17 forgotten '90s artists that make their living playing private parties

by Mark Teo

May 21, 2014






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Priceonomics leaked a list detailing how much it costs to book your favourite bands—and the results were eye-opening. Want 50 Cent to pay your wedding? It could cost upwards of $350,000. Need to book Chris Daughtry to sing “Happy Birthday” to your 6-year-old? That’ll be a cool $300,000. Looking to spruce up a dinner party with cheeseball four-way harmonies about Kraft Dinner and Chinese chicken? That’ll be a cool $125,000.

We’ve been poring over the list of bands in shock (Madonna costs $1 million to book?), awe (at $150k, how does Avicii charge as much as Frank Ocean?) and sometimes, we even convinced ourselves that some artists are affordable (Coolio at $20k seems like a steal, especially if he whips up a batch of his signature Forksteak.) Mostly, though, we’re in awe that bands we’ve long-forgotten—we’re looking at you, Fastball—are still making a killing playing, like, corporate retreats. Who else?


It’s hard to call 311 washed up, exactly—”Amber,” from 2004, has silently racked up up nearly 10 million views. Still, we’d assumed they’d gone the way of the frosted tips, the striped board short, and the Osiris D3—that is to say, they’ve been laid to rest with their chillguy California ska brethren. Well, we were wrong. If you want 311 to fake-rap over mellow left-coast reggae on your private cruise, it’ll cost you a cool $100k.

Alien Ant Farm

If nü metal ever had an apex, it certainly wasn’t Alien Ant Farm. (Genre purists would argue that, like, Snot were the genre’s high peak, but try listening to them now. Legit dick chills.) Either way, by the time AAF broke they caught the tail end of the dying movement, and were mostly famous for their cover of “Smooth Criminal.” Get them to play your backyard wrestling league for a cool $10k. We hear they’ll show up in matching janitorial onesies, too. (OK, that was a lie.)

Beenie Man

If you don’t think “Who Am I” is a stone-cold all-timer, it’s very likely you have no soul. And for a paltry $20k, the Jamaica-bred reggae artist will drive his Beemer over to yours and play the track on repeat. Zim zimma!

Drowning Pool

Speaking of wrestling-soundtrack metal, you could do far worse than Drowning Pool. LET THE BODIES HIT THA FLOOAAAAUUUUGHHHXXXXXZZGHHHH! Book them if you must, but it’ll be a $10-20,000 joke. (No word on how much it costs to book the Drowning Pool-singing parrot.)


Remember when DJ Lethal joined Limp Bizkit, when Everlast tried rapping over folk music, and when tubby white New Englanders collectively decided to get septum piercings, forearm script tattoos, and tried their hands at freestyling? We’re still trying to forget. But if you want to relive the, uh, good old days, Evs will come play your ATV park for $15,000.


What’s the real value of a one-hit wonder? Well, it’s likely that Fastball still receive royalty cheques to this day, and thanks to “The Way,” they’re still eligible to play private parties for $15k a pop. Not bad.


Sure, Filter earned some success as mid-tempo alt-rock balladeers, but “Hey Man Nice Shot” is stil their most successful song—it’s arguably the most ubiquitous action flick song on this side of The Refused’s “New Noise.” So, if you’re hosting a Matrix-themed wedding—and God help you if you’re walking up the altar in a PVC trenchcoat—Filter’s available for a measly $10k.

Jimmie’s Chicken Shack

Of all the alt-rock crap we remember from Columbia House stamp sheets, few bands were as humiliating as Jimmie’s Chicken Shack. Blending Blues Traveller-style vocals with hints of coolguy swing and ska, they were the musical manifestation of Chester the Cheetah. No wonder they only cost $3,000 to book.


Hoobastank’s massive taint-rock opus, “The Reason,” is so fucking sprawling, so fucking epic, and so fucking earnest that it made us consider converting to Christianity. Because the “you” in “the reason is you” is Jesus, right? It has to be. $40,000 later, and they’re playing your youth group retreat.

Goo Goo Dolls

Goo Goo Dolls are less Christian than Hoobastank, but every bit as Christian sounding. Songs like “Name” and “Iris” are every bit as melodramatic as Collective Soul, and we love them for it—it’s just like listening to Jars of Clay, except instead of talking about God’s saving grace, they’re talking about girls. No wonder they cost $100k.


When you write our generation’s finest ballad—”Hanging By A Moment,” duh—you’ve rightfully earned a high price tag. Lifehouse charge $100,000 per appearance, and by our estimates, they’re worth every penny. We’re falling even more in love with Lifehouse.


Korn are still an active band—though as far as we can tell, all of their new songs are about illuminati conspiracies. Still, for $100k, you can probably demand that they open and close with “A.D.I.D.A.S.,” perform a Fieldy’s Dream album in its entirety, and ask Jonathan Davis to speak strictly in scat.

Theory of a Deadman

If you’re an administrative assistant, you can blow your entire $40,000 annual salary on an appearance by Theory of a Deadman, the loveable testicle-rock buffoons who wrote “The Bitch Came Back.” (Yes, we understand they’re not a ’90s band, but… don’t they feel like one?) Though, for the same price, you can also hire the Starting Line. Decisions, decisions.


We know: If you were to hire one bowling-shirt toting, bleached-blonde fake punk band, you’d choose Everclear. But considering they cost $20k to book—and heck, Smash Mouth costs even more—you might as well go with Lit, who charge a measly $10,000. Pool party, anyone?

Presidents of the U.S.A.

$10,000 seems a little steep for Presidents of the United States of America. But it’s undeniable: The “LOOKOUT!” moment in “Peaches” is one of the top five mosh calls of all time, and when you hear it, you’re going to lose your shit.

Sublime With Rome

Wait, so someone’s actually paying $100k to hear Long Beach dads sing fake patois songs about dalmatians? That’s messed up.

Montell Jordan

We’d easily pay $30,000 to have Montell Jordan play “This Is How We Do It” for our Friday night pre-drink.

Tags: Music, Beenie Man, drowning pool, everlast, Fastball, FIFA, Gallery, Goo Goo Dolls, green jelly, Hoobastank, Kiesza, Korn, Kreayshawn, Lifehouse, Montell Jordan, Sublime With Rome, Theory Of A Deadman






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