I’m absolutely sold by most “rockumentary” programmes, whether it’s talking about the hippies living in Laurel Canyon or Metallica recording the “Black Album”, I’m not too fussed. I just love discovering all the fine details about how musicians, especially guitarists, develop their art and creativity.
If you didn’t see any of the BBC “I’m in a Rock ‘n’ Roll Band!” TV programme, the concept is fairly simple. It was a six-part series investigating what constructs the perfect rock ‘n’ roll band where the BBC and influential rock musicians described the important role each band member has, detailed various characteristics (typically stereotypical) of each member and gave the general public the opportunity to vote for who they consider to be the best Rock n Roll band member of all time.
I’d better get my rants out of the way early on. Firstly I was miffed to see that the bass player only had 30 minutes exposure on the programme that was harshly entitled “The other one”, where the BBC mixed a single episode with bassists, keyboard players, dancers and anyone else who helped to form a rock band. I was disappointed as I personally thought a whole hour should’ve been devoted entirely to the bassist. You could also argue that although the programme was focussed on being in a Rock n Roll band, the BBC left out a variety of musicians who could have easily been included in the voting selection list.
The series culminated on Saturday evening in a live TV broadcast where we were notified of the top three musicians who had successfully been voted into each respective category. This was followed by numerous “celebrities” debating why each of these musicians deserved the mantle of being the greatest of all time.
The final three guitarists were presented to us and to be honest I wasn’t too surprised at the list. Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Slash made it through which was fairly predictable, although I did raise an eyebrow at Slash being included. If I was really honest, I was shouting “Where the hell is Jeff Beck!” at my TV screen.
After a couple of hours of listening to the “celebrities” argue their case for who they think should win the various awards we were finally informed that Hendrix picked up the accolade for being voted the greatest Rock n Roll guitarist of all time. I was personally torn between Hendrix and Page, mainly due to the huge array of fantastic riffs Page has created over the years – but the live DVDs I have of Hendrix really display a creative genius full of energy, rhythm and charisma that must have blown away both fellow musicians and numerous audiences throughout the late 1960s. His “Band of Gypsies” album is still one of my favourite live recordings.
Overall, I was a little disappointed with the final TV programme but I was happy with the voting result. Just think, to actually have the opportunity to see the winning musicians on stage at the same time in a “super group” would really be something!
So I guess this leaves me to ask a final question: Who would you have in your Rock n Roll super group? If I choose to ignore the actual selection the BBC offered I’d probably go with the following: