[[quoteright:300:[[Music/GreenDay http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/300greenday_2848.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:[[WaxingLyrical They've got a rock n' roll band, they've got a rock n'roll life]].]]
Commonly found in rock-and-roll lineups, a rock trio is a band of three members: the lineup is typically one playing guitar, one playing bass and one playing drums. The rock trio is essentially rock and roll with a bare minimum of musicians, with one member, usually bass and (almost) never drums, doubling on vocals and the guitarist doubling the rhythm and lead parts. The rock trio is thus commonly found in bands that stick to ThreeChordsAndTheTruth, though the format had its roots in bands that were more experimental with their music.

The rock trio took off in the 1960s thanks to developments in amplifier technology that allowed for the volume of guitars and bass to increase. From there, the format was popularized in the blues-rock and hard rock genres before spreading to prog rock in the 1970s and falling in popularity in the early 1980s. In this first wave, the format was commonly used by bands that engaged in [[EpicRocking long, intrinsic improvised solos and bombastic jam sessions.]] This version of the rock trio contributed heavily to the development of heavy metal, especially power metal. Some bands at this time took a "3+1" approach, having a core rock trio with a fourth on vocals. Prog rock also introduced a variation that swapped the guitar for a keyboard, while keeping the same general idea.

After the original wave fell out of favor, the format was later adopted by punk rock and grunge bands in the late 80s and throughout the 1990s, finding the stripped-down ensemble to fit perfectly with their [[ThreeChordsAndTheTruth stripped down approach to music.]] Several notable punk bands from this time still exist today. The rock trio also continued to remain popular in progressive rock, though prog as a whole was in a down period at this time. Today, the rock trio continues to be used in all varieties, as well as in bands that [[ThreePlusTwo use it as their core while adding supporting instruments and a dedicated vocalist.]]

It should be noted that a rock trio is more commonly known in the music industry as a '''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_trio power trio]]''' but that name is [[PowerTrio already taken]]. Not coincidentally, the rock trio is itself a subtrope of our PowerTrio. Musically, it could be compared to a FreudianTrio in that the drums focus on the beat (Superego), the guitar focuses on the melody (Id) and the bass reconciles the two (Ego), though this says nothing about the personalities of the musicians themselves. Despite the name, the rock trio is not strictly limited to rock bands: Several pop and metal bands have taken the general idea of the format and made it work.

Note that many rock trios often add "touring" musicians for live shows, especially on second and subsequent tours. Typical choices are a second guitarist to handle the parts created by overdubs by the principal guitarist in the studio or a keyboard player to handle song elements that can't be recreated live by the basic setup. A multi-instrumentalist who can switch from guitar to keyboard to a wind instrument is also a common choice. These touring members often contribute additional percussion and backing vocals to tracks where additional instrumentation isn't required. Sometimes touring members become official members at a later stage leading to the band evolving beyond the rock trio concept.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/KOn College'' has the band [=OnNa Gumi=]. Akira Wada is the guitarist, Sachi Hayami is the bassist and Ayame Yoshida is the drummer.
* ''LightNovel/HereComesTheThreeAngels'' has Jun as the guitarist (Fender Duo-Sonic), Nozomi as the bassist (Höfner 500/1), and Sora as the drummer (Gretsch bop kit).

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Sex Bob-Omb, The Clash at Demonhead, and Crash and the Boys from the ''ComicBook/ScottPilgrim'' series.
* ''ComicBook/JosieAndThePussycats'':
** Josie on lead guitar, Melody on drums, and Valerie on bass (usually).

* ''Film/{{Airheads}}'': The Lone Rangers are comprised of Chazz on guitar and lead vocals, Rex on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Pip on drums.
* ''Film/ThisIsSpinalTap'': The band Spinal Tap has more than three members, but guitarists David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel and bassist Derek Smalls get most of the face time in the movie. Besides, being their drummer is such an occupational hazard, the position has an absurd turnover rate.

* The Band With Rocks In, in ''Discworld/SoulMusic'', have a slight variant: Buddy (magic guitar that can also do bass, vocals), Cliff (drums), Glod (trumpet). They briefly had the Librarian on keyboards, but [[ThePeteBest he left before they were famous]].

