Bands You Are Surprised That Most People Have not Heard of.

The city I am currently living in(Grand Rapids,mi) has a large rock/punk/indie scene. At least I thought so until I actually moved there and began to interact with the people in those scenes. Most of them haven’t heard of stuff that I thought was common place.

The Buzzcocks-I am constantly astounded that most rock&roll people I meet have never even heard of these guys. How could you not?

Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers-Another “you didn’t hear this how?” band. Hell, the Sex Pistols even covered one of their songs.

101er’s- This one I can see why most people have not heard of . It was Joe Strummer’s band before he joined The Clash. But a majority of people who say they like The Clash/say they are one of their favorite bands, Do not even know of this bands existance. It’s not like the 101er’s are a secret, I’m pretty sure they are mentioned on a few liner notes(Clash on Broadway, Super Black Market Clash, although I could be wrong on this point.) They have one album, Elgin Avenue Breakdown that was just re-released under the title Elgin Avenue Breakdown Revisited. Great stuff on there.

Television-The only people I know that like, let alone have even heard of Television are friends of mine that I turned on to this band. You can hear their influence in all kinds of bands playing today. Every book or decent article about punk or CBGB’s or the New York scene have at least a mention of Television in it. These young punks have no appreciation for good music. Marquee Moon is one of the greatest albums ever.

So what bands should more people know about yet don’t?

The Bonzo Dog Band – Masters of comic rock, an influence on Monty Python (a Bonzo member wrote several of their songs) and Death Cab for Cutie (who took their name from one of their songs). And they were more than just a novelty act – their songs were always extremely good.

I find that 95%+ of folks I talk with really don’t know more than what is commonly available, so I am not surprised by your post. Amongst music geeks, I typically don’t find it too hard to find folks who know obscure bands - maybe they don’t know the obscure band I know, but they have one they can turn me onto.

Bands like Television and the Buzzcocks are commonly discussed in my crowd - same with The Ruts and Sham 69. Pavement is less well-known - I had to intro them to a lot of folks.

Big Star - one of my all-time favorite bands; a major influence on most indie bands - heck the Replacements have a song - Alex Chilton - that is a tribute to their lead singer.

Freddy King - one of the best, if not the best, blues guitarist ever. The least known of the Kings of the Blues - BB, Albert and him - he is one of the guys most directly responsible for the Brit blues explosion of the 60’s. Clapton’s cover of his song Hideaway on the “Beano” album is what led to the whole “Clapton is God” thing back in the day, and all he is playing is a note-for-note cover of Freddy…

Spies Who Surf - one of my all time faves…but they’re gone now.

So with you on this one. Not know Television? Madness.

I’d add Mission of Burma to the list. It’s unreal to me how few people are hep to them. Moby covered “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver” (sucking the soul right out of it as he does with everything he touches, if you ask me) but that was years ago, and few seemed to know it was a cover.

I encountered someone the other day who had never heard of Elvis Costello. :eek:? I almost had a stroke.

My list would be pretty darn long, but: The Pretty Things, The Move, The Nazz, The Creation, Capt Beefheart & The Magic Band, Kaleidoscope (come to think of it both the US & UK bands), The Music Machine, The Beau Brummels…

Bonzo DDDB is a great one!

What bothers me more is when you have a band like The Buzzcocks opening for a 10th-generation imitation of themselves who are 20 years younger, as I recall happening here a couple of years back. :mad:

The Replacements, The Replacements, The Replacements!

I love them soooooo much, and yet every time I talk to someone and say “You know, The Replacements…Let It Be…Tim?” I get a blank stare.
I would also say that (while not true on the boards) both Neutral Milk Hotel and the Pogues are unfairly unrecognized. It is especially sad when I am listening to the Pogues and someone asks if it is Flogging Molly and when I say “No, The Pogues” they have no idea who I am talking about. Shameful really.

Have you heard the new album yet? I haven’t, but am told might even be better than ** VS**. Which is impressive, considering their extended “break” from the music scene. I liked onOFFon but felt that it sounded like a reunion album. A great reunion album, but a reunion album nonetheless.

They’re one of those bands I’ve been meaning to check out. But I’ve certainly heard of them.

I’m a bit of a music dork, so I’m never amazed that others don’t share my obsessive tendency towards music, but there are a few that I don’t hear others talking about much anymore that are really great bands. Bands like Gun Club seem to have fallen off the map to a lot of people. A few more that come to mind are bands like Gang of Four, Stiff Little Fingers and Samhain ( I see kids with Misfits stuff on all the time, but never any Samhain stuff.)

