Top 10 Side Projects

UG community has spoken once again. Check out who made this week's top 10.

Ultimate Guitar

So this week we decided to delve into the iffy domain of side projects as we asked you to name your favorites in our traditional Wednesday question.

As we said, it's a world of hit and miss efforts out there, but we decided to focus on the best and give the web UG community's pick of side projects' creme de la creme.

Before we proceed to the list, we should note that several acts made the top 10, but were disqualified as supergroups rather that side projects. These include Audioslave, Atoms for Peace and Them Crooked Vultures, with the latter even reaching No. 1 spot. So without further ado, here are the top 10 side projects of all time.

10. Scars on Broadway

System of a Down axeman Daron Malakian gets to kick off our list with his Scars on Broadway side project. Officially announced in 2005, the group was founded after the release of the latest SOAD record, 2005's "Hypnotize." The four-piece released their self-titled debut in 2008, featuring singles "They Say" and "World Long Gone." Interestingly enough, Scars on Broadway story dates back to 2003 recording sessions, also featuring bassist Shavo Odadjian. What makes the sessions especially important is the fact that they produced "BYOB," one of System's greatest hits.

9. Tremonti

With his 2012 solo debut, Creed/Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti decided to slightly venture away from modern rock and even submerge into thrash metal waters. Apart from playing the guitar, the record also saw Tremonti handling the vocal duties.

As a critically acclaimed effort, "All I Was" managed to crack the Billboard 200 top 30 with such tracks as "You Waste Your Time," "So You're Afraid" and "Wish You Well."

8. The Dead Weather

Consisting of Jack White, Allison Mosshart, QOTSA's Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence of the Racounters, the Dead Weather were formed in 2009. Four-piece kicked it off with a prolific two-year period, releasing two records, 2009's "Horehound" and 2010's "Sea of Cowards," within a single year.

Your votes earned the gang the No. 8 spot, with such hit singles as "Will There Be Enough Water" and "Die by the Drop" probably giving notable contributions.

7. Liquid Tension Experiment

As a prime representative of the prog world, Liquid Tension Experiment came to be as a brainchild of Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy who joined forces with keyboardist Jordan Rudess and bass legend Tony Levin.

Initially, Portnoy wanted to hire late great Dimebag Darrel to handle the axe, but couldn't due to conflicting schedules. After his second and third choice, Steve Morse and Jim Matheos of Fates Warning, also proved to be unavailable, the stickman invited his fellow DT member John Petrucci to join the fold.

Despite facing high expectations, the four-piece delivered high-quality work with their two records, unleashing such monster prog tracks as "Acid Rain," "Paradigm Shift" and "Universal Mind."

6. Mad Season

We're now moving to Seattle and a time when the grunge movement was at its peak. The year was 1994; members of three of the scene's prominent acts - Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Screaming Trees, joined forces and formed a group called Mad Season.

Featuring Layne Staley on vocals and Pearl Jam's guitarist Mike McCready, the band released their debut and final record "Above," in 1995 only to go on a hiatus the next year. Bassist John Baker Saunders' 1999 passing officially marked the band's end; Staley passed away two year later.

5. The Racounters

Mr. Jack White gets to crack our list in half with his second appearance and the Racounters side project. Founded in 2005, the group released a total of two studio efforts so far.

With hit singles such as "Steady as She Goes" and "Salute Your Solution," both albums reached No. 7 on the Billboard 200 chart, earning a Gold sales certificates in the UK along the way.

4. Down

As Pantera just propelled into metal superstardom with "Cowboys From Hell," the one and only Philip H. Anselmo also got involved with another group called Down. Two decades and three studio albums later, the band is still kicking and screaming, rightfully earning a spot in the upper half of the list.

Singles such as "Stone the Crow," "On March the Saints" and "Witchtripper" speak for themselves.

3. Temple of the Dog

Founded in 1990 by Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, Temple of the Dog is often considered a Soundgarden/Pearl Jam supergroup. However, the band actually predates Pearl Jam, making the supergroup label unacceptable.

The band's only record, self-titled "Temple of the Dog," dropped in 1991, fetching critical acclaim with the title track becoming its most prominent tune.

2. A Perfect Circle

Maynard James Keenan's most well-known side project, A Perfect Circle, gets to be our top 10's runner up. Founded in 1999, the group released a total of three albums so far, with their latest effort, 2004's "Emotive," dropping almost a decade ago.

But despite not being too active in recent years, the band still remains popular among the rock crowd with such tracks as "Passive," "Judith" and "The Outsider."

1. Gorillaz

When Blur frontman Damon Albarn founded Gorillaz with Jamie Hewlett in 1998, he managed to set the bar pretty high and prove once and for all that side projects can become a major global success. Their debut single, 2000's "Clint Eastwood," launched the group into superstardom, making Gorillaz one of the most successful acts of the last decade.

Tunes such as "Feel Good Inc." and "On Melancholy Hill" only contribute to the band's popularity, making Gorillaz this week's champions.

