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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 12, 2010 @ 9:24 am

    The greatest band in the world ever …

    Laurence Mackin

    … is the Fallopian Tubas. That’s right, peeps, the Fallopian Tubas.

    Introducing on vocals, Nina Simone. Drums, Brian Blade. Bass, Reid Anderson. Guitar, Ryan Adams. And trumpet, Miles Davis.

    This is most rock and roll outfit ever to call stage home, and is the product of the Irish Times Fantasy Band challenge. A few weeks ago, I asked a few Irish Times critics to name their ultimate five-a-side musical line-up. The rules were simple. The band had to have one front person, drummer and bass player, and two others; No more than two dead people for the starting five; No more than one person from one band (players in crossover bands are allowed); Each band must have a name and a short explanation as to why this is the best band ever. This is not a list of the best musicians – this is the best band as a unit working effectively together.

    My line up is above, and the other chancers’ two-bit part time bunch of wastrels are below. You can read our justification for picking the players we did here, and we’ll be printing a number of readers’ selections online in the coming days, but know this – you won’t improve on my perfect unit.

    Manager Sinéad Gleeson
    Vocals Prince
    Drums Tony Allen
    Bass Tina Weymouth
    Guitar PJ Harvey
    Keys/other Noah Lennox

    Manager Tony Clayton-Lea
    Vocals Nina Persson
    Drums Larry Mullen Jr
    Bass Nicky Wire
    Guitar Tom Verlaine
    Cello Jacqueline du Prè

    Manager Jim Carroll
    Vocals Ella Fitzgerald
    Drums Elvin Jones
    Bass Tina Weymouth
    Guitar Steve Cropper
    Other stuff Flying Lotus

    Manager Anthea McTeirnan
    Vocals Beth Ditto
    Drums Meg White
    Bass Tessa Pollitt
    Lead guitar Joan Armatrading
    Rhythm guitar/vocals Chrissie Hynde

    • albinicus says:

      Vocals- Will Oldham
      Drums- John Stainer
      Bass-Vinnie Club
      Guitar- Dave Pajo
      Guitar/Vox- Dan Snaith

    • John Madden says:

      First of all, I vote for Sinéad.

      Second of all:
      Vocals: Matt Berninger
      Bass: Kim Gordon
      Guitar: Graham Coxon
      Drums: Max Weinberg
      Guitar/Vocals: John K. Samson

    • Nam Citsale says:


      Vocals – Captain Beefheart
      Drums – Jaki Liebzeit
      Bass – David Wm. Sims
      Guitar – Steve Albini
      Saxophone – John Zorn

      An ideal collision of approaches to music, in accordance with my own biases. The locking together of the controlled fury of post-hardcore punk, (Albini and Sims), and the barbaric abandon spewed out of Old Weird America and free jazz, (Beefheart and Zorn). Secured by the Janus-like bond of Mr. Liebzeit, who is propelled by the turbulence of improvisation along the teleological infrastructure of motorik.
      Dancing about architecture, I know.

    • Matthew says:

      What makes a band work? I don’t know.

      What I do know is that music that really flows, that excites the heart and mind of the listener, can only come from musicians who are truly sensitive to what is going on around them. This selection contains people who appreciate the subtleties and economy that is necessary for great ensemble playing. They choose to serve a higher purpose, “the actual music”. There is no ego here, just the potential for a more honest exchange of musical ideas. All the musicians assembled below have proven their abilities according to this ethos. I cannot be certain exactly what kind of music will come out of this coalition, but I am certain it will be worth investing time in.

      So, I give you “The Nearly Men”…

      Tony Buck – drums

      Warren Ellis – violin/electric mandolin/bazouki

      Nels Cline- electric guitar/lap steel

      Ron Carter – double bass

      Stuart Staples – vocals/guitar

    • John Madden says:

      Dammit, I should have explained. I’m naming them ‘The Heywood Range’, after a popular brand of chicken coops.

