Created By: MadameleP on November 17, 2011 Last Edited By: bluesno1fann on February 12, 2015
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Solo Side Project

A band member releases solo work while the band they\'re in is still together.

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Sometimes a band member just wants to do their own musical thing. There aren't any problems in the band (at least, not enough to justify a breakup). Instead, this lone member decides to take a break from the band, if it's active, or just get out on their own during a hiatus and write, record, and/or compose music and perhaps release an album or an EP when all's said and done.

Contrast Breakup Breakout, where a band member finds success going solo AFTER the band... well, breaks up.


Examples:

  • KISS did this, with all four members releasing solo albums at the same time.
  • Fictional example: In That Thing You Do!, Guy Patterson (the drummer) works on his jazz chops during the band's big tour.
  • Brandon Flowers and Ronnie Vanucci of The Killers both released solo albums in the last few years, but the band are still together and working on a new album.
  • Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and Phil Selway of Radiohead—the frontman, lead guitarist/keyboardist, and drummer, respectively—have all released solo work during the band's time together.
    • Thom's got the electronic The Eraser and the Spitting Feathers EP under his belt, as well as remixes of other artists and a contribution to the Twilight soundtrack.
    • Jonny has done work with the BBC as a composer-in-residence, and has done the soundtrack for Norwegian Wood, There Will Be Blood, Bodysong, and We Need to Talk About Kevin.
    • Phil has released both an album (Familial) and an EP (Running Blind).
  • Jonsi of Sigur Rós has released Go, a distinctly more electronic-sounding album than his band's usual Post-Rock output.
  • After the release of Boston's second album, Don't Look Back, songwriter and lead guitarist Tom Sholz got mired in legal conflicts with the band's producers, causing a long delay in the production of their third album. In the meantime, backup guitarist Barry Goudreau, along with singer Brad Delp, recorded a solo album titled Barry Goudreau. Goudreau later went on to split away from the group, forming his own band, Orion The Hunter (which featured the future Boston vocalist Fran Cosmo, and backup vocals from Brad Delp), and, later, with Delp, RTZ.
  • Julian Casablancas of The Strokes has released a solo album.
  • Davey Havok and Jade Puget of AFI started a side project called Black Audio, releasing an album called Cex Cells.
  • Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage started a solo project (with former Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach) called Times of Grace.
  • The list of side projects various Converge members have been involved in is as long as your arm.
  • Graham Coxon of blur fame wrote and released his own albums while the band was still together, and has continued his solo career post-breakup.
  • For The Beach Boys, Dennis Wilson was the first of the classic 6-man line-up to release a solo album, with the lost classic Pacific Ocean Blue in 1977, which is still held in high regard. He attempted to create a second solo album, called Bambu, but as Dennis's personal life was going downhill, the album was never completed by the time he drowned in 1983.
    • Bruce Johnston and David Marks each pre-dated Dennis with their own solo albums. But Bruce released two solo albums before he joined the Beach Boys in 1965. The first is a surprising good live album Surfers' Pajama Party in 1962, followed by Surfin' Round The World in 1963. Bruce released his third and final solo album, Going Public in 1977, 5 years after he left the Beach Boys (in 1972), and around a year before he returned (in 1978).
    • David Marks formed the band David Marks And The Marksmen after he left the Beach Boys, but they only released a compilation album decades after they broke up. He was also a member of the late-60's Psychedelic Rock band The Moon and with them created the albums Without Earth in 1968, and The Moon in 1969. His first proper solo album came much later, with Work Tapes in 1992. This was followed by Something Funny Goin' On in 2003, I Think About You Often in 2006 and The Circle Continues in 2012.
  • Plenty for The Beatles:
  • Mono Puff was the side project of John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants.
  • Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park had the side project Fort Minor.
  • Around 1977-8, all the members of Yes released solo albums.
