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The Top 10 Most Overlooked Band Members

by dsussman   March 11, 2009 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 24,770

We all know that being in a band is a team effort. It’s never a one-man show. So it’s unfortunate sometimes when fans just assume the lead singer writes all the lyrics and the guitarist is the only one composing the music. This is why we need to give a few shout-outs to some of the most talented musicians in the industry who rarely get the respect they deserve.

By Dustin Sussman

The following article does not represent the opinions of Spike TV or its affiliates.

10. Jason Newsted – Metallica


Source: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

I’ve always loved Jason and hated the fact that most people, including the band, have constantly made him walk in Cliff Burton’s shadow. This man gave 150% every single time he hit the stage and never ever complained. He was dedicated to all things Metallica and always felt fortunate to be a part of the band.

It is so f***ing stupid even to try to compare Jason to Cliff on a music level in the first place. It’s apples and oranges, man. They have two completely different styles of playing. It’s a taste issue. Personally, I prefer Cliff’s style of playing. His love for Rush, as well as the Misfits, made him one of the most unique bass players of his generation. Jason on the other hand, brought an intense physicality to the stage as well as huge backing vocals that absolutely gave the band a much heavier sound during live shows. He also used a pick while Cliff did not.

The one thing I will admit is the fact that nobody headbanged like Cliff Burton. Nobody. 


9. Vinnie Paul – Pantera


Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Even though he was pretty much overshadowed by his brother’s groundbreaking guitar work (and Phil’s big f***ing mouth), Pantera would have never been the same band without Vinnie’s speed metal drumming skills.

The musical relationship between Vinnie and Dime was something so special and unique that it almost brings a tear to my eye. Mostly all of the band’s energy revolves around the way Vinnie and Dime played together. His energy as a musician is also something a lot of us take for granted. Giving every ounce of energy you have every single show is no easy task.

His work on “F***ing Hostile,” “Domination,” and “The Art Of Shredding” easily puts him in the pantheon of the greatest heavy metal drummers of all time.

And, for those that are thinking it, I almost put Rex on this list as well.

8. Tina Weymouth - Talking Heads


Source: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Tina is hands down one of the greatest females to ever pick up a bass guitar. Period. The fact that a white girl could be that funky is beyond me. I would also guess that she was quite influential to young girls who thought about picking up the bass in the first place.

Tina also had a way of putting such a distinct sound on any song she would touch. From “Psycho Killer” to “Take Me to the River,” Tina left her unmistakable mark on everything the Talking Heads ever created.

7. Michael Anthony - Van Halen


Source: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

I’ve always felt that, without Michael Anthony, Van Halen wouldn’t have been the same band. I’m not knocking Eddie and "Diamond" Dave, but this man was literally the backbone of the group. When Michael put his ripping bass and unbelievable backing harmonies together with Alex’s (who is also very underrated) hyper drumming, each song seemed to blast right into the cosmos. It’s also no easy task to keep up with Eddie lick for lick.

People don’t realize how much his backing vocals affected the band’s live shows as well. His energy alone is what rock ‘n roll is all about. Go back and watch any gig form the ‘80s and you’ll see what I mean. Anthony is always holdin’ down the chorus front while Dave is screaming like a wild man and flirting with groupies in the front row. Love this f***ing guy.

6. Ray Manzarek – The Doors


Source: Jan Persson/Getty Images

Ever since the Oliver Stone flick The Doors dropped back in 1991, people have had a sour taste in their mouth for Mr. Manzarek. I’m still kind of on the fence about the guy myself, but I also can’t even imagine being in a band with Jim Morrison without losing my patience every once in a while.

In the film, Manzarek is portrayed as being a sellout who was willing to sell his art if the price was right. I really don’t know how much truth there is to this because the movie is basically dedicated to Jim Morison and the purity of his art. This negative perception of Ray absolutely takes away from his skills as a keyboardist.

On a technical level, there are few that can even rival him even today. It’s always seemed that his so-called "square" persona has overshadowed his unbelievable skills as a musician. His whimsical organ work on “Light My Fire” is still one of the most brilliant compositions in pop music. I’m not understating the skills of Robby and John, but Ray does seem to get the shaft due to Jim’s immortal legacy.