That about wraps up this week's list. Did your favorites make the top 10 and get the props they deserve? Or do you think someone else should also be up there in the big league? Let us know in the comments.

173 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Darth Wader
    I wish UG would change the format on how these Wednesday question lists go. It always seem the first few bands mentioned make it in the top few spots because people see them more. Wish we could nominate on Wednesday, UG would compile a top 25 or so of top upvotes on Thursday for us to then vote or rank, and then show us the top 10 on Friday. But maybe I am thinking too much about lists and really don't matter at all in the grand sceme of things.
    I agree. I also think you shouldn't see WHO is winning, 'cos a lot of the time I see one with the medal and think "Well what's the point, it's clearly been decided"
    Good points from both of you, it would definitely make voting more interesting and less predictable
    Yeah they really should change this. Maybe have an actual poll as opposed to a forum post, so that we can't see who is winning and feel like our voting is fruitless.
    Well, block it until after the vote. but yeah. maybe they'll read this and it will change
    Nero Galon
    The love for Gorillaz here is intriguing but fair.
    Their music is just really infectious and...different. That's why I've loved their stuff since I was a kid. It was just like nothing I had ever heard before. But I am perplexed as to how Them Crooked Vultures didn't get on here.
    I guess they may have edited it since you wrote this, but the intro says that TCV got #1 before they were taken out for being a supergroup.
    Then why is Down still on here? Pepper Keenan, Kirk Winstein, and Jimmy Bower all had fairly successful bands before down was ever formed
    Glad to see it. One of the greatest bands to ever exist IMO. And they don't even exactly exist...
    I don't really listen to them but from what I've hear, it's pretty good.
    Brother, you're missing out. One of the best 21st century bands. I personally recommend El Manana, Donocamatic, O Green World, November Has Come, On Melancholy Hill, 19-2000 and Tomorrow comes Today
    First time I've actually listened to Tremonti's side project, pretty damn awesome.
    Check out the tracks Brains and All I Was. Just great freakin songs
    or "Decay"
    Or whole album
    Hands down, Tremonti's solo cd was the best release in 2012. The guy continues to amaze. As far as this poll, I am stoked that he was recognized to just make the list. People just need to forget Creed (including Tremonti) and give a listen to Alter Bridge and Tremonti.
    Well if TCV was disqualified, then The Dead Weather should be too. Just because their names arent as popular as JPJ,Hommes etc doesnt mean they are worse or something. Its White+QoTSA+Kills+Racountourers/Greenhornes. Actually the whole supergroup or not thing is quite debatable. Good list tho.
    Yeah, supergroup and side project are not mutually exclusive. Them Crooked Vultures are absolutely a side project to QOTSA and FF, seeing as those bands still existed at the time TCV formed. By their logic, how did DOWN not get disqualified? I understand Audioslave being DQd--both Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine were dead at the time. I'm less complaining than really just don't understand exactly how these decisions were all made by the same standards.
    Honestly I'm kind of glad TCV were disqualified. Even though I like the band, they just did not deserve that #1 slot.
    I agree, but the omission makes no sense to me because they ARE a side-project with no sight of future endeavors.
    It would be better and cause less debate if UG allowed each person to create their own Top Ten list then people could vote on each individual persons list instead of making it as it has been. Wouldn't you agree?
    Agreed, not sure how Mad Season or Down didn't get disqualified. Or even Liquid Tension Experiment...
    Box Car Racer should replace them.
    I love Box Car Racer, but I don't see it going down well in a predominantly metal-based forum :')
    Yeah, it's just the typical "they're a pop-punk band hurr durr" argument that I simply don't get.
    Yeah, but if you wanted Box Car Racer to be a subject of polls (and I could do the same), it's easy to head over to a pop-punk/punk/whatever Box Car Racer are, as they're not REALLY pop-punk, forum and discuss them there
    Yeah, I wouldn't be comfortable calling them "pop punk" as there's not much "pop" in BCR, especially when compared to blink-182. Wikipedia says "Genre: Post-hardcore, alternative rock, punk rock"
    Wow...forgot about BCR...they were really good and I think their influence on the last few albums of Blink-182 really showed how great they were. I love metal, but I do enjoy certain punk bands like Motion City Soundtrack and Box Car Racer. All metal fans do is hate, makes me think they menstruate.
    Same with LTE. I'm glad to see them on the list but how are they not a prog supergroup? And Temple Of The Dog are a grunge supergroup. A band can be both a side project and a supergroup. I think it was fair to disqualify Audioslave because that was their main band at that time but not TCV. But yeah, good list despite the questionable omissions.
    Um, you disqualified Audioslave and Vultures as supergroups, but allow Down, Liquid Tension, and APC?
    I really don't understand how Them Crooked Vultures got disqualified (even though they had the most votes) when half of these bands were still allowed to make the list.
    If the top 10 was based on creative talent rather than popularity, Black Light Burns would be number 1.