  • Bill Wyman was the first Rolling Stone to release a proper solo album, with the brilliant and underrated Monkey Grip in 1974. This was followed by the average Stone Alone in 1976, the great but dated Bill Wyman in 1982, and finally the awful Stuff in 1992 (immediately prior to his departure from the Stones). He was also the only Stone to have a major solo hit, with "(Si, Si) Je Suis un Rockstar" in 1981, as well as the minor hits "A New Fashion" and "Come Back Suzanne" in 1982. His first solo single was "In Another Land" from the Stones album Their Satanic Majesties Request in 1967. He also composed and contributed to the soundtracks for the films Green Ice, Phenomena and Terror At The Opera.
    • Wyman also formed the short-lived band Willie And The Poor Boys in the mid-80's, and created a self-titled album which had many high-profile musicians, as well as Charlie Watts.
    • Both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have also released solo albums from the 80's onwards. Mick's solo albums are She's The Boss in 1985, Primitive Cool in 1987, Wandering Spirit in 1993, Goddess In The Doorway in 2001, and the soundtrack to the film Alfie in 2004. He also contributed to the soundtracks of Performance and Ned Kelly, with "Memo From Turner" being his first solo single in 1970. However, his solo career (especially early on) nearly destroyed The Rolling Stones, and has helped destroy Mick and Keith's friendship.
    • Keith Richards also released two solo albums, Talk Is Cheap in 1988 and Main Offender in 1992, and his earliest solo single, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run" dates back to 1978.
      • A third solo album by Richards is apparently on the way now.
    • Ronnie Wood's solo career started in 1974 with I've Got My Own Album To Do (Bill Wyman's Monkey Grip pre-dates it by a few months). This was followed by Now Look in 1975, a soundtrack to the movie Mahoney's Last Stand with Ronnie Lane in 1976, Gimme Some Neck in 1979, 1234 in 1981, Slide On This in 1992, Not For Beginners in 2001, and I Feel Like Playing in 2010.
    • Mick Taylor also had two solo albums after he left the Rolling Stones, with Mick Taylor in 1979, and A Stone's Throw in 2000.
    • Also, Brian Jones wrote the soundtrack to the film A Degree Of Murder in 1967, and produced the album Brian Jones Presents The Pipes Of Pan At Joujouka, posthumously released in 1971.
    • Charlie Watts also released some solo work, which is of a very different style (Jazz) than the Rolling Stones normally play.
  • Almost all the members of the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash (And Young) released solo albums during the band's tenure.
  • Several members of The Grateful Dead:
    • Guitarist Jerry Garcia released several solo albums, and also had several side projects, including Saunders and Garcia (rock and funk), Old and In the Way (bluegrass), and Wales and Garcia (free jazz).
  • Guitarist Bob Weir put out a solo album, and also had a couple of side-project bands that released albums.
    • Bassist Phil Lesh had a solo album of experimental electronica featuring a wide variety of guests from several San Francisco bands. (His band, Phil and Friends, didn't form till after the Dead broke up, though, and thus does not qualify.)
    • Drummer Micky Hart had a couple of albums with his band Rolling Thunder.
  • Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam did the soundtrack for the film Into the Wild while Pearl Jam were still together. He also released a solo Ukulele album.
  • Phil Collins started his highly successful solo career in 1981. Around the same time, Genesis grew more popular, too, with Collins still as their drummer and lead singer. That way, it was pretty much impossible to avoid his music in The '80s. It wasn't until the late Nineties that Collins left Genesis.
    • Also, guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford recorded two solo albums before forming his own Solo Side Project, Mike + The Mechanics.
    • Not to mention Genesis' former and gone-for-good lead singer Peter Gabriel.
    • Steve Hackett's first solo album, Voyage of the Acolyte, was recorded before he formally left Genesis.
  • Andrew Horowitz of Tally Hall is "edu" when left to his own devices. He released his debut album only on cassette tape in 2012.
    • Rob Cantor also began a solo career in 2012.
  • Frank Zappa is a special case. When he was part of the Mothers of Invention he released one solo album outside the group's activities, namely Lumpy Gravy. None of the band members appear on it as a group, though a few of them (Jimmy Carl Black, Roy Estrada, Jim "Motorhead" Sherwood and Bunk Gardner) have guest appearances, but only in speaking parts. All music on the record is instrumental and recorded with an orchestra. Seeing that Zappa was pretty much I Am the Band from the start and all of his output nowadays is branded under the name "Frank Zappa" the distinction has disappeared.
