10 Musical Side Projects That Are Worth A Listen
A recent review of Ian McCulloch’s latest release in The Ticket, stated “Credible front-people of rock-bands rarely, if ever, transcend their original appeal or influence – they’re always associated with that act…”.
This is, in the main, true. Few artists – front-men or otherwise – have managed to escape the clutches of their original band (assuming this band had some level of success) and eclipse that success in their own right. Sure, plenty have gone on to successful careers once they left their band-buddies behind, but few can say they have truly shaken off the shadow of their previous work. While the likes of Dave Grohl has enjoyed huge – and somewhat bewildering – success with Foo Fighters, The Foos aren’t worthy of polishing the plinth of Nirvana in the hall of rock legends. Other examples include Liam Gallagher and…er…Brian McFadden.
However, even if all the various side/solo-projects haven’t always consistently delivered the goods, many have produced the occasional gem that made the new departure worthwhile. Leaving aside Bressie, here are ten of the best from artists better known for their work in another line-up.
10. John Squire
- Artist? The Seahorses (John Squire)
- Track? Love is the Law
- Better known from? The Stone Roses, silly.
Upon the break-up of The Stone Roses, guitar-tist John Squire took time out from randomly throwing paint at canvas to form The Seahorses. The band released just the one album, to fairly mixed reviews. Nevertheless, Love is the Law was a creditable – if unmistakably late-90s – effort, and reached number 3 in the UK charts.
7. Mick Jones
- Artist? Big Audio Dymanite (Mick Jones)
- Track? E=MC2
- Better known from? The Clash
6. Bernard Butler
- Artist? Bernard Butler
- Track? Stay
- Better known from? Suede
Having departed Suede in less than amicable circumstances, Butler collaborated to great effect with David McAlmont, before releasing his own solo album People Move On (subtle eh?) in 1998. The lead single, Stay, hinted at a great career sans Brett Anderson and co. It never really happened, but a track like Stay justifies the venture. Butler has since turned his hand to producing albums for Duke Special and Duffy among many others.
5. Tom DeLonge
- Artist? Angels and Airwaves (Tom DeLonge)
- Track? The Adventure
- Better known from? Blink 182
Taking time out from Blink 182 in 2005, Tom DeLonge formed Angels and Airwaves along with several other well-known artists from other bands – namely David Kennedy (Box Car Racer), Ryan Sinn (The Distillers) and Adam Willard (The Offspring). Their debut single, The Adventure, features DeLonge on a spacecraft looking thoughtfully into the middle-distance (© Nicky Byrne). Luckily, he then remembers his lines and bounds over to the mic. As uplifting a track as you could wish to hear…
4. The Power Station
- Band? The Power Station (Robert Palmer, Tony Thompson, John Taylor, Andy Taylor)
- Song? Some Like It Hot
- Better known from? Duran Duran, Chic
3. Velvet Revolver
- Band? Velvet Revolver (Scott Weiland, Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum)
- Song? Slither
- Better known from? Stone Temple Pilots, Guns N’ Roses
2. Ian Brown
- Artist? Ian Brown
- Track? My Star
- Better known from? The Stone Roses
- Artist? Morrissey
- Track? Suedehead
- Better known from? The Smiths
For all his excellence with The Smiths, Mozza’s solo career has been patchier than a room painted in the dark. However, it’s crowning glory is undoubtedly Suedehead, which arguably surpasses anything he did with Johnny Marr. Featuring one of the most memorable – yet unheralded – intros ever, it is simply sublime.
Any other tracks worth a mention? Be sure to let us know…