What's Your Fantasy Rock 'n' Roll Band Line-Up?
For the longest time our series exploring what it takes to make a great rock 'n' roll band from the floorboards up was called 'Fantasy Rock 'n' Roll Band'.
There was something about the notion of looking at the DNA of rock 'n' roll bands role by role - lead singer, guitarist, drummer, other one - the quiet one, the secret gel of the band be it bass, keyboards, dancer or whatever - that suggested that once you've taken the constituent parts of those roles apart and looked at what it takes to, say, be a lead singer ("Ego and insecurity" argues Lauren Laverne, "To be get laid, to get rich and to get famous" said Bob Geldof, "To have fun and change the world," says Bono), not only would you understand a whole lot more about every role in a rock 'n' roll band but, like any mad scientist, you'd then be free to recombine these elements to invent your own fantasy band.
But the more we looked into each role, the more we celebrated the great rock 'n' roll myths and the great practitioners of each discipline, the more we became fascinated by the extraordinary and singular fate that brings a great band together in a single place at the same time, to weave a singular magic that only those particular elements could hope to imagine.
The greatest magic of the bands we love is how they come from the same place at the same time and the journey they then go on together that is both the shape of their career with all its highs and lows and the music they make.
Imagine if Arctic Monkeys weren't all from Sheffield, if they hadn't known each other as teenagers, how could they have gone on the journey we've been enjoying these past few years? What brought John Cale from Wales and Nico from Germany to link up with Lou Reed in New York City and combine for that matchless first Velvet Underground album?
Rock 'n' roll bands are so often local affairs that begin in hitherto unheralded neighbourhoods and go on to write their local knowledge round the world; think what The Who did for the mods of Shepherd's Bush or what Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band did for Asbury Park? We'll be exploring this in particular detail in the fifth programme of series that is devoted to the journeys that bands go on together, to the understanding that a great band is also a great narrative, a story writ large. Even if they break up after one perfect album like The Sex Pistols.
Great bands come from somewhere and although I am as partial to the occasional supergroup as the next fan - if you count Cream and Them Crooked Vultures but pass on Velvet Revolver - it's the precise set of circumstances and the precise history which a band shares together that makes us love them.
BUT - and it's a big BUT, there's still something about breaking bands into their constituent parts that invites us to play with the heroes of rock 'n' roll like so many toy soldiers. So we'd like you to play the game. Ignore actuality, history, circumstances and accident and play God. Build your own Fantasy Rock 'n' Roll Bands like God was a manager and we might mention your line-up in the studio show that ends the series on Saturday 5 June. I'll have Richard Ashcroft on vocals, Johnny Marr on guitar, Ray Manzarek on keys and Martin Lamble of Fairport Convention on drums, even though he died in a car crash before the 60s were out, he's still my favourite skinsman. Over to you.
Mark Cooper is the Executive Producer, I'm In A Rock 'n' Roll Band
I'm in a Rock 'n' Roll Band - series producer John Piper writes about the series