      Matt Berninger and John Samson on vocals gives you great flexiblity with the high and low notes. Much like with his work with The National, nobody will be able to write about Berninger’s work with The Heywood Range without using the phrase ‘lush baritone’ at least twice. Samson’s vocals are more gentle, Stipe-like even. Between the two they’re ridiculously well read – if you claim to understand fully their lyrics, but don’t have at least a Masters Degree in English Literature, you’re probably lying. Or the Will Hunting of English Literature. Samson is a fairly workmanlike guitarist (by his own admission), so he gets second place there.

      Any band with a bassist called Kim is automatically 40% cooler. In the words of Ron Burgundy, that’s just science. Of the twin towers of bassists-named-Kim-in-80s-and-90s-alternative-rock-bands, I’m giving Gordon the nod over deal.

      Blur are a great guitar pop band (and alternate between being over- and under- rated, which averages out to just right), therefore Graham Coxon is a great pop guitarist. It’s my band, so my logic.

      Max Weinberg. If he’s good enough for the Boss, he’s good enough for me.

    • h.willis says:

      Here’s my dream band. Farely far fetched stuff I must add
      In Dreamland:
      Earl Palmer (drums)
      Carol Kaye (bass & guitar)
      Marvin Gaye (vox)
      Stevie Wonder (keys/vox)
      Vivaldi (orchestra)

    • Seanban and the Monochromatics

      Vocals/Guitar: Jack White
      Bass: John Enthwistle
      Drums: Carter Beauford
      Keys: Roy Bittan
      Mandolin/Banjo: Chris Thile

      It’s easy to pick a frontman or frontwoman, but the rhythm section and the keyboard/piano player are always more difficult. Roy Bittan has to be on keys. There’s no-one better at creating gorgeous melodies to support the main song. His work on Born to Run would be enough in itself, but he’s added so much to other albums too, including Bat Out of Hell, Station to Station, Peter Gabriel II, and much, much more.

      On bass, I have The Who’s John Entwhistle, known for so many basslines. It’s hard to believe some of the stuff he came up with, and there hasn’t been a bassist come close to his awesomeness. Carter Beauford of the Dave Matthews Band is my drummer, his relentless energy on stage would encourage any band to play better. He’s always got a smile on his face, because he is always in the groove. And the man can do a drum solo like no other.

      As an extra, to make my band all the cooler, I put Chris Thile of Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers, and solo, on banjo. He’s the best banjo and mandolin player I have had the pleasure of seeing live. And that includes seeing Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. No-one matches Chris for virtuosity.

      Jack White is my band leader. Just because he’s done such a great job leading so many other bands. Plus the man is the epitome of cool. And everything he writes/sings is golden.

      And as for the name, well, that one’s easy enough to figure out.

    • Kenneth says:

      Manager: Kenneth Whyte
      Vocals: Mark Lanagan
      Guitar and electronics: Justin Brodrick
      Guitar and vox: PJ Harvey
      Bass: Colin Greenwood
      Electronics: Phil Hartnol
      Drums. Danny Carey

      A fine mix of dark but lush rock music but with a Hartnol to lift it to the sky when needed.
      Wow, I’d love to hear this for real.

    • Ger W says:

      Vocals: John Fogerty
      Guitar: Rory Gallagher
      Bass: Phil Lynott
      Drums: Animal (if muppets not allowed, then Robin Guy!)
      Piano: Fats Domino

      It might seem like i’m just going for my favourite musicians… well kinda, yeah i am, but i think they’d do very well as a unit… a blues based unit with sprinklings of rock and boogie woogie. I don’t think any singers voice hypnotises and gets to me in as many different ways as John Fogerty, very versatile, very resonant.
      Rory obviously the greatest guitar player of all time, but more importantly for the band, very versatile and wide ranging. Every solo is always original and heartfelt. Almost joined the stones, so i think would have no problem fitting into a band formatt, especially one that gives him the freedom to express himself.
      Philo, being a frontman and songwritter, his abilities on bass are somewhat overshadowed… certainly not the greatest bass player, but in forming a thumping rhythm section and driving the band from behind.
      Robin Guy obviously the least known of the musicians is a mostly session drummer, working with Bernie Tormè in the excellent GMT. very flash, and full of tricks, but a solid rhythm man. great live!
      Didn’t know what to do about the extra man, but decided i really wanted some boogie woogie, and who better than Fats??
      So here we have a mostly blues band. All musicians who really love music appreciate its past, but in their own ways strive to experiment and find new ways to express it.

