Dec 132011

Tournament play to determine—once and for allRock’s Greatest Backing Band continues with the Rebel Conference, composed of backing bands for some of rock’s most rebellious, iconoclastic artists. Please use this space to argue for your favorite backing band in each contest, using any or all of the following criteria, including criteria not listed here:

  • Ability to support the bandleader’s musical agenda/vision
  • Additional musical contribution to the bandleader’s sound/vision
  • Look and other supporting “rock superhero powers”
  • Catchiness of backing band’s name

You may log your vote on each contestant in the Round 1 games through the polls on the following page. Please make sure to register your support and votes for the other conferences at their respective threads:

Round 1, Rebel Conference: The Wailers (1) vs The Jicks (16)

  • The Wailers (Bob Marley and...) (85%, 29 Votes)
  • The Jicks (Stephen Malkmus and...) (15%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 34

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Round 1, Rebel Conference: The Magic Band, early (8) vs The Voidoids (9)

  • The Magic Band, early (Captain Beefheart) (57%, 20 Votes)
  • The Voidoids (Richard Hell and...) (43%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 35

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Round 1, Rebel Conference: The Magic Band, late (5) vs The Banshees (12)

  • The Magic Band, late (Beefheart's late-period band) (67%, 22 Votes)
  • The Banshees (Siouxee and...) (33%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 33

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Round 1, Rebel Conference: The Rumour (4) vs The Contortions (13)

  • The Rumour (Graham Parker and...) (88%, 30 Votes)
  • The Contortions (James Chance and...) (12%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 34

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Round 1, Rebel Conference: The Maytals (6) vs The Pharmacists (11)

  • The Maytals (Toots and...) (83%, 29 Votes)
  • The Pharmacists (Ted Leo and...) (17%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 35

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Round 1, Rebel Conference: The Blockheads (3) vs The Furious Five (14)

  • The Blockheads (Ian Dury) (50%, 17 Votes)
  • The Furious Five (Grandmaster Flash) (50%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 34

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Round 1, Rebel Conference: The Bad Seeds (7) vs The New Power Generation (10)

  • The Bad Seeds (Nick Cave) (64%, 21 Votes)
  • The New Power Generation (The Artist Formerly Known as Prince) (36%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 33

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Round 1, Rebel Conference: The Attractions (1) vs The Miami Sound Machine (15)

  • The Attractions (Elvis Costello and...) (89%, 34 Votes)
  • The Miami Sound Machine (Gloria Estefan) (11%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 38

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  31 Responses to “Round 1, Rebel Conference: Rock’s Greatest Backing Band”

  1. No big surprises yet, but the Furious Five’s early lead is worth watching.

  2. Sorry Miami Sound Machine, I don’t think you have a chance with this crowd

  3. The second round of this Conference is going to be the fiercest competition.

  4. I am not looking forward to the very likely Bad Seeds v. Attractions match-up in the next round. Oh well, at least the Bad Seeds will always be way scarier.

  5. alexmagic

    The Pharmacists drew a really tough first round match-up.

    I feel like my early vote for The Voidoids has created a spurt of support for them, and I urge others to rally around the cause. A 3 vote gap right now? Easily closed!

    The Furious Five vs. Blockheads battle is interesting. I’d be interested to hear voter commentary on that one.

    The New Power Generation has officially sent in complaints to the Commissioner’s Office. They feel they were a natural, obvious fit for the Expansion Conference, where they also could have had a rivarly match against The Revolution. Diamond & Pearl are irate right now, and suggest that the Mod needs to Gett Off.

  6. First of all, thanks for the reminder of that “Gett Off” video. Talk about your Drop the Cat moments!

    I voted for the Furious Five. I know it’s really uncool of me, but I don’t like much Ian Dury & the Blockheads music. I rarely know what it is I’m even supposed to like about that stuff. The Furious Five totally backed Grandmaster Flash – I mean, most people couldn’t even tell Flash from the Five. They were that tight:

  7. The Voidoids need not dream the impossible dream, but it’s going to be tough to beat the backing band iconography the early Magic Band brought to the beach party:

  8. I still like the number 4 seed in this conference. I still have some stickers around somewhere from this album.

  9. Happiness Stan

    I liked New Boots and Panties (although I don’t think I could listen to it now), but always found all that twiddly noodling really irritating, although I saw them on Dury’s last tour and it was a fantastic night, which is why I voted Blockheads, along with liking Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five less, although they’re about the only rap band I could identify a single song by.

