberst always points out interviews that Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott are also permanent members, but they're frequently accused of falling into this. In fact Oberst has done two albums billed as a solo artist specifically because those two members weren't involved.
  • Burzum is Varg Vikernes. This also goes for the hundreds (if not thousands) of other black metal solo projects out there.
  • The CamPanulas is Conan Fiori-McPhee.
  • Captain Jack was Francisco Gutierrez and various female vocalists.
  • Casiotone For The Painfully Alone's first two albums were, with some exceptions, just Owen Ashworth and tiny Casio keyboards.
  • Castanets is Raymond Raposa.
  • Cat Power is Chan Marshall.
  • CERUMENTRIC is Erick A. Fabian.
  • Since all of Chimaira except for Mark Hunter quit, it's safe to say that he is Chimaira
  • Christian and the Hedgehog Boys is really a solo project for Christian Weston Chandler.
  • With a clever pun, City and Colour is Dallas Green of Alexisonfire fame.
  • Coconut Records is Jason Schwartzman.
  • Counting Crows is Adam Duritz.
  • While Coven was a proper band in its own right, its best-known song, One Tin Soldier, features only one member of the group (vocalist Jinx Dawson) backed by a Warner Brothers house orchestra, and was credited to the band at her insistence. A strange choice, as the rest of their music was hard rock with overtly Satanic themes.
  • Cradle of Filth is a Type 2, as singer vocalist Dani Filth is the only remaining original member, although guitarist Paul Allender has been with the band off and on almost from the beginning.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival: John Fogerty, to an extent.
    • A horrible record deal, a lawsuit against John Fogerty by said record company for stealing from himself, and a lot of other hard feelings have kept John Fogerty and the other two surviving members of CCR from ever reuniting. John Fogerty even distanced himself from the CCR material for many years because of it.
  • The Cure is arguably one of these, as Robert Smith is the only member who's appeared on all the albums. Somewhat tempered by the fact that Simon Gallup's second stint with the band has lasted about 25 years now.
  • Current 93 is David Tibet and whomever he feels like working with at the moment, although Steven Stapleton of Nurse With Wound has appeared on every album so far.
  • The Crüxshadows = Rogue, though after he married Jessica, it might be We Are The Band.
  • Darude is Ville Virtanen, occasionally collaborating with Jaako "JS 16" Salovaara.
  • Dashboard Confessional started out as Chris Carrabba's solo project, and was nothing more than him singing and playing acoustic guitar. He later added some other musicians and turned it into a full band.
  • Another aversion is Daughtry. Most people don't even realize it's not supposed to be a solo act, though we're pretty sure Chris Daughtry doesn't mind people thinking that.
  • Days of the New is Travis Meeks.
  • Death was Chuck Schuldiner--until he died.
  • Subverted Deep Purple. Drummer Ian Paice is the only member to have stayed with the band from 1969 to the present day, though most people would cite either Ian Gillan (the second of four vocalists, now reunited with the band) or Ritchie Blackmore (no longer a member) as the Face of the Band.
    • Also subverted in 1980, when original vocalist Rod Evans was manipulated into joining an ensemble of unknowns billing themselves as "Deep Purple", although Evans was the only member who had ever been in DP, and his involvement with the band was very short-lived. The corporation that owned the DP name sued and won, effectively removing Evans' royalty rights on anything he ever recorded with the band.
  • Del Amitri was Justin Currie and Iain Harvie and whoever was scratching Justin's current musical itch. Amusingly subverted because in the eyes of their fandom Del Amitri is solely Justin Currie and he continues to perform Dels songs with his solo band as "Justin Currie of Del Amitri."
  • Destroyer is Dan Bejar.
  • Dethklok: Brendon Small and a drum machine made all the music used in Metalocalypse. (Though the fictional band in the series has a full lineup.) He used an actual drummer, Gene Hoglan, for The Dethalbum, and adds a second guitarist and a bassist for live shows.
  • Dexys Midnight Runners was essentially Kevin Rowland and whoever.
  • The Digital Blonde(s) is Ricky Smith.
  • The Dillinger Escape Plan is Ben Weinman, the sole remaining founding member. Well, really they kept gradually losing and gaining members until this was the case - over their first decade of existence 8 members have left for various reasons (nine if you count Mike Patton, though he was never meant to be a permanent lead vocalist to begin with).
  • Dinosaur Jr. was J Mascis for much of the 90's.