    • Keith says:

      Vocals – Guy Chadwick (House of Love)
      Guitar – John McGeoch (Magazine/Banshees/PIL)
      Bass – Norman Watt Roy – (The Blockheads)
      Drums – Stewart Copeland
      Keys – Mike Garson

    • robespierre says:

      The Lounge Lizards

      Vocals & trumpet – Chet Baker
      Guitarist – Django Reinhardt
      Piano – Dave Brubeck
      Flutes & Whistles – Shaun Davey
      Drums – Elvin Jones

      A great jazz vocalist and trumpet virtuoso miraculously off the junk and booze met with the now dry Django Reinhardt still working gypsy miracles with his 6 fingers on the guitar. Dave Brubeck provides the melody to this quintet with sweeping piano drives having slaughtered the three men in his quartet in a fit of pique. Shaun Davey brings some celtic jazz fusion to the mix with the uileann pipes, tin and low whistles. The timekeeper is the imperious Elvin Jones. The man abandons formal beats and plays to the impulses of the geniuses that surround him.

    • RH says:

      Can’t think of a name yet but…

      Frontman: Kanye West
      Guitar + vocals: James Dean Bradfield
      Bass + vocals: Phil Lynott
      Drums: Bryan Devendorf (The National):
      Keys/whatever he wats + vocals: Damon Albarn

    • RH says:

      Actually… I’ll call them Natural Selection

    • reincheque says:


      Drums:- Ian Paice
      Bass:- Jah Wobble
      Guitar – Dave Gregory
      Keyboards – Thomas Dolby
      Vocals – Howard Devoto

    • part time punk says:

      Ladies and Gentlmen I am proud to present the ‘Quasi Happy Dinousur Pixie Jr. Co.’

      Frontman/Vibes – Bez (Happy Mondays)
      Drums/Harmonica – Janet Weiss (Sleater Kinney/Quasi)
      Guitar – Nels Kline (Wilco)
      Guitar – Jay Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.)
      Bass – Kim Deal (Pixies)
      No vocals to get in the way of all that cacophany of glorious noise.

    • enda says:

      Shimmer Rock
      Vocals – Bjork
      Guitar – Kevin Shields
      Bass guitar – Jimmy Hendrix,
      Drums – Dave Grohl
      Synths – Jonny Greenwood

      because Dave Grohl and Jimmy Hendrix would be the most amazing rhythm section ever (cant believe no one had Hendrix yet???), Bjork for a front person and Kevin Shields and Jonny Greenwood for a lovely noise…

    • fin says:

      vocal – burning spear. spiritual guidance and righteousness
      guitar – prince. nobody can touch him for funky licks
      bass – bootsy/larry graham. two 70′s legends, please don’t make me choose between them
      drums – bonzo. four sticks? ’nuff said
      everything else – j. dilla. modern day genius

    • Ian_GwK says:

      Presenting ‘Mog, Why the long face?’

      Barry Burns (Mogwai) on piano, vocals and guitar,
      Yoni Wolf (Why?) vocals,
      Flying Lotus on everything,
      Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins) on drums,
      Ohad Benchetrit (Do Make Say Think) on bass

    • Laurence Mackin says:

      Some cracking outfits there folks. You’re all wrong of course, but keep trying. Does it surprise anyone else that four out of five IT hacks went for female frontwomen? One other point – most of the bands above break the rules, so if you don’t adhere to them, we won’t publish in the main paper, in the interests of maintaining a level playing field and all that jazz. Oh and great to see so many jazzers showing up on the rhythm section. All ye all got style.

    • Quint says:

      I like loud gigs so the ultimate ear-bleedingly loud band, called Beach Tombs, with members that would work well together, could consist of….

