Friday, May 8, 2009

010: Hey Man, Nice Shot Vol. 1

Fame can be a tricky and strange thing, especially in the realm of popular music. How can a band know that the follow-up to their first smash-hit also certify them some amount of success? How does one make sure that their sophomore effort allows them to stay in the public spotlight and some charting? It is a tricky endeavour,to say the least.

Sometimes, though, fame can be a bitch. Certain bandmembers hop onto the famous train of a band whose dynamics they grow angry with and eventually decide to depart from, only to decide to start up their own outfit and hope to see comparable success.

So without further ado, here are a list of people who have left/disbanded successful bands in order to strike it out on their own with a similar-sounding endeavour, only to fail and return to their original well of money. Such are the pitfalls of fame.

Richard Patrick: Filter / Army Of Anyone
Dean/Robert DeLeo: Stone Temple Pilots / Army Of Anyone
Mr. Patrick fronted and was the mainbrains behind Filter, who had a string of successful singles in the late '90s. Waning visibility caused Patrick to give up the ghost, as he also checked himself voluntarily into rehab. Upon re-emerging, he teamed up with the DeLeo brothers (who were also currently bandless, given that Scott Weiland was off being erratic) and drummer Ray Luzier (now a certified member of nu-metal royalty) for an album and a tour that met with critical indifference. Patrick eventually returned to the Filter machine and the DeLeo brothers undertook a Stone Temple Pilots reunion as Weiland was either shown the door or booted from fellow supergroup Velvet Revolver in early 2008.

Wes Borland: / Black Light Burns / Bigdumbface

Axeman Wes Borland was the perfect foil to loudmouth Fred Durst: Where Durst was loud and seemed to exude crude, simplistic comments that played down to people's basic urges (oh, and he also could bust out amazing guitar solos), Borland came off as tasty, artful, wearing make-up and writing memorable riffs, the consumate outsider to Fred Durst's frat sensibilities.

Unhappy with the direction that was taken after 2000's Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water (amongst the worst titles/puns of all-time, natch), he departed and soon finished work on Big Dumb Face's album. A playful mix of Zappaesque riffing and light-hearted humour, the record unfortunately went nowhere. Borland disappered into the abyss, re-merging to produce tracks with the Crystal Method, and also was to take part of a supergroup with Robert Patrick before Patrick hit the ol' "creative differences" button and the band ceased being despite never relasing anything. He also produced From First To Last's Heroine album. He rejoined in late 2004 and the band released an EP in 2005, before Borland was fed up of Durst's douchebagness and formed Black Light Burns, who released an album of decent rock material, which also... went nowhere. After playing with Marilyn Manson for two shows, he's now filling the Borland Family Coffers by playing festivals this summer with

Rob Halford: Judas Priest / Fight / 2wo / Halford

Rock god Rob Halford was a part of Judas Priest for close to 20 years, garnering mammoth record sales and playing to countless people. One night in 1991, Halford had decided that he had enough of the machinations around the band and left, suing the band and their label for funds owed in the process. He then spent a few years with more straight-forward outfits, pairing up with Trent Reznor for the industrially-charged 2wo project, spending time in Fight, which liberally took from the House Of Pantera (trademark pending) and then the eponymous Halford band, which was considered Priest Lite. He found a certain measure of success with this band configuration but after two studio albums and a live release, Halford eventually returned to Priest just in time for 2005's Angel Of Retribution, citing that he wanted to feel the chemistry again. The album, the first step to many tours and another studio album (so far), is a record worth checking out.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

009: Band Name Wank

Everyone knows band names are huge deals. Everyone who ever dismissed !!! because of their ridiculous name, or who got into Rage Against The Machine purely on the basis of how cool they thought that sounded when they were 14 can tell you that band names play perhaps a larger role than they should in how bands fare. Ever wonder why Afghan Whigs and Archers of Loaf never made it big? Neither do I. Notice something about all the big rock bands these days? They have simple, inoffensive names. Radiohead. U2. Coldplay. They don't exactly have you on the edge of your seat.

If you're wondering what the genesis (lol) for this post was, I'll come clean. I read the first Scott Pilgrim book in my friend Will's basement a few months ago, in the span of about half an hour. It's not much by way of artistic great-shakes, but, like marshmallow bananas or cotton candy, it was a lot of fun to read and went down easy. Anyway, apparently, in the Scott Pilgrim universe, there's a band called "The Clash at Demonhead". I found this out while obsessively reading this blog, for no good reason.

It started me thinking about band names that incorporate other band names into them. In this case, "The Clash at Demonhead" is named after a 20-year-old videogame but for a brief, glorious period, the thought of a band named after The Clash playing a show at a club somewhere (probably in Britain) named Demonhead had me completely enraptured. I'm a big fan of meta-ridiculousness.

With that in mind, I present a list of potential band names featuring other band names. They really only work when the band/artist being name-checked is so big that they're a cultural institution of sorts in their own right. So, here:

1. The Clash at Demonhead (The triple reference—Clash/Scott Pilgrim/videogame—makes all the indie nerds jizz their pants.)

2. Fuck the Sex Pistols (Probably just a Modern Life Is War cover band.)

3. This Is Not a Fugazi Cover Band (In concert they play Fugazi songs in the middle of their own material.)

4. Like The Monks, But With Better Haircuts (This is almost more of a Murder by Death reference than a Monks reference.)

5. The Ghost of the Rolling Stones (Sort of a Joy Division/ Thursday/Interpol midway point. All of their album covers are in black & white. They will be huge in a few decades.)

6. A Mob of Heavily-Intoxicated Bob Dylan Impersonators (A bunch of bearded guys who probably hate Conor Oberst and dress like someone cloned the Blues Brothers' wardrobe.)

7. The Jimi Hendrix Escape Plan (This is a terrible joke about choking to death on one's own red-wine-infused vomit. These guys are all Republicans.)

8. A Tribe Called Zeppelin (Live instrumentation Led Zep/ATCQ mash-up band. Surprisingly large fanbase.)

9. In a New Order (Think Telefon Tel Aviv meets Beirut, but with more of a Phil Collins influence.)

10. "Pink Enemy. Public Floyd." (Not a mash-up band. Lead singer/cellist probably commits suicide during first Japanese tour. Retrospective live DVD gets rave reviews.)

11. The Beatles (These guys get sued out of existence before they can really get going. All the publicity the lawsuits afford them generates a much more substantial fanbase than they deserve. Two of the members drop out of the music biz to become tradesmen, one pulls a Richey Edwards, and the drummer becomes a feared and respected producer à la Phil Spector.)

Okay that's all. If I do any more my brain will explode. Feel free to post other non-sucky ones in the comments section. Warning: Comments containing sucky suggestions may be deleted.

EDIT: The Ghost of the Ramones (Career Suicided version of The Ghost of the Rolling Stones. Music critics completely divided as to whether to fall over and die in praise of them, or to railroad them out of music, tarred and feathered, for egregious crimes against humanity. World ends the day after their self-titled debut EP release, for unrelated reasons.)