back to start
OysterheadThis funk-metal clusterfunk of bad taste featured Les Claypool of Primus, Trey Anastasio of Phish and drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police. Somehow only slightly worse than Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains, another “supergroup” featuring Buckethead.
Methods of MayhemTommy Lee’s 1999 rap-rock project during a break from the Crüe included members John Allen III, DJ Aero, and Marty O'Brien. Those names hopefully won’t register, but it’s hard to forget "Get Naked", MoM’s debut single featuring Fred Durst, Lil’ Kim, Pamela Anderson, and George Clinton. Please forgive Mix Master Mike for his involvement.
ChickenfootThis cabowabopocalypse featured Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony of Van Halen, Joe Satriani on guitar, and Chili Pepper/Will Ferrell lookalike/porkpie hat enthusiast Chad Smith on the traps. Nuff said.
G3Satriani’s second appearance on this list is a rotating live project featuring the wank virtuoso with two other guitarists, or more recently three as the expanded G4. We’ve got to give it up to the 2003 line-up from the Rockin’ in the Free World double live album featuring Steve Vai and the admittedly awesome Yngwie Malmsteen.
FreebassLess notorious on this side of the pond, Freebass is a band of three bassists who happen to be Peter Hook (Joy Division/New Order), Andy Rourke (The Smiths), and Gary Mounfield (The Stone Roses/Primal Scream). They’ve been described as “a heady mix of modern rock, dub and Northern Soul” but should be described as a total snooze.
YosoThe mercifully short-lived Yoso featured former members of Yes (Tony Kaye and Billy Sherwood) with Toto singer Bobby Kimball. If you haven’t heard “Africa” enough times at your local karaoke night, these saggy proggers have you covered.
The Power StationOn paper, the combo of Robert Palmer, Duran Duran’s John and Andy Taylor, and Chic drummer Tony Thompson could have worked. Sadly, their covers of “Some Like It Hot” and T-Rex’s “Get it On (Bang a Gong)” were completely lacking in... power.
SureshotWe can thank the 2007 VH1 reality show Mission: Man Band for this heartthrob-dropping abomination featuring members of *NSYNC, 98 Degrees, LFO and Color Me Badd.
SuperHeavyThe world may have forgotten, but we’re here to remind you that Mick Jagger once got freaky deaky with Joss Stone, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, Indian composer A.R. Rahman, and Damian Marley. Too many cooks definitely spoiled this awkward broth.
Dudes of Wrath
The Dudes of WrathSpecially assembled for Wes Craven’s 1989 horror film Shocker, this hair-metal megaband crammed together Kiss’s Paul Stanley, Tommy Lee (yep) and the possibly forgotten yet amazingly named axe-grinder Guy Mann-Dude. Peep his cover of "Paint it Black" for everything you need to know.
Arcade Fire, Skrillex and DiploEven if Win Butler wrote off this suspected session as “just showing a couple of friends our studio”, the combination of Jack Ü wubstep with orchestral whoa-oh-ohs must be stopped at the concept stage before untold horrors are unleashed.
Let’s start this off with a piping hot take: Supergroups are 99% terrible.
Sure, you can whip off examples like CSNY, the Traveling Wilburys, or the Monstars Anthem. Here in Canada, Broken Social Scene and the New Pornographers continue to coast on their successes, and some people even seem to like their music. Heck, we can give some shout outs to Wild Flag or the lesser known Minuteflag, Scott Walker + Sunn O))) or the unfairly derided Loutallica.
Yet outliers aside, the majority of smash ‘em up collaborations featuring multiple “well-known” artists (relatively speaking) range from lazy, late career money grabs to outright crimes against humanity. With the recent headlines on Hollywood Vampires (Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Joe Perry, and pals) and the “EDM-nodding” Dead & Company (members of the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, and John Mayer), there’s no time like the present to look back at the worst offenders in supergroup history.
Note: This list avoids the low hanging fruit like Velvet Revolver, ELP or NKOTBSB (and sorry to say it, but several members of the AUX writing staff ride hard for Zwan). Instead, we’ve chosen to focus on the all-time barrel-scraping cream of the crap. Click through the gallery above for 11 circles of supergroup hell.