* Alkaline Trio: Matt Skiba (guitar), Dan Andriano (bass) and Derek Grant (drums).
* Irish band Altar of Plagues used to have two guitarists, but are now this.
%%* Andromeda (UK, late '60s)
* Ash, Northern Irish rock band. Were a originally a three-piece before being joined by guitarist Charlotte Hatherly, who then left and they are now this again.
* Atomic Rooster, with their first two albums.
* According to [[ThePeteBest Pete Best]], [[Music/JohnLennon John]], [[Music/PaulMcCartney Paul]] and [[Music/GeorgeHarrison George]] ''wanted'' Music/TheBeatles to be this, but were told they couldn't tour without a drummer, hence his inclusion and subsequent replacement with Music/RingoStarr. Still, the first two songs in Music/TheWhiteAlbum were recorded in that formation as Ringo had temporarily left in struggles (Paul drummed for both tracks, and parts of "Back in the USSR" have percussion by the other two).
* Beck, Bogert and Appice; power trio featuring Music/JeffBeck and former Vanilla Fudge members Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice.
* Better Than Ezra became this after the suicide of guitarist Joel Rundell. Jim Payne has yet to be named an official member. WordOfGod is that it's been offered to Payne, but he's politely declined.
* Music/{{Blink 182}}: Tom [=DeLonge=] (guitar), Mark Hoppus (bass) and Travis Barker (drums). In 2015, Matt Skiba replaced Tom.
%%* Music/{{Boris}}
%%* Blue Cheer, with their first two albums.
%%* Brownsville Station
%%* Budgie
* Music/{{Carcass}}'s original line-up was this before they hired a second guitarist.
** And now, as of 2012, they have gone back to this format.
* Music/{{Cream}}, the likely TropeCodifier: Music/EricClapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.
* [[Music/CrosbyStillsNashAndYoung Crosby, Stills & Nash]], before Music/NeilYoung joined them.
* Music/TheCure, in their early years. Their albums ''Three Imaginary Boys'', ''Faith'', ''Pornography'', ''Japanese Whispers'' and ''The Top'' all fall into this pattern, although with increasing use of keyboards and guest musicians as their career progressed.
* IndustrialMetal band Music/{{Device}} count as this, consisting of singer [[Music/{{Disturbed}} David Draiman]], guitarist Virus (of NuMetal band Dope), and drummer Will Hunt. Being IndustrialMetal they are an aversion of the ThreeChordsAndTheTruth tendencies of this trope.
** They do feature [[Music/RageAgainstTheMachine Tom Morello]] as a second guitarist on Opinion, and [[Music/{{Black Sabbath}} Geezer Butler]] on Bass for Out Of Line.
** They also technically have a fourth member as [[Music/{{Filter}} Geno Lenardo]] actually founded the group and wrote the music with [[Music/{{Disturbed}} Draiman]].
* Death, a ProtoPunk early seventies band made up of three brothers.
%%* Music/{{Die Arzte}}
%%* Music/DinosaurJr
* Seminal {{Grindcore}} band Discordance Axis consisted of a vocalist, a guitarist, and a drummer. There was never a bassist.
* Following after guitarist Daichi's departure in March 2013, VisualKei band Disacode is this in a TwoGirlsAndAGuy variant: [[{{Bifauxnen}} Akira]] (vocals) and Marcy (drummer) and [[TheOneGuy Shin]] (bassist). There are two guitarists playing in the band, but they're support members than official members.
* Music/TheDoors attempted this after the death of Jim Morrison, but it [[TheBandMinusTheFace didn't work out]].
%%* Music/DyingFetus, at least since 2007.
%%* Music/{{Egg}}
* Music/EmersonLakeAndPalmer, right in the name; 2\3 were also part of Emerson, Lake & Powell.
* The Music/FooFighters recorded their third album, ''There Is Nothing Left to Lose'' as this (as they had just fired Franz Stahl; Chris Shiflett came in for the album's tour).
* Music/TheFratellis are Jon, Barry and Mince Fratelli (though live there is a keyboardist, that doesn't even warrant a Fratelli StageName).
* Music/{{Genesis}} started out as a five-man band but were gradually reduced to this: Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks.
* Music/GrandFunkRailroad, from 1969 to 1971.
* Music/GreenDay (pictured), though the ''Uno, Dos, Tré'' trilogy in 2012 had them promoting touring guitarist Jason White as a fourth member (follow-up ''Revolution Radio'' had them as a trio and Jason as backup again).
* Music/GuidedByVoices were this on their first album.
%%* Music/HuskerDu