  • Dio was Ronnie James Dio (naturally).
    • Somewhat argueable, as Ronnie stated in multiple interviews that he personally always saw Dio as a band rather than a solo project. The name Dio was simply chosen out of marketing concerns - Dio was already well known due to Rainbow and Sabbath so people would instantly recognize the name. That said he obviously always had main creative control and wrote most of the music and lyrics himself, but he still invited band members to participate in the creative process.
  • Dire Straits, when they were running, were essentially Mark Knopfler and whichever musicians he deemed to be allowed to stay in the band (he even refused to let his own brother write songs for the group). He's admitted to going back into the studio after the rest of the band had gone home and re-doing all of his brothers guitar lines without telling anyone.
  • Dirty Projectors used to be Dave Longstreth and whoever could stand his insanity (12 hour practices, combining multiple musical styles into the same song). However, since Bitte Orca was released, Longstreth has finally found a band that could keep up with him, and the lineup is now more or less permanent.
  • Disasteradio is one man and an array of synthesisers.
  • The Divine Comedy: Founded by Neil Hannon, who has sometimes, but not always, been the sole member.
  • Doctor Steel writes all his songs, and plays all the instruments in studio. He'd play live gigs solo, too - except for the fact that his robot band keeps malfunctioning and he has to fall back on a back-up band of live musicians.
  • Don Caballero is Damon Che since all the other original members left.
  • Subverted with Luke Doucet. Doucet insists that his backup band became an essential part of his songwriting process and deserves to be credited for their work, which is as may be, but no one ever talks about how The White Falcon is putting out a new album.
  • D:Ream: Originally a duo of Peter Cunnah and Al Mackenzie, but Mackenzie left after their first couple of hits and it became Cunnah's solo project. Ironically, ask someone to name a member of D:Ream now and the chances are they'll say Brian Cox, who played keyboards in the live band but only appeared on one recorded track ("Star"), making Cunnah not even the most famous member of his own solo project.
  • Similar to the Deep Purple example above, Nick Rhodes is the only member of Duran Duran to maintain constant membership in the group since its formation in 1978. Fourth singer Simon LeBon, generally considered the Face of the Band, has appeared on every official album, however.
  • Eels: Only E has performed on every album.
  • Electric Light Orchestra: Jeff Lynne, though Roy Wood gets some brief time in the sun when referring to their earlier material.
  • Electric Six: Dick Valentine is the only constant member.
  • Electric Wizard: Jus Oborn is the only remaining original member.
  • Brazilian band Engenheiros do Hawaii: Humberto Gessinger.
    • Also from Brazil, Ultraje a Rigor: Roger.
  • The Enid: Robert John Godfrey.
  • Evanescence: Sometimes Amy Lee is perceived as this, but Ben Moody was at least as important early on and now Terry Balsamo co-writes most of the songs.
    • Amy Lee is the only remaining member of the original lineup, though.
  • Everclear: everyone but Art Alexakis left in 2003. Art went on with some new guys.
  • Exodus: Guitarist Gary Holt is the only band member that appeared in every Exodus album.
  • The Fall: Mark E. Smith and a revolving door of other members, though some line-ups have stayed longer than others and band members are frequently given co-writing credit for songs.

Mark E. Smith: If it's me and your granny on bongos, it's the Fall.

    • Still, in the past few years he's been defending his band members, speaking how calling them hired hands or mercenaries is outrageous.
  • Final Fantasy is Owen Pallett (although after the first pressing the album Heartland, he has willingly given up the name, to avoid any more confusion or legal troubles with the other Final Fantasy.
  • A Fine Frenzy is Alison Sudol
  • Five For Fighting is one man, John Ondrasik. (Talk about misleading names...)
    • It's actually a reference to a hockey penalty.
      • Apparently, he chose to go by Five for Fighting because he figured it would be easier to remember than his real name (Good call).
  • Fleetwood Mac was named after drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, who are the only members who were in it from start to finish. Unusually enough, however, neither of them have ever been the Face of the Band, having instead been sidemen to a string of singer/songwriters (Peter Green in the early days, Bob Welch after Green and Jeremy Spencer lost their minds, Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham at the height of their popularity, and Bekka Bramlett after Nicks quit and before she rejoined.)
