Fancy Plans Guide to Rock and Roll

September 19, 2009

Rivers Cuomo finally trims the band down to just the "important" members.

Rivers Cuomo finally trims the band down to just the "important" members.

[With Volume 10 of the Fancy Plans Guide to Rock and Roll headed your way early next week, I thought it might be fun and self-satisfying to re-up the original. It was never intended to be a series, but people started making requests and, oddly enough, I actually started fulfilling them. I’m still way behind on the requests, but as Abe Vigoda is fond of saying, “I ain’t dead yet.” Enjoy. (Originally published on May 13th, 2009.)]

Here at Fancy Plans… we are often asked the question, “What is rock?” We reply, “Well, what are you listening to now?” The answer comes back, “It sounds like rock.” And our answer comes back, “It sounds like suck!”

Secure in our superiority, we retire to the bar, down several shots, head home alone and cry ourselves to sleep. Usually to Sigur Ros or some other depressing Nordic band. Unless we feel like murdering our friends and burning down a church. Then it’s Dimmu Borgir.

But enough about us. It’s time for some Rock and Roll 101. Remember, we do take requests. Just put them in the comment box.

Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
Fronted by an underwear ad, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch succeeded in putting the “fun” back in “funky.” Tragically, they completely failed to put the “funk” back in “funky,” creating a sound that can only be described as “funy,” a made-up word that means nothing but sums up the group perfectly. Marky Mark went on to be a successful actor dues to his enormous prosthetic penis.

New Kids on the Block
Much like other “new” bands (Riders of the Purple Sage, Christy Minstrels, Order), there’s nothing remotely new about these kids. They’re still the same old kids who’ve annoyed you ever since they were old enough to leave their yards.

Remember, a few Christmases ago, when they showed up on your doorstep, bursting with four-part harmonies and well-rehearsed choreography? And you said, “Would you youngsters like some hot cocoa?” and while they were nodding enthusiastically, you hurled the cocoa into their freshly scrubbed faces? Ho ho ho!

Well, if you do remember would you care to indicate that by marking an “x” in this box and signing the bottom of this statement?

The Alan Parsons Project
– 16 Popsicle Sticks
– 4 Pipe Cleaners
– Intergalactic Spaceship (ask your parents for permission)
– Dry Macaroni Noodles
– Magic Markers
– Psychedelics (ask your older brother)

The Strokes
Grandpa’s favorite band, or at least he thinks so now, when he isn’t catching strange scents or ordering “strangers” like you out of his house. He used to tell you war stories but all he does now is argue with the television, occasionally stopping to yell, “Listen to me, you motherfucking beanpole. I don’t know who you are or where you got that haircut, but get the fuck out of my house! Your skinny tie reeks of purple.”

Awwww. Don't you just want to eat him up?

Awwww. Don't you just want to eat him up?

As popular as his namesake and twice as sweet. Cute-as-a-button blonde candy coating with a dark chocolate core of blustering misogyny. Melts in your mouth, not your hands, ladies.

Pet Shop Boys
PETA’s least favorite band. Chock full of glittery synths, intelligent lyrics and a wardrobe to die for. If the Boys ever covered Venus in Furs covered in fur, several hundred angry protesters would show up and try to reconcile their hatred of furs with their respect for gay celebs and little red ribbons. Heads would explode.

Or perhaps, PETA will again take the low road and pimp out some objects (excuse me, models) to stand around nakedly protesting, thus ensuring press coverage both legitimate (AP) and bastardized (hello, Internet!). Possibly NSFW.

Led Zeppelin
Early pioneer of the heavy metal spirit, Led Zeppelin is perhaps best known for their song We Fucked a Groupie with a Shark. Amongst their other achievements: exposing youngsters to Satanism, Whitesnake, and founding member Peter Jackson’s movie career, which finally allowed the band’s Tolkien love to blossom fully.

the Sex Pistols
Formed by Malcolm McLaren as yet another London sex shop, the Sex Pistols inadvertently became a band. They were briefly popular and reached their pinnacle when they serenaded Queen Elizabeth on her 103rd birthday. Frank Sinatra nodded his approval.

Tragedy would befall the band as bassist Sid Vicious fell in with the wrong crowd and began murdering his girlfriends. Fortunately, his lack of personal hygiene and crippling heroin addiction stopped him at one, a Miss Chloe Webb. Malcolm McLaren went back to running both sex shops and his mouth, pausing briefly to photograph naked 15-year olds.

Carter, the Unstoppable Sex Machine
Current favorites in the mostly British arch-off, along with Certified Balsa artist Fatima Mansions and undeniably popular Blur. As Blur has dropped their class warfare angle to concentrate on world music, animated side projects and screwing Justine Frischmann, this leaves Carter USM (Shopper’s Paradise, Sealed with a Glasgow Kiss) in a neck-and-neck race with underdog Fatima Mansions (Only Losers Take the Bus, Blues for Ceausescu).

A dark horse candidate has appeared out of the US, though. It’s Negativland and their piss-take of U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. And here come the lawyers! Stay tuned!

(Or not, with the exception of Blur, none of these bands are still producing music.)

Lemmy, under the influence of nearly goddamned everything, is suddenly entrance by his "massive" hands.

Lemmy, under the influence of nearly goddamned everything, is suddenly entranced by his "massive" hands.

Fronted by Quentin “Lemmy” Kilmister, former contributor to space rock pioneers, Hawkwind. Lemmy (Quentin to his mum) wished to head towards a more straightforward metal sound while founding member, Jethro Tull, was more than happy to prance around playing his flute.

Lemmy fought long and hard for his release from the label, finally forcing their hand with his refusal to comply with their sideburn policy.

The founding members of KISS met at a Kabuki class at an upstate New York Montessori school. They soon took their love of rock and roll and stage makeup to the next level, forming KISS in 1972. The original lineup included Gene Simmons (born Chaim Witz), Ace Frehley (Alfred Carlson Entemann), Peter Criss (Christopher Peter Rasmussenjinsenn) and Vinnie Vincent (Vincent Vincent, III Esq.)

Fortune and fame came quickly. Gene Simmon’s tongue and little black book became the stuff of legends (apparently, he is quite the master storyteller and writes down his dreams for later interpretation). In 1996, Gene Simmons was given an honorary doctorate from the University of Chicago, thus temporarily making him “Dr. Love,” until his title was bestowed on Dr. Drew.

Alice Cooper
During his formative years as a member of the high school tennis team, Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier) suffered a debilitating case of tennis-lesbianism. While recuperating (or should I say, “recooperating”), Vincent took a long trip to Sweden and returned as Alice Cooper, rock star. (I guess I won’t say that. It’s ridiculous.)

Much like your former uncle, Aunt Patricia, whose house you never get to visit anymore. Which is too bad because s/he was giving you free tennis lessons. Oh, well. We all wish her the best as she continues to climb the levelled playing field.

Cynthia Plastercaster
Not specifically a rock star, although she does know a great many of them and could probably pick them out of a crowded, darkened, half-dressed room. Ironically, Cynthia’s start can be explained by a malaprop caused by a gardening accident suffered at an early age.

The story is that Cynthia approached Jimi Hendrix backstage and asked to be “a fanclub of his member.” Jimi was delighted by this play on words and gave her some suggestions as to what she could do with Jimi’s jimmy.

Another anecdote adds to her considerable legend. Apparently, a young George Lucas received a backstage pass to a New Christy Minstrels show. While touring behind the scenes, George happened across Cynthia, working from her normal plaster-castering position. As a 31-year old virgin, Lucas was confused and thought that this was her actual height. This image, combined with her eccentric speech patterns, stuck with Lucas and was the inspiration for the character Yoda.

Please stay tuned for future installments as events warrant.



  1. Delightful, as always. There are 100’s of bands I’d like to hear your thoughts and altered facts on… I’l start with five…

    Alien Sex Fiend
    Captain Sensible
    The Virgin Prunes
    Thin Lizzy

    • Alien Sex Fiend, eh? That should be fun. They’re a personal favorite of mine.

      Capt. Sensible, Thin Lizzy and Sweet – A little research and I should be ready for dicombobulation.

      And the Virgin Prunes, featuring Bono’s cousin or stepbrother or former uncle or something.

      To the Capmobile!

  2. Can’t wait.

    Gotta love the fiends. Saw them a couple of times.

  3. Holy shit you are so funny. I haven’t laughed this much since the last time I got high. 😉

    I vote for a Captain Beefheart bio.

    • Another Captain request.

      I may have to do a military-week theme or something. What the hell, Memorial Day’s coming up.

      We’ll have a Cap-stravaganza because it works on so many levels.

      Thanks for stopping in bkt and thanks for the compliments.

  4. Much like all your work — it ages much much better than any rock star could ever hope to. (Cosmetic surgery, it appears, cannot save Steven Tyler.)

    Of course, some things have changed since then: I now know all about Carter, the Unstoppable Sex Machine. Which is a good thing.

    Of course, some things haven’t changed. Lemmy’s drinking is still out of control. Which is okie dokey by me.

    And, finally, this affords me the opportunity for more requests. Thus proving they really do keep coming…

    Princess Tinymeat
    The Hudson Brothers
    Twisted Sister
    Monochrome Set

    • Welcome back, Alan.

      And now that you know about Carter USM, I shall have to rip thru my storage area to find some of their spiritual brethren, Fatima Mansions.

      So far I have just found the case…

      Thanks for the requests. I will be on those like something… loosely wrapping something else.

      The Housemartins might be fun, what with them being the formative years of one of my favorite djs/producers, Fatboy Slim.

  5. Ha!

    Post (or should I say repost) of the day, CLT.

    To tell you the truth, Marky Mark and his Funky Bunch were the reason I never got into doing heroin (well not heavily, anyway). With kick-ass yet affirmative lyrics like theirs, I realized I could have a good time without pumping “negative vibes” into my system.

    I’m here to prove to you
    that we can party on the positive side
    and pump positive vibes
    so come along for the ride
    Making you feel the rhythm is my occupation
    so feel the vibration

    …trust me, I was feeling it.

    And let’s just say that Led Zepplin changed my life…well, technically it wasn’t Led Zepplin per se, it was a more like a cover band from Mexico (Llevado Zepplin) who played their songs.

    To this day, I can’t hear “Stairway to Heben” without tearing up a little…

    Can’t wait for early next week…I’ve even got my matching pants ready!

    • Ha! indeed.

      Marky Mark has a lot to answer for, but at least he kept you off the smack. Those were some pretty positive vibes, reeking of good times and early-morning cheerfulness. Not for nothing were the Funky Bunch refered to as “More positive than Octomom’s pregnancy test.”

      I’ve been down Mexico way and seen some members of Llevado Zepplin toiling away in yet another cover band: Leopardo No Puede Oir.

      They brought tears to my eyes with their searing rendition of “The how you say ‘biting’ of de amor.” It sounds beautiful in the original Spanish even though it’s originally English.

      See you en la manana.

  6. I’m kind of stuck in my ways, especially since moving here and not having a radio; but I still love me some Eminem. The first time I heard the new album it seemed like way too much….anger? But it’s grown on my exponentially. There is no better workout music than 3:00 AM. Like I said it’s a real bitch without radio, to find good stuff I like. It’s always taken me a couple attempts to get into anything to begin with. I do love rock too, but haven’t downloaded anything new in 18 months.

    • Eminem certainly has a way with words and has some amazingly intricate rhyme schemes. Taken with several grains of salt, he can be pretty good.

      It’s too bad you’re stuck without much music, Scott. I love the stuff like a junkie loves heroin and, occasionally, methadone.

      Keep the faith. Thanks for visiting.

  7. In the beginning…

    Ten volumes in seven days. Very impressive.

    • Well, it took quite a bit longer than that. Just like creation which actually took millions of years under the assumed name of “evolution.”

      So about 4 months, more or less.

  8. Very interesting
    How about Guns N Roses

    That one should be fun

    • That one should be fun, suzette. Lots of things went horribly wrong with that band, including the mysterious disappearance of the lead singer up his own ass.

      Great to see you again.

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