  10. Happiness Stan

    Either the second or third gig I went to was the Clash, the Lous and Richard Hell and the Voidoids on Hastings Pier on the Give ‘Em Enough Rope tour, in November 1977. The doors opened ridiculously late and Joe Strummer and Mick Jones came out carrying several crates of beer and handed them around while we were waiting to get in, which was extremely public spirited of them, especially as 90% of those waiting were at least two years too young to get served at the bar.

    That was the night Marc Bell took a can of beer on the head and decided he’d had enough, the band promptly curtailed the set, leaving those of us who’d mainly gone to see Richard Hell pretty cheesed off.

    It was so cool when he joined the Ramones, except the places they played in the UK were so big you’d have to have had really good aim and a lot of upper body strength to nut him with a can of Watneys at any of their gigs. The Clash hadn’t yet had a hit, and it was the first time a lot of us had actually heard them. I remember going home thinking that life could get no better than that.

  11. I feel like the early Magic Band and the Voidoids drew a particularly tough first round bracket; I think both could have cruised against some other first round competition. I voted Magic Band,partly because I wasn’t sure Quine should be counted as a Voidoid.

  12. I’m curious: why wouldn’t you be sure about counting him as a Voidoid? He played on both of their albums, no?

  13. I feel like he’s a ringer; not sure guitar heroes count as part of backing bands, but I know that’s just me.

  14. Did I take any upsets here? The Voidoids (solely based on Quine) and the Furious 5. Glad to see my Jamaican brothers advancing.

  15. Just watched the Youtube for “Gett Off”, the first comment quotes the lyric, “23 positions in a one night stand”. Could one of these be the stealthy “Drop the Cat” position?

  16. This was a very easy round. All clear winners in my playbook…

  17. ladymisskirroyale

    The Bad Seeds automatically get my vote in any current future and matchups due to the inclusion of Barry Adamson.

  18. ladymisskirroyale

    People, please spread the love for those underdogs, The Jicks. The Jicks should be loved because 1. they include Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, 2. they released an album called “Pig Lib” which is great and included a song, “1% of 1″ that would make tonyola proud,” 3. they deal with Stephen Malkmus on a regular basis, 4. the new album, “Mirror Traffic” is TERRIFIC, and 5. they are still making music.

    I love the Wailers too, but honestly, the Jicks are the better musicians.

  19. ladymisskirroyale

    I guess I should change my moniker to Lady Miss Underdog: most of my choices are far in second place.

    There is no way that the Banshees could survive when paired against The Magic Band. But I think we need to give some additional kudos to The Banshees. Say what you will about Goth, you could say that Siouxie Sioux and The Banshees along with Robert Smith (former Banshee) of the Cure created an entire genre of music. The Banshees name is great and certainly gets across that black clothes and lipstick, white face paint of the look of Goth. They made strings and xylophones sound exciting. And they helped move punk (or post punk if we want to bring on the Pince Nez) move to a more polished sound.

  20. I’ve learned to get past the gloom’n’doom gothy image that Siouxsie and the Banshees once had and now like their music quite a bit, especially once they got past the early punky stage and turned their attention to more ambitious and dreamlike stuff. Their version of the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” is one of the few Fab Four covers which truly justifies its esixtence. SATB are always interesting and sometimes great in my book.

  21. This was the toughest one for me, and I had to recognize that a greater quantity of other people were doing things similar to the Furious Five back then. It may have taken a little longer for the scene to come up with “Scorpio,” but they would have, so I had to give The Blockheads the nod for variety and being a bit more personable.

