Posts Tagged ‘Mike Mills’

In rock and roll bands, some members burn brightly and are impossible to ignore. Guys like Freddie Mercury, Paul McCartney, Steven Tyler, Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger come to mind. Others, even though they’re not the frontman, stand out simply because of their talent and charisma. I’m talking about Pete Townsend, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Joe Perry and others. And then we have members of a group that sort of got lost in the background, and even though they were a part of an enormously successful band they’re really not known to the general public.

And please, I understand that true music aficionados will know who these guys are, so remember I said general public. Without further discussion, I give you Rock’s Odd Men Out: My Top 10.

Tom Hamilton – Aerosmith

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That’s Tom, second from the left.

Yeah, the light-haired dude in the back is Tom Hamilton, bassist for Aerosmith. And although he’s been with the band since 1970 and has co-written songs like Sweet Emotion and Janie’s Got a Gun, he’s not nearly as famous as band mates Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. Lost in the mix I guess.

Richard Manuel – The Band

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Richard Manuel, far left.

Hey, I realize that when you’re playing with talents like Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Robbie Robertson and Garth Hudson it’s tough to stand out, but Richard Manuel was unbelievably good, man. Richard was with the band from the get-go, and he played a killer piano. His real strength, however, was his voice. Just a rich, haunting sound that was like no other. Richard sadly committed suicide in 1986, and rock lost an absolute legend.

Robbie Krieger – The Doors

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Robbie’s on the top right.

Robbie has always been sort of the forgotten Door after Jim Morrison (amazing stage presence and charisma) and Ray Manzarek (unique and original-to-rock keyboard sounds). This, even though Krieger was the lead guitarist and wrote or co-wrote many of the band’s great songs, including Light my Fire, Love Me Two Times, Touch Me and Love Her Madly. Give a guy some credit for once, people.

Krist Novoselic – Nirvana

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Yeah, the one who looks like an accountant.

Yep, there’s Dave Grohl on the left, who went on the form the Foo Fighters. Of course that’s Kurt Cobain in the middle, who achieved rock martyrdom by way of a shotgun to the mouth, which leaves us with the guy on the right. That’s Krist Novoselec, and he was a co-founder of Nirvana with Cobain. In fact, they’d been almost inseparable friends for 10-years prior to Cobain’s death. Since then he’s been in a couple relatively little known bands and but otherwise keeps a low profile.

John Paul JonesLed Zeppelin

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Far right, head plaintively on chin. Stoic really.

I know, I know, true rock fans are totally aware of John Paul Jones. Still, to the general public he’s not nearly as famous as Robert Plant, Jimmy Page or even John Bonham. However, without his thumping bass lines Zeppelin would never be the band they ultimately became. He’s now a member of Them Crooked Vultures a helluva band in their own right.

Al Jardine – The Beach Boys

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Al’s the little fella in the middle.

Al was a founding member of the band and the only member not related to the others. Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson were brothers, and Mike Love was a cousin. Jardine wrote or co-wrote several Beach Boy tunes, and as rhythm guitarist and harmony vocalist he was a huge part of America’s greatest band. Sadly, Al is the last name people come up with when naming the Beach Boys.

Bill Wyman – The Rolling Stones

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That’s Bill on the far left.

Again, save the comments telling me that “Everyone knows who Bill Wyman is. He’s the bassist for the Stones, man!” Of course serious music lovers know, but when compared to Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and even Charlie Watts, I maintain that he’s one of the most least-known members of any high profile, legendary bands you can ever find. Then again, when you’re 47 and begin dating a 13-year old maybe it’s a good idea to lay low. Hey, he did wait until she was 18 to marry her, so there’s that.

John Deacon – Queen

That's Mr. Deacon on the left, looking really short although he's not.

No, John Deacon is not a midget. Not sure why he looks that way in the photo here.

Hey, when Freddie Mercury is fronting your band it’s difficult for anybody else to be noticed. Still, Brian May and Roger Taylor seem to me to w-a-y more recognizable than John Deacon. I’m not sure why, because Deacon wrote “Another One Bites the Dust” and “You’re My Best Friend” among other Queen classics. And although the other members have reunited frequently since Freddie’s death, John Deacon has remained a generally underground, mysterious figure.

John Entwistle – The Who

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Entwistle is second from the right, with the cool jacket.

I put John Entwistle in the same category as Bill Wyman and John Paul Jones, well-known in the rock world, not so much to the general public. I mean, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townsend and Keith Moon are on one level, John Entwistle on another, amirite? Odd man out indeed.

Mike Mills  – R.E.M.

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Mike is the unassuming dude on the back right.

Although Mike Mills was an integral part of R.E.M. for their entire existence and a founding member of the band, he’s much lesser known than Michael Stipe and Peter Buck. Mills sang lead on such great songs as “Near Wild Heaven” and “Superman” and contributed heavily to nearly every R.E.M. song ever recorded.

So that’s all I got. I almost added Ringo to the mix, simply because he’s widely considered to be the least talented Beatle by a mile, and for good reason. Still, I couldn’t pull the trigger and call any Beatle an “Odd Man Out.”

So tell me, who did I miss? Let’s hear it.

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As many of you know (especially my former students), one of my top 3 bands of all-time.