12. Danger Kitty, Discover Card Commercial, 2001
They’ve been enjoying the biggest success of their career as Steel Panther, and to think they started as a cover band playing ’80s hair band songs in Los Angeles! Originally they were known as Metal Shop, and then Metal Skool and they gained quite a following, now, as Steel Panther they’re touring the world, literally. Everyone loves a some good, tight zebra skin spandex and vagina jokes. Early on, the band appeared as Danger Kitty in a Discover Card commercial where they played a kids Bar Mitzvah. In 2001, at their website, you could get a CD single of the track they played in the commercial called “Love Rocket,” and you can imagine that I requested mine in about .02 milliseconds. Of course, I still have it and have been obsessed with the band ever since.
11. Arsenal, Rock of Ages Musical, 2005-present
Rock of Ages has been a staple musical since 2005 in various parts of the country and touring all over the world. The show spawned a 2012 film adaptation which I still haven’t watched in fear that it’s nowhere near as good as the stage show. The main band in the show is Arsenal and they play actual ’80s arena rock tunes, but what makes them so special to me is that all of the stops on their fictional first tour were to random New Jersey towns! If you want to see proof, I have their original promotional t-shirt and there are photos in my review of the off Broadway production from 2008. This early incarnation of ROA reviewed here was the best before they started tweaking the story, characters, and actors.
10. The Barbusters, Light of Day, 1987
The band in this rock drama is comprised of Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett in one hell of an oddball mash up. The title track was written by Bruce Springsteen. Bon Jovi also appears on the soundtrack.
9. The Lost Soulz, The Perfect Age of Rock n Roll
This rock and roll road movie was filmed partly in New Jersey and my friend Jasin Cadic from the band Starkiller co-wrote it! Check out my review from when it was released.
8. Black Roses, 1988
A monstrous metal band turns everyone into monsters – quite a masterpiece. I recommend adding it to your Halloween time viewing if you haven’t done so in the past. Tracks like “Dance on Fire” and “Soldiers of the Night,” are staples of my Fall playlists. Bands that appear on this rare soundtrack include Lizzy Borden and King Kobra.
7. Vesuvius, The Rocker, 2008
For a while I was watching The Rocker at least 3 times a week. That’s what happens when HBO gets a hold of a new movie. Rainn Wilson and Christina Applegate star in the comedy, but it’s a who’s who of comedic actors such as Fred Armisen, Will Arnett, and Jeff Garlin. It’s well worth your time if you are into silly comedies about rock bands like Spinal Tap. The direct result of watching this movie constantly: I was obsessed with “Promised Land” and listened to it on loop on the way to work for several months. The tunes by Vesuvius are attributed to singer Keith England and his band Lazlo Bane.
6. Stillwater, Almost Famous, 2000
A young music journalist embarks on tour with his favorite band Stillwater to document their exploits for a possible published spot in a rock magazine. Said to be based off of the early years of director Cameron Crowe’s life. I’ve had a couple of Stillwater songs on my iPod ever since I owned an iPod. The authentic track, “Fever Dog,” it sounds like it was a lost track made recorded in the mid ’70s, and it’s not surprising because the Stillwater songs were written by Crowe, his ex-wife Nancy Wilson of Heart, and Peter Frampton which helped give it that special vintage sound. Although the film did not knock ’em dead at the box office, the soundtrack won a Grammy for best soundtrack/compilation.
5. Dyver Down from Holliston, 2013
Used mostly for comic relief, the Van Halen tribute band Dyver Down, lead by Lance Rocket (Dee Snider) actually has a track available on iTunes called “Love It Down Your Throat” and a schlocky, badass music video to go along with it. This was my favorite aspect of the show, well, this and Laura Ortiz of course.
4. Mouthfeel and Juggernaut, Gettin’ The Band Back Together
You’re almost guaranteed not to be familiar with these next bands, (it’s a twofer, I cheated) but you will be soon if all goes well. I was lucky enough to see the play getting the band back together with Miss Sexy Armpit at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick in its early phase. It’s been rumored for a while now that it’s on making it’s way to Broadway. If this happens, you may be seeing Rock of Ages take a back seat because that is how funny and entertaining this play is. The comedy/rock musical hybrid is about, you guessed it, a guy who gets his band back together to save his home and neighborhood. They get into a battle of the bands which pits the evil Mouthfeel against the rock heroes in Juggernaut. The original songs are ’80s arena rock style and a select few are available on iTunes. Unfortunately the self titled track “Mouthfeel” isn’t available. I hope Mouthfeel’s tracks make it to the Broadway show otherwise I’m protesting in ’80s hair band attire.
3. Eddie and the Cruisers, 1983
This Jersey classic is possibly one of the most successful fictitious band songs ever. “On The Dark Side,” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, scored a number one hit on the Mainstream Rock singles and reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The sequel, Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives, arrived in 1989.
2. Tears of Blood, Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have read about how my life has spun out of control ever since Netflix removed Wizards of Waverly Place from their streaming service. I was completely devastated. It was like a punch in the gut! It’s one of my favorite shows of all time and it never fails to make me happy. One minor aspect of the show references a rock band called Tears of Blood. They get mentioned in a bunch of episodes and there’s even a poster that shows up on the wall in one scene. TOB is crazy popular with the teenage crowd within the universe of the show. They even get mentioned in other Disney shows which was always surprising considering the very un-Disney-like name of one of their tracks, “Crying Blood for You.” I can’t be certain anyone has actually heard their music though. If anyone has Tears of Blood music, send it my way!
1. The Hex Girls, Scooby Doo
Scooby Doo fans are ultra familiar with this “eco-goth rock band.” You can see and hear them perform in several Scooby outings, but I suggest you check out the Mystery Inc. episode “In Fear of the Phantom” while it’s still streaming on Netflix. In it, Daphne joins the band as a temporary new member, Crush, voiced by the lovely Grey DeLisle-Griffin. Look out for the influences of Phantom of the Opera, Phantom of the Paradise, and an awesome little surprise cameo from Vincent Van Ghoul from the 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo!
Who are some of your favorite fictional bands? Leave ’em in the comments! Thanks for reading!