10:33 pm - 08/07/2012

10 of the Most Unnecessary Side Projects in Music History

Things about which we are tired of hearing include: Wavves. As such, we greeted the news that Nathan Williams has a bitchin’ new side project with his bro with stony indifference — frankly, the last thing anyone needs to hear at this point is Wavves and his brother making a hip-hop record under the adolescent-tastic name Sweet Valley. (You’ll never guess, but he’s done an interview with VICE about it, in which he answers the hard-hitting question “Are you bored with rock ‘n’ roll?” with a deeply heartfelt “Yeah, I suppose so. At times.”) Still, it’s not the most gratuitously unnecessary side project in music history… Not compared to the ones after the jump.

Dee Dee Ramone’s hip-hop side project

The gold standard for ill-advised ventures into rap, although at least Ramone’s inexplicable decision to reinvent himself as Dee Dee King had something of a cheesy, so-bad-it’s-actually-kinda-awesome appeal. Among other things, Standing in the Spotlight — the one and only album Ramone recorded under the Dee Dee King moniker — included a song called “Commotion in the Ocean,” which contains the lyric, “A lesson I learned out of this/ I am not a fish.” Quite.

Fat Les

Soon-to-be-Conservative-cheesemaker-and-Blur-bassist Alex James teams up with his mates from London’s Groucho Club — specifically Keith “Father of Lily” Allen and Damien “Father of Dismal Conceptual Art” Hirst — to make a football song. What could possibly go wrong? (See also: everything else involving Alex James that isn’t Blur.)

Me First and the Gimme-Gimmes

Hilarious punk covers of popular songs! Made by the guys from NOFX and various other Cali-punk also-rans! Nine fucking albums‘ worth, in fact! For the love of God, just shoot us now!

Goat Punishment

While we’re on covers, here’s Weezer covering Nirvana. The key question here is: what did the goat do to deserve this?

The Strokes, generally

When an artist’s “main” band grinds to a halt, the temptation of the side project can be irresistible. Sometimes the results are great (The Breeders are a classic example, along with Tom Tom Club, Fever Ray, and various others). Sometimes, they’re the Nikolai Fraiture solo album. So it goes.

Tin Machine

Last time we said anything nasty about Tin Machine, it led to an almighty battle in the comments section — but the thing is, while Tin Machine and Tin Machine II weren’t necessarily as bad as people seem to like to make out, they were still an entirely unwelcome distraction at a pretty low ebb of David Bowie’s career. If anyone else had made these records, they’d be acceptable (if not earth-shattering) late-’80s rock. If the person making them is the same guy responsible for Low, then they’re gonna be judged harshly.


Oh, come on. Yes, “No Pussy Blues” was great, and there were a couple of other decent moments, but on the whole, two albums’ worth of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ ongoing bromance was about one-and-a-half albums too many. The Bad Seeds were, and are, way better. We’re glad Cave pulled the plug on this when he did.

Scars on Broadway

In which Daron Malakian differentiates his solo work from his work with System of a Down by writing political rants set to music that is “something very heavy mixed in with traditional Armenian and thrash, death, doom, black and dark metal influences.” Um…

Wicked Wisdom

Behold: a nü-metal band fronted by Jada Pinkett Smith. This really truly did happen, although any day now the Will ‘n’ Jada publicity juggernaut will probably succeed in perfecting a time machine and journeying back to 2002 to expunge it from history entirely.

KISS, generally

Only once in history has a band decided that it’s a great idea for all four members to release solo albums simultaneously. Only once. And this is why.

(Oh, look, fine, the Melvins did it too. But it was only EPs, not albums, and anyway, the Melvins are awesome.)

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die2nitelive4ev 7th-Aug-2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
Fat Les is completely out of place here, it was a bit of fun! Scars of Broadway are good.

Edited at 2012-08-07 07:53 pm (UTC)
phallus 7th-Aug-2012 07:53 pm (UTC)
I don't know anyone in this post, aside from KISS and The Strokes. I'm sure there are more relevant people who deserve to be on this list tho!
kurtvonnegut 7th-Aug-2012 08:03 pm (UTC)
lol you seriously don't know who david bowie, weezer, system of a down, jada pinkett smith, and the ramones are? sounds like a personal problem
freemywilly 7th-Aug-2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
wearescientists 8th-Aug-2012 01:13 am (UTC)
katrinar 8th-Aug-2012 01:41 pm (UTC)
are you 5?
claudsx 7th-Aug-2012 07:54 pm (UTC)
aw, Nikolai
juunanagou18 7th-Aug-2012 10:04 pm (UTC)
lol that was my reaction. His album wasn't that bad. :(
marywebgirl 7th-Aug-2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
Er, Goat Punishment was just a name Weezer used to play "secret" small shows.
candidcouture 7th-Aug-2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
iirc Fall Out Boy used the name "Schrute Farms".
shake_it_out 7th-Aug-2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
My bf went to a goat punishment show in San Diego years and years ago. The 13-year-old mega Weezer fan girl in me still burns with envy over him showing me that ticket stub.
marywebgirl 7th-Aug-2012 08:27 pm (UTC)
Gah that would be so awesome!
spartacus 7th-Aug-2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
Omg NOFX. Does that band still exist?

