Fake Bands We Kinda Wish Were Real
For the members of the following 10 bands, every day is April Fool’s Day. That’s because these groups don’t actually exist in the true sense of the word. From the big-screen stylings of comedian Russell Brand’s Infant Sorrow to the cartoonish rock of animaniacs Gorillaz and everything in between, these bands represent the cream of a very exclusive crop. Still, remember: Just because the groups themselves are fake, it doesn’t mean their music is. In fact, most of the rock ‘n’ roll churned out by these groups is so damn good, we wouldn’t have any problem calling them the real thing.
In ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall,’ comedian Russell Brand played eccentric, ultra-cool rock star Aldous Snow, whose band Infant Sorrow was about to embark on an “18-month, 42-country tour” around the globe. Snow was a dead-on send-up of Mick Jagger, Liam Gallgher, Morrissey and the like, and Infant Sorrow aped everything from Beatles psuedo-psychedelia to Soundgarden grunge-lite with equal aplomb.
The Fabulous Stains
A major early influence on the riot grrrl movement, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains’ was a 1982 film about three teenage girls (played by Diane Lane, Laura Dern and Marin Kanter) who start a seriously badass punk band. The only thing cooler than the Fabulous Stains themselves was their hit song ‘Join the Professionals,’ which was written and previously recorded by Steve Jones’ and Michael Cook’s post-Sex Pistols band the Professionals.
Nineties children may actually remember cult show ‘The Adventures of Pete and Pete,’ and the fictional band Polaris that was featured during the opening credits. That’s because they penned some damn memorable tunes. Miracle Legion, the real band that portrayed Polaris, never quite made it — but it least they got to rub elbows with the show’s long list of regular cast members and guest stars from the alt-rock world, which included Iggy Pop, Michael Stipe and Debbie Harry.
Not many fictional bands get to work under the musical tutelage of producer Nigel Godrich and Metric guitarist Jimmy Shaw, but Sex Bob-omb (Michael Cera, Alison Pill and Mark Webber from ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’) weren’t like many bands. After all, none other than Beck penned songs for Sex Bob-omb, coming up with 22 garage-rock jams for the group in just three days, including their signature song and hit ‘We Are Sex Bob-omb.’
‘Singles’ turned director Cameron Crowe’s camera lens on Seattle just as grunge fever was gripping America, and featured actor Matt Dillon’s character Cliff Poncier fronting a fictional band called Citizen Dick that also featured Pearl Jam‘s Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. Except Dillon didn’t actually sing his parts for the flick, so it basically was Pearl Jam that performed ‘Touch Me, I’m Dick,’ a not-in-the-least-bit-subtle reworking of ‘Touch Me, I’m Sick’ by fellow Seattlelites Mudhoney.
Years before his Best Supporting Actor Oscar and his unfortunate turn fronting 30 Seconds to Mars, Jared Leto was Jordan Catalano, the dreamboat rebel crush of Claire Dane’s Angela Chase on ’90s teen drama ‘My So-Called Life.’ Jordan’s band Frozen Embryos turned in a serviceable cover of the Ramones‘ ‘I Wanna Be Sedated,’ but his solo ballad ‘Red’ (about his car, not the redheaded Angela) may be better remembered by fans.
Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
One of the true early innovators in the fake-band movement, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem of ‘The Muppet Show’ fame were also one of the coolest. Really, how can you ever beat dudes with names like Janice, Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Zoot, Animal and Lips?
The fictional band at the center of ‘Almost Famous,’ Cameron Crowe’s love letter to his own days as a teenage music journalist raised on ’70s rock, Stillwater lived out every possible classic-rock cliche in the book — while rocking hard enough to be worth actually listening to, thanks to songs like the Nancy Wilson-penned ‘Love Comes and Goes.’ Fun fact: Stillwater bassist Larry Fellows was played by Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon fame.
Their amps go to 11.
How many cartoon bands have real Grammy hardware on their cartoon mantle pieces? OK, they only won one Grammy (a Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals award for the song ‘Feel Good Inc.’), but Gorillaz also have sold more than seven million records, a fact that earned them a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Successful Virtual Band. They also have a pretty stellar catalog of music and videos, thanks to the masterminds behind the project: composer Damon Albarn of Blur and artist Jamie Hewlett.