The genesis of most rock bands is pretty similar. Someone picks up a six-string, figures out they’re pretty good, seeks out some friends who can drum; sing; play bass and and maybe keys; and boom, you’re automatically at the top of the rock charts. But sometimes, a unique item gets interpolated into the band along the way, an instrument that lends a different texture and ends up nearly defining the entire group’s legacy. Despite their unconventional arrangements, these bands aren’t gimmicky. Just different.
Here are six bands that have become famous despite (or because?) of their unique instruments. We tried to overlook the easy stuff (it was highly uncommon for a ’90s alternative band to be led by a piano and no guitar, but it’s not like Ben Folds Five went out on that big of a limb). And no, a single track with a strange instrument like “Good Vibrations” doesn’t count – these bands weaved unusual instrumentation into their fabric, not just every once in a while.