The Supergroup.  That mythical entity that carries such soaring expectations that it is remarkable that any of the bands ever make it into the studio.  It’s like the Honors Society kid who letters in three sports, dates a cheerleader, and is a top flight boxer- how can he fail, right?  Until it’s ten years later and the sheriff is tucking the eviction notice into the pocket of his work shirt while he’s passed out on the trailer floor with a needle in his arm.

What’s a Supergroup?  A gaggle of well-known musicians from different bands (and often different genres) who come together to form a new musical entity.

Just like the Honors kids, Supergroups start out with great pedigrees, lots of breaks, and doors swinging widely before them, but that doesn’t always mean that these advantages translate into something memorable.  But when they do click it can be one of the most exciting spectacles in music.

Supergroups are the embodiment of our musical fantasies come true.  “What if?” becomes reality.  This is the stuff that even casual music fans stop to ponder.  Die hard musos can come to blows over them.  Somewhere in the world right now, there is an intense, late night, cocaine-fueled debate raging about the ultimate Supergroup.

“Quick- put together the greatest group of all time.”

“What kind of band?”

“Straight rock.”

“How many guitarists do I get?”

“Two.”

“They can be dead, right?”

“Of course- I said ‘the greatest group of all time,’ not the greatest group alive.'”

“Keyboards?”

“Who said anything about keyboards?”

“Just checking.  Ok, I’ll start with Keith Moon on drums…”

And so it goes.

When a Supergroup forms, expectations come with the territory.  Some people think that the Supergroup will far exceed the sum of its parts and create something ballsy and transformational, while others are immediately skeptical, writing the band off as soon as they hear who’s in it.  But no matter where one falls in this spectrum of opinion, everybody watches to see what will happen.

Fans always hope for a true hybrid- something new, where the strengths and talents of each contributor are mixed into equal parts and distilled into pure audio gold.  Thankfully, this has happened many times.  Distressingly, for every time this has happened, there have been ten Supergroups that never seemed to click, leaving the galaxy wondering what those musicians were thinking in the first place.

And then another one comes along and a new debate begins.

Now, before reading further, take a pen and paper and write down three Supergroups.

OK?

Good.  Before proceeding, some common ground will be helpful.  There are certain elements that define and distinguish a Supergroup.  Here’s my definition- let’s see if we’re on the same page.

 

 

The Anatomy of a Supergroup:

1.   The members of the group must be famous before entering the Supergroup.

Why else are we going to call it a Supergroup if we don’t already know who the members are?  “Super” means that the artists are famous or at least well-known at some level, even if their fame is primarily within a genre of music.

Also, timing is everything.  Many groups have established a musical legacy, with members later branching out into successful solo careers. The phrase “Supergroup” cannot be retro-fitted onto the original band.

Therefore, The Eagles are not a Supergroup.

2.   The Supergroup must consist of at least three famous members.

The reason for this rule is simple- two people make a duo, not a group.  Even if the duo is backed by wildly talented studio musicians, they are still just a duo with help.

A duo is not a Supergroup, and therefore Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane did not constitute a Supergroup by recording Rough Mix.

3.   A Supergroup must be an entirely new and distinct entity from the member’s previous musical associations.

 

A Supergroup is not formed by one famous musician joining a band that is already well-known.  The new member would still be shackled with the obligation to play the band’s old songs on tour, as they were originally written, to satiate the already existing fan base.

Therefore, Dave Navarro joining the Red Hot Chili Peppers did not create a Supergroup.

4.  A Supergroup must record an entire album of primarily original material.

For decades, rock and roll all stars have pooled their talents for one off singles, guest appearances at each other’s live shows, charity benefits, jam sessions, and limited appearances on each other’s album.  These arrangements are intended to be temporary and pose little social or financial risk for the artists involved.  Without a commitment to create music together and record an album, there is no Supergroup.

Therefore Live Aid did not yield any Supergroups.  Rock and Roll Hall of Fame* “All Star Jams” are not ad hoc Supergroups.  The new Slash album, where the guitarist brings in an all star parade of vocalists and other guest musicians, is not a Supergroup because the only constant in the mix is him.

5.  The Supergroup must play their own instruments.

A bunch of vocalists harmonizing for a studio album is not a Supergroup.  A Supergroup’s creative juices must flow through instruments played by them, performing mainly songs written by them.  Covers are to be expected but they should not outweigh the original material.

Therefore, The Three Tenors are not a Supergroup.

Look at your list.  How are we doing?  Now let’s see how our lists compare.

 

The Supergroup Hall of Musical Justice

In the interest of expediency, I will list the original members of the groups, along with their primary claim(s) to fame before joining the Supergroup.  Some musician’s more notable musical associations are not mentioned if those relationships did not exist before the Supergroup.

 

5.  Humble Pie  (1968 – 2003)

 

Original Members: Peter Frampton (The Herd), Steve Marriott (The Small Faces), Greg Ridley (Spooky Tooth), Jerry Shirley

In the early Seventies, Humble Pie not only was one of the earliest outfits to get the Supergroup name, but they were known as one of the hottest live acts in music, set in stone on their 1971 live album Performance – Rockin’ the Fillmore.  The founding members, though not occupying the same stature as members of the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin, had nonetheless carved out rock solid reputations before forming the group, such that Humble Pie secured a record deal immediately and saw their debut album chart in both the US and the UK.  They went on to release over ten albums and they have transcended the novelty of being a Supergroup, enjoying a reputation as a truly classic rock and roll band.

Humble Pie were nasty when they played live.  In fact, their name had nothing to do with their sound, which was heavy, bluesy, and relentless.  They played every song like it was their last, and their body of work, particularly their earlier stuff, makes it abundantly clear that Humble Pie was a full time job.  And thank God for that.

 

 

4.  Them Crooked Vultures  (2009 – Present)

 

Original Members: John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age)

TCV is the newest Superkid on the block, and what an entree they’ve made.  This is one of the Supergroups that very evenly and effectively blends the sounds of the founding members into something that is at once familiar and unique.  Formed in 2009 with a self-titled debut album released that November, TCV have made their presence felt as much on tour as they have with their album, which is punchy and loose, with funky rhythms and unusual time signatures that suggest that the combination of Jones and Grohl is one for the ages.

The Zeppelin sound rings clear on the album, but there’s no cheap rip off here. With Homme’s rock swagger and Grohl’s thunderous pounding, their music shakes walls.  Great Chinese walls.

 

 

3.  Cream  (1966 – 1968)

 

Original Members: Eric Clapton (The Yardbirds), Jack Bruce (Manfred Mann), Ginger Baker (Graham Bond Organisation)

The Blues may have been born in the States, but the English have long given notice that Americans must share the blues throne with their colonial cousins.  At a time when the electric blues were setting the UK on fire, Cream killed the competition, going so far as to name themselves Cream to remind the world that they were the cream of the crop of UK blues musicians.  Brazen bastards…

They only lasted for two years, due largely to the inability of Ginger Baker to be stand in the same postal code as Jack Bruce.  Still, they fit four albums into those two years, rattling off classic jams like “Sunshine of Your Love,” “White Room,” and “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” that still sound pretty fresh over 40 years later.  Smoking leads with lots of trippy wah wah pedal was their trademark sound, but despite their nuclear disdain for each other, Baker and Bruce made up one of the best rhythm sections in rock.

 

 

2.  Temple of the Dog  (1990 – 1992)

 

Original Members:  Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Jeff Ament (Mother Love Bone), Stone Gossard (Mother Love Bone), Matt Cameron (Soundgarden), Mike McCready

Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron came in from Soundgarden, which had already made their mark with their heavy Zeppelin-meets-Sabbath sound.  Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard had a critically-acclaimed major label debut with Mother Love Bone, and had just released the band’s second album when their lead singer, Andrew Wood, died from a drug overdose.  TOTD was an album written and recorded as a tribute to Wood.

Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready rounded out the lineup, leading many to think that Temple of the Dog was a Supergroup between Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.  However, TOTD recorded their album before Pearl Jam was even formed.

Beyond the members and the story behind the band, the music is what makes this band great.  Top to bottom, Temple of the Dog is a killer album.  While it has its share of fist-pumpers (Pushin Forward Back), it has breathtaking melodies (Say Hello 2 Heaven), soaring harmonies (Hunger Strike), and McCready’s Hendrix-influenced solos that somehow fit perfectly with the powerful rhythms rolling beneath them.  The lyrics are top notch and the vocals showcase Cornell (and to a lesser extent Vedder) at peak form.  The album weaves its classic rock influences perfectly into the spacey melodies and crunchy riffs that went on to become the trademark Seattle sound.

 

 

1.  Crosby, Stills, Nash (& Young)  (1968 – Present)

 

Original Members:  David Crosby (The Byrds), Stephen Stills (Buffalo Springfield), Graham Nash (The Hollies)

The Granddaddy of Supergroups.  CSN, later adding Neil Young, represent all of the talent, drama, fame and ego that we could ever hope for in a Supergroup.  The founding members were already enjoying tremendous success with their feeder groups, with reputations as both talented musicians and volatile personalities preceding them.  Crosby, already in his drug prime (but before his gun-toting, sperm-donating primes) had been kicked out of the Byrds.  Buffalo Springfield had imploded from the weight of the band’s personalities, leaving Stills musically homeless, and spindly Graham Nash (now Graham Nash, O.B.E.) got fed up with life in The Hollies when the group balked at his efforts to take the band’s songwriting in a new direction.

As if the fiery personalities of Crosby, Stills, and Nash didn’t present enough challenges, Neil Young was added after their first album (which featured the massive hit Suite: Judy Blue Eyes), and with Young, they recorded Deja Vu, which contained now-classic staples such as Teach Your Children (with Jerry Garcia on pedal steel), Almost Cut My Hair, Our House, and the Joni Mitchell cover Woodstock.  A couple months after releasing this album, the Kent State shootings occurred and Neil Young penned Ohio, which the group released as a single and which is disarming in its venom, underscored by the infamously sparse guitar melody at the beginning and the blended harmonies in the chorus.

While Young has bounced in and out of the group, the original members have soldiered on through the years, touring and recording as a group, while still pursuing solo efforts and other collaborations.  Live, they continue to blow audiences away not just because their songs are recognizable, but with their pure musicianship, which has done nothing but expand and improve throughout the years.

 


The Supergroup Honorable Mentions

 

The following Supergroups all earn Honorable Mention for contributing something either lasting or unique to the Supergroup legacy.

5.  Fantômas  (1998 – Present)

 

Original Members: Mike Patton (Faith No More), Buzz Osborne (The Melvins), Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle)

These guys get a nod for pure creativity. Avant-garde is the phrase that everyone seems to want to use for this band.  Of course, one man’s “avant-garde” is another man’s “inaccessible”.  No matter here, the band is as heavy on samples and spacey loops as they are on the metal.  Live, they are ridiculously entertaining.  Their cover of the theme from the movie Cape Fear is devastating.

 

 

4.  Audioslave  (2001 – 2007)

 

Original Members: Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), Tim Commerford (Rage Against the Machine), Brad Wilk (Rage Against the Machine)

Audioslave met expectations by creating a sound that is the approximate halfway point between Soundgarden and RATM.  With one of the greatest ever rock and roll voices and the instrumental contingent of RATM, everyone expected a very big sound, and that’s pretty much what was delivered.  Some of the political overtones of RATM were muted, just as some of the bombast of Soundgarden was diminished.  Thought the band’s commercial polish has alienated some fans of the original groups, the band dropped three solid rock albums that feature tight jams and quality songwriting.

 

 

3.  A Perfect Circle  (1999 – Present)

 

Original Members: Maynard James Keenan (Tool), Troy Van Leeuwen (Failure),  Tim Alexander (Primus), Paz Lenchantin, Billy Howerdel

A Perfect Circle sets itself apart with the sheer weight of the music.  Super dense, dark and yet still listenable, APC created a sound that balances slashing metal with clear vocals and distinct melody.  Powerful and moody, APC later added members of The Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson’s band.

