[Another fine list from special list-making correspondent Brent Chittenden. Give him a “Like,”okay? He works on on these things–and he’s just moved house. He could use a hug. – AC]
If you live in Toronto, there’s something weird happening this weekend. Head up Airport Road and you will be confronted by a myriad of humans in outrageous costumes of all sorts, some of them good, some of them amazing. That’s because it’s Anime North, one of North America’s largest anime (anime being a term for Japanese animation) fan conventions.
This me thinking. What are the top animated bands of all time? There are a surprising number of animated outfits, from those that start off in cartoons and become real (Dethklok, The Archies) to bands that exist as animated-only creations (Detroit Metal City). And there’s Gorillaz who live in both worlds..
So, in honor of Anime North, here’s a list of the Best. Animated. Bands. Ever.
10) BECK (Mongolian Chop Squad)
While they never became a real musical act like Dethklok, BECK (as oppsed to Beck, the “Loser” and “two tables and a microphone guy”) was a very popular manga and anime series from Japan which makes a ton of pop and rock music references through out. In their animated world, BECK is pretty awesome.
9) Cold Slither
They had one song and they nearly took over the world. Sure it was really Zartan and the Drednoks with subliminal messages in the music that were obviously better than anything Ozzy or Judas Priest had.
8) Josie and the Pussycats
They were like Scooby and his gang but they played music. Originally a comic book from Archie Comics, it became an animated series with a few catchy tunes. [We’ll ignore the live-action movie remake. – AC]
7) Black Stones (from Nana)
Black Stones are a melodic rock/punk band in the manga / anime series Nana. The Black Stones are a struggling to make it group but gaining some steam in the series. Like the other anime mentioned, it has spawned a live action movie and a number of soundtracks.
6) The Archies
Archie and his pals in Riverdale put together a band that eventually went number one on Billboard in real life. The animated band were featured on their own show while a studio band was put together by Don Kirshner who also helped produce The Monkees. [Props to Canadian Andy Kim who wrote the 1968 smash, “Sugar, Sugar.” – AC]
5) Timmy and The Lords of the Underworld (South Park)
Timmy is, um, special. but that doesn’t keep him down as vocalist for the Lords of The Underworld. As a side note, this song was available for Rock Band. Just imagine yourself drunk trying to belt this one out. [TIMMAAAAAYYYY! – AC]
4) Jem and The Holograms
An all girl rock group where the singer couldn’t tell their manager who she really was because…um…er… some reason (it was like Hanna Montana but better). TonS of women who grew up in the 80’s remember Jem fondly, enough for a dvd release of the entire show not too long ago. Each episode usually included a new song which would be released on cassette along with the dolls. What band wouldn’t kill for that exposure in real life? Britta Phillips, who was Jem’s singing voice, was recently featured as a vocalist on MGMT’s song, “It’s Working”.
3) Detroit Metal City
Detroit Metal City is an anime/manga from Japan. The band, DMC (for short) give Dethklok a run for their money in the extreme metal department. Yes, if you watched the above video, your eyes were not deceiving you, that was a old man in bondage gear. One of their song contains the word rape… a lot. Believe it or not the show and manga are rather comedic and it’s basically about a kid who wound up the lead singer of an extreme metal band when all he wanted to do was music like The Cardigans. There’s also a live action film based on the manga / anime that features an appearance from Kiss’s Gene Simmons.
According to their animated bio, Dethklok are not only the biggest metal band in the world, they are the biggest band in the world. Their fictional sales eclipse those of the Beatles and Elvis and economies rise and fall based on their album releases. Now while the real life Dethklok (consisting of Metalocalypse creator Brendon Small and a band of musicians) might not be that huge, they do have a very good following.
Damon Albarn from Blur teamed up with comic book illustrator Jamie Hewlett (co-creator of Tank Girl) put together one of the best animated bands of time. Great music with spectacular visuals. The band’s characters were fairly well fleshed out and had back stories and personalities.
BONUS FROM AC:
I don’t think they were ever animated, but if we’re talking about cartoon bands, I have to make a case for Billy and the Boingers, the metal band from the Bloom County comic strip. With Bill the Cat on lead tongue and Opus providing the metal with his tuba, they recorded a single flex-disc (“I’m a Boinger” b/w “U Stink But I (Heart) You”) that came with a Bloom County anthology. It’s one of my most prized possessions.