  • The indie rock band Florence + the Machine is actually defined in their official bio as "Florence Welch and whoever is standing near her who can play an instrument". This can be anyone from former Test Icicles guitarist Devonte "Lightspeed Champion" Hynes to various members of the folk group Noah and the Whale. Currently, the only semi-permanent member of the band other than Florence is her friend, keyboardist Isabella Summers.
  • FM Attack is Shawn Ward.
  • Foetus is J.G. Thirlwell, as is Steroid Maximus and Manorexia. (Thirwell's collaborations with other musicians credit him as "Clint Ruin".)
  • The first Foo Fighters album was performed entirely (guitar, drums, bass, and vocals) by Dave Grohl, with the exception of one guitar part played by Greg Dulli on the song "X-Static". He only assembled a band after the fact.
    • The second album also features Grohl's drumming, due to the band re-recording most of it without William Goldsmith.
  • Forgive Durden is Thomas Dutton after the rest of the members quit. The second album after the split, Razia's Shadow, is essentially Thomas Dutton featuring a guest singer on every song save one.
  • Fu Manchu is Scott Hill.
  • George Hrab is effectively this in his solo work if it doesn't use keyboards, and he's working on that part too.
  • Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly consists of just one Sam Duckworth.
  • Goldfrapp is, more or less, Alison Goldfrapp solo. Her keyboardist, Will Gregory, mostly remains in the shadows and doesn't tour or sing.
  • The Goodies recorded lots of comic songs, but Bill Oddie later admitted re-recording Tim's and Graeme's vocals because they couldn't sing.
  • Gorillaz: The only permanent musician who isn't a cartoon character is Damon Albarn.
  • Guided by Voices was basically Robert Pollard and some frequently-changing guys.
  • Guns N' Roses: Not originally, but now it's basically Axl Rose and whoever doesn't hate him at the time.
  • GWAR: Dave Brockie aka Oderus Urungus, as he's the only remaining founding member and the idea of the band was his in the first place. In fact, several characters in the band have had multiple people play them.
  • A Hawk and a Hacksaw initially consisted solely of Jeremy Barnes—he played all the instruments on the debut album. He's enlisted other musicians for help on every album since, and Heather Trost has become the band's only other permanent member.
  • Hawkwind is Dave Brock, the group's guitarist and only constant member over 40 years, though the band has been fronted by numerous notables including Arthur Brown, Ginger Baker, Michael Moorcock, and Lemmy.
  • Helmet: Page Hamilton. Bassist Henry Bogdan and drummer John Stanier were original members who stayed on board until the breakup in 1998, but Page Hamilton was the only one left for 2004 comeback album Size Matters, and subsequent albums have also had completely different lineups. The song "Throwing Punches" appeared on the Underworld soundtrack credited to Page Hamilton, and then the exact same recording of it appeared on Helmet's Size Matters.
  • Hole have had at least 15 members, the only constant is Courtney Love. (then, the co-founder said the name can't be used without him, but Love ignored by saying it was her band)
  • IAMX is Chris Corner, occasionally Sue Denim and a number of others.
  • Icehouse is basically Iva Davies and anyone he feels like playing with at the time not named Fairlight.
  • Iced Earth is an odd example. Jon Schaffer has been the sole constant member, writes almost all of the material, and has gone through more bandmembers than one can count on fingers and toes. But Matt Barlow is generally considered the definitive vocalist, and despite leaving in 2003 overwhelming fan support saw him return in 2007.
  • Iron And Wine is Sam Beam and his beard.
  • The only members of Iron Maiden that have been with the band in every incarnation, is bassist and founder Steve Harris (who composes most of the band's music as well), as well as double lead player Dave Murray.
  • Jack's Mannequin is basically Andrew McMahon and a backing band.
  • The man in the fuzzy chapeau is still called Jamiroquai by some. For the most part, Jay Kay may as well be the band.
  • Subverted by Jaron and the Long Road to Love, which is really just Jaron Lowenstein (one-half of pop duo Evan and Jaron). According to Word of God (as seen here), the "Long Road to Love" part doesn't refer to a musical entity, but rather where Jaron himself is in life:

"[I]t's really just my story. It's just about my relationships and how I'm on this long road to love. And I'm just trying to figure it out. All the songs I'm singing about right now are ones that talk about the highs and lows from my relationships."

  • The Jesus and Mary Chain are Jim and William Reid, plus backing band and occasionally a drum machine.