      Drums: Dave Lombardo (Slayer)
      Bass: John Entwistle (The Who)
      Guitars: Stuart Braithwaite (MBV) & Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai)
      Keyboards/Programming: Benjamin John Power (Fuck Buttons)
      Vocals: Alexis Krauss (Sleigh Bells)

    • Fiona says:

      The Atonals

      Vocals: Ethel Merman
      Drums: Walter ‘Clyde’ Orange (The Commodores)
      Guitar: Mica Levi (Micachu)
      Bass: Josephine Wiggs (The Breeders)
      Clarinet: Benny Goodman

      Much and all as today’s female rockers are to be hugely admired, Ethel could outgun them all for sassiness and chutzpah. Clyde’s drumming on the ‘Nightshift’is legend. Micachu may be a young wan but her many influences are apparent on the ‘Jewellery’ album and she could hold her own in this company. Anyone who’s played bass in The Breeders gets a vote, Josephine Wiggs. Benny Goodman holds together the various elements with his sweet clarinet.

    • minxie says:

      (Alternative title – Labour Pains)

      Manager – Guess
      Vocals/rap Joan Burton
      Guitar – Slash
      Drums – Maybe
      Bass — Oh yes
      Backing Track – March of the Soviet Tankmen by the Pokrass Brothers (1939)
      Vuvuzealas – Joanna Tuffy, Róisín Shortall

      You don’t need no explanation……….

    • SJ says:

      My fantasy band has two dead members – John and George.

      Sadly they were once in a band together so they’re excluded.

      Bass/Vox – Paul McCartney
      Lead/Vox – Jack White
      Drums/Vox – Dave Grohl
      Guitar/Vox/alternative wierdness – Jonny Greenwood
      Keyboards/Everything else – Paul Wickens

      Manager: Ernie Whalley
      Vocals & Piano: Sandy Denny
      Guitars: Robben Ford
      Bass: Jaco Pastorius
      Drums & Vocals: Levon Helm
      Multi-instrumentalist: Pete Zorn
      First rule of drumming is ‘keep the beat’ but if you can play through, round, under or over it at the same time it helps, it really does. Which is why the melodically aware Levon Helm, who copper-fastened the rhythm for The Band, is our anchor man. He also sings. Bass player is the incomparable Jaco Pastorius, at home in a variety of musical idioms, a man who can keep up a metronomic 4/4 ad inf or launch into picaresque, swirling variations then make it back like a homing pigeon. The band’s secret weapon is Pete Zorn, lured from Richard Thompson’s backing band for of his ability to play acoustic and electric guitar, bass, mandolin, four kinds of saxophone, flute, tin whistle, hand percussion and do his bit as a backing vocalist. Pete’s unique versatility equips us with a kaleidoscopic palette of tone colours. Lead guitar? Richard begged to sign up, as did Johnny Marr but in the end we took Robben Ford who can play blues, jazz or rock with equal fluency. He’s played with Miles and behind Joni. Nobody backs a singer better and our singer deserves the best. Out front, we auditioned Emily Smith, Morrissey, Bob Marley, Ricky Lee Jones and Gladys Knight, all of whom apart from Mozzer promised to come out and strut their stuff on the forthcoming “…and Friends” album. But when push came to shove we had to have Sandy Denny. Here’n’After’s twelve minute version of “Who knows Where the Time Goes” will probably end up as an out-take. But it’s unreal, man.

    • ChrisNoise says:


      I think I’d have to pick.

      Emily Haines – Vocals (Metric/Broken Social Scene/Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton)
      Vocals/Guitar/Keys – Robert Smith (The Cure)
      Guitar/Noise – Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead)
      Bass/Organ – Nick Harmer (Death Cab for Cutie)
      Drums – Jay Bennett (Wilco)

      I think this band would work well together as a sort of happy-life affirming shoegaze outfit which keeps its pop sensibilities. Emily Haines sensuous whisper meeting Robert Smiths doomed romance over vast electronic and delay soaked guitar soundscapes. Nick Harmer’s bass driving the songs forward melodically while sitting well with Jay Bennets spacious drums.

    • Laurence Mackin says:

      John Zorn is popping up a lot, eh? And not a Nick Cave or Kurt Cobain in sight. And how come nobody has just picked Whipping Boy?

