While the music industry has weathered a flurry of changes over the years both positive and negative, one thing has remained the same. Classified ads are still a viable path to finding like-minded people to play music with.
From artists like Joan Jett and Metallica taking out print ads in the early 1980s to the likes of The Lumineers hitting Craigslist in search of cellist, classifieds deliver. Here are 11 bands that came together through the power of classified ads.
Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band
Iconic New Jersey rocker Bruce Springsteen took out an ad seeking a drummer in the Village Voice in 1974. Max Weinberg answered, auditioned, and landed the gig. Over 40 years later Springsteen and The E Street Band remain one of the biggest acts in the world. Weinberg, of course, would also garner considerable fame for his role in Conan O’Brien’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien house bands.
Guitarist Andy Taylor’s path to joining Duran Duran went through a 1980 ad in Melody Maker. He would join keyboardist Nick Rhodes and bassist John Taylor in the Birmingham, England club Rum Runner’s house band before vocalist Simon LeBon later made his way into the group.
Guns N’ Roses
Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash and original drummer Steven Adler took out an ad in The Recycler in 1983 looking for bandmates. The call was answered by bassist Duff McKagan, and after a night of boozing the trio formed a Motorhead-inspired band called Road Crew. The foundation was laid for one of the biggest acts to come out of the 1980s.
Half Moon Run
Conner Molander and Dylan Phillips initially took out a Craigslist ad looking for a bassist and/or drummer who liked Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, and Radiohead. It was singer-songwriter Devon Portielje who answered the ad. They clicked immediately and the boys rearranged the band to include Portielje as lead singer and guitarist. It’s worked out rather well for the Montreal-based band.
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
When the Runaways split in 1980 Joan Jett took to L.A. Weekly in search of some new bandmates. Bassist Gary Ryan, guitarist Eric Ambel and drummer Lee Crystal would later come together to make up The Blackhearts, who supported Jett en route to her becoming an icon of rock.
Guitarist Dave Keuning put an ad in a Las Vegas newspaper looking for musicians who loved Oasis. Singer Brandon Flowers responded and the first song they worked on together was “Mr. Brightside,” which would help propel The Killers to superstardom.
Founding KISS members Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, and Peter Criss were in search of a lead guitarist to help bring their sound together ahead of their first record. Upwards of 50 people answered their Village Voice classified before a young man named Ace Frehley arrived and wowed the boys with his solo work on an early version of the song “Deuce.” The quartet would go on to become a massive rock band and crossover into both live action and animated film and television roles.
Wesley Shultz and Jeremiah Fraites started a band and weren’t getting any traction in New York so they moved out to Denver. When they got there, they put an ad on Craigslist for a Cellist. Neyla Pekarek was the first to respond and she became a huge part of the successful band they are today.
Legend has it that drummer Lars Ulrich’s call for musicians looking to play music in the vein of Iron Maiden and Diamond Head generated just two responses. Luckily, one of those came from guitarist-singer James Hetfield. They would later ad guitarist Dave Mustaine via another classified ad and begin work on songs that would appear on Metallica’s debut record Kill ‘Em All.
Bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee were in search of bandmates to round out what was becoming Motley Crue in the early 1980s. They spotted an ad in Recycler that read “Loud, rude, and aggressive guitarist available.” That guitarist was Mick Mars, and he fit the bill as the band readied its launch into a Decade of Decadence.
As told in Fool the World: An Oral History of a Band Called Pixies, Kim Deal was the only person to answer Black Francis’ ad seeking a bassist. Despite not showing up with a bass or having ever played one for that matter, Deal landed the gig with The Pixies after borrowing sister Kelley’s instrument. Deal no longer performs with the band.