Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Wouldn't Call It A SUPER Group Bob

The term Super Group is being tossed around a little loosely these days.  While definitions in the English language are commonly being watered down or twisted to fit what poses for wit, it doesn’t mean it’s ok.  As a society and as a race (human) we should inspire to be better.  To be smarter.  Instead it looks like we are seeing the beginning signs of a society that before long will resemble the movie Idiocracy.  But that’s not what we’re talking about now is it.  We are talking about what constitutes a “Super” group.  I for one am not going to stay quiet while John Sykes and Brian Downey are secretly meeting in Dublin. 

It was announced this week the Jack Blades along with Deen Castronovo and Doug Aldrich are currently hunkered down in a recording studio working on an album for their as yet unnamed Supergroup.  This seems to be all 50 year old (or older) rockers do now days.  They slap together a few guys.  Release an album.  Mention they already have another album done.  Tour and release that second record and then disappear.  KXM, Black Country Communion, Adrenaline Mob and The Winery Dogs.  Recent collaborations that lack that “Super” part of Supergroup.  This isn’t about ability or quality.  This is about star power.  Star power is the reason why the name Bret Michaels instantly conjures images of abs and wigs and the name Mike Orlando makes you think of Google.  To put it another way.  If your biggest claim to fame is being in Deep Purple after Ian Gillan, then you can’t be the biggest star in your “Super” group.
The Highwaymen = Super!
After thinking about it for roughly 30 seconds I am pretty sure there have been only two Supergroups that were almost entirely a collection of A listers.  The Highwaymen and The Traveling Wilburys.  Maybe Chickenfoot?  It really depends on how you grade Michael Anthony.  Them Crooked Vultures comes close with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones but with JPJ being so removed from stardom and Josh Homme not exactly a household name it just falls short.  Still a Supergroup.  Just not the "Superest" of groups.      
So what is a “Super” group?  For starters it has to have at least one A Lister.  It doesn’t have to be an A Lister in all walks like a Jimmy Page.  But in the genre they are known for or the instrument they play an A Lister.  Timing matters as well.  Take Contraband for instance.  Assembled at the end of the Sunset Strip era it contained a who’s who of the time.  If they were to do it today it would be a who’s who of who’s that.  But lets keep moving.  So you need one A List member.  And no more than one member can be an unknown.  Those three criteria must be met to even be considered for Supergroup status.  Unless Eric Clapton is in the band.  Eric Clapton has made a career about of being in Supergroups.  Because of that any band that has Clapton is automatically a Supergroup.  We’ll call it the Clapton factor.
With those established commandments we can now go forth and grade some of the so called “Super” groups to see if they are truly “Super” or just a collection of musicians.  To do this lets borrow from the education system and use what I’ll call the SPA or Super Point Average.  With 4 being the maximum SPA one can reach, for a group to be considered “Super” it needs to have at least a combined cumulative 3.0 SPA among its members.  Anything lower just isn’t “Super”.  And as long as it doesn’t contain more than one unknown member, (Damn Yankees) there will be no penalty for said member.  The SPA will be established with the remaining members.  So let’s break a few down.  First some old ones. 
Travleing Wilburys
Did you remember to get lunch Jeff? 
George Harrison: 4.0
Bob Dylan: 4.0
Tom Petty: 4.0
Jeff Lynne: 3.3
Roy Orbison: 4.0
SPA: 3.86 
Traveling Wilburys =SUPER!
Damn Yankees
We're best buddies forever
Ted Nugent: 4.0
Tommy Shaw: 2.7
Jack Blades: 3.3
Drummer?: 0 (No Penalty)
SPA: 3.3 
Damn Yankees = SUPER!
Mr. Big
Fat girls welcome
Eric Martin: 1.0
Paul Gilbert: 2.3
Billy Sheehan: 2.7
Pat Torpey: 0 (No penalty)
SPA: 2.0
Mr. Big = Not super
Now some of the newer ones that spawned this whole talking point. 
Velvet Revolver
We're our own AA meeting
Scott Weiliand: 3.7
Slash: 4.0
Duff: 3.3
Matt Sorum: 2.0
Dave Kushner: 0 (No Penalty)
SPA: 3.25 = SUPER!
This is where we met
George Lynch: 2.3
Dug Pinnick: 1.3
Ray Luzier: .7
SPA: 1.43
KXM = Not super
Winery Dogs
Richie Kotzen: 1.0
Mike Portnoy: 2.0
Billy Sheehan: 2.0
SPA: 1.67
Winery Dogs = Not super
Unnamed Jack Blades Project
Jack Blades: 1.7
Doug Aldrich: .7
Deen Castronovo: .7
SPA: 1.03
???? = Not super
Eric Clapton sitting on a bench by himself
Eric Clapton sitting on a bench by himself = Super!
Now you may have noticed that both Billy Sheehan and Jack Blades received lower scores for the current bands than they did for their earlier work.  That’s because not everyone is Elvis.  Elvis was and always will be a 4.0 on the SPA.  Their personal star power has dropped dramatically in the years between said projects.
So I hope that clears everything up.  From here forth there will be no more gray area regarding the Superness of a group.  Using the criteria set here and applying an SPA you can determine whether the band you love is Super or not. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for showing the Highwaymen some love! 4.0's across the board. :D