 

 

2.  Mad Season  (1994 – 1999)

 

Members: Layne Staley (Alice in Chains), Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees), John Saunders (The Walkabouts)

Substance abuse problems started and ended this tragically under-appreciated Seattle band.  McCready and Saunders formed the band after meeting in rehab and brought in Staley after the band began recording to contribute lyrics and vocals.  Staley’s vocals dominate the album, and while dealing with the same demons that he sang about in Alice in Chains, Staley’s lyrics with Mad Season suggest hope, or at the very least, acceptance.  The music’s strength is as much about restraint as it is about force.  Staley and Saunders both eventually died from drug overdoses.

 

 

1.  Velvet Revolver  (2002 – Present)

 

Original Members: Slash (Guns N’ Roses), Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots), Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses), Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses), Dave Kushner (Wasted Youth)

A lot of people were bitterly disappointed by Velvet Revolver, mainly because the GNR legacy had created expectations that were near-impossible to meet.  But divorced from these expectations, VR turned out to be an above-average rock outfit, with a debut album, Contraband, that remains one of the better straight out rock albums from the early Naughties.  Slither, Sucker Train Blues, and Do It for The Kids are all legit, pounding rockers.  While the best of this album doesn’t approach the best of GNR or STP, the quality is nonetheless high and just as importantly, the quality remains consistent throughout the entire album.

Drugs, egos, and online fighting eventually drove Weiland out of the band, though not before releasing their second album, Libertad, which was had some good tracks, but which lacked the consistency of the debut.

 


The Supergroup Legion of Musical Doom

Groups that were better left as individual pieces.

5.  The Firm  (1984 – 1986)

 

Original Members:  Paul Rodgers (Bad Company), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Chris Slade (Uriah Heep), Tony Franklin

Swan Song label mates Page and Rodgers struck gold by actively shunning their respective musical legacies to create The Firm.  Their names carried them further than the music would have, standing on its own. They made their millions from songs like Radioactive and Satisfaction Guaranteed, and then The Firm disappeared.

 

 

4.  Chickenfoot  (2008 – Present)

 

Original Members: Sammy Hagar (Van Halen, solo), Michael Anthony (Van Halen), Joe Satriani (solo), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Hagar, Anthony, and Smith started out jamming in Hagar’s club in Cabo San Lucas and liked it so much they wanted to bring in a guitar player and start a new band.  They brought in guitar god Joe Satriani and recorded an album that now serves as irrefutable evidence that Joe Satriani doesn’t need to be in someone else’s band.

 

 

3.  Asia  (1981 – Present)

 

Original Members: Geoff Downes (Yes), John Wetton (King Crimson), Steve Howe (Yes), Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)

With a prog pedigree longer than Axl Rose’s resentment list, this band continues to vex the world in not just one, but two incarnations: Asia, and Asia Featuring John Payne.

 

 

2.  The Power Station  (1984 – 1985)

 

Original Members: Robert Palmer (solo), John Taylor (Duran Duran), Andy Taylor (Duran Duran), Tony Thompson (Chic)

When you finish watching the last of your Miami Vice DVDs, you can always roll your jacket sleeves up, put on some Power Station, close your eyes, and float all the way back to 1985…

 

 

1.  Damn Yankees  (1989 – 1996**)

 

Original Members: Tommy Shaw (Styx), Ted Nugent (Solo), Jack Blades (Night Ranger), Michael Cartellone

“Kiss my American fucking ass.” -Ted Nugent

 

 

*Or as Mojo Nixon would clarify, “The Rock and Roll Hall of Lame.”

**The band showed up and played an acoustic set at the 2010 NAMM show.  You have been warned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JOE DALY writes for a number of publications, including the UK's Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazines, Outburn, Bass Guitar Magazine and several other print and online outlets. He is the music and cultural observer for Chuck Palahniuk's LitReactor site and his works have been published in several languages. When he is not drafting wild-eyed manifestos, Joe enjoys life in San Diego's groovy North County, teaching music journalism, doing yoga, running, playing guitar and spending tireless hours in deep and meaningful conversations with his beloved dogs, Cabo and Lola. You can check out his rants at http://joedaly.net and follow him on Twitter: @JoeD_SanDiego

206 responses to “Anatomy of a Supergroup”

  1. Tyler Stoddard Smith says:

    This is a crucial 101 to Supergroupdom. Well researched and written, and while I disagree with a few of your choices, such is the nature of definitive “lists.” This was wildly entertaining, Joe! Thanks.

    I do have a question…why does there have to be three members. I defy you to tell me that Garfunkel & Oates (Partners without Partners) wouldn’t be the supergroup sensation of the economic quarter. God, the thought of those two together made me feel weird. Now I need a shower.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Tyler! Yeah, the fun part about making up these types of lists is knowing that some people are going to totally disagree. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the read.

      The three member requirement was a more arbitrary one. I was thinking of duos though and realized that I there were no duos, super or otherwise, that I consider a “group.” But you’re right Garfunkel & Oates would make an interesting pair. Sorry- have to go drink some Draino now…

      • I don’t think in my first comment, which took a long time to compose, I actually mentioned how much I enjoyed this.

        It’s also rare that I read anything on music where I generally agree with pretty much everything…

    • Matt says:

      Man, way to dig back in history there, Tyler. That reference comes from a MAD magazine circa what—1985?

      I think I still have that issue somewhere.

      • HOLY CRAP! I’ve been passing that off as MY clever little thing for, hmmm….I guess about 25 years now. Was it that memorable for you, too? Or did you just assume I could have never come up with it? Either way, nice work Mr. Smoking Gun.

        Cher & Tina (Partners with Dead Partners???)

        • Matt says:

          It WAS memorable, though mostly the recollection comes from the fact that I reread all of my MADs on a regular basis. I was an active reader up around to the time when they started to colorize it.

  2. Tawni says:

    We wanted to cover Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” in an all-girl band for which I played guitar, because of the monstrously awesome distorted guitar riff, but nobody was able to say the line: “I’ll stay with you ’til my seeds are dried up.” We would all shudder and wrinkle our noses when we tried to sing it. Haha.

    I like Velvet Revolver and Audioslave.

    Thank you for the Them Crooked Vultures video. Oh my god, the things I would do to Josh Homme.

    I saw Power Station live. They had replaced Robert Palmer with Michael DesBarres, and it just wasn’t the same.

    I like your Supergroup rules. I really enjoyed this, Joe! (:

    • Joe Daly says:

      Tawni, laughed out loud at that lyric! Good Lord, would that be funny to hear. “A” for effort in event trying to sing that line.

      Yeah, TCV just seem so legit. I love their bravado. At first I wondered how Josh Homme landed the coveted frontman spot, but when I heard the album, it just sounded great.

      You saw Power Station live? Did you get a concert t? If so, we’ll need a picture!

    • Gloria says:

      Can I assume, then, Tawni, that you gals never coverd Zepplin’s “The Lemon Song”?

      • squeeze my lemon… ’til the juice runs down my leg…

        what a line. that was the one they got sued for as well…

        • Gloria says:

          I had to Google that, Irwin. Fascinating. Thanks for the tip!

          Yes, it’s a sexy line, but a stolen one. Nonetheless, I’m sure nobody did it like Plant. Plant, actually, was the first old guy I ever had a crush on and is probably single-handedly responsible for my old guy obsession. I mean, John Mayer is fine, but give me Plant or Gabriel or Byrne any day. 😀

          Wait…what were we talking about?

        • Robert Plant was a pretty damn sexy man. I mean he was a GOLDEN GOD.

          Which makes two photos of him I’ve seen really, really surreal. One where he’s in a thick cardigan drinking tea, and another when he’s displaying a lifetime’s worth of soccer memorobilia. At least he suports a team who play in gold…

        • Joe Daly says:

          I think Gabriel Byrne is a top notch actor, don’t get me wrong, but… oh, wait- you’re talking about someone else.

          Plant makes a case for best voice in rock. I’d put Chris Cornell in that short list, too.

        • Cornell’s vocals are astounding. I think Plant has more range though.

          I listened to a classic rock station where Freddie Mercury got voted number one. I disagree, only because I don’t consider Queen a ‘proper’ rock band. I don’t have a good reason either. They’re just that little bit too pop, mainstream and inoffensive. Jimi Hendrix died choking on his own vomit. Brian May has a Phd in astronomy. Jimi wins.

          Paul Rodgers was number two. At the time I was outraged, but I’ve changed my mind. No one can sing like Rodgers. For that reason I’d have him as number one and Plant at number 2. Daltrey would be a very close three.

          Plant would probably be number one if it wasn’t for David Coverdale. Oh, what about Ian Gillan?!

          This shit is hard. Everyone wins. Except Joe Walsh. His voice isn’t even that bad, it’s just annoying. And this is from somoene who loves Petty, Dylan AND Neil Young. And Rush!

        • Gloria says:

          The greatest voice in rock? Geoff Tate, hands down. The dude trained opera for fuck’s sake.

        • Gloria says:

          I love Plant’s voice, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t think it’s as technically beautiful as Tate’s. Tate uses his like a proper instrument. Plant just screams real, real pretty.

        • Queensryche are pretty damn awesome.

          Love Jet City Woman and Eyes of a Stranger.

          I’d be the first to admit my top vocalist nominations are heavily biased according to personal taste.

          The Black Crowes have just come on the radio, which has reminded me of southern rock. Ronnie Van Zant: what a pleasant noise that guy used to make. Like Paul Rodgers, he makes such a great singing look easy…

        • Gloria says:

          You know, I can’t find any evidence that Tate actually did train opera. But…but…that’s what I heard!! 🙁 However, I did read that “Tate has a four-octave range, which goes from the A below low C, or A1, up to the A above high C, or A5” – which still qualifies him as a bad ass.

        • Being incredibly sexist here… a few names have just occured to me:

          Janis Joplin, although I’m not a fan.

          Grace Slick, who was almost as powerful as Janis and so, so fucking hot. She slept with Jim Morrison. It’s a good job he didn’t get her pregnant, because I don’t think the world would have been ready for a child that beautiful…

          Going down…

          Grace Potter of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. They covered White Rabbit recently, and her voice is generally amazing. I love that band, so so cool. And I interviewed their guitarist once.

        • Gloria says:

          All great, Irwin.

          At the risk of having my opinion be reduced to practically worthless, I’d like to say that I think Courtney Love a la “Live Through This” is pretty amazing.

          See also: Linda Perry. That lady can belt it out.

          Storm Large? (Is it okay if I’m a little obsessive about what a quality singer she is?)

        • I was going to mention Courtney Love. I really like her voice on most of Hole’s more commerical stuff. Their cover of Gold Dust Woman was brilliant. And how can anyone not love Malibu?

          I really like Courtney Love. I saw her on a chat show recently. My housemates were watching it and none of them knew who she was.

          ”She killed Kurt Cobain” I said.

          Then I had to explain who Kurt Cobain was, the popularity of Nirvana in the ’90s and that I was joking about Courtney Love killing him. Then I had to explain the circumstances surrounding Cobain’s death…

          We all ended up wishing they’d never asked…

        • Joe Daly says:

          James- Good overview of classic rock vocals. Freddy Mercury had such a powerful voice, but it was more operatic than rock, for my taste. I like my rock vocals dirtier. I’d go with Plant, Cornell, Coverdale, Bruce Dickinson, and Steven Tyler for rock vocals. Only pre-1986 Tyler, though. His vocals on “Rocks” and “Draw the Line” are off the hook.

          Gloria- Linda Perry does have some savage vocals, doesn’t she? And yeah, Courtney can’t be denied on “Live Through This.” I’d throw in Ann Wilson for the trifecta.