  • Jethro Tull: Ian Anderson, arguably, as Martin Barre is also important.
  • John Mayalls Blues Breakers was a whole bunch of different bunches of very famous musicians.
  • Joy Electric is Ronnie Martin's stage name. Jeff Cloud was a member on a few albums; Ronnie's wife played some synths on Favorites at Play, but the vast majority of JE's discography is Ronnie solo.
  • Kid606 is Miguel de Pedro.
  • King Crimson: Guitarist Robert Fripp, arguably, as he has been the only consistent member throughout the band's dizzying array of lineup changes and effectively controls whenever it dissolves or reforms (frequently), though many other members are also important.
    • In particular, the two members ranking for 2nd and 3rd most consistent: Drummer Bill Bruford was with the band from 1972 through 1974, as well as from 1981 through 1984, and when they reformed briefly in the 90s. Guitarist & singer Adrian Belew has also been the effective frontman of the band (due to Fripp's near static stage presence) since the 80s incarnation.
  • The Kinks: Ray Davies.
    • His brother and lead guitarist, Dave Davies, who wrote a couple of their songs, including "Strangers" and "Rats," has started getting more credit in recent years.
  • While Sascha K. is the frontman of KMFDM and the only remaining constant member, fans of the older material may argue that En Esch was truly the band based on how abruptly the music changed after his departure (and how much of that old sound he carried on to his own band.)
  • Klark Kent was a one-man band by Stewart Copeland (which Dave Grohl admitted was an inspiration for the first Foo Fighters record, mentioned above).
  • KT Tunstall: Did we say that you need other musicians to play a live show? We were wrong: a loop pedal will do just fine.
  • Lazerhawk is Garrett Hays.
  • LCD Soundsystem is James Murphy.
  • Left Banke keyboardist and songwriter Michael Brown tried to pull this, releasing the single "Ivy Ivy" with some other musicians, including Michael McKean. The other members objected and had the record pulled.
  • Lemon Demon's albums are composed & performed entirely by Neil Cicierega. (Though Neil does have a regular "live band" for Lemon Demon concerts.)
  • The Lemonheads: For their first few albums Evan Dando traded off vocals and songwriting with Ben Deily, but Deily left the band in 1990, and ever since they've essentially been Evan Dando and a series of different backing bands. Dando has put out a studio album under his own name as well, but it seems like this was just done because it felt a little more like a singer/songwriter album than his typical Lemonheads output.
  • Lights was Valerie Poxleitner, until she changed her legal name to Lights Poxleitner.
    • The other Lights (aka Lights DC) is Neil Dixon.
  • The Lightning Seeds: Ian Broudie.
  • Local H: Scott Lucas.
  • Logan Whitehurst and the Junior Science Club is Logan Whitehurst and, occasionally, guests.
  • Love was Arthur Lee after Forever Changes.
  • Deaths and retirements have left Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington as the only founding member still in the band. A settlement with surviving relatives of the band's 1977 plane crash victims stipulates that the band must have at least two pre-1977 members in its lineup at all times in order to continue using the name. The only other current member who satisfies that requirement is Ricky Medlocke, who briefly played drums for the group in 1970 and returned as a guitarist in 1996.
  • While The Magnetic Fields started out as a full-fledged band, it's now essentially just Stephin Merritt. There are people who will tell you there are people in The Magnetic Fields other than Stephin Merritt. Those people are liars.
    • The Gothic Archies definitely is just Stephin Merritt.
  • MAP is Josh Dooley.
  • Marilyn Manson is actually the name of the band, originally called Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids. Shockingly, Marilyn Manson is mainly Marilyn Manson, though it could be said Twiggy Ramirez is very much a part of it as well.
    • As is drummer Ginger Fish, although it's true that the band has a high turnover rate. They have had a total of 17 members in 20 years.
  • Meat Loaf was originally the name of the band fronted by the individual who soon adopted it as his stage name.
    • "Meat Loaf" was Marvin Lee Aday's nickname long before he fronted the band that gave us "Bat Out of Hell". The official name of the band was, originally, "Meat Loaf Soul", but it was marketed as "Meat Loaf". Which is one of the reasons the band split up.
  • Megadeth is Dave Mustaine, AKA Megadave (Unless you're talking about Dave McRobb, the Megadeth forums Administrator, whose handle is also Mega Dave). The only other vaguely constant member is David "Junior" Ellefson (played on 9 of 12 albums; just returned to the band in 2010).
