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Thread: Why Supernova can't hold a candle to the House Band

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    Endlessly ShrinkingViolet's Avatar
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    Why Supernova can't hold a candle to the House Band

    MAUREEN RYAN
    The Watcher
    A Chicago Tribune Web log

    The only thing more cheesy than seeing Barbara Walters tell “The View” audience on Tuesday about how her dog talks to her was Wednesday’s “Rock Star” finale. (No, really, her doggy Cha Cha told Baba, or so she said, “I wuv you.” I am not making this up. Go to [FA edit] if you don’t believe me.)

    I don’t mean to diss the singers; they were good for the most part, and I particularly thought Toby was great. But over the last few months, I just could not take this show seriously because the Supernova band is just such a laughable bunch of hacks. Yes, I know they can play their instruments, yada yada. But can you really say any of these guys is a credible font of creativity? I think not.

    Every time Gilby Clarke or Jason Newsted would wax philosophical about songwriting and vocal performance, I just had to giggle. I mean, who are these guys to dispense advice on… anything?

    Clarke’s most famous for being fired from Guns n’ Roses, and Newsted was in Metallica… for a while. I just kept coming back to the question -- who cares what these guys think? They seemed well-meaning enough, but if we’re talking about truly rocking, I’d much rather go see the House Band (which is touring with Supernova later this year -- and that would be the only reason to go to one of their concerts).

    The funniest moment of Wednesday night was when Clarke offered to produce Dilana Robichaux’s album after she wasn’t picked as the band’s singer. Run, Dilana, run away!

    It’s bad enough that Lukas Rossi has to be saddled with the title of Supernova frontman. They’ll no doubt put out one crappy album and then disband (but first, as Newsted pointed out, they’re going to rock Albany! On tour! Rock on!). Boy, that’s a great start to a career. As a footnote.

    But Dilana (and Lukas too, he of the excessive eye glitter) deserves better than being associated with the collection of has-beens on this season of “Rock Star.” Oh, and I haven’t forgotten Tommy Lee. Who could forget the fact that week after week, when it came to the female contestants, he mainly rated the hotness of their looks? “Why are you wearing clothes at all?” seemed to be his ultimate assessment of their vocal stylings, when you read between the lines. Ugh.

    But duuude, Dave Navarro made it all worthwhile. How many ways could he find to say the sentence, “Dude, you rocked that!” So many, really. And on Wednesday, he provided the night’s most “Spinal Tap” moment when at the end, he yelled, “I want to be entertained up in this [expletive]! I gots to get entertained up in this [expletive]!”

    Well, despite the pretty good singing on display this season, I don’t think “Rock Star” was worthwhile overall. Because frankly, the prospect of a Supernova concert excites me about as much as a tax audit.
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    On a cupcake mission! Lois Lane's Avatar
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    Thanks ShrinkingViolet. I thought this was one of the best lines in the article:

    And on Wednesday, he provided the night’s most “Spinal Tap” moment when at the end, he yelled, “I want to be entertained up in this [expletive]! I gots to get entertained up in this [expletive]!”

    I thought it curious when he said this on stage as well. He said "witch" (with the b instead of the w), right? That's not even using the slang correctly!

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    You know, this is a popular sentiment, but I disagree.

    I'm not bashing the house band at all, and I don't even like the songs we've heard from Supernova. But people should consider what they're basing it on.

    I think it just goes to prove what I've always believed about musicians in rock music. They don't really make much of a difference. It's all about the lead singer. The guys that play the instruments can be interchanged and it really doesn't make a difference.

    Before all you guitarists start screaming, what I mean is that once a song is out there and known, I think any professional musician can play it and will all pretty much sound the same. Perhaps to the technical ear someone will be able to say so and so is better than him, but to most people, it all sounds the same. The talent is in the creative process of coming up with an original song.

    Or a more apt example. Gilby replaced Izzy Stradlin in Guns N Roses who wrote and played on recording of their Use Your Illusion CD's. Izzy quit, and Gilby joined and went on tour with GNR. He played them the exact same way. There was no difference.

    Can anybody really say there was a difference when Tommy Lee or Gilby or Jason would play on songs like The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again than if it was the House Band? It's like when I saw Guns N' Roses (or more accurately Axl Rose) in 2002. Most rock "experts" consider Slash to be a great guitarists. Well, Axl's group played all the famous GNR songs and to tell you the truth, I couldn't tell the difference. It didn't change the sound, the fact that Slash wasn't there. Anybody who is a capable musician, can play an existing song and have it sound the same. It's all about the material they are playing the arrangement they're aiming for.

