Monday, July 14, 2008


That’s not really a serious question. But if it were, you might have to think about what constitutes a fake band is in the first place. We know there’s such a thing as air guitar competitions, but could there be showdowns for entire air bands, too? Answer to that one: let’s hope not. Maybe it could refer to ‘musicians’ like the infamous fake lip-synching Milli Vanilli? No, it turns out that fake bands are the fictional bands mentioned on TV and in the movies, that don’t exist out here in the real world. Unlike air guitar players, which do exist in the real world. And let me tell you, however many fake bands you might be able to name, I can pretty safely guarantee you will leave out most of them. Unless you happen to be a fellow named T. Mike Childs, and you’ve written a book called “The Rocklopedia Fakebandica.” I bought a copy of this book; it’s a terrific pop culture reference, and really comprehensive. Anyway, since a great many bands mentioned in movies, TV etc. don’t have actual recordings we can physically listen to, it would be pretty difficult to pick your fave, right? Let’s not be too hasty…

The other day I got in a groove on the WWW, one site leading to another, and I ended up in some pages for the popular TV show LOST. After what I saw online, I’m obviously not the biggest LOST fanatic out there, but I do watch all the new episodes (and let the machine pick-up when they’re on) and catch as many re-runs as possible (if you’re a LOST fan to any degree, you’ll understand the absolute necessity of watching re-runs). Anyway, I went from the Wikipedia page about driveSHAFT (which all LOSTies will immediately recognize as Charlie’s rock band before his unscheduled tropical vacation) to an actual website for the driveSHAFT. I just have to repeat that. There’s an actual website devoted to information on tours, albums etc about a band that doesn’t exist. You know, I have to say I quite like the idea, bending fiction and reality like that. We didn’t really get much of a taste of driveSHAFT’s music on LOST, but I have to admit that the one phrase “you-all everybody” did stick in my head. I may have even hummed it once or twice in the supermarket, and I could even repeat it for you now, if pressed. Does that make them my favorite fake band? Probably as close as it’s going to get.

Here’s a YT video of an air guitar competition. Feel free to sample as much or a little as you fancy. It seems that air guitar is a global thing, but the crème de la crème all go to Oulu, Finland for the annual World Air Guitar Championships, and have been since 1996. I could probably crack wise here about the necessity of any kind of entertainment on those desperately long cold Finnish winters, but I won’t; Finland has never done anything to me. Oh, and BTW, if you go to the driveSHAFT website, you’ll notice it’s called “Second Tour of Finland” (italics mine). Coincidence? Is anything a coincidence?

Well, to end on a non-fake note, here is some classic Woodstock footage that many consider to contain the first public air guitar (and possibly a little air keyboard too?) moment. I’m talkin’ about Joe Cocker. I don’t know about fake bands, but I sure like listening to this real one!

One last quick mention. If you buy a copy of T. Mike’s book, it won’t have an entry for driveSHAFT, because it was released the same year as LOST’s first season (2004). But the website is up to date, with lots of other fictional bands. Maybe we can expect a second volume or an updated version. After all, new fake bands are born every day.

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