Who Would Be in Your Fantasy Band? Input, Please.

Let’s say you are a manager entrusted with putting together the greatest rock’n’roll band of all time.  You can choose from any musician, living or dead.  Who would be in your dream four-piece line-up?

The reason I ask is because The Independent offered such a suggestion this morning and I can’t say I agree with the writer’s choices.  (Ringo on drums?  Really?)

Let’s say we’re looking for a rock band, one with street cred and with chops.  And because the payroll is going to be rather, uh, steep, the group has to have some kind of mainstream appeal across all ages. And let’s assume that whomever we pick is in the prime of life, not their actual ages.

Vocals:  In my band, the frontman would be mostly unemcumbered by having to pay an instrument.  I want him moving around, engaging the audience at the back of the arena as much as the people down front.  Jagger would work.  So would Bono.  Scott Weiland was incredible in his prime.  What about Joe Strummer?  But I think I’d go with David Bowie if I could transport him into the present immediately after his Berlin Period.  I saw him several times back then and the man was entrancing.

Guitar:  This is probably the toughest position to fill.  Dave Navarro?  Jimi Hendrix?  Slash?  Pete Townshend?  This will probably be unpopular with some folks, but I’d pick The Edge.  His sound is distinctive yet flexible and evolving.  And the man has managed to help write many, many, many hit songs since 1976.  

Bass:  Hands down, Tony Levin.  You don’t know Tony?  He’s been Peter Gabriel’s right-hand man for decades.  There’s nothing he can’t do with a bass.

Drums:  My favourite drummer of all time is Neil Peart.  Not only is he an amazing drummer, but he’s a learned lyricist.  But I think his style might be too busy for what we’re trying to accomplish here.  Frankly, I think that the Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith would be a very good pick.

Keyboards:  What about Jon Lord from Deep Purple?  Or is my Hammond B-3 bias showing through?

Chief Songwriter:  Kurt Cobain, just for fun.  But I’d make Elvis Costello coach him on the side.

Obviously, there is no right answer to this exercise, but I’d sure be interested in hearing who you’d pick for your rock’n’roll all-star team.  Leave a comment below.



Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

24 thoughts on “Who Would Be in Your Fantasy Band? Input, Please.

  • March 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    For songwriter, i'd go with Jack White.

  • March 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Singer – Janis Joplin

    Guitar – Stevie Ray Vaughn

    Bass – Hands down John Paul Jones (he can also cover keyboards when needed)

    Drums – Danny Carey (Tool) or Christian Tanna of I Mother Earth

    PS. This is a very hard exercise !!

  • March 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    The Edge?! ew.
    I do like the Cobain/Costello alliance, though!

    VOCALS: Robert Pollard (Guided by Voices)
    GUITAR: Chuck Berry – We gotta get back to the Rock and Roll purity!
    BASS: Chris Murphy (Sloan)-I think he has great McCartney style melodic basslines, and is always spot on with back up vocals and harmonies.
    DRUMS: Mark Gaudet (Eric's Trip, Elevator to Hell)
    SONGWRITING: DeeDee Ramone would definately help with the principal writing. Why?-He wrote perfect pop songs time and time again. Very simple and very smart. Teamed up with Robert Pollard would be amazing!

    Maybe this wouldnt be the BEST band ever, but I think I concocted a strong lineup of individuals to create great commercial music with strong musical cred.

  • March 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Vocals – Mike Patton
    Guitar – Matt Belamy (Muse)
    Bass – Justin Chancellor (Tool)
    Drums – Joe Tomino (Dub Trio. Google that man. Phenomenal player)
    Keyboards (if they had them) – Gary Numan

  • March 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Frontman: Iggy Pop
    Guitar: Fred "Sonic" Smith
    Guitar: Eric Clapton
    Bass: John McVie
    Keyboards: Garth Hudson
    Drums: Kenny Aronoff
    Songwriter: Leonard Cohen (&Iggy)

  • March 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Vocals – Mike Patton

    Guitar – Frank Zappa

    Bass – Les Claypool

    Drums – Terry Bozzio

    Just gotta say, Uncle Frank is the most under appreciated musician of all time. He was an absolute god on guitar, and a symphonic composer to boot. We celebrate so many other losses in music, yet he doesn't get the attention he so richly deserves. Offensive and articulate, music misses him more than it knows…

  • March 2, 2012 at 2:40 pm


    Songwriter: Ian Thornley (his lyrics have always spoke to me on a personal level)

    Vocalist: Carmen Townsend (Wow does she have a cool voice)

    Guitar: Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage (I can't get sick of their music, so that's gotta say something)

    Bass: Lemmy Kilmister (Just because he's Lemmy)

    Drums: Dave Grohl (no doubt about this one)

    I wouldn't know about keyboards though…

  • March 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    OK, here goes…

    Vocals: Freddie Mercury. I've never seen a man look so at home on stage in front of thousands of people.

    Guitar: I'm going to go with duelling guitars of Randy Rhoads and Jimmy Page. Is that allowed?

    Bass: Lemmy. That one is easy.

    Drums: Animal from The Muppets. That one is also easy.

