The 10 Best Fictional Bands

Due in cinemas this week is the bloody-lovely-actually ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’. A modern romantic comedy from the ‘Garden State’/’Juno’ stable, it’s one of those films that always seem to star obscenely cute and kooky lead actresses and feature soundtracks that any emotionally extroverted fool such as myself would cry themselves to sleep listening to.

The premise is pretty much boy meets girl, boy and girl bond over music, boy and girl try to find secret gig, boy and girl fall in love. But it’s the search for the secret gig, headlined by fictional band Where’s Fluffy?, that brings these two together. Inspired by Where’s Fluffy?, then, here’s a rundown of nine more bands that aren’t… or weren’t… but still kinda are… or were… but surrounded by cameramen and directors and stuff.

9. Stillwater (‘Almost Famous’)
If you want a music film to be done right you could do a lot worse than have an ex-‘Rolling Stone’ music writer helming it. That Stillwater, the 70’s Deep-Purple/Zeppelin-a-like band, don’t slip into Spinal Tap territory is an accomplishment in itself, but the fact that every Stillwater track fits so comfortably into the period itself you’d have a hard time picking them out of a beardy crowd is nothing short of miraculous. And the guitar playing on ‘Fever Dog’, as Cameron Crowe’s character would mispronounce it, is “incindiary”.


8. Josie and The Pussycats
To try and pretend these cats are punk or rock would be the most offensive statement since somebody commented that “‘Wall-E’ was just… alright”. I mean, the nerve! But propping up the pure pop corner you can’t do much wrong. Or maybe its just the delicious trio of Rachel Leigh Cook (eyes you can drown in), Rosario Dawson (lips you could bounce off) and Tara Reid (before she got all fucked up).

7. Barry Jive And The Uptown Five (‘High Fidelity’)
When Rob Gordon begs Barry and his band not to play his ‘dance music for old people’ night you can’t help but be on his side. Anyone willing to call their band Sonic Death Monkey should not be able to perform in public. Yet after a couple of name changes, including Kathleen Turner Overdrive, Barry Jive… play a storming rendition of ‘Let’s Get It On’ and hearts melt. Able support indeed for the gloriously named Kinky Wizards.

6. Spinal Tap
The granddaddies of the fictional band. Tap have not only released two full albums and had three hit singles, they’ve also (and this is the real test of whether you’ve made it) had a guest spot on ‘The Simpsons’. Although some purists still maintain that the ‘Comic Strip’ metal band Bad News were funnier.

There’s also Anvil, stars of ‘The Story Of Anvil’, although it turns out they are actually a real band. Who knew?

5. Marvin Berry And The Starlighters (‘Back To The Future’)
In 1955, at the ‘Enchantment Under the Sea’ dance, Marvin And The Starlighters were banging out a beautiful version of ‘Earth Angel’ (check out Death Cab For Cutie’s version ) but it wasn’t until a young Marty McFly picked up the lead guitar that Marvin’s cousin Chuck Berry found his ‘new sound’. While the audience might not have been ready for the ending, their kids were gonna love it.


4. The Blues Brothers
If you make a movie about music you’d better get the music right. Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, James Brown to name but three. I think they got the music right. Altogether now: “People, when you do find that special somebody, you gotta hold that man, hold that woman! Love him, please him, squeeze her, please her! Signify your feelings with every gentle caress, because it’s so important to have that special somebody to hold, to kiss, to miss, to squeeze, and please!”

3. School Of Rock
Proof positive that you can teach good music. Or at least, proof that with enough care and attention you can find everyone their right place. So you can’t sing, be a techie. You can’t play guitar, be a costume designer. Everyone can go on tour and experience that love of rock and roll. Not too sure about the 11-year old groupies though. Even the counter-argument of “They’re like cheerleaders” holds little sway.

2. Soggy Bottom Boys (‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’)
There are a million things George Clooney can do but singing just wasn’t one of them. While his vocal tryout was seen as more than adequate the decision was taken to have a real bluegrass pro step into his soggy trousers in the form of Dan Tyminski. The only cast member that did make it in was Tim Blake Nelson who had just the right amount of twang. Still I bet George gets laid in the Deep South more than Tim.

1. Wyld Stallyns (‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’)
Their music saved the fucking world dude.