      John Madden – Matt Berninger. Might be great in the studio but live he’ll let you down, as the EP crowd will largely attest.

      H.willis – I see too many dead people. But what a combo.

      Ronan Hunt-Murphy – I though Jack would pop up a bit. I struggled and left him out in the end. Great frontman and seriously versatile. As for his compadre Meg though – McTiernan, what were you thinking?

      Kenneth – Six people is too many, you’re outta here!

      Robespierre – I would actually kill a man in Reno just to see this band

      RH – James Dean Bradfield? Get your coat

      Part time Punk – Sling your hook and take your Bez with ye

      Quint – Dave Lombardo! Dave Lombardo! Just stick him in all five positions for the love of jeebus

      Fiona – A brilliant name, I might have to steal it; and Ethel and Benny – what a combo!

      Minzie – I’m still laughing at this. Joan used to lecture me many moons ago. The notion of her breaking out some phat beats is cracking me up.

      Ernie Whalley – Jaco and Levon, Levon and Jaco. My god man,w aht have you done? It’s so crazy it might just work.

      ChrisNoise – Good to see someone going all modern (ish) with a line-up.

    • Kenneth says:

      Ok Laurence, drop Colin Greenwood on Bass, he’s not needed.
      (Bass players are the new drummer after all)

    • John Madden says:


      (Off topic, unless you count defending a choice)

      I’ll reserve judgment on Berninger live until I see him in the Olympia in December. I’m not wholly convinced of The National as a big arena band myself (though that’s without having seen them). With that said, Their Lollapalooza 2008 set is online (don’t know if it’s kosher to post links to such a thing here, so I’ll just say you can find it through their Wikipedia page) and whereas it’s *very* patchy (I’ve heard the blame attached to the fact that it was 3pm, and they’re more a night time band), there are some excellent performances in there – Apartment Story in particular.

    • Laurence Mackin says:

      Oh defend away. I love his vocal but I thought at EP when he started screaming the rig couldn’t handle it and his voice was cracking up quite a bit, so it went from deep and heavy to quite shrill. The sound for that set was fairly dreadful though, which was a shame. I would definitely love to see them again in a smaller venue.

    • Letraset says:

      The Eclectics
      Vocals: Kristin Hersh
      Bass: Meshell N’degeocello
      Drums: James Gadson
      Guitar: Sly Stone
      Trumpet: Roy Paci

      Probably, the sum of this band would be terrible, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them performing some Snoop Dogg, I think they might be able to pull if off, in a very strange way.

      I foresee Kristin Hersh in a bass-laden version of Gin & Juice, with Sly add-libbing, and Paci’s trumpet substituting the original west coast synth with some balkan style.

      Yes, I would approve. In fact, I’d vote for them to play Guča next year.

    • Cameron Doyle says:

      Cameron Doyle ‎”NO I IN TEAM”

      Daniel Lanois Gtr
      Neil Young Vox
      Joni Mitchell Vox
      Brian Blade Drums
      Paul McCartney Bass

      I Know Lar Paul McCartney!!! But Brian blade doesn’t need a bass player he’ll look after the low end. Paul is there for the song writing and Backing Vocals.

    • Ronan says:

      Sorcerers of Death’s Construction.

      Ozzy Osbourne – Black Sabbath
      Kerry King – Rhythm guitar
      Slash – lead guitar
      Lemmy – Bass
      John Bonham – Drums

      This would be the loudest, bad-ass band in the history of the planet.

    • liam murray says:


      Guitar/Vocals/Production – Kevin Shields
      Bass/Production – Brian Wilson
      Vocals – Astrud Gilberto
      Electronics/Treated Guitars/Production – Brian Eno
      Drums/Vocals- Robert Wyatt

      How amazing would that be?


    • Daire says:

      Here’s the line up for The Electric Pandas
      Vocals: Zooey Deschanel. Great singer, versatile on banjo, piano and ukelele, and when you see you just want to hug her and never let go

      Guitar: M. Ward. Great chemistry with Deschanel, bleeds cool, and despite folky Americana vibe can wield an axe with the best.

      Bass: Oliver Sim. Cool demeaner should blend well with Ward, and bring another element to the Pandas.