    Keyboards: Booker T, to give everything a mean soul undercurrent

    Songwriter: A George Harrison/Jack White combination would be great.

  • March 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Vocals – Freddie Mercury

    Guitar – David Gilmour

    Keyboards – Tony Banks

    Bass – Geddy Lee

    Drums – Vinnie Colaiuta

    Songwriter/Composer – Frank Zappa 😉

  • March 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Vocals/Keyboard – David Bowie
    Guitars – David Gilmour and Jonny Greenwood. Greenwood's innovation with Gilmour's solos; bliss.
    Bass – Eric Judy from Modest Mouse
    Durms – Ginger Baker

  • March 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Vocals – Chris Cornell
    Guitar – Tony Iommi
    Bass – John Paul Jones
    Keys – Richard E Manuel
    Drums- John Bonham

  • March 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Lead vocals: Brandon Boyd of Incubus. Amazing range, unique melodies.
    Two guitarists (cheat?): Josh Homme of QOTSA, but also The Crooked Vultures (also, he'd back on vocals). Such an innovative guitarist in an age of bland, overused progressions. And #2 would be Thomas Erak (to get more of the post-hardcore sound I love) of former The Fall of Troy, now with Just Like Vinyl.
    Bass: Arif Mirabdolbaghi of Protest the Hero. Fast fingers, slap technique, very versatile.
    Drums: I'm tempted to go with a deceased and choose John Bonham (any introduction needed?). But if I were to see this happen today, I'd choose Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon. Straight forward drumming, but puts a lot of the snare accents on the "and" beat. Gives it a snappy, tight feel.
    Songwriter: Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind. His songs are like him telling you a story in person. Draw me in and captivate.

  • March 2, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Vocals – Mike Patton
    Guitar – Jimmy Page
    Bass – Les Claypool
    Drums – Dave Grohl

  • March 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Vocals – Part of me wants to say Ottis Reading but I am going with Gerard Way since he is the best pure Frontman currently
    Guitar – My gut says Neil Quinn of Zeus
    Bass – Flea
    Drums -Brandyn James Aikins from Indian Handcrafts

  • March 2, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Vocals – Michael Hutchence: It's been nearly 15 years since he passed away but he's one of my favorite vocalists and his charisma was hard to top.
    Guitar – John Frusciante: His melodies are classic and beautiful.
    Bass – Darryl Jones: If he's good enough to replace Bill Wyman than he's good enough for this band.
    Drums – Tommy Aldridge: He's one of my childhood heroes and did some fantastic stuff with Ozzy.
    Keyboards – Steve Winwood: Great keyboardist and vocalist. He could also co-write some songs with the rest of this fantasy band.

  • March 2, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Drums – John Stanier (Battles, Tomahawk, Helmet)
    Bass – Melissa Auf Der Mar (MAdM, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole)
    Keyboards – Brian Eno
    Guitars – Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead) / Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)
    Vocals – Chino Moreno (Deftones, Team Sleep, †††)

    The name of the band would be: Blood Ice

  • March 2, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    vocals: Courtney Love
    guitar: Tom Morello
    bass: Flea
    drums: William Topolinsky (Pete Tremblay and The Boozy Truth, youtube it yo)

  • March 2, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    The Ramones already did it. It's done.

    Vocals: Joey Ramone
    Guitar: Johnny Ramone
    Bass: Dee Dee Ramone
    Drums: Tommy Ramone

  • March 3, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Vocals – Chris Cornell (no one has reached the heights of Chris's vox)
    Guitar – Jimmy Page (a guitar god)
    Bass – Tony Levin (his rhythm is so on point and bizarre)
    Drums – Taylor Hawkins (such a hard hitter and gives it his all)
    Keyboards – Trent Reznor (evolutionary use of keys – some have tried to replicate but have never compared)

    Crazy band line-up! Wow!

  • March 3, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Vocals – Ian Curtis (Joy Division)
    Guitar – Johnny Marr (The Smiths)
    Bass – Les Claypool (Primus)
    Drums – Dave Grohl (The Foo Fighters)

  • March 3, 2012 at 12:40 am

    sorry missed one…Songwriter – we're hot on Foo Fighters – Dave Grohl and band! They really understand the importance of tempo in their melodies! They are aware of what their fans want!

  • March 3, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Because I am a happy person.

    Lead vocals: Till Lindemann or Ian Curtis
    Guitar:Adrian Belew
    Bass: Jeordie White
    Drums: Cindy Blackman
    Drum programming: Al Jourgensen
    Keyboard: David A. Stewart

  • March 4, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Vocals David Lee Roth the ideal showman
    Lead Guitar Mark Knopfler. So versitile
    Rythym Guitar Keith Richards
    Drums Keith Moon
    Bass Bootsy Collins.
    Songwriter Bruce Springsteen Jeff Tweedy

  • March 4, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Vocals: Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger)
    Guitar: John Frusciante
    Bass: Flea
    Drums: Taylor Hawkins
    Keys/Synths: Moby

    Songwriters: Lennon/McCartney (with Harrison getting two cuts an album).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.