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Author Topic: The Most Superfluous Rock Musicians of All Time  (Read 7738 times)

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rva

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The Most Superfluous Rock Musicians of All Time
« on: March 17, 2006, 12:02:39 AM »

#1 in a series:

DAVID BRYAN

OVERVIEW: David Rashbaum spent his formative years in New Jersey, playing in various bands with childhood pal Jon Bongiovi. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, or actually let's say indifferently) Bongiovi had music biz connections that Rashbaum did not.  Jon's cousin Tony was part owner of famed New York recording studio the Power Station, and hired Jon as a janitor, where he was free to record and generally messabout on his off hours.  

However it didn't take long before Jon Bongiovi's talent was apparent and soon he was recording demos with members of the E street band and drawing comparisons to the Boss himself.  It also helped that young Bongiovi happened to be extremely good lucking.  Naturally, a major label bidding war ensued.  But Bongiovi was a loyal guy, and having secured his contract and needing a band, immediately hired his friend Rashbaum to man the keys who by this time was attending the prestigious Julliard School.  

In order to de-emphasize his ethnicity, Bongiovi changed the spelling of his  name.  Of course millions of fans all over the world know him as none other Jon Bon Jovi. In order to de-emphasize his ethnicity, Rashbaum also changed his name, adopting his middle name as Bryan.  And of course dozens of fans all over New Jersey recognize him as "the guy who plays keyboards in Bon Jovi."

At the peak of Bon Jovi's fame, David Bryan was featured on the cover of Keyboard magazine and as an aspiring keyboardist myself, I remember the myriad of articles proclaiming him one of the finer keyboard players in rock.  Hey, remember that Bon Jovi song with the awesome keyboard riff? Me neither. What?  No that was Europe.

Twenty-some years later, Bon Jovi is still recording, having transformed themselves from photogenic hair band to pop balladeers to feel-good Springsteen-lite rockers.  Bryan's  style may have changed as well, but we
will never know.  We do know he is still sporting the same eighties curly long hair.  

PEAK OF SUPERFLUOSITY:  At the peak of their fame, Bon Jovi was invited to play at the 1989 VMA music awards.  The MTV brass were expecting a high energy performance of their hits, complete with Richie Sambora guitar pyrotechnics and Jon Bon Jovi's beautiful hair.  Instead the two took the stage, stunned the world, and sparked the "unplugged" phenomenon with by playing stunning acoustic versions of Living on a Prayer and Dead or Alive.  David Bryan was not there.  He would later release On a Full Moon, an album of him playing acoustic grand piano that that showcased (so we are told) "his extensive training on acoustic piano." (All Music Guide)

WHERE IS HE NOW?:  After suffering a potential "career" ending finger injury, Bryan recovered to release "Lunar Eclipse" on the prestigious Blues/jazz label Rounder in 2000.  The album is said to be a masterful display of technical chops, MIDI orchestration, and in musical styles from classical to jazz to electronica and of course, rock.  

Today, Bryan has gone back to doing what he does best.  If one looks closely enough, Bryan's non-signature hair can be seen in several frames of the hit video "Who Says You Can't Go Home?" utterly failing to draw our attention from the extremely photogenic Jon Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles.  It is said that he plays well on that song.
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rva

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The Most Superfluous Rock Musicians of All Time
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2006, 12:06:43 AM »

#2

LAURENCE TOLHURST

OVERVIEW:  A founding member of The Cure, Cure, Easy Cure, and The Easy Cure, Laurence "Lol" Tolhurst often appeared on album credits with his vocalist, drummer, guitarist, bassist, keyboard player and boyhood friend Robert Smith.  

Originally the band's non-existent drummer, it soon became obvious that he was better suited as non-existent keyboardist.  His failure to make sound was an ideal complement to Smith's stark, sparse playing and vocals on early Cure records. He was dumped from the "group" and replaced by the Psychedelic Furs' Roger O'Donnell prior to 1989's Disintegration.  As fate (or skills) would have it Disintegration was a radical departure from the Cure's previously angular sound, featuring lush orchestration and a heavy keyboard presence.

PEAK OF SUPERFLUOSITY:  It's a tossup between the goofy yet irresistable riff to "Close to Me" or the solo to "Just Like Heaven."  Both parts feature a devasting showcase of keyboard virtuosity requiring as many as one finger to play.  Not Lol Tolhurst's finger of course, but rather Lol Tolhurst's credited finger.

WHERE IS HE NOW?:  Tolhurst occupies a permanent room in Robert Smith's dungeon, having sued his former bandmate for royalties.  To this day, there is an ongoing controversy among fans over just how much Robert Smith played on those early records.  Smith claims that at least one but perhaps several of them were essentially solo records, but unfortunately he doesn't remember the exact events.  Among those who care, most agree that whoever it was on those records, it wasn't Lol Tolhurst.  The vast majority of however, don't give a rat's ass.

