Five Bands Who Don’t Exist
I’m not including Spinal Tap because it’s too obvious. Also because the actors actually are by and large playing and singing the songs, subsequently released a couple of albums and have toured a few times, so in a way they exist more than some ‘real’ bands.
Ellen Aim & The Attackers
As played by Diane Lane in the greatly underrated ‘Rock & Roll Fable’ Streets of Fire. The film opens with their concert being attacked by a biker gang so that their leader, a seriously creepy looking Willem Defoe, can kidnap Ellen. Naturally, their manager reacts by hiring her soldier of fortune ex-boyfriend to get her back, resulting in brawls, things exploding and fights with hammers. Listening to the two songs which open and close the movie you can pretty much tell they were writtten by Jim Steinman1.
Scott Pilgrim’s tremendously average indie band. They’re not brilliant, but they try hard! Well, maybe not all that hard, as the tedium of actually recording their album leads to them giving up practising and playing gigs . . . Still, they do manage to complete it in the end! All seventeen minutes of it. Before splitting up. In the film the songs were performed by the actors and written by Beck, which is pretty cool. Maybe not so cool as getting Metric to do The Clash at Demonhead though.
Girls Dead Monster
The musical wing of the SSS (roughly, the Afterlife Battlefront) in bonkers anime Angel Beats!2 Because when you’re a group of apparently dead teenagers in an afterlife modeled on a Japanese high school and run like a video game, forming a band is as good a plan as any. Showcased particulary well in the climax of the first episode, when they put on a guerrilla gig so their comrades can steal lunch money from distracted NPCs using giant fans. Meanwhile, the rest of the SSS desperately attempts to hold off the student council president with small arms and light anti-tank weaponry. . .
Four bad-ass Southern rockers from co-operative zombie shooter Left 4 Dead. You never actually see them, but during the game you come across the concert they had to abandon due to the zombie apocalypse, as well as hearing their music on jukeboxes along the way. Where are they now? Did they survive? Hell yes, you know they did. Actually, if Left 4 Dead 3 ever comes out there should definitely be a level where you play as the Riders.
Josie & The Pussycats
Don’t look at me like that, it’s a good film! A satire, or at least a spoof, of the late 90s/early 00s teenage pop world of Total Request Live, identikit boy bands, logo-plastered consumerism, and lockstep dance routines. It’s not exactly Network but it is pretty sharp for what is ultimately an adaptation of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon aimed at 14-year-old girls. Possibly I enjoy it because I was in the States and watching a lot of MTV when it was wall to wall with that stuff. Plus the plot revolves around Don LaFontaine, aka the trailer voice-over guy, brainwashing teenagers on behalf of Alan Cummings and Parker Posey.
1 The man who produced Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler, amongst others.
2 I’m not over excited, the exclamation mark is part of the title.