19 Bands With Members Who Don't Play Anything

Groups with non-musical band members - dancers, painters, skaters, entertainers and more...

Ultimate Guitar
19 Bands With Members Who Don't Play Anything

Some time ago we posted a list of 15 Bands With Non-Human Members. But there are also bands which include non-musical members, who actually don't play any instruments or vocals. And such members often add more uniqueness, drawing attention to the band and creating a strong following.

So check out our special list of 19 bands which include non-musical band members.

Honorable mentions:

  • Alice Cooper (James Randi, stage magician, performed on stage during Cooper's tour both as a mad dentist and as Alice's executioner; he also built several of the stage props, including the guillotine)
  • Buckethead (P-Sticks is Buckethead's roadie/dancer)
  • Chase & Status (MC Rage is the duo's live "hype man")
  • Depeche Mode (Andy Fletcher's role within Depeche Mode has often been a topic of speculation - he played bass in early incarnations of the band, but later he mostly didn't played on studio records or live concert. He's the band's manager, spokesperson and the one that "brings the band together")
  • Dread Zeppelin (Charlie Haj is the "personal assistant" of vocalisr Tortelvis, and hist entire job is to bring him water and towel)
  • Elio e Le Storie Tese (Luca Mangoni is a dancer/performance artist of this Italian band)
  • Fugazi (early in the band's career Guy Picciotto was just a dancer)
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor (the band has official film projectionist - Karl Lemieux is current, with John Littlefair and Fluffy Erskine being the former ones)
  • Golden Bomber (in Japanese visual kei "air" rock band all members except vocalist just doing theatrical performances)
  • Gorillaz (Jamie Hewlett is a comic book artist, designer, and director, co-creator of Gorillaz)
  • GWAR (Slymenstra Hymen is the band's dancer; Sleazi P. Martini is a band "manager" and the person "who taught them to play their instrument")
  • Hawkwind (Stacia was a dancer/performance artist for the band)
  • Howard Jones (Jed Hoile is the mime who used to tour with Howard Jones)
  • Immortal (since 1997 Demonaz, original guitarist, die to hand trauma has only contributed lyrics (though since 2015 he also performs vocals))
  • Moon Far Away (original band members Heleg was responsible for photo and visual meterial)
  • Nekrogoblikon (John Goblikon is the band's live mascot)
  • Nirvana (Anthony Hodgkinson aka the Dancing Tony was one-time dancer for Nirvana at their Reading performance)
  • O Teatro Mágico (the group also has: Rober Tosta (theater, trapeze, stilts), Daniela Homsi (flute, dance, juggling, fire performances), Gabi Veiga (fabrics, ground acrobatic, doll), Ligia Moreno (fabrics, acrobatic, doll), Toicinho (clown, juggling))
  • P. Mobil (the founder and band leader of Hungarian group does not play anything and does not sing or even dance)
  • Procol Harum (Keith Reid was the band's official lyricist since the beginning until 2016, when he was replaced by Peter Brown (Cream))
  • Ramones (Pinhead was the band's dancer and mascot at live shows)
  • Sleaford Mods (Andrew Fearn, the duo's composer, don't do anything during live performances)
  • Soil & "Pimp" Sessions (President a.k.a. Shacho is the Japanese "death jazz" band's "agitator")
  • The Gerogerigegege (the band has included many members, the most notable being Gero 30 (aka Gero 56), an exhibitionist known to masturbate onstage during live performances; other non-music members have included Junko Katoh (Gero Grace Seijoh), their live manager, and Masatoshi Katsuya (Gero Route 66), the band's driver)
  • The Grateful Dead (Robert Hunter and John Perry Barlow were the band's official lyricists)
  • The Mars Volta (Jeremy Ward is the band's official sound engineer)
  • The Smiths (James Maker was the band's "go-go dancer"/MC at live shows)
  • The Stone Roses (Cressa is the band's "vibe master")
  • TISM ("Les Miserables" is the band's dancer - originally he was portrayed by Andrew Miglietti, and now Andy Armstrong is performing this role)
  • UW Alumni Band (University of Washington football team has Bert Pound, the 95-year-old "push-up guy" doing one-armed push-ups with the Husky Alumni Band every time the team scores)

Here's the list!

19. The Blue Aeroplanes

Wojtek Dmochowski of the British band The Blue Aeroplanes is a dancer - and he does his job very well! The mainstays of the band have been brothers Gerard and John Langley and Wojtek Dmochowski. All three had previously been members of the new wave "art band" Art Objects from 1978 to 1981.