    The point is, if it was the guys in Supernova that were playing all of these great classic songs all the time and House Band members were playing their own unknown song, I'm sure people would be saying the guys in Supernova are awesome and the HouseBand guys suck.

    I really think it's kind of easy to go on stage and play a bunch of awesome classic songs that everyone knows and have people talk about how great you are.
    Last edited by CC2003; 09-14-2006 at 07:58 PM.

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    On a cupcake mission! Lois Lane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC2003 View Post
    I really think it's kind of easy to go on stage and play a bunch of awesome classic songs that everyone knows and have people talk about how great you are.
    I get your point but would have to disagree with you about this. The thing that I've found about some really good house bands (like the ones on Rock Star or Letterman) is that they can learn any song FAST. Yes, any competent musician can play a well known song. But it's not an easy thing to learn a new song every couple of days and make it sound like the original (or like the singer's arrangement of it). And the House Band learned all the contestant's original songs, too, and played them like it was their own creation.

    I saw Guns N' Roses with Izzy Stradlin shortly before the band imploded and it became the Axl Rose show. Guns N' Roses now without Izzy and Slash and Duff etc. is basically (to me) like those oldies bands touring with the 50's and 60's. Yes, the songs still sound the same, but it's not the same experience 'cause it's just not the same band.

    If the House Band was opening up for INXS, I'd rather see INXS, because I love their catalog--especially from their first few albums. But the House Band opening for SuperNova--a band with no song I like--I'd rather hear the former playing covers.

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    JR.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC2003 View Post
    I think it just goes to prove what I've always believed about musicians in rock music. They don't really make much of a difference. It's all about the lead singer. The guys that play the instruments can be interchanged and it really doesn't make a difference.
    It might be true in some cases, but definitely not in general. For instance, I'm a rock drummer. While I can play some different styles, I can not play speed/death metal. It is physically not possible for me to play that fast. To just throw me in a band like that would be a disaster.

    Also, Van Halen went from Roth to Haggar, Sabbath went from Ozzy to Dio and they seemed to do ok. So, there are times it will work, and times it won't. It's about the group as a whole.

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    While it's true that the SN musicians aren't exactly tops in their field, what Maureen Ryan fails to address is the fact that the contestants were complete nobodies before they were tagged to appear on the show. Oh, sure, maybe they had some small measure of success locally, but as Dave Navarro pointed out on more than one occasion, how cool is it to be plucked from obscurity and get the opportunity to play your own, original music in front of a national audience?

    Is it a great start to a career? The entertainment business is brutal. Very few people achieve real success. I like to make fun of Tommy Lee as much as the next person, but the guy is a for-real rock star. Motley Crue is more than just a footnote in popular music. Lukas gets to tour with a guy whose band is an honest-to-goodness legend (OK, for partying as well as their music, but so what?). He was frying buffalo wings at Hooters before this, for God's sake.

    The house band is great. But again, it's comprised of nobodies who also hopped on board for the opportunity to play for a massive TV audience.

    I can't imagine anything more cool than being able to make a living doing something so incredibly fun and creative. Who cares what the means to the end is? Lukas gets to play music and perform, he's damn good at it and I doubt he's feeling like he's been saddled with anything.
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    MRD
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC2003 View Post
    You know, this is a popular sentiment, but I disagree.

    I'm not bashing the house band at all, and I don't even like the songs we've heard from Supernova. But people should consider what they're basing it on.

    I think it just goes to prove what I've always believed about musicians in rock music. They don't really make much of a difference. It's all about the lead singer. The guys that play the instruments can be interchanged and it really doesn't make a difference.

    Before all you guitarists start screaming, what I mean is that once a song is out there and known, I think any professional musician can play it and will all pretty much sound the same. Perhaps to the technical ear someone will be able to say so and so is better than him, but to most people, it all sounds the same. The talent is in the creative process of coming up with an original song.

    Or a more apt example. Gilby replaced Izzy Stradlin in Guns N Roses who wrote and played on recording of their Use Your Illusion CD's. Izzy quit, and Gilby joined and went on tour with GNR. He played them the exact same way. There was no difference.

    Can anybody really say there was a difference when Tommy Lee or Gilby or Jason would play on songs like The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again than if it was the House Band? It's like when I saw Guns N' Roses (or more accurately Axl Rose) in 2002. Most rock "experts" consider Slash to be a great guitarists. Well, Axl's group played all the famous GNR songs and to tell you the truth, I couldn't tell the difference. It didn't change the sound, the fact that Slash wasn't there. Anybody who is a capable musician, can play an existing song and have it sound the same. It's all about the material they are playing the arrangement they're aiming for.

    The point is, if it was the guys in Supernova that were playing all of these great classic songs all the time and House Band members were playing their own unknown song, I'm sure people would be saying the guys in Supernova are awesome and the HouseBand guys suck.

