Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From Supergroups to Prettyokaygroups

I have a bone to pick with supergroups. Under my very unscientific definition, a "supergoup" is comprised of a number of high-profile musicians, notable for their involvement in other, already established bands. This isn't a simple case of someone going solo, or leaving their original band to make a new one - and I realize that the example of Dave Grohl is a little facetious, but he was the first guy that came into my head. I guess Nirvana kind of broke up with the death of Saint Cobain, but whatever: jumping ship is jumping ship, Grohl.

The Travelling Wilburys are, in my under-informed opinion, the first and best of the supergroups. The fictional sons of Charles Truscott Wilbury, Sr., the original lineup included Geore Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne. (I hadn't heard of him either - apparently, Mr. Lynne fronted the Electric Light ORchestra. As in, "Hello? Is it me you're looking for?," which was one of the strangest parts of the movie The Virgin Suicides. I digress.) These superstars got together for ten days and made some seriously awesome music. Music so good, in fact, that my sister knew all the lyrics when she was two years old. She would bounce around in her car seat, babbling the words to Last Night, to the amusement and slight horror of my parents. For the uninitiated, it's a song about a murderous hooker.

These days, supergroups are so lame. What, am I really supposed to be impressed with Velvet Revolver? Can it. Scott Weiland freaks me out - a dude that into his own hair needs a serious dressing down. Plus, heroin is boring. I dig the Perceptionists, but they can barely be called a supergroup, and besides, hip-hop is mostly about cameos and guest verses anyway.

Tinted Windows marks the official passing of the supergoup. This little line-up has the drummer from Cheap Trick, James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins fame , the guy who wrote That Thing You Do!, and - wait for it - Taylor Hanson! From Hanson! Aieee! When I read about them in Spin, I had to wonder how this foursome met. Wife swapping party? All-nigh poker game? Church? Mineral water convention at Lake Tahoe? Seriously....wife swapping party?

Sigh. We devolved from Blood on the Tracks to Appetite for Destruction to...MmmBop? If we're really talking about supergroups, let's bring back some "Handle Me With Care." Lenny Lewis did a great cover on her debut solo album, and had a little help from her indie rock friends: Conner "Bright Eyes" Oberst, Ben "Death Cab for Cutie" Gibbard and M. "She & Him" Ward. That's what I'm talking about. That's a supergroup. A supergroup made up of former child actresses and whiny pop geniuses, sure, but it beats out the Hansons by a country mile.

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