  • The Medieval Baebes were originally founder Katherine Blake and eleven of her friends, members gradually left over the years and new girls came along. Katherine is now the only original member.
  • Ministry is Al Jourgensen and anyone he feels like working with, including Long Runner bassist Paul Barker.
  • Mirrorthrone is Vladimir Cochet.
  • Miyavi programmed the drums and bass in his early albums, recorded himself singing and playing guitar, then layered the tracks.
  • Moi dix Mois could be considered just Mana. With good reason really, as it is best described as his 'solo project', and he writes all the music.
  • The Misfits were Glenn Danzig, until he quit the band. Now Danzig is Glenn Danzig.
    • And now the Misfits are Jerry Only. Who, in retrospect, picked a pretty appropriate stage name.
    • On at least one tour the band contained more members of Black Flag than The Misfits. They were a 3 piece at the time.
  • The Motels is/was Martha Davis and various "male members" who passed through.
  • Motorhead is Lemmy Kilmister.
  • Averted by Bob Mould...but the aversion is played for laughs in the liner notes of his third album "Bob Mould," where we are informed that "Bob Mould is Bob Mould."
  • The Mountain Goats is John Darnielle.
  • My Brightest Diamond is Shara Worden.
  • My Bloody Valentine was mostly Kevin Shields for Loveless, with Bilinda Butcher doing the vocals.
  • Nebula is Eddie Glass.
  • Neutral Milk Hotel is Jeff Mangum featuring whoever else happened to be there at the time.
  • New Radicals released only one album, in which only singer/guitarist/songwriter Gregg Alexander appears on every track. Some of the studio musicians do more than one song, but not too many more than one (with the exception of Danielle Brisebois, the keyboardist and only other vocalist). The title track "Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too" actually has Alexander as the only musician, playing everything and Alexander himself often defined the band as himself, Brisebois and a rotating lineup.
  • Nightwish - Tarja Turunen began to think of herself as the band and above the band and said so in interviews. The rest of the band then fired her for this attitude.
  • Nine Inch Nails is Trent Reznor. This is because it is Trent Reznor, by himself. Until live performances.
  • Oasis is Noel Gallagher. He even made the other players promise to only play his music and do everything he told them to.
    • This was mostly a result of Noel having a huge back catalogue of what the band considered great songs when he joined in 1991, therefore Liam, Tony, Guigsy and Bonehead were more than happy to let Noel lead them.
    • That had relaxed a bit over the years, as Noel had let his bandmates write some of the songs and have some control over the band's musical direction.
    • After Noel's announcement of leaving the band, the immediate reaction was to declare Oasis as having "split up", thus proving this trope. The remaining members renamed the group Beady Eye.
  • Ohgr is Nivek Ogre (Kevin Ogilvie) from Skinny Puppy (if you don't count Mark Walk).
  • Omni Trio is Rob Haigh.
  • Onelinedrawing: Jonah Matranga, who decided to just use his own name after 2004.
  • Owl City is Adam Young and a computer.
  • Paramore is usually identified by the lead singer, Hayley Williams. This may be due to either coloring her hair bright colors constantly, or actually being the only member signed. The others are usually just portrayed as a backing band, even though Hayley seems to dislike this setup.
  • Pedro the Lion: Dave Bazan (who eventually gave up trying to get a steady band and just started recording under his own name).
  • Penguin Cafe Orchestra: Simon Jeffes.
  • The only permanent member of Pigface is drummer Martin Atkins, with an absolutely massive number of studio musicians going in and out since its formation.
  • Pere Ubu's lead singer David Thomas is the only one to have been continually performing since the band started in '75, outlasting numerous other performers. In fact, so many different performers were with the group, you can find an exhausting account for who was in the band and when on their website.
  • Pink Floyd was at first dominated by Syd Barrett, who was the lead vocalist, guitarist and main lyricist, before he spiralled into insanity and was eventually sacked. Later the band was also dominated by Roger Waters, the lead vocalist and bassist who wrote almost all of The Wall and all of The Final Cut. Ultimately averted when Waters left and the band kept going (but with David Gilmour taking the leading role).
    • Nick Mason was the only one to be "officially" in the band for all the albums. Waters quit in 1985, Barrett was fired in late 1968, Gilmour joined the band in early 1968, and keyboardist Richard Wright was fired by Waters in 1979 during the recording of The Wall (but allowed to play in its ensuing tour) before being rehired by Gilmour after Waters quit.
