In theory, the supergroup is a fantastic idea. From the 1970’s to the 1990’s, many of the greatest musicians banded together (pun intended) and played arenas filled with diehard fans who expected their shit themselves in sheer awe of the angelic sounds filling their ears. That only ever happened to middle-aged hippie dads who took too much acid at Dylan & The Dead shows in 1987. For everybody else, the amalgam of Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead was good, but not as legendary as Bob Dylan or The Grateful Dead. Other supergroups have followed this pattern, leaving in their wake a plethora of tour shirts and albums to collect dust or find homes at the local Goodwill.
Though the idea of a supergroup was eventually thrown to the wayside, it is being redefined and given new life. From big names like Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star and Kurt Vile to local garage and DIY outfits like Today’s Hits and Twin Peaks, artists are redefining the supergroup as a collaborative medium for artists to experiment with their collective talent and experience and have a good time playing music together. Supergroups and collaborating artists are creating new sounds and giving listeners new experiences.
While I would spend all my grocery money on tickets to see Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney play their hits together, I know that the sum is not as great as the respective parts. The new supergroup is more relaxed and driven by co-creation rather than headlining festivals. Side projects, crowded stages in dive bars, EP’s recorded on iPhones are what the new supergroup is made of, and I think it’s pretty damn cool.
by Hayley Robertson