      Drums: Suren de Suram. The Bombay Bicycle Club man is not the most well know, but has solid technique and a zesty style that will add to the summery vibe of Deschanel and Ward.

      Everything: Rivers Cuomo. How could you not have this guy? Apart being able to back up on every instrument, the Weezer frontman brings a nerdy coolness to the band, is a song-writing machine and has an odd-ball stage presence that counter-acts the usally quiet Deschanel, Ward and Sim

    • Ciaran Murray says:

      @16 Jimi “Jimmy” Hendrix on bass guitar? No, no, that’s not a waste at all…

    • Nam Citsale says:

      Mr. Mackin @26, I may need to visit the optician but I think there is only one mention of John Zorn so far. Not to be confused with Pete Zorn, who is mentioned also. John Zorn in a fantasy band with Sandy Denny though…I can’t imagine her shrieking and gibbering her way through the likes of ‘Blackwaterside’ in the manner of Yamatsuka Eye. Could be a lot of fun all the same.

    • Tiernan Jones says:

      Uncharted blues

      guitar_ Stevie Miller

      Bass_ Phil Linnot

      Drums_Jay bennet

      Vocals_ Ray Sifloretto and BB.King

      Saxaphone_ Lou Donaldson

    • redframewhitelight says:


      Zooey Deschanel: Lead Vocals, Piano
      Jenny Lewis: Guitars, Organ, Vocals
      Isobel Campbell: Cello, Vocals
      Tina Weymouth: Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
      Karen Carpenter: Drums, Vocals

      This is vocal harmony heaven, once they decide on who’s singing what.

    • captain a says:

      Drums: bono
      Bass: michael collins
      Guitars: mary robinson
      Keyboards/Programming: john hume
      Vocals: james connolly

    • RH says:

      What’s wrong with JDB!?? I’m going nowhere, sunshine! *leaves coat on hanger*

    • Spike Lancaster says:

      The Travelling Turners

      Big Joe Turner, vocals
      Tina Turner, vocals
      Alex Turner, lead guitar
      Fred Turner, bass
      Steve Turner, drums

      A toss-up whether we signed Ike or Tina but the thought of your woman duetting with Big Joe was just too mouthwatering to resist. Fred and Alex would enjoy riffing, while Steve, whose day job is backing Dolly Parton wouldnt get distracted by Tina shaking her ass.

    • robespierre says:

      Ok so my last effort broke the rules – pretty sure this one is ok.

      Tabula Rasa

      Vocals & percussion – Bryan Ferry
      Guitar – Ry Cooder
      Violin/Fiddle – Stéphane Grappeli
      Double bass – Jaco Pastorious
      Drums – Sunny Murray

      Bryan Ferry, the most louche rocker never to dip his beak into turtle neck nirvana, fronts Tabula Rasa bashing out the standards with his trademark semi staccato vocal and jive freindly swagger. Ry Cooder adds some sassy slide guitar and stretches to the odd bossa nova solo. The rhythm section is made of top slap man Jaco Pastorious and the free loving timekeeper Sunny Murray, the most experienced member of the group. Both free spirits they’re well able to play around the soloist of the group, Stéphane Grappeli whose disciplined improvs on the fiddle / violin command the audience and band alike.

      You do something to me – mos def sirree you do.

    • jo bangles says:

      You had me at Nina Simone…she don’t need no other band members….she got life….Swooooonnnnneeeeyyyyy deserve a snog for that one….

    • jo bangles says:

      Well OK maybe Miles…lose the gynaecological name…even Ms Simone didn’t sing about her lady ducting…

    • Kevin O Shea says:

      Country Funk

      Drums/Vocals: Levon Helm
      Bass: Bruce Thomas
      Guitar: Nels Cline
      Vocals/Guitar: Richard Thompson
      Keys/Vocals: Stevie Winwood

      Dad Rock supergroup that never was.

    • me! says:

      Wot no Keef…?

    • StarSt*r says:

      And the winner is….cue drumroll…..????
      Great programme on beeb4 the other night… Andrew Graham-Dixon interview with Keef…

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