  • Freddie Mercury released two solo albums while still part of Queen, namely "Mr. Bad Guy" and "Barcelona", in collaboration with opera singer Montserrat Caballé.
  • Tom Barman, lead singer of Belgian rock band dEUS, has released two solo albums, namely "Live" (with Guy Van Nueten) and "That's Blue!", a collection of snippets from interviews with pop art painters, intercut with music. He has also collaborated with CJ Bolland for their duo solo side project Magnus, which is a dance act. Barman is also a special case, because although dEUS still exists most of the early members have left and went on having solo careers themselves, leaving only Barman and Klaas Janszoons as the permanent members.
Community Feedback Replies: 39
  • November 17, 2011
    randomsurfer
    KISS did this, with all four members releasing solo albums at the same time.
  • November 17, 2011
    darkapothem2000
    In That Thing You Do Guy Patterson (the drummer) works on his jazz chops during the band's big tour.
  • November 18, 2011
    cityofmist
    Brandon Flowers and Ronnie Vanucci of The Killers both released solo albums in the last few years, but the band are still together and working on a new album.
  • November 18, 2011
    troacctid
    • After the release of Boston's second album, Don't Look Back, songwriter and lead guitarist Tom Sholz got mired in legal conflicts with the band's producers, causing a long delay in the production of their third album. In the meantime, backup guitarist Barry Goudreau, along with singer Brad Delp, recorded a solo album titled Barry Goudreau. Goudreau later went on to split away from the group, forming his own band, Orion The Hunter (which featured the future Boston vocalist Fran Cosmo, and backup vocals from Brad Delp), and, later, with Delp, RTZ.
  • November 19, 2011
    Folamh3
    • Julian Casablancas of The Strokes released a solo album.
    • Davey Havok and Jade Puget of AFI started a side project called Blaqk Audio, releasing an album called Cex Cells.
    • Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage started a solo project (with former Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach) called Times of Grace.
    • The list of side projects various Converge members have been involved in is as long as your arm.
  • November 25, 2011
    MadameleP
    YKTTW bump.
  • November 25, 2011
    Boston
    John Lennon starred in a film ("How I Won The War") while still a member of the Beatles.
  • November 26, 2011
    MadameleP
    I wouldn't count that as an example; the trope should be limited to musical projects specifically.
  • November 26, 2011
    mdulwich
    Plenty for The Beatles: John Lennon's two Unfinished Music albums and Live Peace in Toronto. Paul Mccartney's score for the film the Family Way. George Harrison's Wonderwall Music and Electronic Sound. Ringo Starr's Sentimental Journey and Mc Cartney's self-titled first solo album were recorded while the Beatles were still technically together. Lennon, Mc Cartney and Harrison also wrote for and produced a number of other acts.
  • November 26, 2011
    Duncan
    Mono Puff was the side project of John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants.
  • November 26, 2011
    strontium
    Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park had the side project 'Fort Minor'
  • November 29, 2011
    MadameleP
    Can anyone think of any more examples?
  • December 8, 2011
    MadameleP
    YKTTW bump
  • December 8, 2011
    Irrisia
    Well, if it counts, Chester Bennington also had a side project with Dead By Sunrise, although that wasn't a solo effort. The rest of Dead by Sunrise is mostly members of the band Julien-K, itself a side-project of some of the members of the band Orgy.
  • December 8, 2011
    LeeM
    • Around 1977-8 all the members of Yes released solo albums.
    • Steve Hackett's first solo album Voyage of the Acolyte was recorded before he formally left Genesis.
  • December 8, 2011
    Xtifr
    • Both singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones have released solo albums.
    • Almost all the members of the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young released solo albums during the band's tenure.
    • Several members of The Grateful Dead:
      • Guitarist Jerry Garcia released several solo albums, and also had several side projects, including Saunders and Garcia (rock and funk), Old and In the Way (bluegrass), and Wales and Garcia (free jazz).
      • Guitarist Bob Weir put out a solo album, and also had a couple of side-project bands that released albums.
      • Bassist Phil Lesh had a solo album of experimental electronica featuring a wide variety of guests from several San Francisco bands. (His band, Phil and Friends, didn't form till after the Dead broke up, though, and thus does not qualify.)
      • Drummer Micky Hart had a couple of albums with his band Rolling Thunder.

