The Worst Supergroups Of All Time
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.
Wikipedia They had to glue them together to take this photo.
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.
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.