        • I’m pretty much certain I’m going with Tyler for my American supergroup. I can’t think of a better American vocalist for both blues AND hard rock. Pre-86 though, totally.

        • Gloria says:

          Oooh! Joe, no. Wait – Johnette Napolitano.

          And, done.

        • Can I note how retarded it is Zeppelin got sued for that line? The idea anyone could own or copyright the Blues is redonkulous. Even Robert fuckin’ Johnson probably stole that line from somebody else, and Howlin’ Wolf didn’t come around with it for years later, not to mention that Howlin’ Wolf had to sue his label to win money his label won for suin’ Zeppelin.

          Ridiculous.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Thoroughly insane. The many faces of greed.

          That being said, I will say that one lawsuit that I think does make an interesting case is the one Satriani (you know, the Chickenfoot guy!) filed against Greg Olear’s friends in Coldplay. The melody and chorus for the two songs are virtually identical. And it will be really hard for Coldplay to prove that they’ve never heard Satriani’s version of the song before. Maybe twenty years ago that argument might have flown, but with the internet, I think that claim becomes incredibly hard to make.

        • James D. Irwin says:

          a muscian friend of mine is annoyingly on Coldplay’s side on this.

          to me the real crime isn’t whether the song is stolen or not, but that it isn’t very good. but you can’t really sue someone for being shit. If you could I’d be a lawyer.

        • I’m on Coldplay’s side here, too. My sentiment being “Satriani? Who?” I’ve heard of him. I think I actually owned his CD with the green album art. It didn’t make it to my digital collection, though, because it was shitty, and I genuinely believe Coldplay when they say they’ve never heard the song in question; Satriani’s music is entirely forgettable, and I don’t remember a single song from that CD.

          It reminds me of the lawsuit White Wolf filed against Sony Pictures for Underworld, which included points of similarity like “It was gothic,” and “The older vampires were called Elders.” Like, no fucking shit, idiots. Even sillier given that both were rip-offs of Romeo and Juliet, which I’m sure Shakespeare probably stole from other sources, because Shakespeare was probably the greatest art thief of all time.

        • Joe Daly says:

          I have that same Satriani album (I assume we’re talking about “Surfing with the Alien”), and yeah, it’s got two songs that I think rock, but the rest is fairly forgettable, and I’m a pretty slavish fan of rock guitarists.

          Plus, though I have been known to take some good natured digs at Coldplay, I thought their last album was pretty enjoyable and can’t begrudge anyone their Coldplay love.

          But that all being said, when you hear the songs back to back, it’s amazing how close they are. I don’t know what happened- maybe they did both stumble up on essentially the same melodies through different processes. But I think because the melodies are almost exactly the same, Coldplay will have to make a pretty convincing case. Stuff like this doesn’t help their case:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tWjja5HIWU

          I had never heard of that White Wolf lawsuit. That’s amazing! And shameful. And it makes me wonder whether any suits have already been filed against Cameron for Avatar, which copies the plot of a few other well-known movies.

    • Greg Olear says:

      I always thought it was “I’ll stay with you till the seas are dry, love.”

      SOYL is one of the more uber-masculine tunes going, so much so that it hinges on self-parody. If we ever have our TNBstock, there will be karaoke night, and I will so rock out…

      • Joe Daly says:

        Oh no you’re not, Greg. You’re picking up a damned guitar and playing “Blackbird” for me and that’s that.

        • Greg Olear says:

          How did you know I can play “Blackbird”? Did I mention that at some point?

        • Joe Daly says:

          No, in another thread, you mentioned that you played guitar, so I assumed that “Blackbird” would be a prominent member of your repertoire. Apart from your love of The Beatles, it seems like one of those songs that most guitarists learn at some point.

          You might be surprised to hear that I myself, have not learned it. 🙂

        • Greg Olear says:

          I just played it. It’s too high for me to sing well.

          My curse is that I like acoustic music, and I love to harmonize the S&G songs, but when I sing, I sound like James Hatfield.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Sounding like James Hetfield is called “a quality problem.”

          Do you use a capo at all? That would be the solution to your singing dilemma.

        • dwoz says:

          so just sight-transpose it down to F.

          🙂

        • Greg Olear says:

          Capos are for Indigo Girls.

          I just can’t do the sweet McCartney necessary to pull it off…F is still too between range.

          Here’s what I sound like, if you’re curious…this is a song I wrote years ago, and played guitar on, called “(Pushing Up) Daisy”:

          http://www.healygates.com/Daisy.MP3

        • Joe Daly says:

          Greg, that’s awesome! Really nice picking and very melodic voice. You and the missus must have a lot of fun collaborating, harmonizing, rocking out, etc. You most certainly can bypass the karaoke room and go straight to the open mic stage at the next TNB Has Talent! event.

        • Greg Olear says:

          Thanks, man, for listening. When we sing now, it’s pretty much “Wheels on the Bus.”

          Reminds me that I must starting planning TNBstock…so much to do, so little time…

        • Joe Daly says:

          The pleasure was all mine. I’d put one of mine up, but I’m too self-conscious about the drums.

          Is that the five year anniversary bash? I just want to know who’s designing the t-shirts. 🙂

        • Dana says:

          Wow Greg, that was great! And what a brilliant endorsement for cremation. 🙂

        • Joe Daly says:

          No kidding! I think we need to get Greg to a Poltz show post-haste. I now realize just how much he would enjoy the madness.

        • Greg Olear says:

          Thanks, Dana! See how I slip this in here, deep into Joe’s comment board. It’s like an Easter egg on a DVD.

          Joe: Poltz? Huh? And you’re designing the shirts. Feel free to crib my GNR design.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Greg, now you’re going to have people combing through all the other posts with heavy comments to find out what other gems you might have sewn into your replies. This will take on mythic proportions. “I found an Olear Egg in an old Simon post from last year! It’s a song about zebras!”

          And yes, a guy from New Paltz most certainly needs to witness the spectacle of a musician named Steve Poltz. For obvious and obscure reasons. I’ll give you a heads up next time he’s near you and yours!

          And that’s you who did that GNR design? That is brilliant! I was wondering who did that. Same with the Lenore Zion/Led Zeppelin one. Well done, sir. And great freaking idea with using that design for the shirts…

        • Greg Olear says:

          The only other “egg” worth looking for is when I aped the styles of various TNB people deep down on the comment board of one of Ben Loory’s posts, I think the one about Owen Wilson, which is vintage Loory and well worth a look.

          And yes, thanks, I do have my Photoshop fun…

        • Dana says:

          Okay – I missed Greg’s comment on Joe’s comment on my comment when it happened, but I felt compelled to revisit this post for several reasons and happened to notice this.

          Greggers, YES!! Poltz, Steve. You must see him. The only thing New York on his calendar right now is the CMJ in October, but he’s always adding dates. When you mentioned Wheels on the Bus, I immediately thought of his big hit, Handjob on a Church Bus.
          But he’s multi-faceted, multi-talented and he even has a children’s album. Maybe you remember his band The Rugburns? They had a nice college following in the 90’s…
          I put up a link to a video on youtube in the comments on Angela’s last post, so I may as well drop it here too.

          http://www.youtube.com/user/Shestumbledin#p/a/50F3B320D0E69AF5/0/QrPiyORcBko
          This is part one of three parts, and it takes about 17 minutes to watch all three, but I think it’s worth it. This link is via my youtube account, and there are other vids of him up there, including his original Chinese Checkers and his cover of My Old Friend the Blues.
          He’s played 8 house concerts at our house and I can’t wait to have him here again. He’s THAT much fun.

          I LOVE easter eggs and I’m so crappy at finding them, so thanks for the hint! I’ll make a point of checking out the Loory, Owen Wilson piece.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Could not agree more, Greg. I’ve only got a small window into your musical tastes, but it’s big enough for me to realize that you would love the experience of a live Poltz show. A true entertainer whose spontaneous audience interactions, ad hoc songwriting, and between song stories are just as enjoyable as the music itself, which is thoroughly engaging on its own.

          We’ll get you to one, come hell or high water!

      • Tawni says:

        Nice, Greg. If you turn the line into “I’ll stay with you till my seas are dry, love,” it becomes the female version of the same dirty-ish sentiment, albeit somewhat menopausal. Now why didn’t we band girls think of that back then? (:

  3. Michael K says:

    Erm….The Travelling Wilburys????? Where are they?

    • Joe Daly says:

      Michael, I was wondering how long it would take for that question to arise! It was a tough call, to be sure! They did two albums, both of which went platinum, had outrageously talented members (perhaps the most famous members to form a Supergroup), and got lots of exposure. My bias towards a heavier sound was certainly revealed in my top five, and that’s probably the only reason they didn’t appear there.

      And in a similar vein, I’ve already received an email inquiry as to where The Highwaymen are!

      Thanks for the read!

      • Michael K says:

        Hey I kind of figured on that. Thanks for reply and I did find out, finally, among many other interesting bits in your information, who the hell Humble Pie were. I can’t believe I went for years without actually knowing that data. Now I’m not sure if I’ve ever even heard them! 😉

    • Reuben Helms says:

      Heh! When I started reading the article, The Traveling Wilburys was the only Supergroup I could think of!

      I guess Queens of the Stone Age are a little too inconsistent with the line up, and I think it’s too early to tell for Them Crooked Vultures. TCV are a little too much like QotSA with a different name. Not that I don’t like the work. QotSA is a regular feature on my play list (especial Songs for the Deaf when I’m going for a long drive), and special guest appearances by Kyuss.

      None-the-less, great article!

  4. Michael K says:

    Otherwise, great article!

  5. Awesomely researched and scholastically laid out, Joe. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Especially since you concentrated on a lot of 90’s intermixing I had either forgotten about, or never knew to begin with (Mad Season?) For the record, the three I wrote down were:

    1. Asia-definitely on the master list of most loathsome bands to ever record a prom soundtrack.
    2. Rockpile-The bane of many people who tried to like the rockabilly stylings of young Dave Edmunds.
    3. Box of Frogs-Pretty unlistenable as well, including former members of Ian Dury, Machine Head, Yardbirds, as well as the dueling J’s Page and Beck to some degree.

    One other point: I saw The Firm in 1985, I believe. Jimmy Page played a solo with a violin bow in a cone of green laser light. I wore the tour shirt to school the next day, and if I didn’t get punched for it, I should have been. Also, being a budding King Crimson fan at the time, I was sort of pissed the whole concert that Tony Franklin played a Fender bass and not “The Stick”, that massive upright rectangle. It wasn’t until months later that some aghast gearhead clued me in to the fact that Tony Levin plays The Stick in King Crimson, and Tony Franklin is another person entirely.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Sean. It was interesting to see how some eras seem to cough up more Supergroups than others. 1966-1968 and the early ’90s seem particularly superfertile.

      I totally forgot about Rockpile! And I was right about to say that I forgot about Box of Frogs, but then I remembered that one hit that they had. Or maybe they had more and I missed it… This is the kind of stuff I was really looking forward to- hearing about the ones I forgot, and the ones that I had not heard of before.

      I remember when The Firm was doing press for the debut album, Page was talking about how he wouldn’t be doing any Zep songs with that band. But the last song on that album was basically an unreleased Zep track, re-tooled for Paul Rogers.

      Integrity requires me to cop to owning “The Firm” on vinyl. And I think I have “The Power Station,” too.

      Do you still have the concert t-shirt?

      Hilarious story about Tony Levin/Franklin!

  6. I was listening to Chickenfoot earlier. They were on the radio. ‘Oh Yeah’ is a pretty decent track, but the rest are disappointing.

    Cream are the greatest Supergroup, although Temple of the Dog… what a line up…

    I’d claim that the Eagles are not a supergroup because they’re shite. I hate the Eagles. They’re not bad, per se, but they’re not as good as people seem to think. Also because I hate ‘Ordinary Average Guy’ by Joe Walsh so much the whole band are just tainted by association with that awful, awful song.