  • December 8, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts also released some solo work which is of a very different style than the Rolling Stones normally play.
  • December 9, 2011
    OftenPartisan
  • December 9, 2011
    MidnightMan
    • Phil Collins started his highly successful solo career in 1981. Around the same time, Genesis grew more popular, too, with Collins still as their drummer and lead singer. That way, it was pretty much impossible to avoid his music in The Eighties. It wasn't until the late Nineties before Collins left Genesis. Also, Mike Rutherford had his own Solo Side Project, Mike + The Mechanics. Not to mention Genesis' former and gone-for-good lead singer Peter Gabriel.
  • December 9, 2011
    LeeM
    ^ Rutherford recorded two solo albums before forming the Mechanics.
  • December 12, 2011
    MadameleP
    I'm starting to think that Solo Side Project is too narrow a name, since a lot of side projects mentioned here aren't actually solo efforts, but are headed by the band member in question. Should we lump them together or split them off?
  • May 1, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Derek Grant and Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio both have these.

    Madamele P: Is there a separate page for side projects of another kind? I'd argue for a split if only because music tropes often get LOADS of examples.
  • October 26, 2012
    K2NR
    Syu, Yuhki, and Sho from Galneryus each have their own solo album, in which some of the remaining members (Junichi and Taka) also took part in.
  • October 26, 2012
    Khantalas
  • October 26, 2012
    DracMonster
    Singer Solo Side Project! More alliteration makes everything better!
  • October 26, 2012
    MrRuano
    Wu Tang Clan operates with every member having their own albums, and then collaborating at certain points into a full group album. There's also the album Wu-Massacre, which Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon collaborated on without help from the others.
  • May 10, 2014
    lakingsif
    The Killers' Face Of The Band Brandon Flowers and drummer Ronnie Vanucci.
  • May 10, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Namespaced the examples + fixed some incorrect markup. Remember, when you don't want to create Wiki Words, the markup needed is [= =] with singular angle brackets).
  • May 11, 2014
    Surenity
    • Timo Kotipelto of Stratovarius has a few albums of his own under the name "Kotipelto". Musically they're not that different from the sound of Stratovarius, but they tend to be Concept Albums.
  • May 12, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Would non-music examples fit? By that I mean both (a) a musician in a band does some solo non-music activity and (b) this same trope but applied to non-musical groups.
  • June 19, 2014
    Maxiboy136
    Francis Rossi of Status Quo has done two, in 1996 and 2010. Rick Parfitt was going to release one in the 1980s, but it was cancelled.
  • June 19, 2014
    AP
    • Scott Weiland released a solo album called 12 Bar Blues while Stone Temple Pilots were together (although they broke up and rejoined numerous times before and since then).
  • July 2, 2014
    AgProv
    this was part of the reason why Blue Oyster Cult drummer Albert Bouchard was the first of the original line-up to quit (or to be sacked, depending on whose account you read). Bouchard was disillusioned that a lot of his ideas were being rejected for inclusion on the band's LP's. (although in hindsight, he cheerfully admits the other guys were right - his creative ideas were, by comparison, "lame". Some have since surfaced as "bonus tracks" on remastered CD's and it isn't terribly hard to see why they never made it to original release.) Bouchard also wanted to press ahead with the ill-fated Imaginos Myth Arc which, by the late 1970's, the rest of the group had largely abandoned as unworkable. In a minority of one, he left the group/was sacked and attempted to realise Imaginos as a solo concept. This too failed, although a lot of his ideas made it to the not-very-good release of the LP in the late 1980's.
  • February 9, 2015
    Patachou
    Added a hat, crosswicked a few artists' names and album titles in the article and added new examples for Frank Zappa, Freddie Mercury and dEUS.
  • February 9, 2015
    BKelly95
    • While Don Henley and Glenn Frey waited until The Eagles broke up to release their solo works, Joe Walsh released the single "Life's Been Good" while they were still together.
  • February 9, 2015
    randomsurfer
    ^Actually it's just Eagles not The Eagles.
  • February 10, 2015
    bluesno1fann
    Anyone else think this should be launched by now? I think it's ready
  • February 11, 2015
    Patachou
    Yeah, good question. It seems fit for launching at this point. When will this be done?
  • February 12, 2015
    bluesno1fann
    If there's no objections within the next 48 hours, I'll launch it myself.
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