Tolhurst was last credited in 2004 with the minimalist elevator keyboards in the band Levinhurst, whose release "Perfect Life" garnered quite a bit of critical praise for Cindy Levinson's vocals.  Having ensured himself future superfluosity by not only marrying the band's vocalist but actually working a credit into the band name itself, Lol Tolhurst is far from done.  In fact, some would say he hasn't even started.
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rva

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The Most Superfluous Rock Musicians of All Time
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2006, 01:49:23 AM »

#3

PAUL RODGERS

OVERVIEW:   There are super bands, and superfluous bands.  Then there are bands that have Paul Rodgers in them.  Superfluous superband thy name is Bad Company.  Or superfluously, The Firm.  In 50 years of rock history, perhaps no musician has been as ubiquitously superfluous as Paul Rodgers, having sold 125 million records over a thirty year career.

If words are useless because actions speak louder, never has so much unasked for information been given so readily and with so little impact.  We've become privy to his feelings ("All Right Now") and his fantasies (Rock n' Roll Fantasy) and what kind of man he is ("Bad Company," "The Stealer," "The Hunter," "The Travelling Man," "Shooting Star"), and his immediate plans for the future ("Feel Like Making Love" "Ready for Love.")   And we've found it all mundane.  Incessently, unnecessarily mundane.  

You can't even talk about how superfluous Paul Rodgers is without superfluous use of the term "superfluous."  Dude has gone so far into superfluous that he's like wrapped all the way around back into necessary.  Vital even.  For he is the standard of superfluosity against which all others must be measured.

PEAK OF SUPERFLUOSITY:  Releasing greatest hits records.  We don't just have "The Free Story," but also "Chronicles."  Then there's "The Best of Free" "All Right Now" and "The Best of Free:  All Right Now."  And "Now," "Live" and "Now & Live."   I don't wonder at all how many singles are on this record, nor how many albums they came from.  oh.  10 from 6.

WHERE IS HE NOW?:  Still releasing greatest hits packages with already-used titles that tell us in excruciating detail that he's a rocker, these are his greatest hits, and here is how many there are how and when they were recorded.
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Cockney Rebel

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The Most Superfluous Rock Musicians of All Time
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2006, 05:39:34 AM »

#3 : PAUL RODGERS

SUPERFLUOSITY ADDENDUM:
Trying to be Freddie Mercury in a bastardization of Queen.

Officially took him from the very thinnest vestiges of "cool" into the category of "stupid cunt"
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foolsgold

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The Most Superfluous Rock Musicians of All Time
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2006, 08:44:28 AM »

Great thread idea, RVA!  I suppose that the Madchester Mascots (Bez, Barry Mooncult, Cressa) don't really count as they weren't musicians.  Although, Bez could play a mean maraca.

Right now, it is far too early in the morning to write something in great detail (hopefully later), I do want to nominate Andrew Fletcher of Depeche Mode.  Sure, his fingers touch the keyboards from time to time, but what else does he offer the band?  Dave Gahan has the sex appeal, Martin Gore writes everything, Alan Wilder was a good musician and had that brooding, mysteriousness that the ladies love, but Andy, well, Andy can't play, can't really sing, and looks like a guy you have do your taxes.

Peak: In the 101 Live video, he hunkers down behind his bank of keyboards, furrows his brow and plinks out a couple of notes before looking up at the crowd with relief written all over his mug that he didn't mess his part up.

Where is he now?:  Still with the band, still making more money than I can even dream of, still touring and still being boring.  Congrats, you lucky bastard.

edited to add this tidbit I read of www.nme.com today: Bez breaks world record for maracas
There really is a whole lot of shaking going on
Happy Mondays dancer Bez has helped to set a world record for maracas shaking.

The dancer, who was famed for his shaking work in Shaun Ryder's band, joined in with a maracas ensemble in Manchester on March 15.

Accompanied by the Inspiral Carpets' Clint Boon and members of the Manchester public, Bez led the way to the new world record as 406 shakers performed the Mondays' 'Step On '.

"This is one of those cool mass-participation records," Guinness Book Of Records editor Craig Glenday told the Daily Record. "The whole point is to get together with mates and have fun."

The maracas record was organised to mark the launch of XFM's new Manchester station.
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Bronzetree

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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2006, 12:29:59 PM »

Dude, these would be great for the 'zine.
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Nate

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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2006, 12:33:50 PM »

Indeed it would.  They're great.
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rva

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« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2006, 01:44:22 PM »

Quote from: "Cockney Rebel"
#3 : PAUL RODGERS

SUPERFLUOSITY ADDENDUM:
Trying to be Freddie Mercury in a bastardization of Queen.