    CSN&Y were better. I love those guys. I also love Crosby’s first solo effort, where it’s almost a supergroup formed of Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead…

    I tried writing a piece about supergroups about eighteen months ago, more specifically trying to come up with THE GREATEST.

    The problem most people have is that they just name the best induviduals. Anyone who would put Hendrix on guitar is a damn fool. Hendrix was in bands before the Experience and he was stifled. He only hit gold when he became the centre of attention.

    You need, really, to find musicians that would complement each other. Another major problem is that in that instance the line up of Page, Plant, JPJ and Bonham can’t really be beaten. They’re probably the most perfect assembly of musicians in one band. And you can’t really split them up.

    I came up with a line up once that I think would work pretty well:

    Vocals: Paul Rodgers (Free). Lead Guitar: Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac). Rhythm Guitar: Keith Richards (The Stones). Bass: John Paul Jones (Led Zep). Drums: Mitch Mitchell (The Jimi Hendrix Experience). Piano/Keyboards: Billy Preston OR John Mayall.

    Guest Harmonica: Mick Jagger

    It’s very much a British blues-rock supergroup…

    • Joe Daly says:

      Crap- tried to nest my initial reply to your comment but whiffed. Doh!

      Anyway, it occurred to me that I’d be interested in your all-American Supergroup. At your leisure, of course.

      • I’ll have a think over dinner. I think it can be done…

        • okay, Steve Tyler on vocals. Dave Grohl is about a good a drummer as there’s ever been, so I can’t not have him ‘pounding the skins.’

          Flea and Kim Deal are both great bass players, but a supergroup isn’t all about musical ability. at least not to me. I want this band to look a certain way as well as sound a certain way. I want them to sound like an awesome ’70s American hard rock band…

          I think I’m going to give the job to Krist Novoselic because he’s a solid choice and at least looks the part…

          Then finally Duane Allman on lead guitar. I wouldn’t have two guitarists in this line up. If it would ever come to needing a second guitarist then Tyler can call in Joe Perry.

          This would be a more straight up rock band line up. Tyler, Allman, Novoselic and Grohl. I prefer my all British band. I also think a southern rock supergroup would be better.

          Maybe Ronnie Van Zant, Duane Allman, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Dusty Hill, Dave Grohl (raised in Virginia, good enough) and Billy Preston on piano would be better. In fact I think it is…

  7. Joe Daly says:

    >>I’d claim that the Eagles are not a supergroup because they’re shite.<<

    Well said. BUT- talent is not a requirement for a Supergroup. Just fame. So you could argue that Fry, Henley, and Walsh are all big-time famous and that therefore The Eagles are a Supergroup (albeit “shite” by many standards [I don’t mind them]). My point is that they weren’t famous before Linda Ronstadt put them together, so they were just a regular band that became famous. If they fell apart, no one would have ever known nor cared.

    Your Fantasy Band is pretty solid (LOVE Peter Green’s inclusion), but is that all time, or is that just a classic rock lineup? I think you’re right about Keith Richards, but I’d have to walk around the block a few times to make sure I felt OK picking him instead of Malcolm Young.

    • ‘I don’t mind them’ is the exact sort of general indifference that makes me hate the Eagles. I hate them because most people are indifferent. I’d like them more if Henley had died young doing something stupid, instead of making heaps of money off the back of mediocrity. It’s the same reason I hate U2 in a way. Their early albums are awesome, but then they just rehashed that over and over again for more and more money. And Bono is just a nob. I’ll give Walsh & Co their due, at least they don’t act like saviours of the universe or wear stupid sunglasses all the time. Also, Bono is stupid. He wanted to name his band after an heroic WWII plane. A U2 spy plane is not an heroic WWII plane. Idiot.

      I included Peter Green over Clapton and Jeff Beck. The perfect blend of being able to just play what he needs or to really show off. Richards probably isn’t the best rhythm guitarist. He freely admits he can’t play properly. But he just gets the blues so well.

      I came up with it as a blues-rock line up. It’s an all time blues rock line up as it’s my preferred genre. A hard rock supergroup would probably be different. But if I had a hard rock supergroup it would probably just be Page, Plant, JPJ and Bonham. I don’t think that line up can be beaten. And you can’t really improve on AC/DC either….

      • Michael K says:

        I’m with you on hard-rock supergroup, James and in general The Beatles as all-purpose supergroup which is what they would have become if they’d ever reformed, all four members having had number one singles and albums and well-developed solo fame.

        • I’d disagree on The Beatles.

          I think they did the right thing calling it a day in 1970. I couldn’t see them getting any better, and all they’d have done was dilute and taint their legacy.

          It’s kind of like star athletes who retire. They shouldn’t come back because they’ll never be as good.

          I mean look at the Stones… they’ve barely managed five good tracks since Exile On Main Street. I’m glad they’re still around and I really wish that they’d go and do a proper blues album or just do the odd tour every now and then. But they’ve become a sort of parody of themselves. The same would have happened to the Beatles.

          I guess maybe they could have done one more great album… and maybe if they’d started doing live shows again. The Beatles were great at the end, but they were almost like rock professors using Anney Road as a musical labratory to experiment in. They came up with some great stuff, but even Louis Pasteur took Pasteurization on the road and let people experience it live…

        • Joe Daly says:

          At some point, a band becomes so big that it carries virtually no more risk when it records. The Stones are the embodiment of that. No matter how much nonsense they release, they’ll still be The Stones, they’ll still sell out arenas, and they’ll still get Kilimanjaro-sized checks a couple times a year from their royalties. So they can release a concept album about the importance of hand washing, and even if it flopped, it wouldn’t so much as dent their lifestyle.

          So to your point, even if they put a great blues album out, critics might love it, it would ultimately get lost in the shuffle of mediocrity, I fear.

        • Good point.

          Have you seen Shine A Light? That was beyond awesome. They should do more shows like that.

          I watched it on the plane coming into New York. The next day I’m walking down the road and look up just as I’m going past the theatre where it was filmed.

          The thing with the film though is it shows everything still great about them i.e. live performance and everything wrong with them i.e. oh, hell President Clinton, how are you?

          My point though was more that that is what would have happened to the Beatles. They would have sullied their greatness with thier own equivalent of Black and Blue and ill advised charity records which involve off-sidewalk dancing with other past-their-best British rock stars…

        • Joe Daly says:

          I haven’t seen Shine a Light yet. I guess I need to pick up the Blu Ray. Sort of kicking myself for not catching it at the Imax.

          I remember seeing the Stones live at Soldier Field in Chicago, back on the Steel Wheels tour. I have to say, they were awesome. Great showmen- they played the classics, interacted with the crowd, and really showed a lot of energy. More so than the Who concert that I saw at roughly the same time. And I freaking LOVE The Who.

          The Beatles would have certainly ended up as the Stones did. I don’t know how they could have escaped it. Well, apart from staying on the drugs and being really cantankerous and difficult with everyone.

        • I only managed to see it because it was on the plane. In fact I watched it on the way back as well…

          They looked like an awesome live act, which is expected really. One thing I really respect about the Stones is that they still put the effort in doing it live. I fucking love almost everything about the Stone… up until 1974. But then I do love the fact that Britain hasn’t really had a rockstar anywhere near as rock and roll as Keith Richards since Keith Richards.

          Pete Doherty doesn’t count. Yeah, he’s done some pretty rock and roll things involving heroin and burgling his own bandmate. But the difference between him and Keith Richards is that Keith never let it get in the way of making good music and he did it in a way that seemed cool, glamorous and roguishly lovable. Also he managed to stay thin. There’s a joke over here that Doherty cuts his heroin with mayonaise…

      • Joe Daly says:

        Peter Green had more attitude than Clapton or Beck. “Green Manalishi” is still one of Judas Priest’s best songs.

        My hard rock line up:

        Vocals: Plant
        Lead: Page
        Rhythm: Malcolm Young
        Bass: Entwistle
        Drums: Moon

        Note that my metal line up would be much different.

        • The first time I heard Man of the World it actually made me cry. I hardly ever cry. It’s just so intensely sad and incredibly powerful. I love Manalishi. I referenced it heavily in the novel I wrote last year.

          Green is just cooler than the other two. I think that’s why I chose him over them.

          Entwistle is a fantastic bass player. My Generation was on the radio earlier and I hadn’t heard it for ages. The little bass bits in that song… so so cool…

          I prefer my line up, but yours is interesting. The only probably I’d have with it though: are Entwistle and Moon better than JPJ and Bonham? I think your line up though would come up with something substantially different. A blend of Led Zep, The Who and AC/DC would be pretty special…

        • Joe Daly says:

          I prefer my line up, but yours is interesting. The only probably I’d have with it though: are Entwistle and Moon better than JPJ and Bonham? I think your line up though would come up with something substantially different. A blend of Led Zep, The Who and AC/DC would be pretty special…

          You’re right about that- the rhythm section would be totally different. And I’d wager, perhaps more Malcolm-friendly, as they’d be a bit speedier. AccaDacca were total blues (up through Highway, at least), so he’s got a bluesman’s heart, but I think that his heavy tendencies and natural speed would better suit a Moon/Entwistle backing.

          Malcolm is so underrated, it’s not even funny. I read a great interview with Angus some years back, where he pointed out all these subtleties in Malcolm’s playing on different tracks, noting how throughout the song, Malcolm’s rhythm lines change ever so slightly, building up through the song until the chorus or bridge kicks in. He’s just got such a great sense of melody.

        • I’d go with that. Moon and Entwistle are more high energy.

          And AC/DC are a blues band. With Brian Johnson they got harder and further from ‘the source’ but the heart is still there. I used to dislike AC/DC greatly because I thought all their songs were the same and they just played three chords.

          It’s so much more subtle than that. They are genuinely great musicans. And the lyrics… they don’t get enough credit. Their lyrics with Bon Scott were so so clever. Big Balls is a treat.

        • Michael K says:

          Having been checking out The Beatles’ remasters over the last couple of months, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been reminded just how genial a bass-player Paul McCartney was, apart from any of his other talents.Even at the height of Lennon’s hatred of him, he still found a moment to say that McCartney was untouchable as a bassist and, boy, on the clarity of the new CD’s you can really get with that. What I would like to see would be McCartney performing a bassist-only function within a supergroup. No singing, no writing just bass-playing.
          Apparently he was interested in joining TCV but the bassist position was already taken. Somebody should ask him.

  8. Dana says:

    I’m with you Michael! Love the Traveling Wilburys. On the other hand it included Temple of the Dog which is one of my favorite albums of all time…

    What hit me as I was reading through the list — amazement at my lack of musical history. Sure, I know plenty of niche stuff, but a bit embarrassing to know that Humble Pie and Cream were considered Supergroups. I thought they were the bands that launched Frampton and Clapton into solo careers. Oops.

    I think I enjoyed your hall of doom as much as your top 5 and runners up.

    Damn Yankee’s indeed… and OMG that Asia are still flogging it.

    • Joe Daly says:

      I had to fire up TOTD again while I was writing this. Just an amazing album. Someone asked why, where I list the Original Members, McCready was not listed as a member of Pearl Jam, but back then, as you undoubtedly know, he was just joining up with Stone and Jeff. While talented as hell even back then, he had not yet achieved real fame. Of course, ironically he ended up making TWO Supergroups on the list, not including his primary paycheck- PJ.

      • Of course TOTD formed after the death of Andrew Wood.

        And how fucking great were Mother Love Bone?!

        • Joe Daly says:

          Hindsight’s 20/20, but I think that MLB would have been pretty forking huge if Wood hadn’t died. Those two albums are fantastic. There’s a great MLB demos CD that’s just as good as the studio versions. I remember buying it as a bootleg back in maybe ’93 and being blown away. I’m sure you can get it anywhere now.

