Musicians Who Initially Refused to Join HOF Caliber Bands Tuesday April 7 2020, 8:27 AM
Musicians Who Initially Refused to Join HOF Caliber Bands

During the days of the global quarantine musicians around the world continue to improve their skills and grow as artists. When things finally start to get back to normal, these people will start to gather to play just like in the old days. However, because of the effect the pandemic has had on the world not everyone will be willing to get into the rehearsal room or even arrange a live meeting to discuss a collaboration. So, these are 4 inspirational stories for you to make your future collaborative decisions wisely if you get an offer and persuasively if you make one and you believe in it.

Justin Chancellor – Tool (1995 – present)

After the original bassist Paul D’Amour left the band, Tool started to look for his replacement. At that time Justin Chancellor had just finished playing with the band Peach (a progressive rock band that was heavily influenced by Tool). He and his friend created a new band and they got a record deal. And at the same time Justin received an offer to audition for Tool (they knew each other from sharing the same stage).

Justin told the details of the story on Striking A Chord podcast. And at first, he turned the offer down:

 “It was a little too much, really, to absorb and take in. I think right on that first call, I basically immediately just said, ‘Oh, I can't do that. I can't do that.’ Out of total fear. Just intimidation.”

His brother was the person who convinced him to give it a chance (in spite of Tool and Justin living in separate countries). He recalls:

 “I had the difficult thing of basically calling them back, and saying, ‘Would it be all right if I changed my mind?’[chuckles] … “Anyway, they were really cool and they said yes.”

Before he took a flight from London to L.A. and told his bandmates about his plans he got fired.

I got kicked out of my band, because as soon as I told them I was going for this audition, there were fireworks. Everyone got really upset … I was assuming that the future was looking pretty open because I didn't have a band anymore. There's no way I'm going to get the Tool gig. So, I'm sitting there writing music frantically, for my new project … Actually, I wrote the riff of ‘Forty Six & 2’ in that period .”

One of the main reasons he got the audition was that Tool saw a writing potential in him. Adam Jones describes him as a “ riff writing machine .” They've been creating music together for 25 years with no replacements.


Jonathan Davis – Korn (1993 – present)

Over the years of Korn’s success Jonathan Davis has become one of the most distinctive icons of nu-metal. However, not too long before joining the group, some people knew him as a vocalist of funk metal group Sexart . And some members of L.A.P.D (evidently James “Munky” Shaffer and David Silveria ) got to see him. His performance impressed them and they wanted to see him as their front man. Fieldy (bass player) was very excited about this perspective, since he knew him back from childhood. He got so excited that he offered to pay Jonathan’s way to come visit Hollywood, to demonstrate to him what they were working on. But Davis still was not enthused about this idea. Here’s how he described what he was thinking and what it led to:

“I didn’t want to do it. I went to a psychic and she told me I’d be stupid if I didn’t do it. So, I went down and tried out”

Taking advice from a psychic had nothing to do with the wisdom. However, the efforts of Korn members had a lot to do with tenacity. JD realized that he wanted to play with them at the very first rehearsal.


Gidget Gein – Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids (1990 – 1993)

Nowadays, if people use the combination of words “Marilyn Manson bassist”, in most cases, the images that would come up in the minds of rock music fans would be either Twiggy Ramirez or Tim Sköld . But in rare cases, people will also think of Gidget Gein (Bradley Mark Stewart) .

Oftentimes Bradley and Manson would see each other in clubs. Once at Love and Rocket show Bradley was handcuffed and dragged out of the venue by police. The other time at Saigon Kick he got into conflict over spitting into someone’s face. On top of that, he was bright and charismatic. Manson liked these features. So, one day he asked him to join his band. Gidget refused, explaining this by the fact that he was a guitarist who played hardcore (which is quite different genre from artsy industrial rock, that MM would play at the time).

After he saw them live Manson came up to him and said they wanted to change a bass player. Bradley still was hesitant about joining the group but decided to give it a chance and it worked out for both parties. He got himself a stage name. Gidget was a huge influencer on the image of the band. In his interview he described the origins of the band with the following words:

“they had something going on, but they had no image really. I think it’s what I brought to the band. I already had my image for years of listening to like New-York Dolls, Sex Pistols and Motley Crue. It’s like a dirty, gutter glam kid. So, I brough that element of the band. The lunchboxes and all that stuff…”

Gidget would play with MM for three years. As he kept on living a reckless lifestyle abusing drugs he got fired from the band. According to Gidget it took him several years to overcome his beef with the band and admit that their decision to fire him was justified. Nevertheless, people who studied the history of MM will admit that his input to the image of the band was one of the main factors that made them popular and attracted larger audiences.


Jim Root – Slipknot (1999 – present)

Unlike aforementioned musicians of this article, rhythm/solo guitarist of Slipknot Jim Root (a.k.a. #4 ) would say “no” to his future band not once, but twice. Before James got to be a part of the nine, he was a 24-year-old guy who gave up playing guitar for a couple of years. According to Jim, he was very down on himself about it. He did not even have an instrument and he would borrow it from his fried Zack. H e got asked to join a funk rock band and he decided to give it a chance. At some point Anders Colsefni [original singer] called him about replacing Donnie Steele [original guitarist].

Jim refused, stating that his skills were not good enough (he knew that the rest of the band were legit players). So, he kept on playing and improving his guitar abilities with his funk band.

Later he joined Stone Sour , and shortly after that Slipknot got a record deal. But Jim had no intentions to chase the fame by jumping into a project with complete material. In his interview to WMMR he described the situation:

" I was, like, 'If Slipknot ever called me, I won't join, I don't want to feel like it's handed to me, I got to feel like I worked for it, like something I've achieved.' And sure enough, they did. I never thought they would, so I said no,"

The character who made the biggest input at persuading Jim to join the band was his friend Zack. The same person he would borrow the instrument from. James quotes him:

 ' What, are you stupid? Very few times in life do you get a chance to take a great step forward. Even if you fall flat on your face, you can always come back.' So, I called Clown , and the rest is history."



About the Author:

Zack Hargrove is a remote editor and rock journalist. His teammates at and will help you with homework, so you could concentrate on important things you’ve been missing out before the pandemic. You can always find Zack on Twitter @zackhargrovejr .

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