Super Groups – Part 2 The Bad, worse and worst

The second part of an insightful look into the world of super groups that sees the exploration of the fad’s underbelly.

Asia (c) Asia

Asia - Asia (c) Asia, Geffen records

We have explored the more glorious and entertaining side of the super group, it is now time to venture into the seedy underbelly and walk with devils as the nastier, bad side is exposed in all of its painfully terrible “glory”. Ladies and gentlemen we have the bad side of super groups, the people seated in the first four rows will get wet, you have been warned!

It is only natural for a fad or a trend to run its course. As was discussed in the opening part of this feature, the super group is one of those trends in music that always promises so very much but tends not to deliver. From the heyday of Crosby, Stills and Nash to the short lived wonders of the Travelling Wilburys, the super group was seen as a glorious amalgamation of talent that could only go from strength to strength. However, where these artists soared to new and untapped precedence, others peddled a one-wheeled bike over a cliff, descending into new levels of drudgery and woefulness, all for that last bite at the juicy red apple of fame.

The first culprits, although by no means the worst, are Asia. Consisting of members who were and still are firmly second division rockers, this eighties group, formed in 1981, are considered by many to be more than a caricature of eighties hair and hard rock. Consisting of members from such bands as Yes and Atomic Rooster, it would appear the thought process that went into the formation of this band would go along the lines of, “If we combine our strengths, we can’t be beat!” Unfortunately for listeners of rock and music in general this has meant they are still active today, blasting out such “hits” as “Only time will tell” and their signature song “Heat of the moment”, an ironic title considering the birth of this mutation of rock music.

Another bunch of music miscreants called themselves Blind Faith. Surprisingly featuring a line up that included Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker of Cream (mentioned in part 1) this group makes it onto the list for a number of reasons. The first being the distinctly average, dry as dust sound that a group featuring supreme guitarists Steve Winwood and Clapton offers to listeners. The emphasis cannot be stressed enough on how the music on Blind Faith’s eponymous album is not necessarily bad, but the lack of real invention or input that makes listeners feel that the artists could not really be bothered, it just made too good sense to join together. Couple that with the frankly paedophilic album cover of a topless pre-pubescent girl holding a phallic shaped aircraft and you have a Machiavellian cocktail for disaster.

The next of the usual suspects, although not strictly a super group but more of a super covers group are Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Already hounded by the frankly diabolical name, this group features Mike Burkett of NOFX and Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters amongst others. Based on the premise that traditional, conventional songs are, quite frankly, not good enough, this outfit of multi-millionaires take it upon themselves to perform punk versions of the aforementioned classics. Two songs of note would be John Denver’s moving classic “Country roads” and the immortal “Sloop John B” by the Beach Boys, who despite being amongst the most important and seminal artists of the twentieth century, needed their work to be run through endless production computers to achieve that rather flat, shiny, tinny sound that only modern punk can achieve. A real tragedy to music.

There we go, you can put away your sick bag and take out your ear-plugs because those are the main culprits named and shamed for your benefit. Although these are by no means the worst villains they rank amongst the very lowest. Special acknowledgement goes to recently formed Them Crooked Vultures consisting of Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin no less. Their dead eyed, post modern rock currently justifying their existence and being played monotonously over the airwaves of any station desperate to fill four minutes of air time.

The super group appears to be going strong; new ones popping up it would seem on a yearly basis. As the world recovers from economic disaster and we all begin to spend money again, the hope that record labels will filter out some of the potential garbage and stick to more credible artists with genuine ability together and not just another way to make a fast buck looms. Time will tell, it always does.

Jonathan Whitelaw

All of the tracks and artists are available from Amazon music or iTunes. For more, try these websites:,

2 Responses to “Super Groups – Part 2 The Bad, worse and worst”

  1. I’m predicting this to be the decade of the super group, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing as long as people don’t put expectations on their releases based on any of the artists other back catalogues.

  2. tom says:

    I was waiting for a mention of Them Crooked Vultures, and something told me you’d put em this side of the fence 😛

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