Why Led Zeppelin Called It Quits While Queen Continued After Losing A Band Member, Mike Portnoy Explains

Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy opened up about the difference between two iconic bands’ decision to continue or stop performing after a band member passed away and stated that there isn’t right or wrong in Led Zeppelin‘s disbandment after the passing of drummer John Bonham, and Queen‘s decision to keep going without frontman Freddie Mercury.

While some bands instantly decide to break-up after losing a member and stop performing live shows together mostly out of respect, some chose to carry on with a replacement in order to continue their legacy through generations and sometimes fans appreciate the effort, however, there are not many replacements that fulfilled the fans’ expectations after seeing their favorite band for who they are for many years.

As many of you know, John Bonham tragically passed away at the young age of 32 when he choked in his own vomit after a heavy drinking day on September 25, 1980. The surviving members of Led Zeppelin decided to disband the group out of respect for Bonham after his death and performed a few times with Bonham’s son drummer Jason Bonham who gives the fans the feeling of his father whenever he plays, thankfully.

On the contrary to Led Zeppelin, after the passing of legendary frontman Freddie Mercury at the age of 45, on November 24, 1991, because of bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS, two out of three Queen members, guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor decided to keep on performing and currently touring with Adam Lambert who has been doing a marvelous job at not trying to be Freddie Mercury but himself as a lead vocalist.

During a recent interview, Mike Portnoy opened up about the decisions of these two legendary bands and stated that he respects Led Zeppelin for their disbandment after the passing of John Bonham since they decided to call it quits due to their respect for their bandmate.

On the other hand, Portnoy also stated that Queen’s decision to carry on without Freddie Mercury is a blessing for the fans who were not able to see Queen perform before, and they continue carrying Queen’s legacy. Portnoy revealed that if there is a right person to work with, keep performing makes sense.

Here is what Portnoy said:

“On one hand, I always really respected that Zeppelin called it quits when Bonham died, and then they did a couple of one-off appearances through the years, and then with Jason Bonham, it made total sense. But for the most part, they pulled the plug and respected that – no John Bonham, no Led Zeppelin. And I really, really respected that.

On the other hand, the other side of the coin is it’s been nice for instance to see Queen’s legacy carry on with Adam Lambert, and obviously, nobody can replace Freddie Mercury, but at least they’re now out there putting on the Queen show for the fans that never got to see Freddie.

So there’s something to be said about if you do have the right guy for the job. And you’re not trying to replace him, Adam Lambert was never trying to be Freddie Mercury, he was just being himself and respecting Freddie Mercury.”

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