Sep 052014

I’ve noticed some startling parallels in how the roles of certain members of different bands match up, making me think that rather than arising organically from a mutual love of music, these bands were assembled by the record industry, or more likely the Illuminati, from templates. For instance:

Rolling Stones/Grateful Dead

Brian Jones is to the Stones as Pigpen is to the Grateful Dead

  • Defined the image early on
  • Largely influenced the band’s musical direction in the beginning only to be eclipsed by band mates

Mick Taylor = Keith Godchaux

  • Virtuoso brought in once they were established.
  • Feelings of being under-appreciated by audience/bandmates cause them to leave their once-in-a-lifetime gigs.

Ron Wood = Brent Mydland

  • Solid, unobtrusive player
  • Goes along to get along

Mick Jagger = Bob Wier

  • Of the two main band members, he is seen as being much more uncool
  • Actual contributions to the band are frequently underestimated

Keef = Jerry

  • Always given the benefit of the doubt by the fans.

Bill Wyman = Tom Constantine

  • Nobody really cares
  • Possibly just photo fodder to make the other members look more interesting/attractive

Are there any other two bands where individual member’s roles match up so neatly?


  19 Responses to “Blank is to Blank as Blank is to Blank”

  1. BigSteve

    No Phil Lesh? Or to put it another why does Bill Wyman not correspond to Phil Lesh?

  2. I didn’t see a connection musically or in their personalities.

    Wyman is a guy doing the bare minimum to get by and either trying to melt into the background or not fighting when pushed there.

    Phil, like him or hate him, seems much more interested in pushing the music forward rather than fitting in. For instance, I can’t picture Wyman asking an engineer to get the sound of “heavy air”.

  3. I think both are great for their respective bands, by the way.

  4. I think Bill Wyman is highly underrated as a bassist for the Rolling Stones, at least on the songs he actually plays on, especially the early stuff. His bass playing (assuming it’s him) on “Satisfaction” alone shows that he’s not doing the “bare minimum.” It’s both understated and a driving (if subtle) force in the greatness of the greatest of rock ‘n roll songs. Wyman’s also great on Some Girls and other records toying with disco and funk around that record.

    All that said, I don’t think he’s like Phil Lesh, who was a great “lead bassist” for the Dead. I’m not sure the Dead and the Stones have equivalents when it comes to their rhythm sections, unless Bill is Donna Godchaux and Charlie is Bill Graham, or some peripheral contributor to the Dead.

  5. BigSteve

    The Dead have two drummers. In keeping with this scientific approach, I propose that the correct formula is:

    Charlie Watts = Bill Kreutzmann minus Mickey Hart

  6. misterioso

    Totally agree about Wyman. He’s solid. I have no opinion about Phil Lesh whatsoever.

  7. The one time I saw the Dead his bass playing was the only thing that held my interest, we’ll, beside some of the Deadhead girls.

  8. Whose the Jefferson Airplane of the Stones, the Pretty Things?

  9. misterioso

    God, what a shitty thing to say about the Pretty Things.

  10. saturnismine

    I love Billy Perks…he’s got his own way of playing bass.

    But he doesn’t play bass two of the finest basslines in the Stones’ catalog: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Sympathy for the Devil.”

    I used to have a book with a picture in it of Keith playing bass with Bill watching from the other side of a recording studio window. The caption said “Bill Wyman looks on as Keith Richards lays down the bass track for “(I can’t Get no) Satisfaction.” In some interviews, Bill goes so far as to claim to have written the riff for Jumpin’ Jack Flash. I’m not sure I believe that.

    However, I’ll be damned if I can find any confirmation of the claim that caption makes anywhere on the interwebs. I can’t find the book, either. But I will say this: I do think that the Satisfaction bassline does lack the awkward, clunky, root-note heavy flair that lots of Bill’s playing has. It has that more melodic, guitar player’s approach that Keith takes. And on Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out, Bill doesn’t play the bass line that’s on the recording. He plays it “more like Bill.”


  11. saturnismine

    This is a reach, but I’m gonna go for it, anyway, for shitsngiggles:

    Clash / Beatles:

    Joe Strummer = John Lennon: angry, nasty, the politically minded one.

    Mick Jones = Paul McCartney: writer of more melodic, more personally oriented songs. The “musical one” in the band.

    Paul Simonon = George Harrison: handsome, chiseled features, underrated, capable of the occasional vocal turn, often had his parts played by “the musical one.”

    Topper / Ringo: vastly underappreciated drummer; naysayers should just TRY to play his parts. They are deceptively difficult, despite sounding so simple.

  12. misterioso

    Does that makes Terry Chimes/Tory Crimes Pete Best?

  13. Next you’re going to tell us that lost book has a photo of Keef roping one of the steer on that ZZ Top tour!

  14. I’ll stand on a street corner and actually fistfight anyone who doesn’t think Topper is a GREAT drummer.

  15. That is perfect Sat! So is misterioso’s addition.

  16. I agree. He’s arguably the best musician in the band.

  17. cliff sovinsanity

    Stay with me here:
    The Who & The Replacements

    Pete Townsend = Paul Westerberg
    – The leader, the genius, the boozer, the fit-thrower.

    Keith Moon = Bob Stinson
    – The sublime, the ridiculous, the madness, the toxic.

    Roger Daltrey = Tommy Stinson
    – The face, the youth, the seeker of approval from the band’s leader.

    John Entwistle = Chris Mars
    – The silence, the indifference, the eye-rolling

    Kenny Jones = Slim Dunlap
    – The replacements. Ha, see what I did there.

  18. diskojoe

    I think there are several parallels between the Beach Boys & the Ramones:

    1. Johnny Ramone = Mike Love-both were despised by many for their opinions and/or actions, both were also cited as keeping their respective bands around for so many years, especially on the stage.

    2.Joey Ramone=Brian Wilson-both were lauded as the most “sensitive” & “artistic” of their respective bands (A case could also be made for Tommy Ramone=BW)

    3. Dee Dee Ramone=Dennis Wilson-both were the most “authentic” in their respective bands (Dennis the real surfer; Dee Dee the real punk), both has reputations as screw-ups, both had surprising talent in songwriting & both of them died in a stupid manner

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