1 The Dirty Mac
Possibly one of the first ever supergroups, The Dirty Mac consisted of John Lennon (The Beatles), Eric Clapton, Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones) Mitch Mitchell (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) and Yoko Ono. Lennon put the band together to participate in the 1968 TV special The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, making it the first time he’d ever performed without the other Beatles. The beginning of the end?
Usually more of a grumpy old loner, Bob Dylan brought The Traveling Wilburys together at his home studio in 1988 with project leader George Harrison (The Beatles), Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra), Roy Orbison, Tom Petty (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and Jim Keltner (seasoned sessioneer). Unfortunately the Wilburys came to an untimely end after Orbison died at the end of 1988, releasing their second and final album – the drolly titled Traveling Wilburys Vol.3 – in 1990.
This Seattle-based band consisting of Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Stone Gossard (Mother Love Bone), Jeff Ament (Mother Love Bone), Mike McGready (Pearl Jam), Matt Cameron (Soundgarden) and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) was formed in 1990 as a tribute to Andrew Wood, frontman of both Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone.
Having been friends for years, in 1995 Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), John Taylor (Duran Duran), Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum (both Guns N’ Roses) decided to form a ‘jam band’. Neurotic Outsiders would continue to reunite for one-off shows throughout the next decade.
After the break-up of Smashing Pumpkins in 2000, frontman Billy Corgan decided to join forces with Paz Lenchantin (A Perfect Circle), David Pajo (Slint), Matt Sweeney (Chavez) and Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. Zwan released one album and then disbanded with Corgan declaring, “You’ll never see Zwan. I’ll never go anywhere near those people. Ever. I mean, I detest them. You can put that in capital letters.”
Made up of Sammy Hagar (Van Halen), Michael Anthony (Van Halen) and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) this American supergroup took their name from the fact a chicken foot has three talons and there were three of them. Genius. “It was just supposed to be a bullshit name that we’d used for a while,” said Anthony, “and then the rumours spread about the band, everybody used that name so we thought, ‘Fuck it, let’s call it Chickenfoot’.”
In the 1980s Johnny Cash hooked up with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. The country superstars stayed in harness for more than a decade, releasing three critically acclaimed albums.
This Dave Grohl supergroup spectacular was formed in 1994 to provide the tunes for the movie Backbeat, about Stuart Sutcliffe (one of those ‘fifth Beatles’). Grohl, alongside members Mike Mills (REM), Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum), Greg Dulli (Afghan Whigs) and Don Fleming (Gumball) received the BAFTA award for best film music. Despite this the band called it a day in 1995.
With a career spanning more than 20 years and with six studio albums under their belt, Pigface seem to be the only act to break the three-album supergroup trend. Mind you, that could be something to do with having over 100 members – including Trent Reznor, Flea and various Pixies – since 1990.
This Blink 182/Rancid collaboration saw Travis Barker, Tim Armstrong and Armstrong’s former roadie Rob Aston get together to create a hip-hop, punk-rock side project. Despite large success in the early 2000s, The Transplants disbanded after the release of second album ‘Haunted Cities’. Since late 2010 the band have apparently been working on a new album.
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