Officially took him from the very thinnest vestiges of "cool" into the category of "stupid cunt"


I didn't know this, but it's not surprising. I thought he just did like one benefit thing with them.

I root for David Bryan, and Andrew Fletcher (nice one, FG) and even Lol Tolhurst.  At worst, they're harmless and at best they have an "everyman" quality-- I'm absolutely confident I could replace Andrew Fletcher in Depeche Mode, so my rockstar dreams are still alive.

But Paul Rodgers.  Man, I hate that guy.  Just hate him.  Right down to the superfluous "d" in his lost name.
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Jonathan

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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2006, 01:57:41 PM »

Quote from: "foolsgold"
Great thread idea, RVA!  I suppose that the Madchester Mascots (Bez, Barry Mooncult, Cressa) don't really count as they weren't musicians.  Although, Bez could play a mean maraca.

Bez was who I fully expected to be No. 1 in a series. My favorite is the liner notes from Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches, where they have the band listing:

Shaun Ryder - Lyrics and Vocals
Paul Ryder - Bass Guitar
Mark Day - Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Paul Davis - Keyboards and Programs
Gary Whelan - Drums
Bez - Bez

His job was just to be himself. Can you get any more superfluous?
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Sonic Boom

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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2006, 02:03:46 PM »

Quote from: "rva"

PEAK OF SUPERFLUOSITY:  Releasing greatest hits records.  We don't just have "The Free Story," but also "Chronicles."  Then there's "The Best of Free" "All Right Now" and "The Best of Free:  All Right Now."  And "Now," "Live" and "Now & Live."   I don't wonder at all how many singles are on this record, nor how many albums they came from.  oh.  10 from 6.

WHERE IS HE NOW?:  Still releasing greatest hits packages with already-used titles that tell us in excruciating detail that he's a rocker, these are his greatest hits, and here is how many there are how and when they were recorded.

That cracked me up right there.  :lol
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rva

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The Most Superfluous Rock Musicians of All Time
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2006, 02:05:42 PM »

Yeah, Bez is a good one.  Of course there's a tendency to overlook these guys do the sheer unnecessity of their existence.

I wonder if the previous maraca record was 405.  Because if not, then his presence was... you know.
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foolsgold

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The Most Superfluous Rock Musicians of All Time
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2006, 02:07:24 PM »

Quote from: "Jonathan"
Bez was who I fully expected to be No. 1 in a series. My favorite is the liner notes from Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches, where they have the band listing:

Bez - Bez

His job was just to be himself. Can you get any more superfluous?


I forgot about that!  In the Bummed (I think) liners, he is credited as "Bez - Vibes".  And, try as I might, I hear absolutely no vibrophone on that record.

That said, it could be argued that Bez did have a profound influence on the band as he was the one who supplied Shaun and the boys with their first dose of ecstacy.  That little pill really shaped the Monday's direction.

So, I guess I just talked myself out of defending Bez as being an integral member of the band in favor of a tablet.  Go figure.
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Jonathan

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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2006, 02:11:40 PM »

Think of it as cementing Bez's place as No. 4 in a series...
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foolsgold

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The Most Superfluous Rock Musicians of All Time
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2006, 02:34:26 PM »

Professor Griff

Overview: The Minister of Information for Public Enemy.  His role in the group was somewhat hazy, but it appeared that he was in charge of the S1Ws and would occasionally say "Step" while directing their paramilitary dance routines.  It must be said that he did look pretty snappy in military fatigues. But the problem was, PE already had a hype man in Flava Flav and had a dance crew in the S1Ws.  Hell, they even had a writer in Harry Allen.  However, it all came unraveled when he gave an interview to the Washington Times which featured some pretty nifty anti-Semitic remarks.  He was sacked from the group and no one really noticed.
 
Peak: This is really hard one.  I'd suggest that his peak came well after he left the group.  Chuck D was being interviewed by a rather uppity Terry Gross and she kept banging on about the incident, actually coming somewhat undone.  It was an uncomfortable moment for the listener and probably for Chuck himself.  Either way, it shone an bad light on two people I really like, so he can go fuck himself for that.

Where is he now: Last I heard he released a couple of solo records and also formed a group called the Asiatic Disciples.  The sad thing is, after Flav's recent turn as a VH1 celebreality, he is no longer the most embarrassing member (or former member) of Public Enemy.
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Nate

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« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2006, 02:36:23 PM »

Griff is back with P.E. and is on their last two albums, rapping, no less.
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