What’s your ultimate band line
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What’s your ultimate band line

May 01, 2023

The musical mavericks and virtuosos we wish we could hear together

In partnership with Warner Bros.

If you love music as much as we do at NME, you’ve probably spent a silly amount of time wondering what audio treats your fave artists might cook up in the studio together. Billie Eilish laying down vocal licks over Metallica? Absolutely. A solo-off between St Vincent and John Frusciante? Yes please. Lizzo and Taylor Swift vibing as one? The dream.

We’ve been thinking about the subject even more recently, thanks to new superhero blockbuster The Flash (in cinemas June 14). The upcoming DC epic features the mother of all pop culture team-ups. That's Ezra Miller's speedy king The Flash (aka Barry Allen), unseen-on-the-big-screen alien-god Supergirl (Sasha Calle), and Michael Keaton's Batman, back for the first time since Tim Burton's 1992 classic Batman Returns. And if that wasn't enough, the film also features Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader.

So, in the spirit of epic collaborations, here are NME writers’ dream supergroup lineups from across time. Prepare to have your minds blown…

Maynard James Keenan (vocals), John Frusciante (guitar), Eddie Van Halen (guitar), Thundercat (bass), Anderson .Paak (drums)

When it comes to inspiring a generation of guitarists, few have had as big an impact as late rock hero Eddie Van Halen and Red Hot Chili Peppers axeman John Frusciante. Add the unconventional vocal melodies of Tool's Maynard James Keenan, the virtuosic stylings of Anderson .Paak and Thundercat's mind-boggling bass rhythms, and you’ve got an unbeatable mix of head-banging shred-funk, guaranteed to deliver non-stop festival anthems.

Liberty Dunworth

Billie Eilish (vocals), Travis Scott (rapper), Kaytranada (beats), Timbaland (producer)

In a perfect world, this unlikely group would recreate the magic of ‘Airplanes’ for Gen-Zers. That 2010 smash hit was as anthemic as they come but it also had a melancholic side to it. Taking the place of Hayley Williams and B.O.B, genre-defying hip-hop ally Eilish and chart-topping rapper Scott could appeal to both ragers and sad bois alike. Throw in Kaytranada's unique beats and Timbaland's production wizardry and you’ve got a surefire classic cover record.

Kyann-Sian Williams

Prince (vocals, guitar), Tom Morello (guitar), Kim Deal (bass)

Meet your new fave band, starring The Purple One himself, plus Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello and legendary ex-Pixies bassist Kim Deal. With this much talent (and a drum machine), anything could happen. Morello gives Prince the muscle to explore a heavier sound, while Deal ensures the trio can dish out ferociously poppy hooks if the mood suits them. Who knows what musical delights might emerge from their studio…

Andrew Brown

Miles Davis (trumpet), Sly Stone (keys, drums), James Brown (vocals)

In the late ‘60s, Miles and Sly were in somewhat of a friendly creative duel, each spurred on and wowed by what the other was creating. Likewise, Miles praised the work of James Brown, considering him a crucial voice for young Black Americans and inspired Davis as he recorded jazz-funk rocker ‘On The Corner’ in 1972. Perhaps no studio – real or imaginary – could house three egos this large, but the mutual respect and sheer talent between these music heavyweights would be hard to match.

Thomas Smith

David Bowie (vocals), St Vincent (guitar), Daft Punk (synths), Tina Weymouth (bass), Questlove (drums)

"Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming," read the promotional mantra for David Bowie's 1977 classic ‘Heroes’. The same can be said for everyone in this line-up – having all applied a future-facing attitude to funk, rock and beyond. There's David Bowie as the OG spaceman provocateur, St Vincent his contemporary heir, Daft Punk making tomorrow feel all the more present, Talking Heads icon Tina Weymouth with her celestial rhythms and Questlove keeping things ultra-stylish. This is the robo-funk band to make you reach for the sky and touch another galaxy.

Andrew Trendell

‘The Flash’ is in UK cinemas from June 14

Maynard James Keenan (vocals), John Frusciante (guitar), Eddie Van Halen (guitar), Thundercat (bass), Anderson .Paak (drums) Billie Eilish (vocals), Travis Scott (rapper), Kaytranada (beats), Timbaland (producer) Prince (vocals, guitar), Tom Morello (guitar), Kim Deal (bass) Miles Davis (trumpet), Sly Stone (keys, drums), James Brown (vocals) David Bowie (vocals), St Vincent (guitar), Daft Punk (synths), Tina Weymouth (bass), Questlove (drums)