Six Bands That Should Have Been “Bigger”

If you’re a serious music fan, you likely have a few — or more than a few — bands or artists where you’d love to see them receive more attention beyond the small hive of fans. While listening to some music last night, I thought about some of my favorite bands that fit in this category.

Now, my definition of “bigger” doesn’t necessarily mean a band gets so huge they can only play arenas. Instead, it’s more along the lines of “here are some bands that I really love where it would have been great to have at least one other person know who they were…” Of course, some of you may know all of these bands, but if you don’t, consider it an opportunity to check them out and toss a few bucks their way by purchasing their music.

Last, but not least, you’ll probably notice my picks are pretty much a rock music sausage fest. Simple reason for this: I love boys with guitars.

Just about everyone in this band has gone on to be in a band you probably have heard of — Queens of the Stone Age, Guns ‘N’ Roses, or starting side projects with members of TOOL — yet Failure didn’t really receive a lot of attention. Perhaps it’s a matter of a band being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but their shoegazey sound with sweeping melodies should have been heard by many more people. (Song Recommendation: “Stuck on You“)

The Afghan Whigs
Of course, I have to include my all-time favorite band on this list. Despite being around for over a decade and touring like madmen, The Afghan Whigs’ music — part old-school R&B, part rock, and all swagger — seemed to remain on the perimeter of getting a bigger audience and moving beyond the “critically-acclaimed” label. (Song Recommendation:Going to Town“)

Chances are you may have heard “Sucked Out” in the 90s on MTV, but there is so much more power-pop goodness from this Knoxville, Tennessee-based band. After a hiatus that included lead singer John Davis finding Jesus, the band has returned to play a few shows here and there in recent years. Still, some of their best music has not been heard by enough people. In the Valley of Dying Stars is a classic album. (Song Recommendation: “Keep It Close to Me“)

The Sheila Divine
Though their roots are in the Northeastern U.S. (particularly Buffalo and Boston), this band was pretty big in Belgium, yet virtually unknown in the States. Initially signed to the hard rock/metal label Roadrunner Records, this decidedly not metal band had quite a following, but didn’t really break it big. Their last EP, Secret Society, saw them on Arena Rock Records, which was also home to Superdrag for a spell. Unfortunately, people change, the music scene changed, and the band called it a day in the early 2000s. Lead singer Aaron Perrino’s voice has to be heard to be believed. (Song Recommendation:Sideways“)

Yes, you’ve probably heard of their lead singer. He’s a favorite of mine, too. Still, the band that would lead to Ryan Adams’ successful solo career should have been bigger. When I was starting to get into the alt-country scene, this was one of the bands introduced to me and I’ve been a fan since. The vocal harmonies between Adams and Caitlin Cary are sublime. (Song Recommendation:16 Days“)

I was introduced to this band thanks to Pete Yorn. The Modesto, California-based band opened for him during a 2003 tour, where I got to see them perform several times. Grandaddy’s music is unique, which is probably why their tech-spacey sounds didn’t catch on, but there’s an audience for all kinds of music and I wish theirs would have grown more. (Song Recommendation:AM 180“)

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