Mission of Burma is a great mention. “That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate” is one of my favorite songs of all time.

It didn’t help that MTV required him to recast it as “That’s When I Realize It’s Over.”

Max Webster. Canadian rock group, mid-1970s through early 1980s. Headed by Kim Mitchell. They were on the same label as Rush (Anthem) and toured with Rush. Even though the six albums they made were uniformly stellar, and they achieved great success and fame in Canada, they could not break through in the US. The group broke up and Kim Mitchell had a successful solo career. In Canada. He said in an interview once, “In the US, they think I’m a girl.” Kim does a radio show on Q-107 in Toronto now.

There aren’t a lot of bands for whom I like all of their albums without skipping any tracks, but Max is one of them. Down here, I haven’t met a single person who has ever heard of Max Webster, and only one who knows who Kim Mitchell is, through his most benign song, “Patio Lanterns.”

Oh yeah, like in The Karate Kid

:d & r:

I’m a little surprised about the Buzzcocks. It’s not like you forget the name once you’ve heard it. Television has always been one of the hipster bands, though. It’s more of a secret handshake for the musical cognoscenti. Same with The Dictators, Richard Hell, The Minutemen, and also Gang of Four.

I just wanted to say thank you for this piece of info!

I’ve wanted a copy of this album ever since I bought the Keys to Your Heart single on a whim from a used record store back in the mid-80s. I’d long ago given up hope of finding a copy and I had no idea that it had finally been re-issued.

Thunderclap Newman. I find most people have heard “Something in the Air” (especially if you sing “we’ve got to get together sooner or later/because the revolution’s here” in a falsetto voice), but have no idea who did the song, much less have ever heard the group’s brilliant album “Hollywood Dream.” It’s one of my 10 favorite records of all time.

I’m also amazed at the number of people who aren’t familiar with the original incarnation of Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan, in addition to Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, and how many people aren’t aware that “Black Magic Woman” wasn’t originally performed by Santana.

You’re of course correct that many of those band names are passwords into the inner circle of Music Jerks, but now you make me want to mention the sublime disc that is Minuteflag, which is the ultimate old school hardcore name drop. It’s not available on CD from SST yet, so you have to scrounge it up somewhere.

Caravan- leaders of the Canterbury prog/folk rock scene of the early 70’s. Pye Hastings is one of the true geniuses of rock.

Sometimes I think it’s just that the bands are too far removed from current popular culture. Like how would someone nowadays even here about Television?

I flip my shit when someone doesn’t know Tom Waits. Because really, come on…

Other stuff is just prefernce. You have to put anything like this in perspective. A punk kid who doesn’t know the Buzzcocks is a poser… but if your sister who is married with three kids doesn’t know them- getting mad about that just makes you look like a tool.

For me, I’m surprised more people don’t know The Smoking Popes.

The Dempseys. Rockabilly at it’s finest and possibly the best bar-band I’ve ever seen. Their live set is second only to Cowboy Mouth in sheer enjoyability.

Flickerstick. You may remember them from the VH1 series Bands on the Run. I fell in love with 'em on the spot and, maddeningly, have always had a prior commitment when they’ve played shows in Nashville. Their first record is superior to their second, IMO.

Caroline’s Spine. Had a song on the Varsity Blues soundtrack. I got really lucky twice locating their albums and paying a grand total of 6 bucks for 'em. I don’t think they’re around any more, though.

Honorable mentions go to Stir, Papa Vegas, Flipp, The Loft, The Drive By Truckers, 3 lb. Thrill and Dust for Life

One more- Love. The only misstep in their first three albums is the side long “Revelation” from Da Capo, and even that has some worthwhile moments. Forever Changes is one the few perfect rock albums, with probably the best string
arrangements ever in rock. The quality fell off after that, due probably in part to the departure of Bryan McLean, but Four Sail does contain the legendary “Singing Cowboy”. I admit the outtake album and the 70’s albums pretty much suck, even the cut featuring Hendrix, but damn if those first 3-4 albums aren’t some of the most amazing rock ever put out. I believe Robert Plant mentioned them as a fav during his rock hall of fame acceptance speech, and Mick and the boys paid them the ultimate compliment- ripping off “She Comes in Colors” in “She’s a Rainbow”. And to think Forever Changes only reached #152 on the US pop charts!