  • The Pixies frontman and songwriter, Black Francis, embodied this trope throughout the band's original run. Bassist Kim Deal believed herself to also have artistic merit and wanted to have more involvement in the songwriting, but since Francis believed that it was his band, he ended up boxing her out for the most part. Aside from Deal's song "Gigantic" on Surfer Rosa, and the co-written "Silver" off of Doolittle, Black Francis wrote all of the band's songs. Feeling creatively stifled, Deal formed her own band, The Breeders, in 1988—five years before the Pixies officially broke up, due to the tensions between her and Francis.
  • Plastic Ono Band was John Lennon and Yoko Ono and whatever musicians he happened to have around him at the time. Now, however, the band tours with Sean Lennon and Yoko.
  • Plumb was originally an actual band, but after the band broke up Tiffany Lee kept it as her stage name.
  • Poe is Annie Danielewski.
  • Prince.
  • Procol Harum is Gary Brooker and a cast of rotating musicians.
  • British prog-rock band Porcupine Tree started out as Steven Wilson's solo project, with him singing, writing the songs, and playing nearly every instrument, but he eventually hired other musicians to play bass, drums and keyboards (he sings and plays guitar now), and the other guys have been contributing to the songwriting recently.
  • Prefab Sprout has only one de facto member by now: Singer and songwriter Paddy McAloon. The only reason why he didn't put the Sprout name on his solo album I Trawl The Megahertz was that it was too experimental.
    • McAloon himself still seems to consider it a full four-piece band, albeit one whose members haven't actually played together for the best part of twenty years.
  • The Pretenders are Chrissie Hynde and whoever she's currently playing with.
  • The Prodigy is basically Liam Howlett with a lot of gear and some screaming dancers.
  • Queens of the Stone Age is Josh Homme + the other 20 or so people who have come and gone in the past 10 years. Oh, and didn't Dave Grohl play drums for that band during a record?
  • Rage is vocalist/bassist Peter "Peavy" Wagner and whoever else is in the band at the time. On two separate occasions, the entire band, with the exception of Peavy, quit, forcing Peavy to hire a new band.
  • Rainbow is Ritchie Blackmore plus whoever else he feels like touring with at the moment. Notably, the group's original lineup included Ronnie James Dio, meaning that it also counts as an example of The Band Minus the Face.
  • Rasputina is Melora Creager and anyone with a penchant for Victorian undergarments who can play cello.
  • Razorlight is Johnny Borrell; he is now the only surviving original member.
  • The Ready Set is Jordan Witzigreuter.
  • Reggie & The Full Effect is James Dewees of Coalesce and Get-Up Kids fame, doing synth-pop with his various buddies in music.
  • The Replacements were basically Paul Westerberg's backing band for the last few years. In fact, their last album, All Shook Down, was originally intended to be a Paul Westerberg solo release.
  • Santana is a rotating group of musicians who perform alongside namesake guitarist Carlos Santana, the fact that Carlos Santana never ever does lead vocals being the sole fact that makes it a group in its own right rather than just being his backing group. Despite not having any members in common besides Carlos, the Santana that recorded Black Magic Woman in 1970, with Gregg Rolie on lead vocals, is the same band that recorded Smooth in 1999 with lead vocals by Rob Thomas.
  • savage genius is actually the vocalist Aa only, after Takumi left the band at finals of the year 2007.
  • Say Anything is made up of Max Bemis and whoever is around that can play an instrument. Though he does have a drummer, Coby Linder who has been there since the band formed, he writes and records about 80% of the music himself, and the band would essentially fall apart without him.
  • Say Hi (formerly Say Hi to Your Mom) is Eric Elbogen.
  • Scorpions guitarist Rudolf Schenker founded the band in 1965 and is the only person who has been in it from start to finish, although singer/FaceOfTheBand Klaus Meine joined him early on and has also performed on all of the group's studio albums, the only two members to do so.
  • Scritti Politti is Green Gartside - he carried the name on after the original post-punk lineup disbanded to collaborate with musicians David Gamson and Fred Maher on the albums 'Cupid & Psyche 85' and 'Provision', but from 1991 onwards it's been him plus whoever he's interested in writing and recording with.
  • Sea Wolf is Alex Brown Church and whoever's doing the other instruments at the time.
  • Self is Matt Mahaffey. Kind of a band name that lampshades itself though.
  • Shaman (the Finnish band) was just Jonne Järvelä and backing musicians. When they evolved into Korpiklaani, the roster stabilized.
  • Played straight and subverted in Showbread. Josh Dies, the lead singer and songwriter writes 100% of the music and lyrics and COULD record every instrument on every album by himself... but chooses not to. However, with as many line-up changes and member replacements as Showbread has had, it's still Showbread as long as Josh Dies doesn't decide to hang his hat.
    • Similarly, his side band DIES is just him, and has no modesty about it.
  • Simple Minds are Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill and whichever other members they have at the time. Mel Gaynor played on their albums from 1982-1991, as well as 1998's Neapolis. He returned in 2005 for Black And White 050505 where he has remained since. Humorously, Jim Kerr's solo project Lostboy AKA shares 3 members with Simple Minds, as well as their producer.It has been joked that Jim formed Lostboy so he could get away from Charlie.
  • Simply Red is Mick Hucknall, lead singer, band namesake and only constant member. He explained, "This is a solo career and it always has been... I just don't like the name Mick Hucknall very much."
  • Sirenia is Morten Veland. He writes all of their songs and lyrics and plays most of the instruments on their studio recordings. Even the URL for their official website is under Veland's name. Current singer Ailyn (who joined in 2008) is the first lead vocalist in Sirenia's 10+ year history to sing on more than one album. She's also the only band member who records with Veland in the studio, presumably because female vocals are the one thing he can't do himself. The rest of the band (which has been a revolving door except for drummer Jonathan Perez) only plays on tour.
  • Sister Machine Gun is Chris Randall and nearly a completely different lineup on every album, and possibly a different lineup on the subsequent tour as well.
  • The only permanent members of The Sisters of Mercy are Andrew Eldritch and Doktor Avalanche; the latter is a drum machine.
  • The Smashing Pumpkins: Billy Corgan, and whoever is willing to put up with him for his next project.
    • Fun fact: Billy Corgan's solo album featured more original members of the Smashing Pumpkins than are currently in the band.
  • Shorthand Phonetics is Ababil Ashari.
  • John Cooper is the only original member remaining in Skillet. However, this is a subversion—while he's certainly the main songwriter, the rest of the band has input, and while the band has gone through several members the contribution of all of them is pretty notable. (Particularly Korey Cooper, John's wife, who's been with the band in some capacity for almost as long as John and has written and sung on some of them.)
  • Solar Fields is Magnus Birgersson.
  • Sonic Mayhem is Sascha Dikiciyan.
  • Soul Ballet is Rick "R.K." Kelly.
  • Sound Horizon is Revo.
  • Sparks is brothers Ron and Russell Mael, plus drummer and guitarists as required.
  • The Spencer Davis Group were not, contrary to what the name would suggest, led by Spencer Davis, who was merely their founder. Bass player Muff Winwood suggested they name the band after the highly articulate Davis so "he could do the interviews, and the rest of us could stay in bed." Muff's brother Steve, on the other hand, played lead guitar, sang lead vocals, wrote most of their original material and became the band's most famous face.
  • Starflyer 59 is Jason Martin, plus a revolving cast of backing musicians. And for the sophomore album Gold, Jason came darn close to recording the entire thing by himself.
  • St. Vincent is Annie Clark.
  • Steely Dan is Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, and some other guys who change from album to album.
  • Sparklehorse was just Mark Linkous and his dreams.
  • Mark McGrath and the rest of Sugar Ray.
  • Suicide Commando is Johan van Roy.
  • Swans were basically Michael Gira, and later Jarboe. And with the reunion now, it's just Michael Gira again.
  • While they have had a few stable group lineups, most notably in the 1970s and 1990s, Tangerine Dream is essentially Edgar Froese and a revolving door of musicians who have worked with him over the years. Taken to its logical extreme in 2007 when for the first time Froese began releasing albums under the Tangerine Dream name that were composed and recorded by him alone.
  • In a variant, Team Shanghai Alice is just one person, who also goes by the name ZUN. He does compose all the music for the games, though.
  • The The is just Matt Johnson who writes all the songs, co-produces each album and plays the majority of the instruments on each song.
  • Non rock/pop example: Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass was this at first. It became necessary to put together an actual band when it came time to do his/their first live performance.
  • The Tractors was, after their first album, Steve Ripley and anyone who wanted to play.
  • Tyrannosaurus / T. Rex: Marc Bolan.
  • Twisted Sister: Dee Snider (although the band was started by the guitarist)
  • Thin Lizzy: Main man Phil Lynott wrote or co-wrote all the songs & was the frontman- even thought he played bass and the bands signature sound was the famous twin lead guitars, the band will very likely never again pen an original song under the Thin Lizzy name seeing as "Philo" died in 1986. The fact that they have becaome a self-tribute Revolving Door Band cements this trope.
  • Those Poor Bastards is Lonesome Wyatt.
  • TNT: Guitarist Ronni Le Tekrø is the only founding member who has been in the band for their entire run.
  • Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers are actually a subversion, despite being named for the frontman. They've had a stable lineup and lead guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench have been a key part of the band's sound.
  • Unheilig, though it originally had more members, now consists mainly of Der Graf and two live musicians.
  • Violet UK is Yoshiki Hayashi.
  • WASP: Blackie Lawless.
  • Although some members are pretty well known on their own, Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter were the Weather Report's only permanent members.
  • Whitesnake changed its name from the David Coverdale Band early on, but Coverdale remains the only permanent member. Most other members appear for only one or two albums.
  • White Town's sole member is Jyoti Mishra.
  • Every member of the Wildhearts except for frontman Ginger has left the band, or been kicked out, at least once. (Though the band have split up, possibly for good, with the departure of the last bass player.)
  • Wings: Mostly Paul McCartney. He was a core member in a band that changed personnel six times in ten years (twice to core members only), he wrote most of the songs himself (the ones he didn't write were generally agreed to be the group's weakest, and were generally only included on albums to make the unit seem more democratic than it was), and until 1976 he paid his band members a flat rate. Denny Laine got things fixed a little for himself after then, but still...
  • On the first Wintersun album, Jari Mäenpää sung (if you want to call it that) and performed every instrument except for the drums.
    • I would call it that. While most of Jari's vocals on the album are growls and Metal screams, there are parts of the album where he does sing cleanly, and does it rather well. It may come across as Narm to a native English speaker due to his thick accent, but his range and technique while singing are actually pretty decent.
  • Worm Quartet. And about live performances, you can do wonders with pre-recorded synths.
  • Woven Hand was David Eugene Edwards initially. Since the first album, drummer Ordy Garrison and bassist Pascal Humbert have earned permanent spots on the roster.
  • Though it's plainly impossible to imagine the band without Toshi's characteristic voice (and hair), an Hide's death sent him into years-long Creator Breakdown, it's equally hard to deny that X Japan is first and foremost Yoshiki. He writes most of the band's songs and music, he's both the drummer and the keyboardist, he produces and arranges all their material by himself in his own personal studio, and he was responsible for their reunion in 2007.
  • When Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe and Bill Bruford, all of whom were former core members of Yes, decided to reunite in the late eighties, bassist Chris Squire refused to let them use the name Yes, because he had the rights.
  • ZARD was Izumi Sakai, after their other members left the band after the release of the single Makenaide... in the year 1993. It's a shame that she passed away in 2007...
  • Curt Kirkwood pulled this for a couple of years with The Meat Puppets: For the albums Golden Lies and Live he was the only original member of the band. To be fair, this was Executive Meddling of sorts - this lineup had been playing as Royal Neanderthal Orchestra previously, but he couldn't get a label to release their album without it being under the Meat Puppets name. More recently they've been back to two-thirds of the original lineup: Curt's brother Cris Kirkwood is back on bass, but original drummer Derrick Bostrom is absent because he has no interest in playing in a touring band anymore.
  • Synthpunk band Atom and His Package consists of guitarist/vocalist Adam "Atom" Goren. The Package is his synthesizer/sequencer combo or sometimes just a tape player that plays all the keyboard and drum machine tracks.
  • Although it wasn't originally the case, Red House Painters' fifth album, Songs For A Blue Guitar gave Mark Kozelek this image.

Fictional[edit | hide]

  • Liam says this about Driveshaft in one of Charlie's flashbacks on Lost. Note the name.
  • Klavier Gavin obviously is this for The Gavinners in Ace Attorney. Not only is the band named after him, he's also the only member except for the one who ends up in jail halfway through the game to ever even be named or appear on-screen. And when Gavin, it promptly disbandes.