From Glamstars to Beavers: Top Five Cartoon Bands
It's been a while since I've watched Saturday morning cartoons, so I don't know if the shows are what they used to be. In my time (and believe it or not, there was a time when the best cartoons weren't on during prime time and were actually geared toward those under the age of 15) the adults making cartoons would do their best to inject a little rock & roll into the flickering images.
Usually their efforts came off as forced and derivative, but we were kids (read: stupid) and it spoke to us anyway. So here's a list of some of Hollywood's best tries at introducing the prepubescent world to rock as well as some of today's attempts to carry it forward for those who grew up during the golden age of Saturday morning television.
1. and 2. Jem and the Holograms/The Misfits - A cartoon that taught young girls about fashion, empowerment and compassion. It's hard to beleive Hasbro had a hand in this one. If you thought Hannah Montana was the first TV character to have a secret rock star alter ego, you're mistaken. The plot followed the adventures of record company exec Jerrica Benton who moonlights as the front woman for Jem and the Holograms (think of a poppy Lita Ford). The setup was surprisingly complex and involved the use of top-secret computer technology which transformed Benton in to Jem so she could rock out to raise money for her non-profit foundation which helped foster kids. Her job would have been easier were it not for the shiftless machinations of girl band the Misfits who were always trying to upstage the Holograms.
3. Emmet Otter and His Jugband - Though not a cartoon, it's the next closest thing--a bevvy of furry critters created by late puppeteer extraordinaire Jim Henson. If you didn't have HBO in the '80s, you probably missed this annually featured special about an otter named Emmet who enters a music contest to help raise money for his beloved Ma. The one-hour special featured blue grass songs penned by Paul Williams, writer of such classics as "We've Only Just Begun," "Old "Fashioned Love Song" and the "Rainbow Connection." Dig this little ditty that rocks the lyrics "When you meet someone who don't like soul food/ they still got a soul/ And it don't mean that you don't got rhythm if you don't like rock n roll." With all the found instruments being plucked and pounded by these little furries, one has to wonder where today's hipsters got all their ideas.
4. Sadgasm - You didn't think we'd get through this list without a Simpsons reference, did you? Sadgasm was featured in a flashback episode where Homer and Marge recount their early courtship, which started in the '90s. After a temporary breakup, Homer experiences despair and starts making bleak music bearing an uncanny resemblance to Nirvana.
5. Dethklok - The band featured in Adult Swim's ode to all things metal. It won't embed, but here's a link to a clip of bassist Murderface demonstrating his songwriting abilites to his band mates. Titty fish!