    Thom Yorke would slap the author's face for calling Atoms for Peace a supergroup. He hates that.
    m4ss3 m/
    Stone Sour? Well, technically it's Corey Taylor and Jim Root's original band but still.
    I agree with you really good band but its always debated whether its a side project considering Corey and Jim started Stone Sour before Slipknot, However Slipknot took off first
    That scars on broadway album was awful...
    Utterly and vigorously disagree. Luckily we are entitled to our own opinions, and guess what, they made the list. So I'll go back to enjoying that album...and you'll go back to posting negative comments on UG!
    No Atoms for peace? Otherwise good list.
    In the intro they mention Atoms for Peace were disqualified by their confusing standards for what is or isn't a supergroup... which apparently can't simultaneously be a side project.
    I also think it strange that Atoms for Peace is regarded as a super group, especially since Thom Yorke has repeatedly said that it is not a super group, also, isn't the only other super famous person in the group flea? I thought for it to be a super group they all had to come from famous well established bands.
    Wouldn't Slash's new solo band be considered a "side project?" Why wasn't that put on here, its an amazing group with very talented musicians. Bruce Dickinson's "solo" (side project) is also incredible. His last solo album was one of the metal albums of the year when it was released. Any number of Steven Wilson's (Porcupine Tree) side projects trumps most of the listed material on here imo. The guy is a genius. For that matter, why not throw in David Finch and Trent Reznor's "side project?" Angels and Airwaves? Plus44? Boxcar Racer? All of these are also great side projects from the members of one of the biggest bands of the past 20 years... I could go on and on, the point is: You guys missed out on a lot of other great things.
    Porcupine Tree is actually a side project to No Man which started first. PT was initially a joke band =]
    How is Them Crooked Vultures classified as a supergroup and Mad Season as a side project? It's the exact same type of band. But hell, **** logic.
    Waiting for people to complain about the results, because you know the most popular bands in the popularity contest, don't at all deserve to belong in the top 10 of this poll. /sarcasm
    Some great names on here but I can't see how TCV could not be considered a side project seeing as it's not any of the three members main priorities. Gorillaz is much less of a side project than TCV if you ask me.
    To the artists in bands like TCV and Atoms for Peace, I'm sure they considered what they were doing as side-projects. It's just people like us who label them as supergroups. And for that reason I still believe they should have been added to this list. Most certainly TCV.
    Dont think UG really thought this over.I thought it was too close in comparison to the Wednesday question they did a few weeks ago asking us to name the best supergroup.Its hard to define a supergroup and a side project. I wouldnt class APC or Down a side project but a supergroup.I didnt vote but if i would have voted Mad Season.
    I think S.O.D is one of the best side projects of all time but i havent heard almost any bands on this list tho
    Shout out to the amazing talents of Scars on Broadway, the thunderous Tremonti and the unwavering peace-parade of Temple of the Dog. Uncovered a couple of bands I can't believe i'd never heard before!
    So glad that Tremonti was mentioned on here. Most underrated guitarist out there and deserves a lot of respect. One of the best. Long live Alter Bridge and Tremonti!!
    It's great to see Tremonti getting some recognition! Those guys kick so much ass!
    The Sound of Animals Fighting, Palms, One Day as a Lion, and Atoms for Peace would've made my list. Palms might be new, but that album is just so great.
    Second Rate
    So..... in addition to the guy from Pantera handling vocals..... Down also have a guitarist from Eyehategod on drums, the singer/guitarist from Crowbar on guitar, the singer/guitarist from C.O.C. on guitar.... yet it is a side project and not a supergroup? I'm not exactly a fan of the three bands you disqualified.... but if Down are not disqualified for being a supergroup, why not let Them Crooked Vultures, Audioslave, and Atoms for Peace be on the list? UG has more voter suppression going on than the U.S. and Russia combined.
    I was going to say "What about Oysterhead?," but I realized that Trey, Les and Stew are a supergroup. What about Matt Embree's(Rx Bandits) side project, Love You Moon? Or Time Lapse Consortium, which is basically Incubus with Brandon Boyd. What about Max Cavalera's Cavalera Conspiracy, or Chino Moreno's Team Sleep, or Zach De La Rocha's One Day As A Lion, or Matt Embree's Love You Moon, or Claudio Sanchez's PFI? I think this list could've been way, way better, but I do like a lot of the bands on the list. Not a big fan of Jack White, but I have mad respect for him and I do like some of his stuff. Oh well.
    Liquid Tension Experiment or Perfect Circle would have to be my top runners when it comes to side-projects. Can't help but be surprised Strapping Young Lad didn't make the cut, or do they not qualify seeing as it was technically Devin's initial project?
    Scars on Broadway is absolutely terrible. What about Blind Faith or anything Les Claypool has done?
    Tbh I'm a fan of SOAD and Serj Tankian's solo stuff and Daron Malakian's guitar style, but I have to agree. The guitar work in SOB is boring, their only songs by them I like are Hungry Ghost and Insane, the rest are dull.