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3 Pairs of Unlikely Band Mates

June 25, 2015

Today’s music trivia is about beautiful music made by people who you never would’ve thought would make beautiful music together.

Michael Bolton and a member of KISS

Bolton became the king of overwrought soft rock in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but that was only after his career as a regular rocker fizzled out. From 1979 to 1980, under his real name Michael Bolotin, he fronted a rock band called Blackjack. Also in the band: guitarist Bruce Kulick, who after Blackjack broke up would join KISS in its post-makeup era. (Also in the group: Jimmy Haslip, soon to be a member of jazz fusion group the Yellowjackets.) Kulick worked as a session musician on a lot of Bolton’s solo works; Bolton repaid the favor by writing KISS’s hit 1989 ballad “Forever.”

Rick James and a bunch of Canadian rock icons

In 1964, Rick James had enough of the U.S. Naval Reserves and did what a lot of drafted guys did back then: fled to Canada. In Toronto he joined a band called the Mynah Birds. Other members of that band included Goldie McJohn (who would later join Steppenwolf), Bruce Palmer (of Buffalo Springfield), and Neil Young. The band was signed to Motown, but “It’s My Time,” the one single they recorded was never released.

Elvis Costello and a Doobie Brother

Costello combined punk energy and emotion with sweet, poppy guitar-driven rock in the late ‘70s to help create New Wave. Young people embraced it, while older people clung to ‘70s classic rock bands like the Doobie Brothers. When recording his first album, My Aim is True, in 1977, Costello hadn’t yet assembled a permanent backing band, so he hired Clover, a California band. After Clover split up, guitarist John McFee became a member of the Doobie Brothers, and keyboardist Sean Hopper went on to be the keyboardist for Huey Lewis and the News.

For more music trivia, check out Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into Music.

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