Before anyone says anything, don’t worry, I’m not gonna claim that I came up with this idea myself. This is a game that goes back to before I can remember. You’re bored on a road trip, and need something that’s both fun and will spark instant debate. So you play the Greatest Band In The World with a group of friends. The purpose is always the same. You are picking four members to create the best rock band possible.
The rules vary, but here’s the version I’ve found most entertaining.
1. You are drafting a lead singer, guitarist, bassist, and drummer only. No dual positions. If you chose Phil Collins, you have to designate him as either the drummer or lead singer. He cannot do both.
2. You are following a snake draft system, so the person with the first overall pick will pick last in the second round.
3. Nobody gets Jimi Hendrix.
So there’s plenty of strategies you can follow. You can go for the supergroup and just throw talent at every position, but that’s not only boring, it’s also not the best idea. The San Antonio Spurs don’t have anyone on their roster nearly as athletic as Durant or Westbrook, and they’re thumping the fuck outta the Thunder, because they have great chemistry. You have to keep in mind that if you draft Kurt Cobain in addition to Eric Clapton, there’s gonna be some real issues over who’s the primary songwriter of that group. You need to have a group that will be able to agree on an artistic vision, otherwise you just have guys who are really good at their instruments, but with shitty songs.
You also have to keep in mind what age you want everyone to be. You get to choose what part of someone’s career and talent level each person is at when you draft them, and then they will age normally from there. So would you rather have young, dumb Dave Grohl as your front man, or older, wiser, better songwriter Dave Grohl? Older Dave Grohl is probably better, because he’ll get along with his bandmates and share in the creative process, but you’re also gonna be missing out on like a decade of prime talent years from him. It also begs the question of whether you want a band that’s gonna create some of the best music ever, but not last very long (like Nirvana), or have a long and storied career, but maybe have less acclaim (like the Red Hot Chili Peppers). That’s a personal choice.
So here’s my strategy. It goes in steps. Step one, I like to call the “Freddie Corollary,” meaning that no matter where I’m at in the draft, if Freddie Mercury is still on the board, I’m taking him immediately, with no hesitation. You guys can debate about Axl, Kurt, David Lee Roth, and John Lennon all you want. Freddie is the king. Step two, if Freddie’s already been drafted by some clever sonuvabitch, I go guitarist. There’s a very small number of top tier guitar players out there, and you wanna snap them up if your franchise-changing vocalist is gone. I personally prefer Jimmy Page. He’s incredibly talented, super humble, and knows how to work with a singer/songwriter with a strong personality.
Now for your rhythm section. Here’s where people fuck up the most. A lot of people don’t know a lot of bassists and drummers off the top of their heads. So the first step here is to not play this game with idiots. Pretty simple. After that, people are gonna go really obvious routes with drums and bass, and totally forget style. Yeah, Flea is one of the best bassists of all time, but his funk/rock style isn’t gonna mesh well if you’ve already drafted Paul McCartney and B.B. King. Your rhythm section is dictated by your early round picks.
All of this being said, I’m sure a lot of you are wondering what my perfect four would look like. Well, wonder no more.
Vocals – Freddie Mercury (Queen)
Guitar – Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
Bass – John Entwistle (The Who)
Drums – Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band)
You think you can do better? Give it a go, clown.