    I would have loved to see how far GF would have gone, but it’s really hard to compare the rap with the rock. The Irie Posse has much better chances of surviving as outsiders.

  22. trigmogigmo

    High five!

    The Banshees delivered the goods…
    Budgie’s amazing drum part feels like it’s about to fall into pieces at any moment, but keeps driving. Severin’s bass intermingles with the reverberating guitar almost as a single ghostly instrument.

  23. alexmagic

    I backed the Banshees, Jicks and Voidoids, too. Interesting that there’s a cowardly, silent majority out there who can’t step forward to defend their picks.

    Also, I voted for the Miami Sound Machine.

  24. Strange, but an honest answer. Thanks.

  25. I’ll happily defend my choices.

    I have the Wailers beating out the Attractions to go to the Final Four. In fact, they may even make to the Toothsome Two, at which point they will be crushed by the Texas Playboys. Not only did the Wailers expertly support Bob Marley, they defined an entire genre of music in the process.

    While I’m no fan of latter day Beefheart, the Magic Band has an odd ball mystique about them. I imagine being in that band combines some of the more extreme aspects of both being in a cult and being in boot camp. I despise Souxie, and find her music uninteresting, so I can’t throw my support behind those who helped her realize her vision.

    Next to the Rock and Roll Trio/Bluecaps match up, the Voidoids vs the early Magic Band was the toughest call that I had to make. I went with the Magic Band based solely on Safe As Milk. Ry Cooder, one of my top guitar players ever, was still in the band at that point, and they really struck an excellent balance between good riffs and weirdness. I love the Voidoids, so this could have gone either way. Coincidentally, my band is opening up for Ivan Julian of the Voidoids in January. I hope he doesn’t read this blog or it could be a bit awkward.

  26. Happiness Stan

    Also happy to defend mine, there are some I’ve never heard anything by, or even of, so have voted for the one I’ve heard of as long as I like the music, or abstained.

    The Wailers not only defined Reggae in the form in which it moved out of Jamaica, but were so good when they played Glastonbury in the afternoon about ten years or so ago that I missed seeing someone I had been looking forward to (can’t now remember who) to go and see them headlining on another stage later that evening. From the start they’ve behaved like a colossal well-oiled machine, and even if you don’t like reggae I’d defy anyone not to leave one of their gigs with a huge smile on your face and a sense of something wonderful just having happened. I like Pavement, haven’t heard anything by the Jicks, so feel a degree of guilt about not checking them out before voting, but unless anyone can persuade me that they too have been ambassadors for an entirely new musical form I shan’t be reconsidering just yet.

    Magic Band for the next two, just because they’re my favourite band. Late period was slightly tricky against the Banshees, who I saw live in their first incarnation, again on the tour when half the original band walked and Robert Smith was recruited from “Three Imaginary Boys” period Cure for no other reason than they were the support band and he was available and presumably willing. They didn’t get the HS vote because ultimately the “Scream” era band were quickly demonstrated to be easily disposable, and ever after that I always thought of them as Siouxsie and the blokes who stand behind her, which is probably very unfair on Budgie, but goodness me Severin didn’t half plod – and even as a fan from the early days I could see that.

    Bad Seeds because even though I can’t stand Nick Cave I think they have a fantastic sound and don’t like Prince. The Attractions for the same reason (being able to take or leave Costello, who was also a jerk when I met him, which doesn’t help).

  27. hrrundivbakshi

    How is it that the Furious Five aren’t winning their match-up? Doesn’t rock star haberdashery count for anything in this thing? Need I remind you of THIS? Sheezus — the E-Street Band WISHES they could look so cool!

  28. Voting continues through midnight tonight. There’s still time for the Blockheads-Furious Five race to be decided!

  29. ladymisskirroyale

    Kiss, kiss!

  30. ladymisskirroyale

    You are a Man among men.

  31. THE BLOCKHEADS AND THE FURIOUS FIVE GO TO OVERTIME! The winner of this battle will be determined by the best collective written defense received by December 14 @ noon EST.

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