?Several months ago, I wrote a list of the 11 Greatest and Nerdiest Fictional Bands, a salute to the best fictitious musicians nerd-dom has to offer, those marvelous bands created as parts of — or occasionally starring in — movies, TV shows, videogames, and similar fare. Based on sheer volume of comments it was possibly the most popular list I’ve ever written… and unfortunately the most incomplete list I’d ever written, as well.
Suggestions for a follow-up were numerous, varied and frankly a bit embarrassing, as many were bands I should have thought of myself. To correct this grievous wrong, here are nine bands that certainly should have made the original list. For the record, that original list included
Dingoes Ate My Baby,
Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld,
Billy and the Boingers,
Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem,
the Weird Sisters,
Sy Snootles and the Max Rebo Band, so these bands are not missing from this new list. They’re in the old one. Surely there’s some other awesome nerdy band besides these 20 that you can be appalled that I missed in the comments.
Immensely popular webtoon Homestar Runner first mentioned Limozeen when Homestar’s wrestling mask-clad rival Strong Bad answered an email from a viewer who asked for advice on naming a band. SB suggested following in the footsteps of Motley Cr?e or Ratt and taking a cool sounding word and purposely misspelling it (other suggestions were “Taranchula” and “Bigg Nife” — Taranchula would later appear as a death metal band).
Soon, Limozeen appeared as an actual band (Larry, Gary, Perry, and Mary Palaroncini), kind of a distillation of the purest essence of 1980s hair metal. They showed up in their own fake ’80s-style cartoon where they’re in space for no explicable reason, and reached the height of their notoriety when their song “Because It’s Midnight” (listed here as “Heart of a Lion”) was featured in Guitar Hero II and Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the ’80s.
In the real world, Limozeen’s music was performed by Atlanta Indie rock band Y-O-U, with Homestar Runner writer and voice-actor Matt Chapman on vocals.
Disaster Area, a plutonium rock band from the Gagrakacka Mind Zones, are generally regarded as not only the loudest rock band in the Galaxy, but also as being the loudest noise of any kind at all. Regular concert goers judge that the best sound balance is usually to be heard from within large concrete bunkers some thirty-seven miles away from the stage, whilst the musicians themselves play their instruments by remote control from within a heavily insulated spaceship which stays in orbit around the planet – or more frequently around a completely different planet.
Their songs are on the whole very simple and mostly follow the familiar theme of boy-being meets girl-being beneath silvery moon, which then explodes for no adequately explored reason.
Many worlds have now banned their act altogether, sometimes for artistic reasons, but most commonly because the band’s public address system contravenes local strategic arms limitations treaties.
Alas, there are currently no recordings of Disaster Area to share here, although for the sake of your eardrums that might be for the best.
7) Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers
This was a very popular request last time — and there’s a reason it didn’t make it into the first list: I’m embarrassed to admit this, but until very recently, I hadn’t seen the movie. I made a point to watch it before assembling my sequel, and I’m glad I did on so many levels! The Hong Kong Cavaliers are the backup band and associates of the world’s most famous neurosurgeon/physicist/inventor/adventurer/rock star, Buckaroo Banzai, eponymous hero of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, starring Peter Weller, John Lithgow, and the 1980s.
I was frankly disappointed there wasn’t more of the Cavaliers’ music in Buckaroo Banzai— the band’s sole performance (a cover of “Since I Don’t Have You,” originally by The Skyliners) was one of the best scenes in the film. That’s really Peter Weller’s voice, by the way. Who knew Robocop could sing?
6) Cold Slither
I love the idea behind the G.I. Joe episode where Cold Slither was introduced. Cobra isn’t trying to conquer the world or destroy the Joes, they’re simply broke!
It shouldn’t be a surprise; supervillainy is a costly enterprise, what with an army to feed and clothe in identical uniforms, massive snake-themed hidden HQs to build and rebuild after Joe attacks them, and then dozens of military vehicles that need to be replaced after each costly battle. At any rate, countless defeats at the hands of G.I. Joe had finally taken their toll, and Cobra was ready to crawl on its belly straight into Chapter 11 when they were struck with the same idea everyone on TV in the ’80s had whenever money is tight — start a rock band.
Zartan and the Dreadnoks formed the band Cold Slither, and with the added boost of hypnotic subliminal messages that turned listeners into mindless, record-buying fanatics, they quickly made their way up the charts and gave everyone’s favorite ruthless terrorist organization a license to print money. Their plan was thwarted (surprise, surprise) when some bored Joes (Shipwreck, Breaker, and Footloose) were hypnotized by Cold Slither’s sole song and proceeded to their concert. Naturally, they were followed, the Joes figured out what the deal was, and broke up the band.
Oh, and apparently, being hypnotized by evil subliminal messages hidden inside terrible rock music makes you talk like a 1980s television writer’s idea of what a 1960s hippie sounds like. Good to know!
