Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I wish this band was real...

Last week I was discussing the rumoured possibility of a Megadeth/Metallica collaboration.  It's only recently that this even became remotely conceivable.  Anyway, this got me thinking about bands that I wish were real, and given a subsequent workplace discussion about the Muppets, this got me thinking about a certain fictional band that appeared on The Muppet Show.

I am, of course, referring to Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem.  They popped up at various times over the course of the Muppet Show's run.  Most would remember Animal on drums, but maybe not the rest of the band: Dr. Teeth on vocals and keyboard, Janice (lead guitar), Sgt. Floyd Pepper (bass), and Zoot (saxophone).

(It's worth also mentioning that they have quite possibly the greatest band name of all time.)

Anyway, like so much of the Muppet Show, the Electric Mayhem had aspects that were appealing to kids (mostly Animal, plus of course the concept of a muppet band), and adults (pretty cool music with often hilarious lyrics).  For example, Don't Blame the Dynamite:

Of course, in usual Muppet style there were also some clever head nods here and there... Sgt. Floyd Pepper's name is a reference to Pink Floyd and the Beatles' Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - outfit and all.  More subtly, the frequent on-stage explosions during Love Ya To Death were a reference to The Who's infamous television appearance where Keith Moon (on whom the character of Animal was allegedly based) blew up his drumkit.  Most kids and adults would've found them funny... for music nerds they're hilarious.

Musically, they're actually pretty funky.  Rock, blues, funk, you can hear all those things at various points in time.  Hell, if I could buy some of these tracks on iTunes I'd do so without hesitation.  But they weren't afraid of being a little experimental at times either, most notably performing a 70's funk cover of Chopin's Polonaise in A Flat which is made totally memorable by Animal yelling 'CHO-PIN! CHO-PIN!' at regular intervals.

Speaking of songs where Animal yells out in amusing ways, the funk instrumental Sweet Tooth Jam features Animal spontaneously yelling "JAM!" at regular intervals.  It just never gets old.

Now, if only they were real...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mustaine + Hetfield + Ulrich + Ellefson = ???

Right, it seems I have been doing actual work or something and accordingly have slightly neglected my blog over the past month or so.

But this particular piece of news was just too intriguing not to comment on.  It turns out that Dave Mustaine has been throwing around the idea of a supergroup, involving him, Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, and Metallica's James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich.

To be fair, at this stage it seems it's still very much just an idea.  No-one's said yes or no, and in all fairness, MegaDave has been prone to the occasional flippant statement.  But you get the sense Mustaine is actually slightly serious about this - 5 or 10 years ago people would have laughed at the idea, but the world has changed since then.  The Big 4 shows have not only featured both bands on the same bill, but actually on the same stage at the same time, with a group jam becoming a staple of Metallica's Big 4 set.  And by all accounts it sounds like everyone is getting on famously backstage.  And Christian Dave just seems way less angry at, well, everything than old-school-hardcore-on-the-drugs-Dave.

So, it's actually not inconceivable.  And the proposed line-up - Mustaine, Hetfield, Ulrich and Ellefson - makes a lot of sense too.  Mustaine and Ellefson are the obvious choices from Megadeth - both founding members and Ellefson is second only to Mustaine in terms of Megadeth's creative contributors too.  And James and Lars have always been Metallica's creative axis, so that makes sense too.

This is not to say that Robert Trujillo isn't an extremely good bassist, or that Chris Broderick isn't an astounding guitarist.  But Trujillo, Broderick, and Megadeth drummer Shawn Drover weren't with their respective bands during their heyday in the 80's and early-90's.  And you get the sense that history would count for quite a lot with this particular supergroup.

As for Kirk Hammett, well he's always been something of an 'along for the ride' kind of guy.  He's a good guitarist - if perhaps a little over-rated - but I can't see him providing the same amount creatively as some of the others.

Of course the other big question is when this would happen, if it did.  Megadeth have had a pretty gruelling touring and recording schedule of late, and no doubt will continue to tour on the back of forthcoming album TH1RT3EN (due 1.11.11).  There's been talk of a new Metallica album, and while their touring schedule has been a little less intensive, that's because of a band policy of ensuring they all get time with their families.

As good as it sounds on paper, getting the personalities and their respective schedules in alignment might be just a bit too much to ask, at least in the short-term future.  Oh well, we can always dream.