1 The Muppet Mindset: Muppetology 101: Muppet Music Appreciation, Part 1

Dec 7, 2013

Muppetology 101: Muppet Music Appreciation, Part 1

Michael Wermuth, Jr. - Music is an important part of the Muppet world. Almost every Muppet sings and/or plays an instrument. With the Muppets being so musical, it makes sense that there are Muppet bands and music groups, and today we're going to learn about them. First, here's some of the more notable bands from the "Muppet Show" family of productions.

DR. TEETH AND THE ELECTRIC MAYHEM
Unless you've been living under a rock (or your Muppet knowledge is primarily limited to productions from the 1990s), you should know that Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem are the most prominent Muppet band of all time. You probably know that the members consist of Dr. Teeth on keyboard, Floyd Pepper on bass guitar, Animal on drums, Janice on lead guitar, Zoot on saxophone, and sometimes Lips on trumpet. And you probably know that The Electric Mayhem is responsible for such hits as "Can You Picture That?" and "You Can't Take No for an Answer," and that they have performed alongside such artists as Elton John, Lou Rawls, and Paul Simon.

THE COUNTRY TRIO
This country band consists of hillbilly caricatures of Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and Jerry Nelson. (You know who they are, right?) Jim plays banjo, Jerry plays guitar, and Frank plays cello. They performed in a number of guest appearances on talk shows before The Muppet Show debuted, and only appeared on The Muppet Show a few times, performing such unforgettable numbers as "To Morrow" and "Summertime." There were a number of hillbilly bands that were used more often, however...

THE GOGOLALA JUBILEE JUGBAND
This first Muppet jugband (before Emmet Otter's Jug-Band and the second Muppet Show Jugband) consisted of a banjo player, a guitar player, a jug blower, an old man on fiddle, and a girl singer. Unfortunately, very few of them were named, but they performed such great songs as "You Can't Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd" and "I'm My Own Grampa," and have backed up such guest stars as Jim Nabors and Twiggy. The Gogolala Jugband has rarely appeared outside of their own numbers, and for unknown reasons were replaced by...

LUBBOCK LOU AND HIS JUGHUGGERS
The second jugband on The Muppet Show, consisting of Slim Wilson on guitar and vocals, Lubbock Lou on mouth harp, Zeke on banjo, Bubba on jug, Gramps on fiddle, and Lou also on vocals. It is unknown why the jugband needed to be replaced, and keeping the first wouldn't have had any consequences, though the members of this jugband were frequently seen outside of the jugband numbers (though none of them became real characters). They have performed such great songs as "Henrietta's Wedding" and "Borneo," and have backed up guest stars including Loretta Lynn and Roy Clark.

BOBBY BENSON'S ALL-BABY BAND
A band consisting of musical babies, managed and conducted by the rather suspicious character Bobby Benson. None of these babies are known to have names, but are musically talented despite their young ages. They have impressed with such great tunes as "Pennsylvania 6-5000" and "Baby Driver," and once provided back-up for Victor Borge.

GERI AND THE ATRICS
Perhaps meant to contrast the baby band, Geri and the Atrics is a rock band consisting of old ladies. Geri plays the cello, but very few of the other members names are known. Some of their hip hits include "Hound Dog" and "Who Put the Bomp in the Bomp-Sha-Bomp-Sha-Bomp." Oddly enough, Geri is the one seen the least, being replaced with a tambourine player after the band's second appearance (though the band kept Geri's name in the title).

SOLID FOAM
The house band for The Jim Henson Hour, Solid Foam consisted of Clifford on bass, Beard on guitar, Digit on keyboard, Flash on saxophone, and a female drummer whose name is unknown. It is unclear which member is the leader, but they have performed such great hits as "The Music Just Keeps on Rolling Along" and have provided back-up for such guests as Smokey Robinson and kd Lang. Unfortunately, as good as they are, all of their music (as well as vocals) are synthesized.

THE EXTREMES
A singing group of aliens who performed two numbers on The Jim Henson Hour, "Neutron Dance" and "Uh-Oh Here She Comes." If the show hadn't been cancelled, this group could have become more prominent mainstays in the cast.

MUPPETS TONIGHT BAND
Unfortunately, none of the fans know the official name of this band, nor do we know the names of many of the members. This zydeco band was probably meant to replace The Electric Mayhem, but they didn't do anything that the Electric Mayhem likely wouldn't have done in the 90s. This band was only used in musical numbers providing back-up, never having their own songs. There were two episodes that began with Clifford talking to the band.

Well, that's it for The Muppet Show world of Muppet bands. Join us next class period for the Muppet bands and singing groups from Sesame Street.






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

1 comment:

  1. As always Michael, great article! There's so many of these bands I never knew the names to, and I never knew about the Solid Foam guys before.

    Can't wait for part two!

    ReplyDelete