The Worst Supergroups Of All Time

Categories: Commentary

Zwan_promo_2003.jpg
Wikipedia
They had to glue them together to take this photo.
A supergroup is a difficult project to make a success of. The work of previous band members overshadows any new material, and although it brings a ready-made fan base, it also brings unreasonably high expectations. Not only that, those that make up the new band might have similarly unreasonably high opinions of themselves - the idea that anything they put out will automatically be great. However, adapting previously successful formulas to an entirely new band with new personnel is a process fraught with difficulty, and often the only success is in putting out some truly awful music.

I write this article because I am excited by three albums supergroups are threatening to put out this year - the Thom Yorke/Flea project Atoms For Peace, the frankly ridiculous sounding Mastodon/Dillinger Escape Plan/Jane's Addiction/Mars Volta amalgamation that is Giraffe Tongue Orchestra, and the unnamed recently announced project presumably put together by the jealous members of DEP and Mastodon, Greg Puciato and Troy Sanders. I want these albums to be good. I really do. Given the caliber of musicians involved, they should be genre-defining records. But they will almost certainly be terrible. By way of tempering my expectations, here are three recent failures featuring personnel that you would expect to be capable of, I don't know, writing something vaguely good.

3. Audioslave

How was this not good? The entire backing band responsible for some of the most impressively chugging, rolling-demolition rock and metal riffs of the last two decades, in three-quarters of Rage Against the Machine, and the ironclad vocal beltings of Soundgarden's Chris Cornell, who was yet to commit career suicide with his Timbaland-produced solo effort. It could have been RATM for those who balked at a rap/rock crossover. It could have been the logical conclusion of rock in the 1990s. It could have been something that didn't end up sounding like an uninspired Led Zeppelin discovering loop pedals and then going home for the day.

For a time period somewhere in between five minutes and a month, Audioslave were treated like the second coming. And then when the excitement at the opening riff to "Cochise" wore off, the general public suddenly realized that, really, Tom Morello's effects pedal wasn't enough to carry an entire album characterized by Cornell hollering into a vortex of repetitive riffs. The only thing this album proved is that RATM's style really was suited to rap. Second single "Like A Stone" was the most ironically named single since Hole's "Awful", and the second album came and went with barely a whimper.


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13 comments
rring111
rring111

that zwan video is embarassingly as bad as the song

gollyrojer
gollyrojer

Zwan: never heard of 'em. Post-GNR Slash: spot-on, excellent, entertaining and amusing reporting. But wait... Audioslave's Like a Stone... bad? Oh, dude, you are so very off the mark on that one. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

darrylrs
darrylrs

Asia was the first, but Damn Yankees were the worst.

crimjunkie
crimjunkie

@darrylrs I can't argue with that, Daryl, except maybe to say that ELP came before (and set the stage for, and even shared a member with) Asia.  But Asia deserves to be on the short list even if Damn Yankees hold the top spot.

Remember Musician Magazine's fabulous review of the GTR album?  In full:  SHT.

xuco1
xuco1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Paz Lenchantin (bassist) of Zwan was hot.

TLS1
TLS1

Are you insane?  Velvet Revolver and Audioslave were great.  The worst supergroup is/was Alter Bridge, the devil spawn of the horrific Creed.

beautifullywritten
beautifullywritten

@TLS1 Too bad Mark Tremonti of Creed/Altar Bridge is actually a damned good guitar player. No, seriously, its too bad because that guy looks like a douche and was in Creed. I want to hate him, but he rocks. Curses!

Mervis
Mervis

Agree. Tremonti is a good.

Jugg
Jugg like.author.displayName 1 Like

How could you possibly leave out Damn Yankees?  Featuring a couple of spares from Styx and Night Ranger and Ted Nugent.  Dare we forget the awesome power ballad "High Enough".

cleaver.gavin
cleaver.gavin

@Jugg I'm too young and too British for that. I'm going to YouTube them now. God help me.

Jugg
Jugg

Prepare to be impressed...thats all im sayin'

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