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A Tribe Called Quest: He wasn't in the group long, but one of ATCQ's founding members was Jarobi, a figure who never rapped on anything but was the recipient of numerous shout-outs and prominent placement in videos like "Can I Kick It?" According to the Tribe doc Beats, Rhymes & Life, he is now a chef in the greater NYC area.

In today’s Listomania, we unveil our favorite 10 bands who have a member that doesn’t play or do anything, and that’s no intended sleight to these critical players, whether they be hypemen, “vibes managers,” or just token old dudes to round out a musical family. Honorable mention goes out to Broken Social Scene’s fourth guitar player, or to any band who has more guitarists than three — we’ve ran the numbers, and there’s a huge marginal decline after that third guitarist. Anyway, check out the list and let us know who we might have missed in the comments.

Comments (77)
  1. An omission it broke my heart to make: Tom Breihan playing this role in his HS band American Substandard.

  2. Dang it, why no Bez in dis list???

  3. I think Dap got promoted to rapper. Pretty sure he had a few verses when I saw them at Pitchfork fest.

  4. Buy a jumpsuit, look christian and get on the bus at the right time and you can also be a member of the Polyphonic Spree!

    • Reading the line, “Someone in the Polyphonic Spree, probably,” made me audibly giggle like a schoolgirl. The whole library is now concerned.

  5. Bez from Happy Mondays

    • crazy dancer but not as crazy as Anthony Hodgkinson aka the Dancing Tony but yeah still, as an official member of the band we could say Bez deserves to be in the top .

  6. 9 members that don’t play anything…sounds like Slipknot

  7. Also that dude from Fugazi that wears the skirt and dances around.

  8. Lana Del Rey.

  9. I love Taka, especially the fact that most of the time it’s not even a proper flag he’s waving around but a trashbag connected to a stick or even a paper tower roll. Anything he can find.

    • It’s hard to watch anything else when it’s happening. They play awesome shows. But I rarely take my eyes off that flag wavin, blanket draping, shifty dancing man.

  10. I remember reading a review of a band playing live, I think I read it in the NME, and it talked about this otherwise unremarkable band who had one member whose sole job was to dance, take his clothes off and cover himself in gold paint while the rest of the band played.
    Unfortunately I can’t remember what they were called, but that sounds fucking awesome

  11. Seriously this list is a joke without Bez. How did you miss that! He was an integral part of the whole Happy Mondays persona…

  12. dude, did you SEE the pavement reunion? bob fuckin’ nostanovich’s hype duties basically made that show.

  13. Too late for the list, and I could be remembering this wrong, but did Rusted Root have somebody whose whole job was to bang two sticks together?

  14. I saw Gang Gang Dance this summer and thought to myself, “Weird, is this dude going to contribute anything to the music?” After ten minutes, I realized that I watched him more than any other member of the band and immediately rescinded my original judgement.

  15. i just spent 20 minutes looking for a direct link to a photo of this guy. damn you flickr for making me post a link.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/70243150@N00/232058685/sizes/z/

  16. Peter Sinfield.

    And Joel Gion should get two spots, ’cause he was the only reason to watch the movie.

  17. Scott Weiland

  18. I was expecting to see Cloud Cult’s two painters on this list.

  19. One of Bruce Springsteen’s early bands used to have two guys who just sat at onstage playing checkers at every show.

  20. Bez for Prez!

  21. A guy who plays a tambourine still plays something.

    And.

    PUBLIC ENEMY #1

  22. What about Theo Van Rock, the live sound engineer for The Rollins Band?

  23. The girl from Butthole Surfers (when they were good) who would stand on stage naked and have sex with Gibby on-stage.

    Well, maybe she was playing an instrument.

  24. tambourine and maracas are instruments you can play

    nice job leaving out flavor flav and leeroy thornhill too

  25. Josh Graham as visual artist for Neurosis

  26. Wojtek Dmochowski of the awesome Blue Aeroplanes. What a dancer!

  27. LOL Tolhurst (the Cure)

  28. If tambourines and maracas don’t count as playing something, I guess we could also count Martin Swope.

    But really my first thought was Public Enemy’s Professor Griff and S1W.

  29. There could be a top 10 of Gwar members that don’t play anything. Sexecutioner, Sleazy P. Martini, Slymenstra Hymen, Gor-Gor, or anyone from their army of onstage slaves.

  30. When I was in Jr High in the late 80s, my school actually hired a third tier butt rock band to play an assembly for us. They were called “The Edge”. I remember distinctly that they had some guy who was dressed like the rest of the band (but he also was sporting a pretty mean skullette), sanding on one of the stacks, shaking his hips, grinning, and playing air guitar. He did that through the whole show. AIR GUITAR! I wonder why I never heard from them again.

  31. does anyone know what the fuck geologist does in animal collective?

  32. Andy Fletcher from Depeche Mode?

    Keith Flint and Maxim in The Prodigy eventually started adding vocals, but they’re pretty borderline.

  33. Jamie Hewlett?

    The Prodigy Dancers, who I hear are dead.

    Oh yeah, and Jed Hoile, the mime who used to tour with Howard Jones.

    And the S1W, as others have stated.

  34. Gang Gang Dance does not have a useless member! The guy on the front left serves a purpose by holding up an exotic oriential drum piece so someone else can play it.

  35. I can’t believe that Sid Vicious isn’t on this list! And beyond that, this post has been here for two days and no one has even mentioned him!

  36. Jerome Benton of The Time. He dances and handles Morris Day’s mirror. And that’s about it.

  37. Fred Nemo danced for Sub Pop artists HAZEL, and he was great.

  38. WHAT ABOUT THE BECK GUY?

  39. Richey Edwards, far as I know, only contributed one chord to the entire output of the Manic Street Preachers whilst he was still around, and was famously unplugged for the majority of the band’s sets.

  40. Ok they are called “Vocal” I see

  41. Does going on stage whilst playing two notes on a synth, plugging in a laptop or fiddling with a tambourine exclude individuals?

  42. Paul Rutherford of Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

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