With the recent announcement of the Supergroup/band comprised of members from Public Enemy, Cypress Hill and Rage Against the Machine, a few seeds were planted in the garden of speculation. We imagine the aforementioned melting pot will result in one of the most righteously angry bands of all-time. But what would it take to put together the best band of all-time. What 10 musicians would create the right mix of chemistry, weird, face-melting, “OMG, I can’t believe that actually happened…” awesome…? After careful deliberation, here they are. All living.
9. Steve Vai
In addition to being one of the greatest guitarists of all-time, Steve Vai is an incredible collaborator. Remember that scene in Crossroads–no, not the film from 2002, starring Britney Spears, rather the 1986 gem starring Ralph Macchio and Jamie Gertz? Steve Vai was instrumental to the film’s success…pun intended. And he was still humble enough to play a character who takes it on the chin in losing fashion. Could you imagine Slash, or Eddie Van Halen doing that in the mid-1980s? The egos were too big. So, for this Superband–name TBD, or perhaps they would just be called Superband–we’re going to put Stevie Vai in the role of co-lead guitarist. There will be plenty of shredding available for multiple parties. Steve is also an accomplished songwriter, and composer, so he’ll fit nicely with the following individuals.
8. Brian May
How could any Superband being considered the “Greatest Band of All Time” not have Brian May, and his legendary creation, “Red Special?” When Brian was rocking with Freddie Mercury, and their fellow members of Queen, they found multiple unique voices within the fold. One happened to be Brian’s homemade guitar, the Red Special. Brian was able to offer a signature sound to everything ever recorded by Queen, because his guitar sounded like no other guitar in the world. We gotta have that in the Superband. In addition to having mad skills with the six-string electric, Brian is also an astrophysicist. This lends a general air of “No freakin’ way” to the Superband. Very impressive. Brian will serve as one of the elder statesmen on the band, and a mentor to a lot of the younger talent. He and Steve Vai together? Shut up.
7. Andre 3000
When it comes to pure flavor, and versatility of this Superband, it’s necessary to bring in the man who has time traveled back from the year 3000 to grace us with his presence in the 20th and 21st centuries. Andre 3000, aka Benjamin Andre, aka Andre Benjamin has been doing his thing now for a cool 20-plus years as a member of Outkast, and as a solo artist, actor and general all-around coolest guy in any given room. Andre will bring forth the flow in the Superband, as well as lay some pretty sick production onto what normally might fly as a simple analog album. Sure, this assembled group could also rent out an old church and record analog, and make the greatest album of all-time. 3000’s flow with some face-melting guitar solos? And drums from our man at #6. They can roll in and out of time signatures: serious funk with the flow.
6. Jonny Greenwood
It’s mind-boggling to know that Jonny Greenwood had to beg his way into Radiohead. Through his persistence, he was instrumental in making Radiohead one of the greatest bands of our contemporary era, and likely, all-time. He is the true composer of the band, and his foray outside of the music industry has led him to score films from some of the finest filmmakers of the late 20th, early 21st century. His score for Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, was so unnerving, and emotionally grating, it worked to perfection. It was wholly complete. Jonny Greenwood is one of those fearless individuals who hears things before they’ve materialized, and doesn’t rest until he arrives at “Yes! That’s it…maybe…” He is definitively weird (a compliment), and would work so well with the other personalities in this greatest Superband of all time. Just as he is for Radiohead, Greenwood is Superband integral.
5. Tony Royster Jr.
Is Tony Royster Jr. the greatest drummer who has ever lived? It’s impossible to say who’s the greatest, but few drummers would argue if you suggested TRJ. Tony Royster Jr. is a prodigy. There is no arguing the statement. He can do anything with drumsticks in his hands, and a variety of pedals at his feet. He can play any style, and in any time signature. He can go 4/4 with his feet, 6/8 with his right hand and 5/4 with his left. For those who don’t know Tony, do yourself a favor and spend a day with him on YouTube. Chances are, you’ve seen the viral video of him at five or six years old throwing down on a kit in front of thousands, at a level of proficiency that makes most professionals jealous. He’s now in his 30s, and he’s the man.
4. Dave Grohl
This Superband can’t be a super band without an American hard rocker who developed during the grunge era. As a matter of fact, there are a couple of them on this list, but let’s address Dave. The benefit of Dave Grohl…? He’s also an incredible drummer. It is his first instrument, but he also possesses a great skill set on guitar, and of course, leading a rock band. Dave will be all over the stage while playing with Superband. From drums to guitar to vocals to playing a guitar while sitting on his drum stool, and laying down some sweet harmonies with the other vocalists. For those struggling to see Dave’s versatility in this mix, check out the Foo Fighters release: Skin and Bones. You’ve undoubtedly heard some of its recordings, but he opens the show with perfection.
To fill out the rhythm section, how about a guy who plays bass guitar in a most rhythmic fashion? Sure, Flea can roll with the melodic, and much of the time he is playing some impressive counter-melodious bass lines that you simply don’t hear in rock music. All the members of Red Hot Chili Peppers are integral to the group, but Flea is, and has been the most important for their sustained success. In addition to being an incredible bass guitarist, Flea will also add some wild stage energy to the group, and he plays the trumpet. He’s not kind of good at the trumpet, he’s great. Pairing a bassist like Flea with a percussionist like Tony Royster Jr. is a concert in and of itself. Those two guys could play for an hour straight, and never lose the attention of a single audience member.
2. Thundercat (Stephen Bruner)
And on the six-string bass, here’s an obscure grab for mainstream music fans; however, this individual is hardly an underground figure. He is well-known, and coveted by musicians who are looking for a bassist to inspire things they’ve never done, or experienced before. The man known as Thundercat in the world of music is none other than Los Angeles bassist, and vocalist, Stephen Bruner. He probably comes from the same planet as Andre 3000, and is another guy who you could claim is the “greatest” in the world, if you were looking to make an “outside the box” statement. Thundercat is one of those guys who thinks celebrity is worthless, and he just loves to play his bass and make music. He’s supremely down to earth, and is so accomplished as a bassist, he spends his time just trying to find new things to do with it. A true composer.
When someone like Kimbra is out there writing and recording music, and bringing the house down with a full band, why are we still entertaining arguments between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry? Female artists need to pause, and observe this New Zealand transplant who is now doing for music what Prince did for it in the 1980s. Kimbra is too good for radio, so most know her as “the girl who sang on that Gotye song…” But Kim…as a lead of this Superband? Yes. Please. Her songwriting skill set and fearless work ethic make her one of the few women who could mix it up with this group of incredibly accomplished dudes. She has already collaborated with Thundercat and Andre 3000, so it’s pretty easy to assume that everyone simply loves her. She’d be the key to luring the “plush and firm” from the Superband.