In “Rock On,” the recently-released theme to The Muppets Mayhem, Dr. Teeth claims that bass, drums, ax, sax, and keys are all the Electric Mayhem really needs.
Unfortunately, this isn’t true for two big reasons. First of all, Lips has been a beloved member of the band since 1980, bringing his love of traveling music and the trumpet to most of their appearances. Secondly, the band has featured other guest musicians now and then. I don’t just mean the times that the Mayhem played backup for Elton John or Imagine Dragons or whatever. I’m talking about bona fide Muppet guest musicians who sat in with the band to add to their sound.
We know that Lips will be appearing on The Muppets Mayhem, but we can’t say for certain whether any other former Mayhem members will be making appearances. They certainly don’t appear in any of the trailers!
Still, I want to speculate. With some help from Muppet Wiki, I decided to make a list of some of the major Electric Mayhem guest members and I’ll be guessing how likely it is that they’ll jam again with the Mayhem in the future, whether on this show or elsewhere. So here we go:
You know Scooter! He’s the Muppet’s go-fer and his uncle owns the theater! Well, of course, he’s one of the earliest guest members of the Mayhem. In The Muppet Movie, we are told that Scooter is the band’s manager. However, he’s also a de facto member of the band in this movie. He accompanies the band during their big number “Can You Picture That,” playing a tambourine and a type of Latin American percussion instrument called a güiro.
While I love Scooter in general, and think he would be an excellent “straight man” foil for the Electric Mayhem, I am not sure that rock bands need a dedicated güiro player. Still, he was a member during an iconic song in a classic movie, so I could see him returning for nostalgia reasons.
JAM LIKELIHOOD: 5/10
Clifford only appears with the Electric Mayhem once, in the TV special The Muppets at Walt Disney World. Like Scooter, he joins the band on percussion. However, unlike Scooter, he can play interesting percussion instruments like the glockenspiel and the adodo bell.
While we can’t say for certain, it seems that our “homie made of foam-y” was intended to be a regular member of the Mayhem. In this special, he’s just treated as part of the band; there’s no sense that he’s meeting them or just hanging out. Additionally, an Electric Mayhem poster in the pre-show area of Muppet*Vision 3D shows him with the band rather than Lips. It seems Jim wanted to give Kevin Clash a recurring part of the Muppet gang, much like Bean Bunny and Rizzo for Steve Whitmire. Still, after Henson’s death, it would be almost two decades before the Mayhem made any additional, substantial appearances, and Clifford became more important than them. As a result, we never got to see whether this was a real idea or not. Then, of course, Clash gradually spent more time with Sesame Street, and Clifford stopped making any kind of appearances whatsoever after The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz.
So ultimately, what I’m trying to say is, this is maybe all a little too complicated to get an adodo bell player back in the band.
JAM LIKELIHOOD: 2/10
Considering he’s basically never had any songs in the entire history of the Muppets, we don’t usually think of Rizzo as a musician. Still, in one of his earliest appearances, Rizzo accompanies the Electric Mayhem on tambourine. During the final season of The Muppet Show, there was a running gag (highlighted in the Muppet Fan Club newsletter) that Rizzo was going to attempt to be in as many scenes as possible, wearing as many different outfits.
One such scene comes in the Paul Simon episode, when Floyd, Janice, and Animal play “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.” Also joining our usual Mayhem members is Rizzo, mugging for the camera and playing very, very tiny cymbals.
Why do the Mayhem need so many guest percussionists? Does Animal not know how to play anything besides a drum kit? Could you hear Rizzo-sized cymbals from the audience? These questions will never be answered. Instead, we can only speculate: will Rizzo return as a member of the Electric Mayhem? Considering he hasn’t had a speaking role since Steve Whitmire left the Muppets, I am…skeptical.
JAM LIKELIHOOD: 0/10
We think of Bobby Benson specifically as a bandleader of a troupe of creepy babies. But a full season before we met the Baby Band, Bobby was playing trumpet with the Electric Mayhem. You can spot him alongside other Whatnots, accompanying the band in their performance of “You’re the One” in the Lou Rawls episode and “That Old Black Magic” with Jaye P. Morgan.
Unfortunately, Lips exists, so I don’t think he’ll join the band again. He has many, many mouths to feed and teach to play kazoo.
JAM LIKELIHOOD: 1/10
The Trumpet Girl
The Trumpet Girl, called “Dolores” by her good friend Rashida Jones, is the purple Whatnot who’s a member of the Muppet Theater’s orchestra. While she’s not a well-developed character, and she’s in theory a little redundant given that Lips exists, I really could see her becoming a recurring guest member of the band.
For one thing, she has quite a history with them. She’s accompanied them three times. But more importantly, in the Kaye Ballard episode, she quits the show alongside the rest of the Mayhem. There, she utters her only line in the entire history of the Muppets in solidarity (it’s “Drag city!”). She also plays trumpet and trombone, so she absolutely could help the band if they decide to go ska and start covering Reel Big Fish songs.
Also, because she’s an under-developed character, it would be a great opportunity to give a new performer a chance to play around with a recognizable character. This would also let the Muppets have another female character besides their most popular one, Beverly Plume.
So look, I’m all for it. Trumpet Girl should accompany the Mayhem more often.
JAM LIKELIHOOD: 8/10
In the Don Knotts episode of The Muppet Show, Don joins the Mayhem. He plays “Lullaby of Birdland” with the band, joining them on the standing bass. It’s a funny sketch. However, Don Knotts is not a Muppet. Also, he passed away seventeen years ago, so he will probably not be joining the Electric Mayhem in the future.
JAM LIKELIHOOD: 0/10
You probably always assumed Bongo Player was a regular member of the Electric Mayhem. It sometimes feels like he’s always joining them. They’re always showing him on Electric Mayhem merchandise. He’s your best friend! Your childhood is full of memories of Bongo Player.
I am confident in my prediction that Bongo Player will be in The Muppets Mayhem. He will be the Internet’s new favorite Muppet.
JAM LIKELIHOOD: 10/10
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by Becca Petunia