        • If Wood had kept going Nirvana probably wouldn’t have made it big. Certainly not as big as they were.

          I’ve only listened to them online because their albums are a bit pricey online. One day though… one day I shall purchase Apple and blast out Stardog Champion just as loud as my speakers can manage…

        • Dana says:

          Yep, I’m pretty clear on my PJ history and mythology… and Mike still rules. He SANG lead on the Christmas single this year. (And he wasn’t bad.)

          Agree with you about hindsight — it’s pretty easy to speculate now how big MLB would have been, but Andrew Wood certainly had something special.

  9. Hmmm. I like most of your choices. Cream? Not going to argue. I hated Soundgarden (too whiny) and RAtM (too political), but thought Audioslave managed to be just enough of both to be awesome without the crappy parts of either. I was disappointed by Contraband, but then again, I loved Chinese Democracy, so what do I know (is Guns N’ Roses now a supergroup, considering only Axl is original and it’s basically a bunch of other dudes from a bunch of other bands)?

    I wanted to love Them Crooked Vultures, especially with Grohl doing a Zeppelin thing, but I didn’t love the music. I’m not a big QotSA fan, and I’m not sure that’s part of it, but it may be. Then again, Grohl gets around enough I stopped thinking of him as tied to a band. Didn’t he do drums for Tenacious D? And, like, nine million other bands, like, four years ago? Seemed like every time I turned around Grohl was hitting things somewhere.

    Which is why I’m not sure about mentioning Jack White. I mean, White Stripes doesn’t even count as a group, according to your guidelines, and then there’s the Raconteurs and Dead Weather (both of whom I’m warming to), but White is as much a music slut as Grohl. You can’t chuck a guitar pick at a CD bin without hitting something White guested on somewhere.

    I do, however, have to mention Tinted Windows, given that you didn’t. Taylor Hanson, James Iha, and two other guys, one from Fountains of Wayne/Ivy and the other from Cheap Trick, whose names I never actually remember, but damn that CD is fantastic. Rolling Stone interviewed Chris Cornell just before the TW CD came out, and given Cornell’s involvement with supergroups, asked him about TW, whom Cornell hadn’t yet heard but said “Well, that math adds up.” And it does. It’s kinda sick how glorious that CD.

    What about that . . . there was that television show, Rockstar: Supernova, wasn’t there? I remember wanting to love what came from it. I always liked Jason Newsted (the only good Metallica CDs were the ones he played on), but I think I remember them sucking. Legion of Doom?

  10. Stefan Kiesbye says:

    Asia better left as individual pieces? NOOOO! Heat of the Moment? C’mon, best cheesiest supergroup song ever, and it could have been by Boston. Asia rocks!!!

  11. Joe Daly says:

    Will- I totally get being disappointed by Contraband. I remember that when it came out, I found myself feeling like it was disappointing, but still better than so much crap that was being released at the time. I feel like, for VR, it might have been a let down. But if you didn’t know who was in the band, and gave it a fresh listen, I wonder if you might have felt differently.

    GNR can’t be a Supergroup according to my definition, because famous musicians joined a pre-existing group. Although you’re right- with guys like Stinson and Buckethead doing their time, they had some hot shots. I also liked Chinese Democracy although I think it was because I thought I was going to hate it and didn’t.

    I still prefer to call the new GNR “The Axl Rose Project.”

    Good question about Jack White. He’s got two solid side projects. I don’t know if the other members of those are as big as the members of some of these other groups. But he certainly made my short list, as did Tinted Windows. I only heard their one song, though.

    Thanks for that Cornell quote! That’s awesome.

    Ooh, and you just made a solid, dare I say airtight case for another member of the Legion of Doom…

    Once again, your thoughts on music are informative and insightful. Thanks a bunch, Will!

  12. Gloria says:

    What about The Honeydrippers?

    • Joe Daly says:

      Whoa! Totally forgot about them. How would you rate/rank them?

      • Gloria says:

        Hmmm… Well, they were good, but not epic. Solid, to be sure. I think an Honorable Mention should suffice.

    • Gloria says:

      Also, I couldn’t agree more about Temple of the Dog. And you know – that album still holds up. Still. To this day.

      This was so fun, Joe. It’s like fantasy baseball for people who are sports retarded.

      • Joe Daly says:

        Thanks, Gloria! No shortage of people on here who love their music. I wonder if there are sports fans on TNB who are like, “Ugh… another music article…”

        • Gloria says:

          What’s awesome is that you bridge the gap between the two. 🙂

          The Honeydrippers were one of the bands that my mom and I agreed on, so I remember them clearly. I came from a house full of people who loved music, but none of us agreed. On cleaning day, my mom would put on Willie Nelson or Janis Joplin’s “Pearl” album, despite the loud and pleading protests of my sister and me. My sister liked Motley Crue, while I was way more into The Black Crowes. So, anytime there was a song or a group that we could all agree on, I remembered it. My mom was the one who got me into “Appetite for Destruction,” which we all loved. Wait…I think my sister may not have liked it. Then, there was the epic, life changing day that I came home from middle school to find my mom, who had stayed home from work ill that day, sitting in front of the TV sobbing over a video on MTV. “Have you seen this?” she asked. It was “One” by Metallica, who I’d never heard of before.

        • Joe— probably not as many as there are music fans thinking ‘urgh, another sports article…’ I’m trying to stop. Almost everyone likes music, fewer like sports. I know some people who are pretty either/or about the whole thing. Like they either like music and hate sports or vice versa… weirdos…

          Gloria— Listening to the Black Crowes non stop for the past week. I love it when I find a band to really, really love. Until recently I’d only heard their cover of Hard to Handle. I Ain’t Hiding from their last album almost makes up for the fact that I wasn’t born in time for the ’70s…

        • Gloria says:

          @Irwin – “Shake Your Money Maker” was an album that was pivotal in a ten year span of time where music literally changed my life. See also: “Ritual De Lo Habitual”, “The Real Thing”, “Flood”, “Ten”, “Little Earthquakes”…

          Yeah. I love music.

          I wish I could say that I loved sports, but I just don’t get them. The rules. To me, it sounds like Owen Wilson’s character explaining Whack-Bat in The Fantastic Mr. Fox: “Basically, there’s three grabbers, three taggers, five twig runners, and a player at Whackbat. Center tagger lights a pine cone and chucks it over the basket and the whack-batter tries to hit the cedar stick off the cross rock. Then the twig runners dash back and forth until the pine cone burns out and the umpire calls hotbox. Finally, you count up however many score-downs it adds up to and divide that by nine.”

          The only game I’ve ever understood of gotten excited about? Quidditch. Because I’m a HUUUUUUGGGGGEEEEEEE dork.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Gloria- your mom got you into “Appetite.” And a Metallica fan? How cool is that?? By contrast, my mother’s closest thing to a “rock” album was a Robert Goulet Christmas disc.

          James- you’re right about that, brother. I grew up with cousins who were mega sports fans who not only could not give two shits about music, but who thought I was weird for being so into it. I’m a true hybrid- love my sports, and love my music. In a “Sophie’s Choice” situation, I’d give sports away. Ouch. It hurt to say. But it’s still true.

          Crowes rock. Waiting for Lisa Rae to chime in right about now…

        • dwoz says:

          @Gloria — my favorite part of that sports description…the reply: “ok, got it.”

        • Gloria says:

          I mean, I guess it was cool?

          I remember once, when I was about 10, my mom and I were sitting in the living room watching MTV. My sister may have been there too. My mom had a friend over. She was acting funny (I would learn years later that she was on mushrooms). We were watching a Queen video and my mom was staring at the screen, mouth agape, and all of a sudden shouted at the screen, “Oh, baby! Eat me with that wonderful underbite!” I worried that my mom loved cannibals for a long time after that.

          Another time, my mom left my sister and me with a known child rapist so that she could go to a Pat Benetar concert. (Months later, this same guy kidnapped a school mate of mine – raped her, killed her, and buried her body on my grandparent’s ranch. He was the only person executed in New Mexico in 75 years.

          Another time, she left my sister and me alone at home on Thanksgiving so that she could go see Willie Nelson. I was 10 or 11. Wait. I think I was 10 or 11 in all these stories. Must have been a rough year for her.

          “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and…”

        • Joe Daly says:

          Oooh… yeeeeeah…. wow. How’s that for a little perspective?

          I’m sort of mad at her for not taking you to the Willie Nelson show…

          Well let me clarify by saying that I think it’s tremendously cool that you have such diverse and well-informed musical tastes. 🙂

        • Gloria says:

          Since she sobered up about eight years ago, she’s tried to get me into Ottmar Liebert and she sends me Chickensoup For the Soul books. (Actually, I’ve finally gotten her to stop sending those after telling her that they’re not as soft as regular toilet paper.)

          I’m not sure which is worse. Old mom. Or Jesus mom. *sigh*

          And, right? I SO should have been invited to see Willie Nelson. It was the least she could have done.

        • Gloria says:

          Sorry, Joe. I probably overshared on your post here. It’s hard not to treat the discussion board like I’m having beers with friends.

          I will do work now.

          🙂

        • Joe Daly says:

          Gloria- mi casa, su casa! That’s one of the great things about TNB- we can gather around a piece and have at it. I love the way the discussions organically take off. Especially pieces by Slade, where three or four really funny threads always pop up within the same article. Have at it and thanks for the killer comments. I’ll never get tired of hearing how someone’s musical roots took hold.

        • Gloria— Whack-bat is pretty much baseball as far as I’m concerned, as in the rules seem the same and as incomprehensible. I totally get not getting sports… and I love that film. The only thing ruined it for me was people bitching about all the voices being American. Idiots.

          Joe— I’m in a weird place with sports and music where the two are pretty much compromised by my interest. So I’m not into music as much as some people, and my understanding of sport is limited to a handful of main sports and then a limited understanidng of most others. I can’t play music and I don’t get the appeal of golf or most rugby games. Also rugby fans ruin rugby by their scorn of NFL. Like it’s a crime to enjoy both. Ultimately though my life is that much richer for the interest in sports and music.

          And the Crowes rock more every time I listen to them. I remember Lisa Rae mentioning they were her favourite band of all time a few days ago. They’re storming my list. There is nothing not to like about that band.

  13. dwoz says:

    Ok, so here we are, on a LITERARY website, and the supergroup “Bad English” get’s no mention?

    • Joe Daly says:

      D, it’s funny because a lot of people have Journey on their Supergroup lists. I’d say that the only way that Bad English makes the list is if Journey’s already there. Thoughts?

      Appearing on the Tango and Cash soundtrack has got to count for something…

      • dwoz says:

        well, absent Neal Schon, I’d agree with you…it would just be a reformation of The Babys. But I think WITH Schon, it qualifies?

        Not to mention, they got a hit with a Diane Warren song. That puts them in the hall of shame no matter what.

  14. I love this, Joe.

    I’m running out the door, will leave a real comment later.

    I loved Mad Season. I had totally forgot about them. Thanks again for re-introduction.

  15. dwoz says:

    ok, time for a supergroup joke.

    A bar-band guitarist was driving home drunk from a late-night gig, when he fell asleep at the wheel. Suddenly he finds himself standing in the middle of a large room. He looks around, recognizing the trappings and equipment of a recording studio. To his left, he sees Jaco Pastorius and James Jamerson sharing a joint and talking…to their left Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin going over a lyric sheet, over to his right, Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman are passing a bottle of Jack back and forth and tuning their guitars.

    The door opens and Gerry Garcia walks up to him, handing him a guitar. “Howdy, and Welcome. You better get tuned up, the session is about to start!”

    The bar-band guitarist called after him. “Wait! How did I get here? Did I die and go to heaven?”

    Garcia stopped short and looked at him with a sad grin. “Oh, you wish.” was all he said, shaking his head.

    At that moment, the door to the control room opened, and Karen Carpenter entered the room, walked over and sat behind the drum kit.

    “Ok, you useless sacks of shit! ‘Close To You,’ take 179,587. AND THIS TIME WITH FEELING! 1…2…3…4…”

    • Haha. Garcia is an amazing guitarist for a guy with a missing finger…

      • Joe Daly says:

        Not to mention a missing pulse.

        • well he only played when he was alive…

          the Grateful Dead were my favourite band of all time for quite a long time. They’re still up there. I wrote a piece on them for David Wills Beatdom…

          They’ve only dropped down because my musical taste got a bit harder. I was really into the whole lates ’60s stuff for ages. Those were happy days, when I started going at writing properly because I’d read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and realised writing can be cool. I got into the Dead because of a passing mention HST made in another of his books…

  16. Greg Olear says:

    Are there any hip hop supergroups? There must be.

    That literary band where Stephen King plays the guitar, and Amy Tan and Dave Barry are also involved…that’s gotta be a supergroup, too, right?

  17. Rachel Pollon says:

    Though they weren’t my cup of tea (though I love me some old Tom Petty, ELO, Beatles and Dylan) thought about The Traveling Wilburys and then saw another commenter mentioned them.

    Also, I recently read that Bryan Ferry is going to be recording with Brian Eno again, and Johnny Greenwood from Radiohead and Flea from RHC will be working on the record. I know this doesn’t constitute superdom because I believe it’s for BF’s solo record, but I thought it was worth a mention.

    I feel like there are more that I will feel compelled to write about as they hit me. Fun piece!

    • Joe Daly says:

      Interesting about Ferry and Eno. I’ll keep my grapes peeled.

      And Flea and Thom Yorke put that band together at Coachella this year- Atoms for Peace. Will be interesting to see if they record something.

      Thanks for the read! If you think of other groups, come on back over!

  18. Matt says:

    Nice list, Joe!

    Them Crooked Vultures was top of my quickly-scribbled list; that was one of my favorite albums last year (Pearl Jam releases are by default my favorite of the year). Second was The Dead Weather, who I’m surprised you didn’t mention at least in passing; Jack White might be the most famous member, but Alison Mossheart and Dean Fertitta are pretty well established via their turns in The Kills and Queens of the Stone Age, respectively.

    Third was The Gutter Twins, DQ’d by virtue of only really being Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli.

    Also on my mind was Monsters of Folk, or whatever the fuck it was they called themselves. M.Ward plus a bunch of other twee folky hipsters I can’t be bothered to Google. From what I heard, that album was basically the sonic equivalent of NyQuil.

    I thought Chickenfoot’s album rates, along with Chris Cornell’s Timbaland-produced monstrocity, as one of the worst records I have ever heard…

    …though not as bad as my nominee for the Legion of Musical Doom: Eyes Adrift, comprised of Krist Novoselic (Nirvana), Bud Gaugh (Sublime–no faster way to get me to change radio stations than to play one of their songs) and whichever of the Kirkwood brothers isn’t a major druggie (Meat Puppets). They played a show in 2003 at the nightclub I worked at, and they were terrible; throughout the set people were leaving in disgust, so that the venue was virtually empty by the time they finished playing.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Matt! Jack White is definitely a notable omission. I had a brief paragraph about the distinction between side-projects and Supergroups, discussing Jack, but the piece had become too long (yes, even longer than the final version…), so I cut it out. Good catch.

      You hit four SG candidates that didn’t occur to me: Gutter Twins, Monsters of Folk (you’re right- they were Nyquilly), and Eyes Adrift. Glad to hear I missed them. Although, having not heard of them before your comment, missing them was rather easy. 🙂

      When I heard about Timbaland producing Cornell, I knew it would be something to avoid like three day old potato salad. Thanks for the confirmation, as I have not heard a single track.

      • Matt says:

        It was very easy to miss Eyes Adrift, as they were only a band from something like a nine-month stretch between 2002 and 2003. God, I wish I’d missed them! That I was working, and paid to be there, was the only redeeming thing about that concert. And it’s a lesser redemption at best.

        Cornell put that whole album up for streaming on MySpace the week before its release. Since overall I like Cornell’s work, I listened to it, hoping that there would be something, anything quality on it.

        There wasn’t. Not a single note. Happy that I at least didn’t shell out $15 for that lesson.

        Interestingly, Cornell re-recorded two of the songs from it with traditional instrumentation, which sounded SO much better–I can’t imagine he was deaf to that fact.

        Regarding Jack White, my argument would be that White Stipes is his main group, Raconteurs is his side project (really, none of the other members had sold more than a handful of discs before then) and The Dead Weather is his supergroup, for reasons already stated.

        • Joe Daly says:

          With Cornell you get this sense of restlessness. Like he doesn’t want to be the Soundgarden guy with the big rock voice. It seems like the more he struggles to try something new, the clearer it becomes that big rock vocals are his whole goddamned raison d’etre.

          Well done with the Jack White argument. So tell me- which is your favorite?

        • Matt says:

          Mmmmmmmm……probably the White Stripes, though I think they’ve kind of peaked with Elephant; later releases have been good but haven’t blown me out of the water.

          That said, I am really enjoying the Dead Weather’s new disc, though that may have something to do with the fact that I’ve got a bit of a celebcrush on Mosshart.

  19. Matt says:

    Forgot to mention: regarding the “dream band” game (and this is possibly outside the rules) I’d love to hear what sort of inspired madness would come from a Tom Waits/Leonard Cohen/Nick Cave team-up. All are known as singers, but Cave & Waits are multi-instrumentalists, too.

    I was gonna throw PJ Harvey in the mix, too, but I guess she and Cave had a really bad break-up, and aren’t on speaking terms.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Oh, the Dream Band game is wide open here and well within the rules (which are breakable, anyway, as we’re all music fans here).

      Big points for the most creative dream band I’ve ever heard conceived! And see, for the very reason you dismissed her, I would argue Harvey would need to be in that band. Look what bad breakups did for Fleetwood Mac!

      • Matt says:

        Hmmm. You may just be right. If nothing else, it would probably lead to an interesting dynamic during live performances.

        I also want to add Iggy Pop, if for no other reason than that portion of Coffee and Cigarettes he and Tom Waits did together.

  20. Is admission to the Supergroup Hall of Musical Justice free? Looks sorta lame. I think I’d rather go to the aquarium and stare at the penguins.

    How about these: Plastic Ono Band. Oysterhead.

    It’s too bad Dave Grohl played damn near everything on Probot. Doesn’t count.

    Personally, I think every major group that matters is a supergroup. Starting a good band and keeping it working is so, so hard.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Good luck scoring free drugs at the penguin tank.

      Thought about Oysterhead, but they were too good to be in the Legion of Doom, not good enough to make the Top Five, and I liked Fantomas better for the middle five.

      Thank you for name checking Probot. He had a lot of musical help on that album, too. I remember the Celtic Frost and Sepultura contributions were awesome, and Lemmy’s guest appearance was good too.

      Good point about groups that matter. With iTunes, MySpace, and the rest of the Internet, anyone can post an album up for the world to listen. Even if it’s brutally bad, the time someone takes to listen to that is time taken away from a group that’s really working it. So it’s a pretty big deal for a group to rise above the glut of material out there and make a unique mark.

  21. Michael K says:

    Plastic Ono Band was a great Supergroup concept. Their first single should have been ‘You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)’ b/w ‘What’s The New Mary Jane?’ and the former side was essentially Lennon and McCartney with Brian Jones on sax (both tracks ultimately released as the Beatle tracks they really were.)
    Lennon and Ono then launched the Plastic Ono Band with the ad ‘You ARE The Plastic Ono Band’ showing a grouping of recording equipment, microphones and a television camera pointed at the reader.
    Because they’d been involved in a car accident the day before the launch, it was Ringo Starr who turned up as The Plastic Ono Band press conference.
    The recovery of Yoko in bed took place in Abbey Road while the unamused Beatles and their producer were working and put paid to this conceptual phase which might otherwise have been a kind of alternative Beatles outlet that might have kept Lennon interested in the band but in reality it became his exit.
    Later it became a kind of floating supergroup for first ventures by Lennon into solo appearances and featured Eric Clapton on occasion before the whole thing collapsed into being a loose backing band cover-name for John and Yoko’s projects (recently revived in this form by Yoko)

    Ideally Paul McCartney should have got involved as the conceptual flavour to begin with was really his Sergeant Pepper alias in a new form. But McCartney doesn’t DO supergroups unless you count 1979’s Rockestra which guested on Wings’ ‘Back to The Egg’ album for a couple of tracks and then played live at the Concerts for Kampuchea. It featured a huge collection of people including Denny Laine, Laurence Juber, David Gilmour, Hank Marvin, Pete Townshend (guitars), Steve Holly, John Bonham, Kenney Jones (drums), Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones (pianos), Ronnie Lane, Bruce Thomas (bass), Gary Brooker, Linda McCartney, Tony Ashton (keyboards), Speedy Acquaye, Tony Carr, Ray Cooper, Morris Pert (percussion), Howie Casey, Tony Dorsey, Steve Howard, Thaddeus Richard (horns).

    I’m not sure if this was a supergroup or a prototype for the ‘charity gig’ assemblages that caught fire with Live Aid and therafter in the mid-eighties.

    • You know yer stuff, MK. So, did a Lennon/Clapton/Moon overlap ever happen? I vaguely recall the Rock N Roll Circus TV special. If so, that’s one hell of a power trio. Arguably the greatest supergroup trio of all time. If not, I’ll allow my imagination to cherrypick in bliss.

      • I don’t think Lennon, Clapton and Moon ever played in one group at the Rock and Roll circus.

        Moon drummed on Beck’s Bolero which also featured Jeff Beck (well, obviously) and pre-Led Zep Page and John Paul Jones.

        At the Rock and Roll circus there was a supergroup, The Dirty Mac, which featured Clapton, Lennon, Keith Richards, and Mitch Mitchell. Not a bad line up at all, although it’d be better without Lennon and a good blues singer instead.

        • You’d make John Lennon sit out for a proper blues singer? To sing the song he penned? Picky, picky, Sir James!

          The fact that The Dirty Mac is a one-shot supergroup sits very well with me. Supergroups are ponderous. But a supergroup that plays one song very well, doesn’t release an album, doesn’t tour, that’s as rock n roll as it gets.

        • Michael K says:

          Preach on sista! The only thing that could have possibly topped The Dirty Mac would have been The Fabs themselves as per their (semi) live appearance on The David Frost Show doing ‘Revolution’. Nobody else should ever attempt to sing ‘Yer Blues’. It’s the pinnacle of Lennon’s self-expression ‘thing’. The Dirty Mac version does rock especially with Mitch Mitchell’s drumming but I’d have preferred drum and bass from Ringo and Paul on it anyday and Harrison’s playing on The Beatles’ version is one Clapton-beating best performance

        • I meant a line up with those guys would work better with someone like Paul Rodgers on vocals and a proper bassist so Keith can play rhythm. As an induvidual entity doing their own songs.

          But you’re right, just playing one song, being totally awesome and then just walks off is pretty rock and roll.

      • Michael K says:

        The Rock and Roll Circus one-off supergroup was The Dirty Mac with Lennon and Clapton on guitars, Keith Richards on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums.They did a blistering version of “Yer Blues” which The Stones later flet had so blown away their own performances that they shelved the film for 30 years. They also backed up Yoko Ono with violinist Ivry Gitlis on “Whole Lotta Yoko”, a blues jam with Yoko screeching over it. The name, thought of by Lennon, was a play on “Fleetwood Mac” but may, I suspect, have related to the discovery that McCartney had secretly purchased additional shares in Northern Songs, the publishing company he co-owned with Lennon, the first major trigger in their disputes.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Awesome stuff, MK! Never knew much about the Plastic Ono band. Love the bit about Ringo showing up at the press conference.

