Posted by: kaleidophonic | March 8, 2011

“So who’s your favorite band?”

As a music lover, I get asked this question fairly often. But for some reason I’ve always had a hard time answering it. I don’t have just ONE favorite band or artist, really. I also go through obsessive stages, where I buy everything an artist ever recorded… This was definitely the case with my first real musical obsession – Paul McCartney. Alongside the entire Beatles studio recordings, including the Anthologies, BBC Sessions (which suck, btw), Past Masters, I also bought most of Paul’s solo offerings. In retrospect this was a pretty questionable display of musical taste, but I still maintain that McCartney writes damn catchy tunes and that Ram is a wonderful album.

My high school yearbook comments from the year I graduated mention Macca more times than I care to remember. This might be considered ‘normal’ if I’d been in highschool in, say, 1966… but alas I was about 30 years too late.

But I digress.

Somehow saying that The Beatles or Paul McCartney is your favorite artist seems like cheating. I mean, it’s on par with saying Elvis or U2. It’s just too obvious.

At one time Fleetwood Mac would have been a definite contender. I love the thick and sort of muffled recording sound of their late 70s output, and the well-known relationship/drug drama that eventually tore Lindsay, Stevie, Christine, Mick and John apart was kind of irresistible. But at least with Fleetwood Mac I stopped short of purchasing their entire studio output. I did have many of the early British albums, but stopped short after Tango in the Night. I’m still not even sure why I bothered to buy this one, and it certainly never merited many spins in my cd player.

I suppose Fairport Convention would be a contender for an all time fave, as would the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan.

Fairport for me was all about Sandy Denny. I fell in love with her voice a long time ago. I never bothered much with Fairport’s output after she left the band, but this is probably unfair as they were a pretty rocking folk group, and various incarnations of the band continue to play folk festivals to this day. If I ever get a chance to check out their annual Cropredy Festival, I’m sure I’d see some great folk performances (and have a fantastic time to boot).

Claiming Fairport Convention as my all time musical fave would at least give me the kind of cultural capital that comes from their being semi-obscure to most people. And given that my previous choices were painfully mainstream, I could use some of this geek-cred.

As for the Grateful Dead… they have released about a zillion live albums, so I’m pretty sure that no one human being can claim to own their entire catalogue. (Then again, never underestimate a Deadhead…) Besides, while the Dead might make my top 5, I don’t think I could ever claim them as the Numero Uno.

Bob Dylan. Claiming him as fave would be legit, I feel, because Dylan has earned a place among the foremost cultural interpreters of the American Experience. Over his long career as a poet, musician, performer and recording artist Dylan has continually fashioned and re-fashioned himself – often to the consternation of his audience. But I feel somehow that citing Bob Dylan as my all time fave still shows a certain lack of imagination. With so much musical variety out there, why not go with something a little weird?

Hmm. Imagination. Variety. Weird… and so it was, that I finally came upon the perfect answer. It came to me while I was watching reruns of The Muppet Show. Suddenly I had it. I knew who to cite as my all time favorite band.

Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Zoot, Janis and, of course, Animal. What could be better than musical Muppets? And these Muppets have chops, man. They can take on classical, jazz, and folk, interpreting it into their own idiom. Take these next two clips, for example.  In the first one Dr. Teeth’s band is asked to fill in for an absent concert pianist, and perform their own version of Frederick Chopin’s “Polonaise in A Flat Major” (much to the consternation of Sam The Eagle…). The next clip sees the band’s drummer, Animal, go head to head with jazz great Buddy Rich.

Need I say any more?


  1. Haha! Having had a 9 year-old in my house for an entire week, I may need to put a reply post in my blog… Watch out! Also, thanks for making me want to write. 🙂

  2. […] goodies that I’m going to share with you now, also unexpectedly inspired by this ‘favourite band‘ blog post by my histori-cool, smarty-pants PhD student friend.  The first clip contains a […]

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