ETA: Why are The Strokes on here as a side project? They were a side project for a different band? Julian had a solo album but it was pretty good (I can't play videos at work so idk whats on there).

Also, NOFX still exists, lol

Edited at 2012-08-07 08:03 pm (UTC)
kurtvonnegut 7th-Aug-2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
isn't that one of the bands whose crusty band tshirts are like a staple on hot topic walls

yet i don't know anyone who actually listens to them
candidcouture 7th-Aug-2012 08:06 pm (UTC)
NOFX was the shit when I was 14
spartacus 7th-Aug-2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
lol they're actually very successful as a band that has only been on independent labels iirc

Idk how I used to listen to 5000000x RPM punk music when I was younger. Pass the 30s jazz pls & thanks lol
whitegirlmob 7th-Aug-2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
Punk at its finest
whitegirlmob 7th-Aug-2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
They're not. Albert Hammond Jr was in that supergroup the Velvet Underground though. Maybe they mixed it up with that.

Weezer isn't a side project either.
pirateexchange 7th-Aug-2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
I think maybe saying The Strokes in general b.c they all went off for side projects?
asha_greyjoy 7th-Aug-2012 08:24 pm (UTC)
yeah im pretty sure NOFX is
or at least they did like 1 or 2 years ago

Edited at 2012-08-07 08:27 pm (UTC)
sviibwhapp 7th-Aug-2012 09:57 pm (UTC)
Julian and Albert had their solo albums
Fab had Little Joy
Nikolai had Nickel Eye
vanishingbee 7th-Aug-2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
katiluv87 7th-Aug-2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
What about Garth Brooks' alter ego side project? that was the worst/best
kurtvonnegut 7th-Aug-2012 08:06 pm (UTC)

yes, "greatest hits."

Edited at 2012-08-07 08:06 pm (UTC)
katiluv87 7th-Aug-2012 08:09 pm (UTC)
i bet he still wears that wig when he is alone in his house
mandramoddle 7th-Aug-2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
Ngl, I thought he looked hot on this album cover.
spartacus 7th-Aug-2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
that whole thing bordered on lunacy at one point.
perfecthorror 7th-Aug-2012 08:28 pm (UTC)
Haha, I only came into this post to see if he was on here.
josh_the_k 7th-Aug-2012 08:35 pm (UTC)
Chris Gaines is what happens when an artist either gets bored with mega-stardom or thinks s/he can do no wrong.

Or both.
thethingiswhat 7th-Aug-2012 09:27 pm (UTC)
I thought that was going to be on this list and was surprised/sad it wasn't there tbh.
dandi_brandi86 7th-Aug-2012 09:35 pm (UTC)
hollymarchosias 8th-Aug-2012 03:14 am (UTC)
itsglenncoco 7th-Aug-2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
The thumbnail for Fat Les looks like the music video for bittersweet symphony. Thats all I can contribute.
mondengel 9th-Aug-2012 09:17 pm (UTC)
It was deliberate :)
these_eyes_lie 7th-Aug-2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
I can't believe Jada's band opened for Britney at one point. So random.
candidcouture 7th-Aug-2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
Toured with Ozzfest too!
poop_of_death And this travesty7th-Aug-2012 08:06 pm (UTC)

Edited at 2012-08-07 08:07 pm (UTC)
aclassiclove Re: And this travesty7th-Aug-2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
isthisdesire Re: And this travesty7th-Aug-2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
11 seconds in and I quit that bitch
cheatpolygraphs Re: And this travesty8th-Aug-2012 02:41 am (UTC)
poop_of_death Re: And this travesty8th-Aug-2012 02:12 pm (UTC)
a prayer for your head injury
hollymarchosias Re: And this travesty8th-Aug-2012 03:13 am (UTC)
oh yes
lovepollution 7th-Aug-2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
LOL, I saw Wicked Wisdom open for Britney in 2004. It wasn't good.
vervain 7th-Aug-2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
that's no way to go franco un-american.
freemywilly 7th-Aug-2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
what's up with her stomach?
mandramoddle 7th-Aug-2012 08:28 pm (UTC)
Her vocals are weak but I liked seeing a black woman in a metal group.

And yeah, why does her stomach look weird? :/
freemywilly 7th-Aug-2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
I actually liked the Wicked Wisdom song.

*kanye shrug*
freemywilly 7th-Aug-2012 08:18 pm (UTC)
does velvet revolver count? because I found them unnecessary as a supergroup
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