Aug 172009

I love The Rolling Stones, but when confronted with the all-important Are you a Beatles or a Stones guy? signifier, I go with The Beatles without hesitation.

I’ve never been a “comic book guy.” Rock ‘n roll has always been my comic book scene. I know some of you crossed over to rock from the comic book scene. That’s cool, but my super heroes have always been drawn from rock ‘n rollers and athletes – ’70s baseball players, in particular. The Beatles may have had more Rock Super Powers than any band in history. The only thing they were lacking was a magnetic manager, although Brian Epstein was dedicated and tragic enough of a figure to fit into a super power dynamic.

The Rolling Stones, which at best contained maybe 3 super heroes combined out of six or seven key characters (Jagger and Richards claiming a full share each with Brian Jones and Andrew Loog Oldham splitting a share in the early days), were never a match for The Beatles among rock fans seeking comic book-worthy super powers. Hell, Beatles’ lackey Mal Evans had more charisma than most of the Stones! Perhaps it’s no suprise that a lot of rock ‘n roll fans who call themselves Stones guys also have a childhood past collecting comic books. The comic book kids got their money’s worth of super powers before turning to rock.

For those of you who appreciate bands chock full of Rock Super Powers, what bands do you think rival The Beatles for top-to-bottom Rock Super Power strength? One band that immediately comes to mind for me, despite my not liking much of their music (sometimes that’s a secondary concern), is Cheap Trick.


  18 Responses to “Mal Evans Had More Charisma Than the Lesser Stones”

  1. hrrundivbakshi

    Come on, Mod — KISS!

  2. The Clash-Joe Strummer looks like Superman. They have Killer Rock Stance. Electric Freedom shoots out of their guitars. Very powerful stuff!

  3. Blur

    Damon Albarn- Boyishly handsome tunesmith
    Graham Coxon- Conflicted indie purist with mad guitar skills
    Alex James- Boozy, quippy bassist who seemingly walked right out of an Evelyn Waugh novel
    Dave Rowntree- Sensible, slightly older drummer

    I’ll also submit X and maybe the lineup of The Pretenders on the first two albums.

  4. diskojoe

    How about the Who?:

    Pete: Intellectual type; always overthinking & unsure of himself
    Roger: Thuggish type; Tough guy always getting his way
    Keith: Lunatic type; Do anything & I mean anything for a laugh
    John: Quiet but creepy type; May not be as flamboyant as the others, but someone to watch out for anyway

    They could have been the Fantastic Four

  5. Supertramp. All anonymous by day, they go about their milquetoast lives with a secret: Upon spotting their secret signal, a projected image in the sky of a giant loaf of white bread, they all join together, melding into one being… Supertramp!

  6. 2000 Man

    Man, Keith Richards and his Rock Superpower of Drug Invincibility is more of a superpower than Ringo Starr or George Harrison ever had. Besides, he thought the Maharishi was full of shit when all of rock n roll wanted a Maharishi they could all believe in. Mick Jagger is the lead singer every lead singer aspires to be. Bill Wyman’s superpower to dominate underage girls is pretty creepy, I’ll give you that.

    Brian Jones’ style alone still influences rockers and wannabe rockers the world over.

    Cheap Trick? Really? I don’t think so.

    Not that I like them, but I’d have thought you would have used Led Zeppelin instead of Cheap Trick. Those guys wielded pretty mighty superpowers back then. I was immune, though.

    I never had a comic book collection, though. I read them and I particularly liked The Haunted Tank and Daredevil, but I’d read them and toss them out, or just read them at the drugstore. Comic books only take five minutes to read anyway. But I’m a Stones fan, and I don’t know many Stones fans with any comic books. I think this may be a flaw in the theory.

  7. I’m on Team Stones and I never read comic books either (unless Mad Magazine counts).

  8. hrrundivbakshi

    Mod, I just wanted to commend you on the extreme nerdy hair-splitting reflected in the title of this post. THIS is why I hang out at Rock Town Hall!


    p.s.: LOL, etc.

  9. mockcarr

    Brian Epstein is like Alfred, Batman’s butler. No powers, but indispensable.

    The Who would have been much better than the Justice League, although they really have no Superman, at least they don’t have some lame guy like Hawkman or something.

    Rock bands make for better supervillains.

  10. saturnismine

    Oats, you can’t just describe the members of a band and expect us to read each as a description of super powers! “as if he walked out of an evelyn waugh novel”??? come on dude! THAT’s a super power?

    i’ll enter pavement as a super power enclave led by…

    malkmus: whose distorted guitar can fool even the most closed-minded classic rocker before becoming super avant garde skronk. his powers of confusing word play leave even the msot erudite villains befuddled.

  11. My favorite comic book hero is Batman, who didn’t have super powers. That’s where I’m coming from. I think or rock super powers, in the context of this thread, of being more about fulfilling or creating a certain rock archetype, and perfectly complementing your bandmates at the same time, who are also fulfilling or creating rock archetypes.

  12. hrrundivbakshi

    Hey, Mockcarr — the Beatles’ Alfred was George Martin, not Brian Epstein!

    The real question is: who was the Beatles’ King Tut? I’m going to say the Zombies. No real match for our heros, but hugely entertaining in a pretentious kind of way.

    Here’s my favorite Tut Moment, from 2:51 to 2:56:

  13. wow! good thread!
    cher I love and agree with your vision of supertramp.

    HVB, terrific Tut moment!

  14. BigSteve

    I’m definitely a Stones and not a Beatles guy. I know nothing about comics, and care even less. The concept of superheroes is meaningless to me. Sorry.

  15. saturnismine


    I’m hardly fit to call bullshit on anyone on RTH for being a stick-in-the-mud, but i’m gonna do it anyway: fuddy-dud.

  16. BigSteve

    You’re right, sat. So? As the Mekons sang, it’s hard to be human. Being super-human is not in my purview.

  17. mockcarr

    I don’t buy George Martin as Alfred, HVB. I think that’s backwards, Alfred facilitates Bruce Wayne’s existence as an outward identity for publicity’s sake to protect Batman, and keeps his stuff in working order as well so Batman is free to act as needed. Epstein similarly protects the Beatles’ image and facilitates their sessions and schedule as public personas, so they are free to make the records without interference.

    George Martin is more like another lesser superhero Batman teams up with, Green Lantern, maybe. Perhaps Robin is Yoko.

  18. alexmagic

    Way late checking in on this one, but Van Halen is the answer you’re looking for. Whatever one might think of them, Diamond Dave and Eddie Van Halen had pretty clear Rock Superpowers in their primes.

    Michael Anthony had the Rock Superpower of being the short, squat, hairy guy he was and yet secretly providing those seemingly incongruous backing vocals that were essential to all of VH’s songs.

    Then there’s Alex. He’s the one who almost ruins things by seemingly having no powers at all, but the opening to Hot For Teacher is like when a parent gets adreneline rush superstrength to lift a car off their kid. He’d be the equivalent of Hourman, the superhero who was only superstrong for an hour at a time. Or Captain Universe, where some random loser on the street temporarily gained cosmic powers in a moment of great need.

    Replacing DLR with Sammy was like when Superman and Batman left the Justice League and Aquaman took over. And the Gary Cherone era was like when they abandoned the Hall of Justice and moved to a junkyard in Detroit.

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