Some bands are born from skill, passion and a garage strewn with beer cans, but others are born from the shrewd minds of television producers (or at least a combination of the two).
Flight of the Conchords might be the one of the biggest players in guitar-based digi-bongo a cappella-rap-funk-comedy folk spheres, but they’re not the first great band to have emerged from behind a television screen (via stage and radio, to be fair). To celebrate the Conchords’ upcoming tour, here are ten made-for-TV bands that have rocked the tube in decades gone by.
Three No. 1 singles, six Top 10s, 12 Top 40s and a total of 20 Hot 100 singles. The Monkees weren’t just made for television — they were made for world domination. Commanding the charts during one rock ‘n’ roll’s most significant periods and staging a showdown against the producers who banned them from actually playing any instruments on early records, The Monkees helped define authenticity in rock. R.I.P. Davy Jones.
Before James Franco was a multi-talented actor/director/writer/grad student he was a small-time guitarist (and a bit of an asshole) on NBC’s Freaks and Geeks. The short-lived cult TV show was excellent for many reasons, one of the best being the quote “Rock ‘n’ Roll don’t come from your brain! It come from your crotch!”
Saved by the Bell’s Zack Morris was involved in a range of extra-curricular activities, but none were so memorable as his role as lead singer and lead guitarist in Zack Attack. The band never achieved the success that it did in Zack’s dreams, but it definitely made the show that much more awesome.
Can’t think of a name for your band? Why not turn to notorious stories involving the death of small children for inspiration? Pushing past the awkward name, Dingoes Ate My Baby weren’t actually that bad for a post-grunge, pre-emo rock band. Probably because the more tastefully named Four Star Mary provided all their music.
It’s not every made-for-television band that still has a frequently updated Facebook page 17 years after the demise of the television show, but it’s not every made-for-television band member who had hair like Jesse Katsopolis. Hit songs included “Forever”, and several hundred Beach Boys cover songs.
Also living on through Facebook are Frozen Embryos from ABC’s My So-Called Life. The lead singer is the elusive Tino, who isn’t actually seen in any episode. He is, however, mentioned in Juno when Ellen Page’s character says her band should be ready to rock “once Tino gets a new drumhead”. Rock lives!
You know you’ve struck the right chord when your band inspires the name of a hipster dive in San Francisco’s Mission district. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem mostly stick to rock music, but it’s arguable that they do a better rendition of Chopin than Chopin.
A Police cover band with Kevin as the drummer and lead singer. This has “magnificently awkward” written all over it.
The fictional grunge rock band from Daria helped confirm one of lyricisms irrefutable truths: coherence is no way near as important as a good rhyme. Okay so that might not always be true, but Mystik Sprial were way cool and totally would have scored the big break they deserved had they only managed to agree upon the perfect band name.
Say what you will about virtual melodic death metal as a whole, but you have to hand it to Dethklok for achieving such widespread commercial success that they were ranked as the world’s seventh largest economy by the end of Metalocalypse’s second season. And while the real-life version of the band hasn’t achieved quite this level of success, they do still play regular shows.
May 21, 2012 by Hannah Ongley