There are many famous sidekicks out there: Robin, Dr. Watson, Goose. In music, it’s the supporting band members. Sidekicks may not be front and center, they may not be the voice or face of the band, but without them the band can’t exist, it isn’t the same. They’re the backbone, the behind-the-scenes, they bring songs to life. Hats off to a few of my favourites.

Boyd Tinsley.

Most of you may not recognize this name, but you should. He’s the bad-ass violinist for Dave Matthews Band. He takes each song to the next level while rocking out on his violin. During live performances he solos often while the whole crowd listens encouragingly and in awe. In a band with several other instruments, it’s challenging to stand out, but Tinsley has no problem rising to the occasion. Dave takes a step back, gives Tinsley the spotlight and they feed off each other in a beautifully symbiotic way. They need each other, their combined energy and charisma ignites a spark that runs through anyone present, automatically giving everyone chills. When he’s on stage, he can’t stop smiling; he’s not just happy and excited, he’s completely head over heels ecstatic to be doing what he’s doing and it shows in a magnificent way. There’s no greater pleasure than watching a musician become his music. Everyone needs a dude like him in their life.

Flea.

Bassist for the legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers. There’s never a dull moment with him on stage: he’s always jumping around, buzzing all over the place like a, well, flea. He enjoys partial and occasionally full nudity, he wears all sorts of costumes/outfits on stage and isn’t afraid to use his flexibility to his advantage. A lot of their tracks have a strong bass presence and that’s because Flea is an animal on it. Slapping, plucking, popping, tapping, you name it. He makes the most complicated solos seem easy as pie and often jams with drummer Chad Smith or lead guitarist (currently Josh Klinghoffer.) He’s the perfect sidekick to lead singer Anthony Kiedis because he entertains without overshadowing – all eyes don’t need to be on him, though they often are. Other than Kiedis, Flea is the only other original band member still standing, even in spite of Kiedis’ substance abuse issues. Talk about loyalty. Who wouldn’t want this Flea around?

Tony Kanal.

Born in London, raised in Anaheim (with a brief stint in Toronto) and of East Indian origin, Kanal plays bass for uber successful band No Doubt. The whole planet knows Gwen Stefani’s the face, the voice, the star; what most people don’t know is Kanal is too. He’s a songwriter, record producer and also plays keyboard, sometimes on the same track he’s playing bass. He’s a hell of a performer, rocks a faux-hawk like nobody’s business and his fashion sense is at par with Stefani’s. Kanal and Stefani have been friends since high school and dated for years, well into the band’s early days. Eventually they split up and Kanal not wanting to make things awkward, volunteered to the leave the band. What a guy. Thankfully, Stefani didn’t let that happen, but instead wrote “Don’t Speak” to commemorate their demise. Years later, she wrote “Cool,” alluding to the state of her relationship with Kanal. I’ve been saying it for years: Tony Kanal is so freakin’ underrated.

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