Side project

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In popular music, a side project is a project undertaken by one or more people already known for their involvement in another band. It can also be an artist or a band temporarily switching to a different style.

Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional or "folk" music. Art music was historically disseminated through the performances of written music, although since the beginning of the recording industry, it is also disseminated through recordings. Traditional music forms such as early blues songs or hymns were passed along orally, or to smaller, local audiences.


Usually these projects emphasize a different aspect of that person's or that band's musical interests that they feel they cannot explore within the boundaries established by their main project. Side projects can later become full-time endeavours, but should not be confused with quitting a band for a solo career or another band. Peter Hartlaub of San Francisco Chronicle called the solo side project "the biggest longshot bet in mainstream music". [1]

<i>San Francisco Chronicle</i> newspaper serving the San Francisco Bay area

The San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of northern California in the United States. It was founded in 1865 as The Daily Dramatic Chronicle by teenage brothers Charles de Young and Michael H. de Young. The paper is owned by the Hearst Corporation, which bought it from the de Young family in 2000. It is the only major daily paper covering the city and county of San Francisco.

The New York Times described the side project as "a break from the other band members, a chance to toy with different genres and recording methods, a fling with no long-term commitment". [2] There can be aesthetic reasons to pursue side projects, [3] and side projects can have the benefit of protecting indie credibility. [3]

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 17th in the world by circulation and 2nd in the U.S.

Aesthetics Branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of art, beauty, and taste

Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of art, beauty and taste and with the creation or appreciation of beauty.

Independent music is music produced independently from commercial record labels or their subsidiaries, a process that may include an autonomous, do-it-yourself approach to recording and publishing. The term indie is sometimes used to describe a genre, and as a genre term, "onomatopea" may include music that is not independently produced, and many independent music artists do not fall into a single, defined musical style or genre and create self-published music that can be categorized into diverse genres. The term ‘stick’ or ‘independent music’ can be traced back to as early as the 1920’s after it was first used to reference independent film companies but was later used as a term to classify an independent band or record producer.


One example of musical side projects is Kiss's decision in 1978 to have each member of the band, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, simultaneously release solo albums. In 1992, The Melvins released solo EPs in a similar fashion.

Music form of art using sound

Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek μουσική . See glossary of musical terminology.

Kiss (band) American band

Kiss is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley. Well known for its members' face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 1970s with their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. The band has gone through several lineup changes, with Stanley and Simmons the only remaining original members. The original and best-known lineup consisted of Stanley, Simmons, Frehley, and Criss.

Gene Simmons American musician

Gene Klein (born Chaim Witz, known professionally as Gene Simmons, is an Israeli-American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, actor, author, and television personality. Also known by his stage persona The Demon, he is the bassist and co-lead singer of Kiss, the rock band he co-founded with lead singer and rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley in the early 1970s.

"Side project" may also refer to pursuits of famous individuals outside of their primary fields. For instance, Wicked Wisdom is a "side project" of actress Jada Pinkett Smith. Side projects often occur at a crossroads of a celebrity's career.

Wicked Wisdom

Wicked Wisdom is an American nu metal band from Los Angeles, California formed by Jada Pinkett Smith in 2002.

Jada Pinkett Smith American actress

Jada Pinkett Smith is an American actress, singer-songwriter, and businesswoman.

A side project can also be a band that takes on an "alter ego", usually in order to play a different style of music that their fans are not used to. An example of this type of side project would be the band Weezer, who is also the Nirvana cover band Goat Punishment.

Alter ego second self

An alter ego means alternative self, which is believed to be distinct from a person's normal or true original personality. Finding one's alter ego will require finding one's other self, one with different personality. A distinct meaning of alter ego is found in literary analysis used when referring to fictional literature and other narrative forms, describing a key character in a story who is perceived to be intentionally representative of the work's author, by virtue of oblique similarities, in terms of psychology, behavior, speech, or thoughts, often used to convey the author's own thoughts. The term is also sometimes, but less frequently, used to designate a hypothetical "twin" or "best friend" to a character in a story. Similarly, the term alter ego may be applied to the role or persona taken on by an actor or by other types of performers.

Weezer Alternative rock band from the United States

Weezer is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1992. Since 2001, the band has consisted of Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson (drums), Brian Bell, and Scott Shriner.

Nirvana (band) American rock band

Nirvana was an American rock band formed in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1987. It was founded by lead singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting and best-known being Dave Grohl, who joined in 1990. Though the band dissolved in 1994 after the death of Cobain, their music maintains a popular following and continues to influence modern rock and roll culture.

Another example of a side project is when in 1990, Jesper Strömblad of Ceremonial Oath decided to start a side project known as In Flames because he wanted to start a new project that combined Iron Maiden and death metal all together which he said he had never heard of before, the side project then grew into a band in 1995 and is now one of the most influential Metal bands of all time, and still together without Jesper.

Famous or notable side projects

See also

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