Five Rock Sidemen with Awesome Names

Cornelius Bumpus
Cornelius Bumpus

Bumpus rose to fame as part of the unwieldy seven-man lineup that produced the Doobie Brothers’ 1980 album One Step Closer, but he was no rookie — he’d already served time with a long list of artists, including Bobby Freeman and Moby Grape. His sax later went on to grace recordings by a number of artists, and he was part of Steely Dan’s latter-day reunion tours; he also released a pair of solo recordings.

Sadly, Cornelius passed away in 2004, at the age of 57. Watch him manning the keys, sax, and lead vocals on this (admittedly rather spotty) live version of “One Step Closer” from the Doobies’ 1989 reunion tour:

Artimus Pyle
Artimus Pyle

Admittedly, Artimus is just a nickname for the former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer — but given that his birth certificate still boasts the fairly awesome Thomas Delmer Pyle, we’ll give him a pass. (We will not, however, give him one for apparently being totally gross as a human being.)

Laudir y Paulinho
Laudir de Oliviera/Paulinho da Costa (tie)

Percussionists get all the coolest names, apparently. Laudir got his big break as a percussionist for Chicago during the band’s ’70s commercial peak (and extra awesomely, band members later claimed he was brought in to mask drummer Danny Seraphine’s crappy timekeeping), while Paulinho has played on an absolutely mind-blowing list of records that almost certainly includes at least one album in your collection. Oliviera currently teaches in Brazil and joins the papery husk of Chicago for odd reunion gigs, while Paulinho — who cut salsa-inflected smooth jazz records into the ’90s — is probably playing a session as you read this.

Mauro Magellan
Mauro Magellan

A vintage rock basher, Magellan was a key component of the Georgia Satellites’ whiskey-soaked sound — something bandleader Dan Baird seems to understand, since he’s kept Magellan behind the kit for a number of his post-Satellites projects, including the hard-rocking Homemade Sin. Magellan’s style isn’t flashy, and he isn’t the tightest player. He just hits, and sometimes, that’s exactly what you need.

Pino Palladino
Pino Palladino

Well, of course. Among in-demand session bassists of the ’80s, Palladino was perhaps second only to Lee Sklar in ubiquity — and Sklar cheated, hypnotizing people with his enormous beard while Palladino simply plugged away, amassing an amazing list of session credits while serving as a stand-in for bassist-deficient bands like Genesis and the Who, helping John Mayer discover his inner Blind Lemon, and playing in some side projects of his own.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget Joop de Korte.

  • jefito

    Good one!

  • Grant

    I always love Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden.

  • Jon from RI

    I’ve always thought that The Knack had two of the best sidemen names…Prescott Niles and Berton Averre. Underrated intsrumentalists, both.  And if I can toss in an honorable mention for home state heroes here in Rhode Island, The Schemers…they’ve got Emerson Torrey on lead gtr.

  • Old_Davy

    He might not technically be a “sideman” but Magic Dick – what a cool name!

  • DwDunphy

    Leading comfortably to The Dictators’ Handsome Dick Manitoba.

  • 1001Songs

    Mars Bonfire? I almost named my cat after him.

  • Kevin

    Raphael Ravenscroft —epic saxman from “Baker Street”