The Starting Nine – Musician Edition

Yesterday I was day dreaming.  I was trying to put together the “perfect band;” this band would be made of my favorite musicians in hopes of creating the perfect “Tony LP”.

The band itself was pretty easy to start, since I already had a great drummer and an insanely talented (and at times overly ambitious) guitarist.  The next step was to fill in a few more guitarists, vocalists, and even employ the old “double drummer” trick (a la one of my favorite bands: …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead).

So here they are, my favorite musicians (along with their respective band/act(s)) in no particular order:

  • Zach Hilldrums – Hella/Death Grips/solo (and countless other bands)
  • Omar Rodriguez-Lopezguitar/keyboards – The Mars Volta/At the Drive-In/Bosnian Rainbows/solo
  • Amanda Palmerpiano/keyboards/vocals – The Dresden Dolls/Evelyn Evelyn/solo
  • Frank Turnerguitar/vocals – Million Dead/Möngöl Hörde/solo
  • P.O.Svocals/production – Doomtree/Cenospecies/Building Better Bombs/solo
  • Craig Finnvocals/guitar – The Hold Steady/Lifter Puller/solo
  • Marnie Sternguitar/vocals – solo
  • James Murphysynth/keyboards/guitar/drums/bass/vocals/production/everything – LCD Soundsystem
  • Conrad Keelyartwork/drums/guitar – …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead

That’s quite the list, huh?  The underlined instruments are the areas that each member would focus on (but not be limited to).  I didn’t pick just one bass specialist, but between the entire group they are more than able (in fact, most of the people above have played it, though they usually employ someone else in their band).

It was out of pure coincidence that I ended up with nine artists in my dream band.  I was not looking to field a starting lineup, but once I counted and saw the finest of baseball numbers, I knew what needed to be done…

CREATE A LINEUP!!

By comparing their strong points and trying to imagine music like a baseball team, I decided to assign each member a spot in the batting order and a place in the field (National League, of course, since I’d need 10 to include the AL’s DH).

Offense (Batting Order):
I imagined their offensive positions based on the artists ability to make hit songs and the energy they bring on their instrument (“hits” is a bit ambiguous, especially since they are in bands not known for “pop hits”, but rather “Tony hits”).

Defense (Fielding Position):
The artist’s ability to play their instrument well define their position in the field.  If they are incredibly skilled, then they take a skilled position (C/SS/P); if they are not technically skilled, but specialize more in energy/intangibles, then they take the lesser skilled positions (LF/1B)

The easiest place to start was on defense.  Lining up fielding positions proved easy… at the beginning.  I knew that the main drummer (the most skilled) would either be the pitcher or the catcher.  Zach Hill was going to set the tone for this band, but in beats and energy.  Since he was calling the shots and had to survey the land, Zach found himself behind the plate.  I knew that the guitarist would then be the second most vital player on the team; someone who has to work well with Zach and create a magnificent landscape of sound.  Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (the mad genius) would be taking the hill.  Omar loves to jam and create unique sounds; his leadership will come in handy as a pitcher.  I also knew that he isn’t one to write your typical “hit”, so he also fit the role of a National League pitcher – great on the mound, not so much at the plate.

I then knew that James Murphy’s flexibility went perfectly as a utility man, or someone very specialized in the infield.  He can write great hooks, play his instrument well, and a great all around leader.  Sounds like a shortstop, doesn’t it?  On the flip-side, Craig Finn is not the prettiest when it comes to technical skill.  Craig’s ability lies in his songwriting, on the intangibles he brings to a band.  He is a high risk, high reward kind of guy – you either love his music or you hate it.  Craig’s spot was fitting in nicely as a left fielder, which is typically a place for your lesser-skilled fielders.

The rest of the lineup started to get trickier; so instead of taking the member and fitting them into a spot, I took the position and found the best member.  Since I already had one of the middle-infielders, I looked for the corresponding double-play team member.  Amanda Palmer popped out for me.  She is solid on both sides of the ball, and as a person who plays the keys, she could time things perfectly with James Murphy who also plays keyed instruments.  To round out the infield I picked a third baseman; a guy with a strong arm and a strong bat, Frank Turner.  Frank’s counterpart at the other corner position would then be narrowed down to one of three people left on the board.

First base proved tough, so I immediately paired up Marnie Stern with center field.  She plays fast, so that seemed the same as running fast.  She may not hit for power, but she probably would get on base a lot and have the ability to steal bases.  That left Conrad Keely and P.O.S for two positions – right field and first base.  It was obvious to me, P.O.S was the first baseman; he is like Prince Fielder – not extremely skilled in the field, but man does he have power?!  P.O.S is a rapper that seems like he has the stuff to strike it big.  Maybe I am just biased, since he is a local artist, but I think he is the next Kanye West… without being a tool/idiot.  So Conrad Keely was in right field; he is kind of like Michael Cuddyer, versatile to play in many positions and average/above-average power.

WHEW!  So that is the logic behind the positioning of the members, now for the final touch – The Batting Order!

(In order: Player – Position)
Amanda Palmer – 4
Marnie Stern – 8
Frank Turner – 5
P.O.S – 3
James Murphy – 6
Craig Finn – 7
Conrad Keely – 9
Zach Hill – 2
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – 1

Manager: Tony Voda

So what do you think?  I know I’m a bit mad for even adding these two together, let alone giving such a detailed account.  Who cares?!  It’s combining two things that I have a passion for – Music + Baseball = Happy Tony.

Do you have a starting nine that isn’t full of baseball players?  Do you want to challenge my band/team against 9 of your favorites?  I’m all ears!

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One thought on “The Starting Nine – Musician Edition

  1. Now, Tony, I challenge you to create a dream-team band out of just MLB players who can also play instruments. It is particularly hard because you don’t hear a ton of music from most of them. But for example, Bernie Williams could possibly be your guitarist if you want to make an all-time band too. The MLB Fan Cave videos would probably be a good place to start researching.
    -Mateo
    http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com

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