Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Phoney Baloney

There are plenty of fictional bands, or rock stars that don't actually exist out there.  There are bands that were created for cartoons, like The Archies, Josie and the Pussycats, Jem and the Holograms, bands created for comics like Billy and the Boingers, Sex bob-omb, and Dazzler, and bands created for sitcoms and movies like Marie deSalle, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  

Actual musicians also like to make up fictional bands, some to sing about, and some to use as an alias, or a character to play.  Bennie and the Jets and Uncle John's Band are good examples.  There are also a few used for entire albums.  Probably the most famous example is Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, but Ziggy Stardust ought to be mentioned too, and Garth Brooks' alter ego Chris Gaines.  Here are two more.

Fictional band: Eddie and the Cruisers.
Real band: John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band
Eddie and the Cruisers soundtrack
1983. Scottie Brothers. 
produced by Kenny Vance

  • On the Dark Side
  • Tender Years
The Beaver Brown Band lent its sound to the already existing fictional band created by PF Kluge in the novel of the same name.  I found two versions of this album, the one I have has a few tracks not included on the rerelease in 1984.  The idea was to have the band sound like Bruce Springsteen meets the Doors and Dion and the Belmonts.  John Cafferty nails it.  The film is still played sometimes on movie channels, and the single On the Dark Side is still sometimes played on classic rock stations.  Not bad for a band that never existed.  I loved this movie as a kid, and it's based on a book, which I haven't been able to find, although I hear it's nothing like the movie.

Blues Brothers.  
Briefcase Full of Blues
1978.  Atlantic.  
produced by Bob Tischler

  • Rubber Biscuit
  • Soul Man

Unlike Eddie and the Cruisers, who never did anything under that name studio or live after that one soundtrack release, The Blues Brothers toured as a real band, in character, and released a few albums.  According to Aykroyd, John Belushi really wanted this project to work and used it as creative outlet outside of acting.  So, to be fair, this isn't really a fake band.  They perform all covers, digging deep into the blues catalog.  When I was little, after seeing the movie, I thought all blues was like the big band sound of the Blues Brothers and Cab Calloway.  It took me a little while to realize that the blues can be very different.

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