      Those charity gigs have spawned some big jams, alright. I still remember watching Live Aid and being blown away by the musicians all jamming together. Since then, with Band Aid, Live Aid, the Sun City thing, and all the concerts since. I think it’s time for the old timers to step aside and let some of the newer guys to start taking these things over.

      • Michael K says:

        Yeah I think there are no ‘political animals’ amongst the youngers. No mouthpieces. Maybe that’s not what we need but certainly somebody with the balls to organise something outside their own ‘image’. I hope it’ll be a woman in truth. And an issue that matters. What we don’t need now is nostalgics in any form.Hmmm…..

  22. Don Mitchell says:

    Blind Faith?

    Or is that gathering DQd in some way?

    • DQ’d for having an album cover containing child porn…

      • Don Mitchell says:

        Eh? I only have the CD now (used to have the LP, though). Just some scruffy looking rockers, wasn’t it?

        I thought it was some Nirvana thing with the infant weiner.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Yeah, James hit the nail on the head there- they got in big trouble with that album cover. Which is a shame, because “Can’t Find My Way Home” is such a good tune.

        • it might have been one of those covers that had a different release outside the UK.

          The original UK release was of a naked thirteen year old girl holding a shiny metal aeroplane.

          controversial.

        • Don Mitchell says:

          Ah, now I remember. Teenage boobs, was it? I wonder if the LP’s still out in the barn.

        • Don Mitchell says:

          Sure enough. I dug out a Rolling Stone for August 23, 1969, and there’s a story about it, and also a full-page ad from Atco, showing both covers and declaring “The record inside both jackets is exactly the same. It’s what’s inside that counts.”

        • Dana says:

          Blind Faith gets a fair amount of air time in our household.

  23. Irene Zion says:

    Joe,
    I simply hate it when I know nothing about your subject.
    I know this is a wonderful piece. I just don’t know these musicians.
    I stopped listening to music at around Dylan.
    I listen to DooWop and Dylan and 50’s stuff.
    I’m sure this is a wonderful piece.
    Sorry I have nothing to say.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Irene, just by telling me what you listen to, you have made me happy. That is more than enough.

      Wait- does that mean you’re a Sha Na Na fan?

      • Gloria says:

        My first crush ever was Bowzer from Sha Na Na when I was, like, four or something. True story.

      • Irene Zion says:

        Sha Na Na was like the 60’s after the true doo wop sound.
        For instance:
        Dion and the Belmonts, The Paragons, The Jesters, The Flamingoes, Harptones, Shantelles, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Louie Lymon and the Teenchords, The Del-Vikings…like that.

  24. Lorna says:

    Dang, you make me feel so gosh darned musically illiterate. But with that being said, I am happy soak up the knowledge and go exploring on youtube and such and expand my musically challenged brain. I, like totally, dug the first couple of paragraphs. And thank you for the video clips. That was an awesome little concert.

    • Lorna says:

      I think I’ll go play some RockBand now. 🙂

    • Joe Daly says:

      Lorna, you’re a rocker and I know it. Glad you enjoyed it- I learned a lot myself from the research. Super fun topic. Glad you dug the video clips, too. I had to summon mucho assistance from my guardian angel, Megan DiLullo to help me post them, so I’m glad you enjoyed the music!

      Oh, and here’s hoping you crushed it in Rockband. \m/

  25. The Rosser says:

    Dude-

    Great article but I’ve been reading all these comments waiting for your Metal Supergroup. Please share whilst I think about mine…

    • Joe Daly says:

      Damn. Forcing my hand, huh?

      Ok, here’s my fantasy metal band:

      Vocals: Bruce Dickinson
      Rhythm guitar: James Hetfield
      Lead: Randy Rhoads
      Bass: Cliff Burton
      Drums: Dave Lombardo

      This was really, really tough. I regret choices already. But I’m going with my gut.

      • The Rosser says:

        Yeah, it is tough. You could probably guess how I’d go:

        Vocals: King Diamond
        Guitar: Mikael Åkerfeldt
        Guitar: Chuck Schuldiner
        Bass: Geezer Butler
        Drums: Dave Lombardo

        I could’ve gone other ways too but those are the first people that came into my mind.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Interesting combo with that death metal meat in the middle. Never knew you were an Opeth fan, though I’m not surprised.

          Geezer Butler, eh? Blues over speed. Would be cool to hear with a couple of really blazing guitarists.

          Does this mean you’re into Meshuggah as well? Their album obZen is pretty amazing stuff. It’s like classical music- the more you listen to it, the more you hear going on.

        • The Rosser says:

          I haven’t really listened to them too much but I’ll be sure to check them out.

          I always like the Sabbath bass lines for some reason…not sure if this band would really be that good since it’s kind of a crazy mix but those are the guys I like the best.

          Meatcheese isn’t here but if he was, I’m sure he’d say hello.

  26. After all these years, Temple of the Dog is still a band I could listen to for days on end. I was only 10 when I first learned of them through an older guy in my neighborhood — drummer for Uncle Screwtape, local skateboarder. Cool guy all around. Always in the know with music. He was a huge Mother Love Bone fan and made me a mix tape with Temple of the Dog, along with some other newcomers to what would become the Seattle scene, long before any of these guys would hit the airwaves (or make an appearance in the movie Singles). Excellent piece, Joe.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Jeffrey. That is very cool that you had someone turn you on to that stuff while it was still raw and under the radar. Especially if you were down with MLB while they were still playing. Writing about Temple of the Dog and Mad Season really brought me back to that time in the early 90s when I was in law school, had a long distance girlfriend, was partying my way around Chicago, and all I really wanted to do was listen to music all day long- PJ, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Mother Love Bone, Green River, Hater, Soundgarden, etc. The scene was already taking off by the time I found it, but what an electric time for music! If you ever hear from your skateboarding drummer friend, and he gives you any music tips, send them along, willya?

  27. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    Supergroup a-la femme fetishist:

    D’Angelo
    Rich Robinson
    Flea
    John Bonham

    • Gloria says:

      Did you see that we were talking about you above? I didn’t know you were a Black Crowes lover, too. I think I love you.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Nice! Totally down and dirty. We’ve talked about the Crowes and we’re so on the same page about their sound. You’ve got a really eclectic group there- that dirty Southern boogie from Rich, plus Flea’s psycho-funk, on top of Bonham’s power drumming. That’s a sound I would be very interested in hearing. Can you set that up for a brother?

      • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

        Throw D’Angelo in that mix and you might have to handcuff me to my seat. And yeah, no problem. I’ll give the guys a call. We’ll do something small and intimate at my place.

        • Joe Daly says:

          OK, if you get to salivate over them, then I get to get up and enjoy at least one jam with them before quietly letting myself out the back. Deal?

        • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

          You’d have to sit in, Joe! And for the record, I’d handle a living room show like a lady.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Yes! You are the cooliest, niciest, most generousiest gal I know. And of course you’d carry yourself with nothing but dignity and style. I’d just feel like a fifth wheel with all those stone cold rockers in there!

          I will clear my schedule right away. For the next couple years. Just holla when it’s good to go. My Gretsch and I will be there in two hours. 🙂

  28. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    Gloria, I have “Thorn In My Pride” tattooed on my wrist. I’d guess that tattoo will soon be older than hipster TNB contributors. I was raised Catholic. My son has never seen the inside of a church, but he’s been front row, right between Chris and Rich, at a Crowes show in downtown Los Angeles. In the pit. It’s not a subtle romance. It’s die-hard-knock-down-drag-out-tell-it-to-the-grandkids love.

    I think I love you too. But don’t let that scare you.

    • firm believer that good live music is way more spiritual and powerful than any church…

      and rockstars are far less likely to molest children…

      • Gloria says:

        I took my daughter to see Pearl Jam when she was five. She did great. I also took her to a Widespread Panic concert for her 11th birthday. Those were actually two really great experiences with her.

  29. Holy balls, I don’t look at the website for five minutes and suddenly 150th in line for commenting. Great.

    Anyway, this was a really cool post. I’m musically retarded and so a lot of this was new to me, but amusing nonetheless. I particularly liked your distinction between a duo and a supergroup. It makes sense. Any two famous musicians can come together and rock out, but it takes a lot to create a supergroup.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, David- glad you got a kick out of it. The comment storm has yielded some pretty fun sub-discussions as well. Frankly I’m just relieved that angry fans of The Three Irish Tenors aren’t in here tearing me apart for slighting their group…

      Give me a holler on Facebook if you’ll be down Southern California way soon!

      • I read this on my last brief escape from the world of screaming children and so I didn’t have time to peruse the comments, but it seems that whenever music is involved people tend towards long discussions. I think I gave that up after my first year in university. I always found myself a little out of my depth. Whereas I would like or respect a band, the people I knew tended to know every last detail…

        I don’t know what exactly I’ll be doing in California, but I won’t be there long and I doubt I’ll have the opportunity to travel. I think I’m spending most of my time in San Luis Obispo. I should arrive there next Wednesday.

  30. Matt says:

    There were two more on the tip of my frontal lobe that I couldn’t remember earlier, but they came to me in the middle of teaching my karate class this evening:

    1.) Army of Anyone. Richard Patrick (Filter, NIN) and the Deleo brothers (Stone Temple Pilots). Thoughts? I rather enjoyed their sole album.

    2.) This one’s a little more obscure: Class of ’99. Layne Staley (Alice in Chains), Tom Morello (RATM, Audioslave), Martyn LeNoble & Steven Perkins (Jane’s Addiction, Porno For Pyros). To the best of my knowledge, they only ever recorded one tune, a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2” for the soundtrack to The Faculty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBIzHB2gMLI&feature=related

    • Joe Daly says:

      I bought AoA when it came out, and hated it, then liked it for about a week, then grew ambivalent. It’s probably better than I’ve given it credit for, but I haven’t gone back in ages to give it another listen. Are they done? I guess I’ve got some homework tomorrow.

      Great call on Class of ’99! I totally forgot about them. Someone gave me that track a couple years ago and I still listen to it all the time. The version I have doesn’t have the vocals though, and it’s a little different from the video clip- that’s a great find, man. Thanks for that!! Great cover.

  31. Simon Smithson says:

    Ah ha! Someone else in the world who knows about AoA!

    Yeah… like Contraband, I wished the entirety of that had been better.

    My three supergroups listed were Audioslave, APC, and Them Crooked Vultures. I’ve only heard a couple of TCV tracks, I’ve liked what I’ve heard.

    Audioslave? The first album rocked. Balls to the wall, big 70s sound, rocked. Some of the lyrics were overwrought, but Cornell has the same kind of pass Matt Bellamy from Muse has – the most sentimental June-with-spoon rhymes in the world are acceptable if you sing them across ten hundred octaves.

    As for APC. Fuck. My God. They’re so goddamn good at what they do. Mer de Noms was so dark and gripping, even if it trailed off towards the end, but to follow up with 13th Step? That album just doesn’t misfire.

    eMotive… I liked what they were trying to do, but it wasn’t phenomenal. Until you listen to Passive and then the whole album is worth it just for that song. The inclusion of Iha took that band a step above, I think.

    I got to interview Trevor Dunn, once. Fucking nice guy (of course he is. He’s a professional bass player. He knows his place). He likes M.I.A’s music a whole lot.

    Dug this, Joe.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Simon, you continue to surprise me with the heaviness of your pimping. I never would have figured you for an APC guy. Your enthusiasm alone has caused me to set them as my coffee music this morning. Whether or not that is a healthy idea remains to be seen.

      Laughed out loud at your bass player comment. Which reminds me of the following joke:

      Q. What does a bass player use for contraception?

      A. His personality!

      If you have a link to that Trevor Dunn interview, I’d love to see it.

