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6 Pairs of Artists Who Were Childhood Friends: Daft Punk & Phoenix, Ian MacKaye & Henry Rollins, and more

by Joey DeGroot   May 14, 2014 22:41 PM EDT

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Rock and roll legend Fats Domino dies

Musicians often become friends through their professional lives, whether they're recording together or playing together, but some famous musicians were actually friends back before they ever became famous. Here are six pairs of artists who were childhood friends.

1. Ian MacKaye & Henry Rollins

The most identifiable face of D.C. hardcore is of course Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat and Fugazi, and before Henry Rollins was transplanted to the West Coast to become the lead singer of Black Flag, he and MacKaye were best friends. As told in Rollins' tour diary Get in the Van, MacKaye even went on tour in Europe with Black Flag, and the two remain close to this day.

2. Kevin Barnes & Mark Tremonti

There might be about five people on the entire planet who are fans of both Creed and Of Montreal, but the two bands have a very unlikely connection. Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes and Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti were actually close friends when they were growing up in Michigan, and they even started a band together when they were 14. The two eventually moved to Florida, where Tremonti started Creed, but it wasn't until Barnes moved to Athens, Georgia that he started Of Montreal.

3. Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart

Classic rock weirdos Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart collaborated occasionally during the '60s and '70s, with Zappa producing Beefheart's classic Trout Mask Replica album, but their relationship dates back to their teen years in the '50s. Though Beefheart claims to have dropped out of school in kindergarten, he and Zappa met in high school in Lancaster, California. In his autobiography, Zappa recalls Beefheart (born Don Van Vliet) being a spoiled only child.

4. Morrissey & Billy Duffy

It might be a stretch to say that Morrissey ever had any "friends," but before he started the Smiths and became a world famous singer, he started a punk band called The Nosebleeds with guitarist Billy Duffy, who would go on to form the Cult in 1983.

5. Slint & Will Oldham

Before he became a famous alt-country singer, the most exposure Will Oldham ever got was for the photograph he took that became the cover of Slint's classic Spiderland album in 1991. However, Oldham wasn't just some photographer the band hired (he claimed to not have even developed the photo). He was actually a fellow Louisville native and close friend to the band, so much so that he nearly joined Slint when it first formed, and even sat on stage to hold the bass drum in place during the band's first live performance. Oldham would go on to recruit the members of Slint to play with him on his 1993 debut album, There is No-One What Will Take Care of You.

6. Daft Punk & Phoenix

For some reason, I've only ever heard of two French bands: Daft Punk and Phoenix, and they both happened to know each other before they were famous. Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homen-Christo started a punk trio with Phoenix's Laurent Brancowitz called Darlin' that played only two gigs. In a negative review for one of the shows, Melody Maker described it as "daft punky thrash," which gave Bangalter and de Homen-Christo the name for their next project.

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