5) The Riverbottom Nightmare Band
Arguably the most entertaining part of Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, the Riverbottom Nightmare Band (alternately known as simply “The Nightmare”) consists of Chuck Stoat (Frank Oz), Pop-Eyed Catfish (Dave Goelz), Stanley Weasel (Jerry Nelson), Fred Lizard (Richard Hunt), and Howard Snake (Jim Henson). The Nightmare play their delightfully unpleasant rock music for the Waterville talent show, defeating Emmett’s titular jug band, and… well, there isn’t a great deal more to say about them: Just watch the video and enjoy the utterly marvelous songwriting (“We don’t brush out teeth ’cause our toothaches can help us stay mean!”)
NOTE: Sorry about having to use a MySpace video –The Fun Police have struck again and taken down the clip from the show from YouTube, because as we all know if I can see four minutes of a one-hour special for free, I’ll NEVER want to buy the DVD, thus destroying the livelihoods of thousands of creative individuals and eventually causing the entire global Free Market to collapse.
4) Love Fist
For the better part of 2004, I lived only to play Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and to this day it remains one of my all-time favorite games.
Gameplay aside, it was the music that really sold me — sometimes I’d play simply to drive around and listen to fictional radio stations playing the best of the ’80s — but the game’s repertoire of real music wasn’t all it had going for it. The game had its own glam rock band, Love Fist. These ambiguously bisexual, drug-addled, fictional Scottish rockers (Jezz Torrent, Willy, Dick, and Percy) provide all sorts of entertaining challenges for Tommy Vercetti, including bodyguard duty, procuring drugs and hookers, even driving a bomb-rigged limo to their show. Two of their songs, “Dangerous Bastard” and “Fist Fury” (featured above) are played on Vice City‘s metal station, V-Rock.
The fan-made video for “Fist Fury” shown here was made by somebody who unlocked a HELL of a lot more options than I ever did. It’s work-safe, but watch it with care, as there is some “questionable” content.
3) The Rutles
The world’s second most famous rock mockumentary after This Is Spinal Tap, All You Need Is Cash (known commonly as simply The Rutles) introduced the world to the “Pre-Fab Four” — Ron Nasty (Neil Innes), Dirk McQuickly (Eric Idle), Stig O’Hara (Ricky Fataar), and Barry Wom (John Halsey). Named for Eric Idle’s UK TV series Rutland Weekend Television, where they first appeared, the Rutles were well received by British audiences as a clever, sharp, and spot-on parody of The Beatles.
The Rutles have become a favorite of British comedy nerds and Beatlemaniacs alike, and they’ve accomplished that rare feat of being not simply an amusing spoof, but quite a good musical act in their own right (the on-screen Rutles played all the actual music in the films minus Eric Idle, and with the addition of Ollie Halsall and Andy Brown)
All Rutles tunes are, naturally, styled after specific Beatles songs. This is “With A Girl Like You,” written and performed in the manner of “If I Fell,” and played at The Rutles’ 1963 Royal Command Performance.
2) Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes
It’s the other Star Wars band… and if the comments from last time are any indication, the more popular one (at least their song wasn’t edited out and replaced with shit like “Jedi Rocks”). Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes are an all-Bith septet who consist of band leader “Fiery” Figrin D’an on the Kloo horn and Gasan string drum, Doikk Na’ts on the Dorenian Beshniquel, Ickabel G’ont and Tedn Dahai on Fanfar, Tech M’or on the Omni Box, Nalan Cheel on the Bandfill, and Lirin Car’n also on Kloo horn, and no, I haven’t the foggiest as to what any of that means.
Like any other barely noticed character in the Mos Eisley Cantina, the Modal Nodes have their own unnecessarily detailed EU back story; in the days of the Republic they were relatively famous on the galactic music scene, but by the time of New Hope, they’d fallen on hard times. Like the aforementioned Max Rebo Band, they too once worked for Jabba, but a scheme to make some quick money and get the hell off Tatooine backfired when Stormtroopers raided a party the band was playing. Luckily, they were assisted by a man named Wuher — everyone’s favorite droid-hating bartender — and he got them a job playing at Chalmun’s Cantina in Mos Eisley.
The Modal Nodes never had a full time vocalist, but on occasion, the Cantina’s night manager Ackmena would sing along with them.
1) Sex Bob-Omb
Our #1 today had me banging my head against any available hard surface for omitting them last time. Sex Bob-Omb was easily the most requested band in the comments for the first list — I’d go back and count just how many people mentioned its absence, but I don’t hate myself quite that much. Anyway, Sex Bob-Omb are more or less the house band of the Scott Pilgrim universe, consisting of Scott himself on Bass, Stephen Stills on guitar and vocals, and Kim Pine on drums. The band ranges from terrible to average, but does have two incredibly devoted fans in Scott’s high school girlfriend Knives Chao (a girlfriend who is in high school, not from high school) and Young Neil, who is a much better bassist than Scott and joins the band after Scott leaves.
In Bryan O’Malley’s comics, the band has a variety of songs including “Herself the Elf,” “Eramus the Enchanter,” and a song that Scott thinks is titled “Launchpad McQuack” even though it is not. In the movie, Sex Bob-Omb’s songs include “We Are Sex Bob-Omb,” “Threshold,” and “Garbage Truck,” which were all written by the musician Beck but were actually performed by the actors Michael Cera, Allison Pill and Mark Webber, which is pretty groovy. They also have the best nerd band name ever conceived, so in order to make up for missing them last list, they certainly deserve the #1 spot here.