      Thanks for the comments brother, and as always, keep pimping…

      • Simon Smithson says:

        I got lucky; I used to work at a club that had a weekly metal/alternative/punk/goth night. I think it was called ‘Megan diLullo’. No, wait, they called it Goo.

        I was a Tool fan from Undertow days, and like all Tool fans, kinda rabid with it, and so I got into APC through the Maynard connection. Tool, Deftones, Sevendust were probably about as heavy as I’d go. A little Spineshank, maybe, but only a little.

        APC… they’re just so… mellifluous!

        I don’t have a link to the Dunn interview, unfortunately. It was for a magazine that I was let go from after I declined my editor’s kind invitation to model male g-strings for him in his private studio.

        No, seriously.

        Pimp on, brother. Pimp on.

  32. Wow, Joe. I’m super impressed. A lot of really good work went into this. Well done, my friend.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks so much, Rich! As always, I appreciate you taking the time to give it a spin. Thanks for your time and feedback, and here’s hoping you’ve got a great weekend ahead of you.

  33. Cynthia Hawkins says:

    Joe, this is awesome. I haven’t read the comments, so apologies ahead of time if this has already been asked, but do you remember VH1’s Supergroup (read “train wreck”) w/ Ted Nugent, Sebastian Bach, Jason Bonham, Evan Seinfeld, and Scott Ian? Ack. Perhaps these things can’t, and shouldn’t, be orchestrated. Perhaps, like Temple of the Dog, supergroups should only be born organically … and with some kind of cohesive reason for being … and with little to no Sebastian Bach. But you’re right — when it works it’s grand.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Cynthia! I remember hearing about that show, and I think I even saw a brief part where a drunk Sebastian Bach was making an ass of himself, staggering around the house and barking at his “bandmates,” but I don’t remember it clearly. Devastated that Scott Ian did that show more than the others. I agree that more organic, less crass efforts at least have a better shot of putting out something of substance, a la TOTD. I’m actually pretty happy to hear all the TOTD love on here. Out of all the groups listed above, that seems to be the one that everyone really responded to on one level or another.

  34. David Carter says:

    801

    • Joe Daly says:

      I had never heard of 801 before. Very interesting group. Guess I’m off to go check out a couple of those live shows. I just found the Classic Rock Prog issue that I picked up a few months back, and lost it in with some other magazines. I wonder if there will be anything on them in there. I’ll look forward to finding out. Thx for the tip!

      • Classic Rock is a great magazine. I only by it if there’s a good cover story though. A few months back tehy had this massive thing on Exile On Main Street and new interviews with Keith and Charlie.

        Picked it up a few days ago with a massive feature on LA Woman/the death of Jim Morrison and a list of the 50 greatest blues-rock albums. Humble Pie included.

        There was also a free Bachman-Turner 8 track mini-album. Barely worth the novelty of having Takin’ Care of Business on CD…

        • Joe Daly says:

          You guys get Classic Rock before we do- we’re about a month behind. With Mick Wall as the editor, you know you’re getting some pretty scholarly work in that magazine. I need a few days to get through an issue. Stoked to check out the new issue! I remember either Uncut or Mojo ran a feature on the Morrison death a couple years ago, after a few people came forward with what is apparently the real story surrounding his death, and how his dealer and wife tried to cover up what had happened. Amazing stuff.

          I think the best part about the new information coming out was that Ray Manzarek finally has to stop pretending like he thinks Jim is still alive. End of.

        • Well, according to Classic Rock they’ve found some more people to talk to and shed new light…

          Haven’t read the story yet. Hardly even given it the preliminary flick-through…

          Looking forward to it. I don’t read all that much about rock. Not a big one for biographies/autobiographies…

  35. Brian Eckert says:

    I just got into Them Crooked Vultures recently…they rock my fuckin cock off. I personally like ripping bicep curls with them on full blast.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Yeah, that’s a pretty energetic album, alright. “Elephants” makes me want to wrestle a grizzly bear. You have to think that at some point, they’ll have to ban professional athletes from listening to TCV. Like audio HGH.

  36. Golden Smog! I love the song “Pecan Pie.”

    From Wikipedia: Golden Smog is a loosely connected group of musicians comprised, at various times, of members of Soul Asylum, The Replacements, Wilco, The Jayhawks, Run Westy Run, The Honeydogs and Big Star. Golden Smog’s lineup has often changed, but relative constants who appear on all the recordings are guitarists Kraig Johnson (Run Westy Run), Dan Murphy (Soul Asylum) and Gary Louris (The Jayhawks), along with bassist Marc Perlman (The Jayhawks).

    The group took their name from the name of a Flintstones character, which, in turn, was a parody of singer Mel Tormé’s nickname (The Velvet Fog).

    • Joe Daly says:

      Nick, I am embarrassed that I forgot them! I have all their CDs and saw the live in Chicago a good four or five times. Was a complete maniac for them. I actually wrote them down in my first set of notes, then switched notebooks and promptly forgot about them.

      I am mortified!

      Great pick though! When they played live, they always did some interesting covers. Always one or two Mott the Hoople covers like “I Wish I Was Your Mother,” some Thin Lizzy, and once I saw them do the Counting Crows “A Long December,” right after that album came out.

      Thanks for picking up on this. You are, tha man!

  37. JM Blaine says:

    This was really
    well-done
    & if you try to write stuff
    like this
    which I do all the time
    but never post any because its
    too scattered
    you know how hard it is to write about
    music and keep it fun and sharp.
    As much fun to agree as to disagree.
    On your top list I was thinking
    “Oh there are no good supergroups”
    because I don’t like any of those
    except for those two good songs
    by Temple of the Dog
    & on your awful list I really sort of liked
    Damn Yankees – well I didnt like Damn Yankees
    but I liked their MTV hits –
    And I liked Power Station though
    not nearly as much as Arcadia.
    I too thought of the Highwaymen
    but hoped no one would mention them
    because I thought it was wretched.
    Supergroups don’t work because
    everyone is then too good and there’s no balance
    to ego.
    GnR was great because Stephen Adler was
    not a great drummer. That’s what made it swing.
    matt Sorum was too in the pocket
    so it started sounding like anything else
    and it sure wasn’t punk. But anyway.
    I did like that supergroup that put
    out a cover of Supernaut
    and I still wish Prince and Trent Reznor
    would form a group with the bass player from Queen.
    And Stephen Adler.
    I love this kind of writing.
    Just got Rob Sheffeld ‘s new book
    & it’s great.
    Well, enough rambling.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks a bunch, JM. While I enjoy writing more and more, this piece was notable for me in that I could not wait to get home to resume working on it. I really dug the research, the videos, and reaching back to some great memories.

      I absolutely love and now fully embrace your Adler theory. I just finished reading Stephen Davis’ GNR biography last month, and while I understood that Adler was the weak link (no small feat in a band of barely functioning addicts), I had no idea just how wide the gulf was. You’re right about Sorum- a polished studio guy coming in probably added stability at the expense of that dirty unleashed sound.

      I always thought that Sorum’s background as a studio guy also worked against Velvet Revolver. All the other guys came to the band with loads of experience living, touring, and creating with musicians. Sorum, as a hired gun, always had the luxury of walking away from singers, discord, etc. At least on a national level. When VR fell apart, so much of the public infighting was between Sorum and Weiland, which proved out that both were sorely lacking in band conflict resolution skills.

      Let me know how Sheffield’s book is. Would be very interested. Thanks!

  38. Becky Palapala says:

    So I’ve been (mostly) gone for a week, and I’m trying to catch up. Therefore, I haven’t read all the comments and don’t know if anyone has already mentioned them, but if you want to talk about the superest of super groups in terms of their sum-total superness…like, if each member’s fame and recognition score were added together and highest total number won… The Traveling Wilburys.

    They’d have won on Dylan and Harrison alone, but throw Orbison in there, and there’s no touching them. As far as the quality of the music and success of the band…it doesn’t help when one of your top 3 points-getters tips over after one album.

    I like the Traveling Wilburys a lot, probably because the band was made up of a bunch of my dad’s all-time favorite musicians and he just about had a heart attack when he found they were playing together. Made him ridiculously happy and he listened to it constantly, as did I, by extension.

    Also, I’m a big on vocals. Singers’ voices. I have peculiar taste sometimes, but not in this case. Orbison is to DIE for.

    • Joe Daly says:

      When I was researching the piece, I remember thinking that their first album was huge, but that the follow up didn’t get a whole lot of attention.

      I found that my memory was not just selective- it was flat out defective. The second album went multi-platinum, just like the first.

      The sense I got from them, more than anything else, was that those guys did it because they loved playing music together. They didn’t try to break any new ground, they didn’t push any heavy issues or agendas, they just played old school rock together without sounding pretentious or self-indulgent.

      • Becky Palapala says:

        They delivered the kind of music that made them famous. They gave people what they wanted. Why fuck up a quality product with a bunch of dicking around, right?

        The combined songwriting (lyrically speaking) talent in that group is way off the charts, too. And it’s tough to find many songs catchier than End of the Line. Or Handle with Care, for that matter. Those are all-time forever turn-uppers in my car. Full-on drive time karaoke.

  39. Richard Cox says:

    I had no idea Fantômas or A Perfect Circle were supergroups. The only thing I own by Fantômas is their single-track album Delirium Cordia which I sometimes listen to while writing. It’s basically a moody, horror-film soundtrack. And I always thought A Perfect Circle was like watered-down Tool.

    Every time I read one of your posts I realize how little I know about music. Thanks for that, Pundit-boy.

    I keep meaning to listen to Them Crooked Vultures. I love QOTSA. I think I’ll head over to iTunes right now, actually.

    • Joe Daly says:

      The mere fact that you are aware of Fantômas makes you a well-versed student of rock. The fact that you own Delirium Cordia is a staggering revelation. I still don’t know what do do with it. Do you like it? I guess if you write to it, you do. I’m sort of torn on them. I like some of the grooves, and the guitars and drums are good. I just wish the sound were a bit more consistent.

      Lately when I write, I listen to pretty much just Dead Confederate. Have you heard of them? People try to hang a “Southern Radiohead” tag on them, but they’re really their own thing.

      Let me know what you think of TCV! If you like QOTSA, you’re probably already a fan.

      • Richard Cox says:

        I do like Delirium Cordia, but it’s not something one would put on for a dinner party. I came to it by way of Juno Reactor’s Luciana which is conceptually similar, evoking cinematic images from dark instrumental rock and found sounds, clips, etc. But then again, I’m a fan of Tod Dockstader and David Lee Myers, especially Bijou, which isn’t really music in the sense most people would think of it. So I might not be the right person to ask.

        Thanks for the Dead Confederate suggestion. I hadn’t heard of them, but I listened to some of the Wrecking Ball samples on iTunes, and I’m downloading now.

  40. Dana says:

    It’s been bugging me that you disSmissed Freddie Mercury so easily as greatest rock vocalist. Somebody to Love might be the first song I truly enjoyed cranking up the stereo to when I got my drivers license, and in my memory it has some growl and rock n roll gutteral to it. Of course I fell in love with Queen the group before I’d ever seen Freddie Mercury in a white jumpsuit, which kind of ruins the whole rock n roll image thing. Not that I don’t love them, I truly do.

    And I haven’t scoured the comments, but I don’t think anyone mentioned David Bowie. Am I wrong? Doesn’t he have an awesome voice? Is it because they’re (Freddie and David) a bit femmy that they’re not given the rock cred that everyone bestows on Plant?

    • Joe Daly says:

      Freddie’s got amazing pipes, but for me personally, it’s almost too pretty of a voice. It always struck me as more operatic than rock and roll. Queen rocks and Freddie was a phenomenal frontman, but he didn’t have the same down and dirty persona that Plant had. Maybe it was the material- Plant was singing about lemon juice running down his leg and Freddie sang about bicycles and fat bottomed girls.

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