Mudhoney plays the Bluebird on Friday. Instead of taking the occasion to reflect upon the importance of a then-nascent Seattle grunge scene circa its 20th anniversary (plenty of others have done that), I’d like to highlight the most bizarre cameos that musicians have ever made in the movies. We’re not talking about your standard set-up, here: None of the bands who appear in “Singles” and are an integral part of the plot make this cut. No, this list is for the stop-you-in-your-tracks, total WTF moments.
Honorable Mention: Mudhoney in “Black Sheep”
This is what happens right after Mudhoney plays MTV’s “Rock the Vote” in the Chris Farley flick. You’ve got some kickass shit.
10. Guns N Roses in “The Dead Pool”
Herein lies a degree of separation situation: Jim Carrey starred as a rock star who bites the big one in this long-forgotten Dirty Harry flick before he became famous for his role in “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.” In “Ace,” none other than Cannibal Corpse makes a cameo.
9. Fishbone in “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka”
Don’t put fish in your soles if Fishbone is around.
8. The Clash in “The King of Comedy”
Another heckle scene. Reminder: Don’t mess with punk rockers.
7. The Yardbirds in “Blow-Up”
This scene not only paved the way for European directors to awkwardly utilize great bands in movie sequences (see: Nick Cave in “Wings of Desire”), but taught generations of hipsters how to stand around at a concert with hardly any movement.
6. James Brown in “Ski Party”
The Godfather of Soul is also the Godfather of Cameos, popping up in “The Blues Brothers” and “Rocky IV.” Still, nothing is odder than seeing James Brown sing — or really, anyone sing — in a ski sweater.
5. Ween in “It’s Pat”
Everything about this is outrageously off-the-wall.
4. Aimee Mann in “The Big Lebowski”
Sure, Flea is in “The Big L,” too (just as he’s in many other movies, most famously as Needles in the “Back to the Future” series), but Ms. Mann’s nine-toed lingenberry pancake order is a real show-stopper.
3. ZZ Top in “Back to the Future: Part III”
Speaking of “B2F,” the beards on these Houston boys look mighty fine in the Old West.
2. Twisted Sister in “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure”
Dee Snider & Co.’s video shoot gets totally served by Pee Wee’s big chase.
1. Miles Davis in “Scrooged”
You know the scene where Bill Murray’s Frank Cross is Scrooging his way through the Manhattan streets as a jazz band plays in the background? You’re right: That is Paul Shaffer. Oh yeah, and Miles Davis. Wow.
Here’s Davis playing the same Christmas tune he played in “Scrooged,” “We Three Kings of Orient Are” on “Letterman” (with Shaffer and other members of the same band) back in the day: