Did you ever happen to watch a movie or series and encounter a famous band that you know or a band that’s familiar to you? Well this is called a cameo appearance or a cameo role. A cameo is a brief appearance of a known person – or a band in our case – in a work of the performing arts, such as plays, films, video games and television, often appearing as themselves. You might be surprised by how many band cameos have been made over the years in several movies you might not have heard of. In this article we’ll be discussing some band cameos in some movies and series, known or unknown, it doesn’t matter as long as you are fond of the bands.
Let’s start off with some famous ones. Let’s take Green Day in The Simpsons, the movie. As the movie starts with The Simpsons’ famous theme music composed by Danny Elfman, Green Day appears soon, animated of course, playing a punk version of the theme, on a barge at the lake, sunk by the audience with garbage after Green Day mention the environment protection. The scene is pretty funny of course, not only because it’s The Simpsons but also because seeing Green Day talk about the environment and then being booed by the audience and sunk while they’re playing violins before they die is a funny dark situation.
Since we started with The Simpsons, let’s continue with them, but this time in the series. We encounter The Ramones in the fifth season of The Simpsons in the episode “Rosebud” in which The Ramones, also animated; play Happy Birthday to the evil Mr. Burns on the eve of his birthday. And of course, they make a punk version of it. A little trivia won’t hurt anyone about this episode: it’s called “Rosebud” referring to Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane in which the main character’s last word before he dies was “Rosebud”. The episode also contains references to The Wizard of Oz, Planet of the Apes, actor George Burns, Charles Lindbergh and Adolf Hitler. It would be interesting to spot those references one by one, but let’s stick to our main subject.
Last in The Simpsons’ cameos list but surely not least, are The Beatles, appearing often in several episodes through the seasons. Sometimes they are just used as references and sometimes they make appearances, like George Harrison in a ball, meeting with Homer Simpson, Ringo Starr replying to one of Marge Simpson’s fan letters, or Paul and Linda McCartney being guest stars. It’s no surprise, really, since Matt Groening (creator of the show) and his team are fans of the Beatles. The show is practically a memorial to the Fab Four.
Next up, are other series cameos like Death Cab For Cutie, The Killers and The Subways in The O.C.
You might know Death Cab for Cutie as being an indie rock band, known for songs like “Soul Meets Body” and “I Will Follow You Into The Dark”; The Killers as being an alternative rock band with known songs like “Somebody Told Me”, “Mr Brightside” or even “When You Were Young”; and The Subways, who is an indie post-grunge band.
Those bands were cameos playing in concerts during episodes of The O.C. in a fictional new nightclub and concert venue, called The Bait Shop, mainly in the second season. Some other bands were cameos in the show including The Walkmen, Modest Mouse, The Thrills, Rachael Yamagata, which made the indie music essential to the show.
Artists also made guest appearances as a sort of release of their new music, like Beastie Boys, U2, Beck, Coldplay, Gwen Stefani and The Shins.
Mentioning Gwen Stefani, we can’t forget No Doubt’s cameo in the series Gossip Girl as a fictional band in the episode “Valley Girls”. It isn’t hard to spot them and notice them, knowing Gwen Stefani’s unique –sometimes squeaky- voice and No Doubt’s famous style of music.
Okay, now let’s get back to movies!
There’s a not-so-good movie called Hot Rod in which a band called Gown plays a song called “Head Honcho” at Rod’s (the main character) final jump. What you probably don’t know is that Gown is a fictional band, played by non-other than Queens of the Stone Age, a cool rock band you might know, who’s known for songs like “3’s and 7’s”.
If anyone is a fan of Tim Burton AND likes to rock, then you will be amused by the fact that Twisted Sister makes a short cameo in Tim Burton’s Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Although liking rock and Tim Burton doesn’t forcibly make you like Pee Wee because it’s completely different from Burton’s other films. Twisted Sister appears making the music video of “Burn in Hell”, one of their songs, which is interrupted by Pee Wee Herman running away from hooligans chasing him. And he destroys everything.
Most of you have seen Ace Ventura: Pet Detective starring the famous Jim Carrey. Well, death metal fans, I bet you all love that movie for the fact that Cannibal Corpse – famous death metal band, for those who don’t know them- makes a cameo in the movie in a concert scene where Jim Carrey joins them on stage. There has been a lot of rumors about Jim Carrey being a Cannibal Corpse fan. But turns out it wasn’t true. His son-in-law is the one who put the rumors to rest by asking him about it when he met him being a death metal fan himself. And he got his answer. Carrey hates death metal.
Moving on to some of the greatest rock/metal bands making cameos in movies you might have never heard of unfortunately, we spot AC/DC and Alice in Chains, respectively in Private Parts and Singles.
In Private Parts, AC/DC appears in a concert, as themselves, playing “You Shook Me All Night Long”, before a pregnant woman’s water breaks…in the middle of the concert. But who cares as long as AC/DC is there to make you shake all night long.
As for Singles, well it’s a movie for grunge era and grunge music lovers, which explains Alice in Chains’ cameo in it during a scene of a concert in which they play some of their songs like “Ain’t Like That” and “Would?”. And, surprise, surprise, band members of Pearl Jam act as the band of Cliff Poncier (fictional character) called Citizen Dick. Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave also has a cameo appearance in this movie. Can you spot him?
I’m sure there are thousands of other artists and bands cameos, but I can’t put them all nor spot them all can I?…Yes, I can…but it will take years. Enjoy!