Did you know that you could be in a band but not actually have to do much?
This is an electronic group, and those kind of groups can be fairly anonymous, relative to rock bands with charismatic lead singers. Recognizing the need for an image if they were to play live or make videos, the Prodigy hired a Mohawk-sporting, eyeliner wearing man named Keith Flint. Not a songwriter, DJ, instrumentalist, or singer, Flint at first was the band’s official “dancer,” and jumped around the stage during Prodigy shows. (They later promoted him to “vocalist,” but he doesn’t exactly sing or rap—in songs like “Firestarter” and “Breathe,” Flint repeats or chants a phrase or two.)
Many bands have a go-to songwriter or musical mastermind who shapes the group’s sound from behind the scenes. Jim Steinman once wrote all of Meat Loaf’s songs, and Brian Wilson wrote for but didn’t perform with the Beach Boys for years. Procol Harum, the British art rock band best known for the 1967 hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale” counted among its full members Keith Reid—he wrote lyrics, and only lyrics, for the group. He has never played with the group live, but because he’s a full official member, he still earns royalties for writing and performing whenever the band does a concert.
The Happy Mondays
This alternative rock band from Manchester, England, combined rock riffs with dance beats. The band was big on the English dance-club circuit, and so was the drug ecstasy. Happy Mondays singer Shaun Ryder thought his drug-dealer Mark “Bez” Berry brought so much to the band’s sound—by providing them with drugs—that he made him a member of the group. Billed as the group’s “mascot” since 1990, Bez would dance around the stage, and once in a while play the maracas. In 1993 the Happy Mondays split up and Ryder formed a new band called Black Grape…of which Bez continued to work in a similar capacity.