Ladies and gentlemen, Rocks Off is pleased as rum punch to announce that The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has (not) added an official puppet wing to that fine institution. What's even better, they have (not) given us the opportunity to nominate some of the finest felt fender fingerers for the wing.
Here, in order of preference, are our five nominations for best puppet band.
5. They Might Be Giants
The two Johns have blazed many trails in their years, and one of their part-time contributions to music is the use of puppets. TMBG started working with Matt Chapman and his brother, the creators of Homestar Runner, on several puppet segments in 2004. Since then they, have occasionally utilized hand puppets for other projects, most notably a cover of "Long Grift" from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
4. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem is without a doubt the most prolific puppet band in the world, having been featured in Muppet features of all kinds. According to the Robot Chicken Institute of Things That Happened, the band split up after saxophone player Zoot was arrested in Japan for drug possession and drummer Animal had to be put to sleep for attacking Ed McMahon on Star Search.
If you're wondering why such an iconic band ranks so low on the list, it's because they backed Miley Cyrus on a television special. Forgiveness is the province of God, not Rocks Off.
3. The Yo-Dazzlers
Although puppet purists argue about whether or not the Yo-Dazzlers count as traditional puppets - being men in suits rather than socks being fisted, the four-piece rock act is currently one of the top puppet performers still active. They serve as the house band on Yo Gabba Gabba, and have performed with legends like Paul Williams, who is secretly involved with just about everyone on this list.
Occasionally, they have to share the stage with the regular cast's vanity project band, of which Cyclops guitarist Muno is the only real talent, but whenever The Yo-Dazzlers are allowed the spotlight they blow the regular crew off the stage. It's entirely possible that we're taking the music scene on Nick Jr. a bit too seriously.
2. The Nightmare
You know when we pick the bad guy band from a TV special named after the good guy band that they have to be freakin' awesome. Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas is one of those Muppet specials we've been watching on a scratchy VHS since we were very little. The story is simple: A group of very poor folks band together to try and win $50 from a talent show in order to buy Christmas presents for each other. To accomplish this task, they either pawn or destroy the tools they use for odd jobs.
Here's the thing: This plucky young jug band loses! They lose to a group of local hooligans who terrorize the neighborhood, destroy property, insult our heroes at every turn, and show up to the talent show unannounced and demand they be let compete. Thus are we introduced to The Nightmare - think Iron Butterfly, but as puppets. God only knows what they do with the prize money.
Are there puppet prostitutes? The whole thing is the greatest analogy for the absolute realities of the music industry we've ever seen. Except, of course, for...
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1. Sad Kermit
If you've been on YouTube, you have seen Sad Kermit. The series of videos is a look at the life of the world's most beloved puppet figure after a fall from fame and grace. It all started with Sad Kermit's rendition of "Hurt."
In addition to the haunting, almost Jandek-like interpretation of the classic pain-anthem, the video shows Kermit descending further and further into rock and roll hell, shooting heroin, performing oral sex for drug money, and other acts of unspeakable, non-rainbow filth and degradation. Who knew the arm in the frog was dotted with track marks?
Jef With One F is the author of The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact That You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned In the Black Math Experiment, available now.