A couple of weeks ago, my teacher asked her students to complete a special project: we had to choose 5 musicians to put together as our very own “ultimate band”. I don’t know whether that sounds easy or hard to you, but it definitely makes you think. It was obviously intended as just a fun little activity to do (which it was), but in the week’s notice we had to prepare, I was plagued by mental questions. “Do singers count as musicians?” “Do I have to have more than one guitarist?” “What if my musicians are all dead?”
And it went on. Line-ups were changed, lead singers debated over, and drummers fired and re-hired all over again. I found myself trying to find musicians that played as many different instruments as possible, just to make the most of each member of the band. I imagine it felt about as hard as managing a real band would feel. Apart from booking venues, scheduling tours, securing recording contracts, etc. But I think I more than made up for that in the fact that I didn’t get paid. Eventually, though, I came up with the final line-up for my ultimate band, which I was pretty pleased with. I was so happy with it, in fact, I thought “You know what? This would make a really good blog post“……
Note: Under each artist I have included a “listen to” feature. Basically this is the song that you should listen to if you doubt the awesomeness of members of the band. Or if you’ve never heard of them.
The Ultimate Band (selected by Mary)
Freddie Mercury. Out of all the members of this band, Freddie probably needs the least introduction. Still, I’ll give you one anyway. Freddie Mercury was the lead singer of legendary British rock band Queen. But Freddie was so much more than that. He was a performer. Sure, he didn’t really play any instruments apart from the occasional bit of piano. But he didn’t need it. The stage was his instrument, and the world was his stage. And if all that wasn’t enough, his voice also spanned over four octaves – the same as Julie Andrews. Freddie frequently appears on lists of the world’s greatest singers, and Classic Rock magazine voted him the greatest rock singer of all time. Allmusic called him “one of rock’s greatest all-time entertainers”, who had “one of the greatest voices in all of music”. And I would have to agree with them.
Listen to: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
Matthew Bellamy. Matthew isn’t quite as well known as Freddie, but some will know him as the lead singer, guitarist, and pianist of the alternative rock band Muse. Although I would say he is not quite as legendary of a singer as the one mentioned above, he is still pretty great. Besides, he can play two other instruments as well, so there would be no shortage of roles for him in the band. Actually, he is known just as well – if not better – for his guitar-playing abilities, as he is for his singing. And for good reason! He has been named “Guitarist of the Decade”, and even ranked as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Random trivia fact: Matthew is married to actress Kate Hudson, and they have a child together.
Listen to: Plug in Baby by Muse
Greg Churchouse. Greg is the bass guitarist for Scouting for Girls. Which is another British band! I can’t really say much else about him because he’s not that well known, so he hasn’t appeared in any polls or lists, and I don’t know much (okay, anything) about bass guitars or guitarists, so I can’t say how good he is at playing. However, he does support the rest of the band well throughout their songs, and isn’t that a bassist’s job? Plus, he seems cool – and look at his hair!
Listen to: Famous by Scouting for Girls
Sachiko Fujii. Okay, so most people have probably never heard of her and might not be able to pronounce her name (I can’t). But, I think Sachiko is the greatest Japanese, female, not-that-famous-in-Western-countries drummer that ever lived. Specific? Yes. True? Definitely.
Sachiko is from Japanese band The 188.8.131.52’s, which have been going since before 1992, and have a large following in their native country. But what sets Sachiko apart from other experienced drummers? Well, even though there are plenty of good, reliable drummers out there that can keep a steady beat for hours on end, Sachiko just hits the drums like a maniac. So much so, that she sometimes even upstages the rest of the band with her crazed drumming. She also gets bonus points for being a female drummer – a very girl-power-y thing to be.
Listen to: Ah-So by The 184.108.40.206’s
Vanessa-Mae. Here you go – the most random addition to the “ultimate band”. Vanessa-Mae is a former child prodigy violinist who specializes in techno-classical-fusion. I admit she seems a little out of place, but everyone loves good violin solo, right? (Apart from those evil rock-purists, but they don’t count). Violin can sound very nice as an addition to some songs, even rock ones. And it can’t be denied that she would set the band apart from others, at least in originality. That is, if Freddie Mercury’s miraculous resurrection from the dead wasn’t enough on its own.
Listen to: The Devil’s Trill by Vanessa-Mae
Now imagine, if you will, all five of these musicians playing together in a band. Wouldn’t it be the greatest thing ever? Yes. Yes, I think it would.