There have been several movies over the years that have created fictional bands as part of the film. There have been instances where the fictional band was the focus, and instances where they were just a small portion of the story. This week’s EwTube will showcase some of my favourite fictional bands over the years.
I have five fictional bands to bring to your attention this week, as well as a couple of honourable mentions. So, in no particular order, let’s check out what the movies have brought us over the years.
The Weird Sisters
The first fictional band is from the 2005 film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The Weird Sisters were brought in to play during the Yule Ball at Hogwarts. Originally created by author J.K. Rowling as a band that could be heard on the Wizarding Wireless Network.
This particular fictional band consisted of real musicians. Jarvis Cocker of Pulp portrayed Myron Wagtail as the lead vocals. Jarvis also wrote the songs that are featured in the film and on the soundtrack. On bass was Pulp bassist Steve Mackey (Donaghan Tremlett); from Radiohead there was Jonny Greenwood (Kirley Duke) on lead guitar and Phil Selway (Orsino Thruston) on drums; rounding out the band from All Seeing I was Jason Buckle (Heathcote Barbary) on rhythm guitar and from Add N to (X) was Steven Claydon (Gideon Crumb) playing the bagpipes and keyboard.
It should be noted, that in the film, the band is not referred to by name but rather introduced as “the band that needs no introduction”. This was due to a lawsuit filed by a Canadian folk band called Wyrd Sisters.
The Blues Brothers
This fictional band began as part of a skit on Saturday Night Live got their own movie in 1980. Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi created the characters of Elwood Blues and “Joliet” Jake Blues. Both perform their own singing and Dan even plays harmonica.
The rest of the band all portray themselves in the movie and all of them play their own instruments. Steve Cropper as Steve “the Colonel” Cropper on lead guitar, rhythm guitar and vocals; Donald Dunn as Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass guitar; Murphy Dunne as Murphy “Murph” Dunne on keyboards; Willie Hall as Willie “Too Big” Hall on drums and percussion; Tom Malone as Tom “Bones” Malone on trombone, tenor saxophone and vocals; Lou Marini as “Blue Lou” Marini on alto saxophone, tenor saxophone and vocals; Matt Murphy as Matt “Guitar” Murphy on lead guitar; and Alan Rubin as Alan “Mr. Fabulous” Rubin on trumpet, percussion and vocals.
It was hard to choose just one song from this film, but I went with the closing number of the film. If you are so inclined, you could check out the song ‘Shake a Tailfeather’ which they sing with the great Ray Charles.
The Soggy Bottom Boys
This particular fictional band appeared in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? which was released in 2000. This is the first fictional band on the list where the actors do not actually do any of the singing. I have fond, and not so fond, memories of many people recreating this particular song since.
In the film, the band consisted of Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), Pete Hogwallop (John Turturro) and Delmar O’Donnell (Tim Blake Nelson) on vocals with Tommy Johnson (Chris Thomas King) on guitar. The actual singing and playing, however, was performed by country and bluegrass artists: Dan Tyminski, Harley Allen and Pat Enright.
This particular fictional band is from the movie Rock Star starring Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Anniston from 2001. The band is a main focus of the movie, but there are other side stories going on as well. This particular band had a mixture of real musicians and actors, which makes it relatively unique on this list.
The curious note about this, is that while Mark Wahlberg was the front man for Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, he did not do his own vocals in this film. The lead vocals were provided by Steelheart frontman Miljenko Matijevic. The rest of the band is Jörgen (Jeff Pilson from Foreigner) on bass guitar; Ghode (Zakk Wylde from Black Label Society) on lead guitar; A.C. (Jason Bonham formerly of Foreigner) on drums; and Kirk Cuddy (Dominic West) on rhythm guitar.
This film is a comedy drama, but I really enjoyed it and most especially the music. Songs from fictional bands Steel Dragon, Blood Pollution and even a solo song by Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg) are a big part of this film.
School of Rock
I think this movie is wonderfully done in so many ways. In fact, this movie is now a musical that plays in London’s famous West End. The fictional band in this case is also the title of the film, School of Rock which was released in 2003.
With this choice, we are back to a cast that are not only the actors, but the musicians as well. Of course, Jack Black has made many albums with his band Tenacious D, however, even the children performed all the musical acts seen in the film. The full band includes: Dewey Finn (Black) on lead vocals and guitar; Zack Mooneyham (Joey Gaydos Jr.) on lead guitar; Lawrence (Robert Tsai) on keyboards; Fred (Kevin Clarke) on drums; Tomika (Maryam Hassan), Marta (Caitlin Hale) and Alicia (Aleisha Allen) on backing vocals; and Katie (Rebecca Brown) on bass guitar.
I have found that Becca Brown has also continued to create music after School of Rock, and you could find some of her original songs on her YouTube channel. I still return to this movie and look forward to this performance each and every time. Also, once you factor in that all these young actors were also playing all the music, this fictional band is just incredible.
My first honourable mention goes to The Commitments. I wanted to include them in my main section, however I could not find a YouTube video that was of a respectable quality. After much searching, I managed to at least find the band singing one of the movie’s best songs. So here is ‘Mustang Sally’ as performed by The Commitments.
My final honourable mention goes to a great Canadian film, Scott Pilgrim vs The World where we find the fictional band Sex Bob-omb.
There were so many fictional bands to choose from. Bands like Spinal Tap (This is Spinal Tap), Josie & The Pussycats (Josie & the Pussycats), Banjo & Sullivan (Devil’s Rejects), Hong Kong Cavaliers (The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension) and Stillwater (Almost Famous).
Who are your favourite fictional bands? Let us know in the comments below.