    I really think it's kind of easy to go on stage and play a bunch of awesome classic songs that everyone knows and have people talk about how great you are.
    I have to disagree. First of all, the houseband did play a few unknown songs penned by the rockers and they rocked the songs and in some cases improved them. These were unknown songs to us previously and they did an awesome job on them. Paul especially has the ability and ear to hear when something is good or bad. He suggested a lot of changes to Dilana and Zayra on their songs. If I were Dilana, I'd rather have Paul help me write and produce my album rather than Gilby.

    There are guitarists like Clapton and Pete Townsend that others can't come close to emulating. They try but never quite make it. And Pianoists like Billy Joel and Elton John. You could not change out those musicians and it be the same.

    As we have seen in 2 seasons of Rock Star the contestants couldn't come close to emulating some of the singers. Magni did an excellant job of Fire and so did the house band, but NO WAY did they or will they play the guitar on that song like Jimi Hendrix.

    Neither was it the same when Hagar replaced Roth in Van Halen. I've seen them live with both Dave and Sammy and DAve while an A**, was definetly better.

    GNR and Metallica were not exactly on the same level with some of these other musicians or bands. Tommy Lee on Drums is the only one in this group or in Crue that you couldn't replace as he is an awesome drummer.

    But no, musicians are not interchangeable in most cases. There have been notable exceptions: Ron Wood in the Rolling Stones is actually the only one that comes to mind at the moment.

    And I think the guitarists in the House Band could replace Gilby and Jason and no one would notice a thing. So yes, in that case they are interchangeable.


    But Zepplin couldn't replace Bonham and disbanded after he died. He just couldn't be replaced.
    And neither could Keith Moon in the Who. Even Daltry and Townsend said the Who died with Moon, although they have added at times small faces drummer Kenny Jones and currently Ringo Starr's son: Zak Starkey.

    So no, there are a lot of musicians that cannot come close to being as good as some of the greats. However, I do think the House Band has more talent in their little fingers than 3/4's of Supernova.

    Is Nate as good as Tommy Lee? He's not as flashy and they have different drumming styles. Tommy Lee is awesome to watch perform. I don't like him when he opens his mouth, but his drumming is amazing. And Nate's is as well, just different styles.
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    Maureen Ryan wrote an earlier piece focusing on The House Band. Here's an excerpt:

    More impressive than the antics of Lukas Rossi or Dilana Robichaux (two of “Rock Star’s” leading contenders) was the precision and power of the house band’s playing. Their taut, mesmerizing version of Stone Temple Pilot’s “Plush” was, to these ears, better than the original.

    Finding musicians who could play with both passion and professionalism was the goal of the show’s producers, according to “Rock Star’s” music producer Clyde Lieberman, who helped pick the members of the band for the first season, which is still intact.

    “They had to be able to play anything any time under any circumstances,” Lieberman said after the taping. “We had to be able to wake them up at three in the morning and say, `Play ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ in the key of F’ and they had to be able to do it.”

    Still, “the last thing we wanted” was studio musicians or professionals who lacked conviction, Lieberman said.

    “I went to music school myself. You meet a lot of people in music school who can play anything but they have no conviction in how they play,” Lieberman said.

    The fact is, though, when the future members of Supernova say, “Dude, that rocked” (and that happened a lot on Sunday), they’re praising the contestants, but their compliments are also a credit to the band. The even the best singers’ performances would seem weaker in many cases if the band wasn’t so undeniably talented.

    In other words, the house band makes moderately talented singers sound great and makes good singers, well, rawk. And that’s the goal, Lieberman said.

    “You have to walk out of here and think that was a real music show, that wasn’t a TV show,” Lieberman said.

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    Wild thang Rattus's Avatar
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    I kind of skimmed this thread so this point may have been made, but people are praising to the skies the houseband (and they are amazing) and pooh-poohing SN without taking into consideration that the HB is playing covers and SN is playing originals, so apples and oranges. While the HB may be (actually, are) brilliant craftsmen, we have no way of knowing if any of the members are at all creative. I've been in a band in the past and Mr. Rattus still drums in a band and while we can both determine whether a song is wonderful or dreadful (I've had musicians listening to mixed tapes I've made that were playing in the background prick their ears and say "hey, who put this together - this is brilliant" ), and can do an acceptable cover, neither of us can write a decent song to save our lives.
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    2 cents:)

    Replacing Cliff Burton was no easy task. How do you step in for the guy who invented head banging? Jason is an amazing bass player and in my eyes a better musician than his 2 SN bandmates. I think this was more a vehicle to promote Voivod for him and start a new band.
    You've got to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince!

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