After a week of impassioned debate and fiery disagreements, we’re getting closer to forming our Ultimate Band. We’ve already talked about a singer, a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer, but the truth is there’s still something lacking. Something hard to define. Someone with a certain je ne sais quoi. The soul of the band. Someone… like Bez.
Just as Bez shaking his maracas and doing his freaky dancin’ came to define the Happy Mondays, we’re giving you the chance to nominate a fifth member of our band who will help make the band come together.
Bez wasn’t the first to help define a band without actually playing all that much music. NME writer Matthew Horton nominates Chas Smash of Madness for the fantasy band, saying: “He’s Bez's spiritual dad, the ultimate chancer. Thirty-five years (on and off) of larking about onstage, bellowing "ONE STEP BEYOND" and taking the very occasional lead vocal. But still, an essential element of the Madness chemistry.”
This is also your chance to throw another instrument or voice into the mix. Maybe you want to pick someone like the legendary Clarence Clemons to give your band some sax appeal, Gary Numan adding some synths, Bad Seeds/Grinderman/Dirty Three’s bearded beauty Warren Ellis tearing away at a violin or Stevie Wonder tinkling the ivories.
Every great band needs a touch of theatre, so perhaps this is the time to recruit Lady Gaga and her fireworks, or throw in a dash of glamour from Beyoncé or Florence. Alternatively maybe we should augment our singer with an MC. Throw in Jay-Z, Tupac or, if we really want a big personality to define the band, why look further than the rap and time-keeping abilities of Flavor Flav?
How’s my personal fantasy line-up shaping up? With ?uestlove and Kim Deal’s rhythm section supporting Keith Richards and Mark E Smith’s ferocious growl, my band is not a place for someone too concerned with trifling matters of tunefulness. I need someone to clank away in the background, howling at the moon and operating all manner of weird heavy machinery. I need Tom Waits.
Leave your nominations for the Ultimate Band’s fifth member below, and remember to write a few words about why your pick deserves their place. If you haven’t already, now’s also a good time to go back and leave your votes for singers, guitarists and the rhythm section. We’ll be rounding up the nominations over the next couple of days ahead of the special Ultimate Band issue of NME out 14 November. Forget the US elections, this is the most important democratic moment of the year. Get voting!