5 The Rutles
Bringing that fabulous Rutland sound to audiences worldwide, the Prefab Four Rutles are the collaboration of comedian Eric Idle (formerly of Monty Python) and musician Neil Innes (formerly of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band… no, seriously). Originally appearing as a one-off on Eric Idle’s Rutland Weekend Television sketch show, the band went on to star in its own All You Need is Cash mockumentary. A brilliant send up of Beatles lore, music documentaries and rampant fanaticism, All You Need is Cash is just as silly and absurd as the best work Idle did with Monty Python.
4 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Not as funny as some of our other entries… at least not on the surface. Yes, we’re all aware of the Paul McCartney-driven concept of shedding the Beatles celebrity by pretending to be a band that didn’t exist. What you might not be aware of is the terrible 1978 movie that mangled the careers of everyone involved. Starring Peter Frampton as Billy Sheers, he forms some band with the Brothers Gibb of Bee Gees fame. If you can sit through the entire movie without vomiting your liver out, you’ll get to see Frampton “duel” with antagonist Steven Tyler and the rest of Aerosmith. Regardless of who won, no one returned from that battle field unscathed.
3 The Blues Brothers
On a mission from God, these actors-turned-musicians rocked early Saturday Night Live audiences with a mysterious demeanor and cool attitude. Of course, it didn’t hurt that they were backed by some of the best blues, jazz and R&B talent of the preceding decade—Duck Dunn, Steve Cropper and Guitar Murphy to name a few. This band went on to perform in the movie, managing to play with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and James Brown when they weren’t causing massive amounts of collateral damage. Although they released a few albums and actually played together, we still prefer to think of them as a fake band, in light of Blues Brothers 2000.
With an international flare for melodramatic bombast, Dethklok (the 7th largest economy in the world) has overtaken the adult animation world by sheer force. The band is the brain child of Berklee College of Music-graduate Brendan Small, who splits his time between gut-busting humor and face-melting shred. The cartoon counterparts for his music perform dark masterpieces like “Bloodrocuted” and “Hatredcopter” to a rabid fan base, entirely willing to sign liability waivers before seeing the band. (And odds are that they’ll be bifurcated by one of Dethklok’s ridiculous, behemoth stage props.) Small has actually toured as Dethklok, with some hired guns helping him complete the band, but it’s not nearly as brutal as the real (fake) thing.
1 Spinal Tap
The band that turns it up to eleven also tops out our list. Conceived by Rob Reiner and “band members” Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer, the group rocketed to success with their mockumentary This Is Spin¨al Tap. A widely successful and over-the-top heavy metal band, Spin¨al Tap is usually touring the world when they’re not auditioning new drummers—to wit, they’ve had over 18, since they all seem prone to spontaneous combustion and bizarre gardening accidents. Spin¨al Tap still performs live, occasionally featuring opening act The Folksmen of A Mighty Wind fame, who are also fronted by McKean, Guest and Shearer.