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18. Odd Future (OFWGKTA)

American alternative hip-hop group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, normally shortened to Odd Future and abbreviated to OFWGKTA and led by Tyler, The Creator, have a lot of non-musical members, including: Na'kel (skater and occasional rapper), L-Boy (hypeman) and Lucas Vercetti (band's mascot, skater and store manager).

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17. Hazel

Hazel were a great alternative rock/grunge band from the 1990's, signed to Sub Pop. They had real energy, melody - and a wild dancer named Fred Nemo.

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16. Leningrad

Russian band Leningrad ("Ленинград" in Russian) had many members in their ranks (they even took place in our 31 Bands With Huge Number of Members with 15 official band members at the same time). And they also had Stas Baretskiy from 2005 to 2008, who was the band's showman - though he occasionally performed maracas and tambourine. (Stas is a big bald guy in the below video).

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15. Avail

Beau Beau is the "hype man" (or, officially, a "cheerleader") and the mascot of punk rock band Avail. And he does his job really great!

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14. The Time

Jerome Benton is a dancer and comedic actor. He can be seen in music videos by Janet Jackson and Prince, but he is known for his association with Morris Day and The Time. Actually on live shows he dances and handles Morris Day's mirror.

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13. Ayktyon

Russian experimental/art rock band Auktyon ("АукцЫон" originally in Russian) are also took place on our Bands With Huge Number of Members list. And they originally had 2 non-musical members: Oleg Garkusha (the band's showman who is also an occasional vocalist) and Vladimir Vesyolkin (the band's dancer, who left the band in 1992 to start his solo dancing and musical career). Tragically, in April 2006 Vladimir fell under the tram and lost his leg.

The band also listed Mikhail Rappoport as their official sound technician.

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12. Arrested Development

Baba Oje is known as a "spiritual advisor" or "spiritual elder" of the alternative hip-hop band Arrested Development, but most know him as "that old dude." Another non-musical member of the band is Montsho Eshe, dancer/choreographer of the band.

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11. King Crimson

Peter Sinfield is best known as a lyricist for early incarnations of King Crimson. He also produced a number of the band's albums, including "In the Court of the Crimson King", "In the Wake of Poseidon", "Lizard", "Islands." And he also does "pictures, visions, illumination and sounds" for the band.

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10. Cloud Cult

Stage shows of experimental indie rock band Cloud Cult began to catch the attention of national press, as they included two live painters on stage, Connie Minowa and Scott West. During the live shows they complete the paintings, which are often auctioned at the end.

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9. Kottonmouth Kings

Patrick Cochrun aka "Pakelika" from Kottonmouth Kings was best known as "that dude who just smoked weed and danced around on stage." But, he did it with a passion - and a white mask! But in 2012 Patrick tragically has passed away at the age of 34.

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8. A Tribe Called Quest

Jarobi White was one of the four original members of A Tribe Called Quest, famous alternative hip-hop group. Although he did not rhyme on the albums, he came up with ideas for songs like "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo," which became a single off the group's first album. He also contributed to versions of the songs "Push It Along," "Youthful Expression," and "Can I Kick It?" He left the group in 1991 to attend culinary school, but then fully joined the band after their reunion.

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7. Neurosis

Neurosis, godfathers of sludge metal, pay a lot of attention to the band's concept, so they had 3 "visual artists" as official members: Adam Kendall (1990–1993), Pete Inc. (1993–2000) and Josh Graham (2000–2012). They created visuals (including artworks, videos, etc) and performed live visuals with the band. Josh Graham also performs vocals, guitars and keyboards for his own band A Storm of Light.

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6. The Brian Jonestown Massacre

An integral part of The Brian Jonestown Massacre since the '90s, "tambourine man" Joel Gion has become as iconic as the band itself. (Yes, we know, the tambourine is still an instrument - and it's vital!)

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5. Gang Gang Dance

Gang Gang Dance are a really complex experimental band, especially live. And while the rest of the band is busy playing music parts, Taka Imamura waves a flag, sometimes incense. And though he didn't contribute anything to the music, after some time you'll realize that you watched him more than any other member of the band.

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4. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Definitely one of the most known dancers in music bands, Ben Carr of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones definitely adds even more drive and fun in the band's music with his moves.

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3. Public Enemy

Public Enemy's Flavor Flav is also known for popularizing the role of the "hype man" and for yelling "Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh boyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!" and "Flavor Flav!" during performances. He was the comic relief to some of the group's serious discussions being preached about race, poverty, and revolution. In 1984, when the group's single "Public Enemy #1" brought them to the attention of Def Jam Records executive Rick Rubin, Rubin initially did not understand Flav's role in the act and wanted to sign Chuck D as a solo act; however Chuck D insisted that Flav be signed with them and the two were signed to Def Jam in 1986. Anyway, Flavor Flav occasionally has some verses in the songs.

Public Enemy's other non-musicals members are Professor Griff and S1W.

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2. The Prodigy

The Prodigy were originally formed by Liam Howlett, who creates all music. But later he was joined by Maxim Reality, who was an MC (announcer of the band) and dancers Keith Flint, Leeroy Thornhill and Sharky. Sharky soon left the band, Maxim and Keith Flint started adding vocals, but Leeroy Thornhill was the band's full time dancer (he ocasionally performed live keyboards) until 2000, when he left the band to start solo career as a musician and DJ.

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1. Happy Mondays

Mark Berry aka "Bez" is a dancer, maraca player, and the mascot of Salford alternative rock band Happy Mondays, having been invited in by lead singer Shaun Ryder shortly after the band was formed. He is widely known for his bizarre style of dancing and has a passionate following.

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Know more bands with members who don't play any instruments? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.

135 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Everyone in Maroon 5 who isn't Adam Levine.
    Been a while since I have seen you on.
    Every bassist ever?  I kid...
    Haha the old bassist jokes. Gotta appreciate bassists though. Especially the late great Steve Harris.
    You bastard! I just nearly shit myself! Don't even joke about that - not even just coz I have a ticket to go see Maiden in a few weeks! I'm going for a lie-down.
    This list is missing Dream Theater with Mike Portnoy and the two trashcan players from Slipknot.
    Came here to say that, literally half of slipknot run around on stage as hype men.  Clown couldn't play a real drumset if his life depended on it. 
    Odd thing is Shawn (Clown) does actually play drums for the band Dirty Little Rabbits, he also does the music videos, plays piano and writes a lot of lyrics. I guess his life depended on it.  As for the other members, Craig (the spike headed dude) does keyboards, samples and does a lot of behind the scenes stuff, mainly the visuals and media for live shows, his input on the records has diminished as time goes by. He was originally the guitarist after MATE.FEED.KILL.REPEAT was made.   Chris (Pinocchio) does backing vocals live, he also played bass in the band Will Haven Sid (the guy with the gas mask) does turntables, he also does some keyboards, he's also a very mediocre rapper. Granted his input wasn't that obvious between Vol.3 and All Hope Is Gone, but on Volume 5 he's very audible and contributes a lot of samples during the live sets. 
    For sure, just to be clear I like slipknot and have seen them live and their show is pretty good.  No denying the majority of some of those guys jobs is being a hype man though.
    Of course, I believe it really adds to the live experience tbh but I do notice some people are a bit "ignorant" that everyone has a role to play in the band. 
    So as they said, most of the Slipknot members dont play anything. Theres a bunch of kids a McDonalds i know that push the timer on the fryer, then it goes beep beep beep. Doesnt mean they're the lead synth player for Pink Floyd. 
    No, but they'd still be employees of McDonalds, just like these people are members of Slipknot. Did we miss something here?
    Clown did play drums on some of the songs from .5 after Joey was out of the band. 
    Um, Mike Portnoy is/was the drummer in DT....drums are instruments.
    I know he's not officially in the band but.... Lee ... Tenacious D... Big 3 ...
    He actually kind of is in the band. Not in the movie, but he's definitely been on tour with them on stage. I believe he was a robot while they played "The Metal".
    What about Yoko Ono of The Beatles?
    She was never in the Beatles. You're thinking of the Lennon/Ohno Plastic Band.
    Andrew Fletcher of Depeche Mode. Never played a note in the studio or onstage... The man is decades into a millionaire music career... He must have all the right connections.
    That one guy with the mustache in Frankie Goes to Hollywood. He just stands there. Looking very very gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
    Actually Paul Rutherford was a backing vocalist and even an occasional keyboardist, not just dancer or... "stayer"
    Why can't there be something wrong with that?  Corruption of free speech right there.
    Dr LeBrun
    Flavor Flav actual wrote several songs for public enemy and did some drum tracking so I'm not understanding why he's on the list.  Yes he was an entertainer first on stage but he did contribute in the studio.
    I know it's difficult to work out what noise is what sample or instrument or whatever on hip-hop records, but how did you lift lines verbatim from Flavor Flav's wikipedia page and miss the part that explains how he's a musical prodigy who taught himself piano, drums and guitar as a kid and plays (according to Chuck D) 15 instruments? He can probably play more instruments than most of the bands on this list! And whilst nothing's coming up on a quick google, if you check out the (excellent) hip-hop history book 'Can't Stop Won't Stop', Chuck recounts the story of Rubin trying to oust Flav - in his telling, he sheepishly had to inform Rubin that Flav played EVERY instrument that Rubin had heard on PE's demos; there were samples, obviously, but all the additional recording was done by Flav. 
    Don't forget  Charlie Haj of Dread Zeppelin. He's the guy who hands water and munchies to  Tortelvis who is their lead singer.
    Shacho from Soil & "Pimp" Sessions (a Japanese "Death Jazz" band) is listed as "agitator"- mainly he says things through a bullhorn and grooves out.
    Keith Reid is no longer writing for Procol Harum, he's been replaced by Peter Brown (Cream).
    Hazel was the first band that came to mind for this list, but I immediately thought "nobody knows about Hazel, there's no way they'll make the list"; but then I scroll down and there they are. Hazel has been one of my favorite bands since I was 16, found them from watching the bohemia grunge channel on youtube and still listen to them. I love Pete Krebs songwriting, and it was through him that I found Elliott Smith's work, it's great to see Hazel get a mention anywhere. 
    Yeah, they're definitely great and unique - it was such a discovery for me!..
    Excited to see Cloud Cult even get mentioned let alone mentioned on this site. Amazingly talented band with a pretty tragic story. 
    William Sitnin
    To an extent, Lol Tolhurst from The Cure. He played drums on the early records and then switched to keyboards, but by Disintegration he wasn't contributing anything anymore. Apparently the band gave Robert Smith an ultimatum - either Lol doesn't go on tour or they aren't. 
    Cressa vibe master for the stone roses in the early days of the band and also john Squires guitar tec, He was were the Mondays got their idea from for bez. Also Inspiral Carpets  with a very young Noel Gallagher as their drum Drum Tec.
    I don't agree with Public Enemy on the list. Unless you say Chuck D doesn't play anything, then you have to recognize that Flavor Flav does actually rap. There's lots of tracks where Flavor Flav is the only one rapping throughout the whole song. I'd say he's more of a back up on the mic than merely a "hype" guy.  
    There is also Chase & Status. When they do full live setups they have their hype-man MC Rage. 
    Golden Bomba. Except the vocalist. Not sure if other member is doing anything musical outside live show...
    I would not consider most of these "band members" just because you dance with Beyonce does not mean you are part of the Beyonce "band" if you get what I mean. They are performers yes but if you do not play music you are not part of the band. Not to say they are not important. For instance background dancers for Beyonce add to the spectacle with just Beyonce out there it would feel a tad empty. But they are not needed for the music. Just think if she had them dancing behind her in the studio. That does NOT effect the music! However, it definitely changes a performance.
    I would say it's less about what you consider them to be and more about what the so called "real band members" consider them to be.
    Vicryl 2.0
    with Mighty Bosstones case, Ben Carr also dances while Dicky Barret is recording vocals on the booth.
    To be fair that could effect how the recording artist performs in the booth. I could see how that could get them amped up and deliver more energy. Still a dancer is not a musician even if they do contribute. It is kinda like with producers. They contribute a lot but they are not part of the band.
    Exactly. Thats like saying yeah... the guy serving drinks at the bar tonight, and the in house sound guy is part of the band. 
    Sleaford Mods. Although I think he makes the music away from the performances, the 'other guy' just presses play on WMP then bobs his head while the main guy sings.
    I would suggest Demonaz and Immortal. Demonaz has only contributed lyrics since At The Heart of Winter.  But pretty sweet to see Jerome on there. Reminds me of Jungle Love at the end of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Great movie.
    The Pinhead from The Ramones, dancer and mascot on live shows
    The guys that play Eddie and Vic Rattlehead from Iron Maiden and Megadeth... and I'm pretty sure The Residents have had some non-musical members too
    P. Mobil Hungary. the founder and band leader does not play anything and does not sing or even dance.
    I've heard of 2 of these bands, King Crimson and someone else I can't be bothered to remember 15 seconds later. Stupid lists are stupid lists.
    So you check lists for bands you already know about? Ain't that even more stupid?
    I keep checking these lists to see if there are bands I have heard of that make me go "huh, I didn't know that about them. Interesting." But it doesn't happen. But here's a list idea for UG, "Bands With Members Who Part Their Hair on the Left".
    Especially this one. Dancers are not band members if they recorded an album it would be a blank disc. However, they are performers. Musicians make music and they make up the bands, dancers just make a performance.
    I know it's generally a joke about Andy Fletcher not playing anything in Depeche Mode, I saw them in 2009. Andy was definitely playing bass and synth bass parts in select songs. Nothing standout, but I don't know if it's fair to classify him as a musician who doesn't play anything.