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Top 10: Male non-frontman icons

by Justinas Staskevicius January 27, 2015
Top 10: Male non-frontman icons

Centre stage, a place for the frontman (almost always the vocalist) to strut his or her stuff and hold the audience’s attention. Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Bono; as their band’s rise, their names go down in history. What’s harder, though, is being remembered without even opening your mouth. These 10 artists rose to a level of stardom that rivals their respected vocalists while rarely, if ever, singing.

10. Matt Freeman
This bassist rose to fame as a member of both Operation Ivy and Rancid. He played on arguably the best ska punk albums of all time including …And Out Come the Wolves and Indestructible.

9.Neil Peart
Peart’s drum kit is truly something to behold. The kit surrounds him with 360 degrees of percussionary bliss: cymbals, an electronic kit, toms and even a xylophone. It takes quite the drummer to wield such an overwhelming kit and Peart has done so masterfully for decades in his time with Rush.

8. Tony Iommi
Being a founding member of Black Sabbath, the group that almost singlehandedly invented metal, is impressive. If that’s not enough for you, he did it after having lost two of his fingertips in an industrial accident. Even more impressive, he managed to not be totally eclipsed by the massive shadow of vocalist Ozzy Osbourne.

7. Tom Morello
As the guitarist for the politically-charged Rage Against The Machine, Morello created new sounds with his instrument that had never been heard before. Look no further than “Killing in the Name,” the second song on the band’s first album, to hear why Morello stands above most.

6. Travis Barker
While most famous for his time with Blink 182, this drummer never sleeps. He’s a current member of The Transplants, as well as a former member of +44, Box Car Racer and TRV$DJAM. He’s also done collaborations with Yelawolf and other hip-hop artists.  Barker even put out a solo album, Give the Drummer Some. Quite the achievement for a drummer.

5. Sid Vicious
Vicious is the only person on this list who doesn’t stand out for his extreme musical talent. He’s most famous for being a member of the Sex Pistols, yet he is only credited with having played bass on one of their songs, “Bodies,” off of Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, the band’s only album. Vicious is a punk icon even though he wasn’t really a musician in the strictest sense of the word.

4. Angus Young
AC/DC’s schoolboy-outfit-wearing guitarist has written catchy guitar riffs for decades. “Thunderstruck,” “Back in Black,”” You Shook Me All Night Long,”—if these titles are new to you, where have you been living for the past 30 years?  Young’s guitar work duckwalked its way into our collective ears and never left.

3. Flea
Even the most famous bass players often get the short end of the stick. Not Flea. This bass slapping, mononymous god is the exception to pretty much everything that you thought you knew about bass players. He’s been breaking conventions and bass strings for over 30 years with The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and has more recently been working with his supergroup, Atoms for Peace.

2. Slash
Another mononymous musician for this list, Slash has played on arguably some of the greatest rock anthems of all time. From his iconic top hat to his low hanging Gibson Les Paul, Slash is hard to ignore, even when he was sharing the stage with the extravagant Axl Rose in his Guns N’ Roses days. Since that band’s explosive breakup, Slash has kept himself busy with Velvet Revolver, Slash’s Snakepit, and a solo album.

1. Jimmy Page
It’s hard to be part of a group that is as famous as Led Zeppelin and not get a bit of attention. Page crafted his fair share of beautiful  solos as the group’s guitarist. From heavier songs like “The immigrant Song,” to ballads like “Thank You,” his work truly runs the gamut.

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