* Music/{{Interpol}} was following the departure of bassist Carlos D. Singer and guitarist Paul Banks took over bass duties for their fifth album, though they now perform with a touring bassist and keyboardist.
%%* Music/TheJam
* The Music/JimiHendrix Experience
* Music/KingCrimson for a brief period in the 70s; in the 90s, they billed themselves as a six-man band containing two of these.
%%* King's X
* Music/{{Klymaxx}} in their 1990 album
%%* Los Lonely Boys
%%* Music/{{Low}}
* Music/ManicStreetPreachers, after the disappearance of fourth member Richey Edwards.
* A very rare example from CountryMusic: [=McBride=] & the Ride. They briefly became a six piece band due to ExecutiveMeddling, but the most familiar lineup fit this trope.
* The Music/{{Melvins}} up until 2006 - currently they have four members, two of whom are drummers.
* Music/{{Minutemen}}: D. Boon, Mike Watt and George Hurley.
* Music/{{Motorhead}}, which has always been [[FaceOfTheBand Lemmy + 2]].
** Averted while Würzel was in the band, from 1984 to 1995 - he shared guitar duties with Phil Campbell, who stayed and was still in the band when Lemmy died.
%%* Murdock
* {{Music/Muse}}: Matthew Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dom Howard.
* Music/MxPx
* The best-regarded lineup of Music/NeguraBunget was this.
* The Nice, after the departure of guitarist David O'List.
* Music/{{Nirvana}}: Music/KurtCobain, Krist Novoselic, and various drummers before settling on Dave Grohl. Before recording albums and during their last tour, they had was a second guitarist.
* Music/{{Paramore}} is since December 2010 officially TwoGuysAndAGirl... though the only time it was performed by just them was in an EP. Between 2010 and 2016, they lacked a drummer; since 2016, they lack a bassist. (and that's not counting the rhythm guitarist on tour)
* Brazilian band Os Paralamas do Sucesso: Herbert Vianna (vocals/guitar), Bi Ribeiro (bass) and João Barone (drums)
** Also from Brazil, Legião Urbana became this after their original bassist, Renato Rocha, left and frontman Renato Russo took over his instrument on studio. In fact, Rocha was always a replacement musician; he was brought into the band because, during the recording of the first album, Russo (who was officially singer/bassist) slit his own wrists and could not play.
** A third example from the country was Engenheiros do Hawaii, which following the departure of ThePeteBest were a trio for their first eleven years (their last album in that formation was even ''[[LeadBassist Gessinger]], Licks & Maltz''). Then the guitarist left, and a keyboardist became a full member to grow the band to 4.
* The band Pezz, currently known as Music/BillyTalent, started as this before bringing Ian D'Sa in to play guitar so Ben Kowalewicz could stick with vocals.
* {{Music/Pig Destroyer}} used to be an unusual example: just vocals, guitar and drums, forgoing bass altogether. In more recent years they've had a fourth member in charge of noise and samples and later, added an actual bass player.
* The post-Roger Waters Music/PinkFloyd could count - though it was not the traditional setup (a guitarist, a keyboardist, and a drummer, and [[VocalTagTeam the first two sung]]) and lead to hired bassists (and extra singers for touring).
* British band Music/{{Placebo}}, although they drag around several additional members while on tour.
* Music/ThePolice: Music/{{Sting}}, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland.
* Music/ThePresidentsOfTheUnitedStatesOfAmerica was the FaceOfTheBand [[BizarreInstrument "basitarist", a "guitbassist"]] and a drummer, all three singing every once in a whle.
* Music/{{Primus}} is [[FaceOfTheBand Les Claypool]], a guitarist and a drummer.
* The 1980s Chilean rock group Music/LosPrisioneros
* Before all the others, there was Music/ElvisPresley, guitarist Scotty Moore, and bassist Bill Black. Drummer D.J. Fontana joined later to make the trio a quartet.
* Music/{{Rage}}'s most iconic lineups have all been rock trios, especially the classic lineup of Peavy Wagner (bass/vocals), Manni Schmidt (guitars), and Chris Efthimiadis (drums).
* Music/{{REM}} after the departure of drummer Bill Berry, albeit padded out with session and touring drummers.
%%* Music/ReverendBizarre
* Music/{{Revocation}}, at least until they hired Dan.
* Music/{{Rush}}: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart.
%%* Sebadoh
%%* Music/ShonenKnife
%%* Music/SickPuppies
* Music/SleaterKinney, a guitar-guitar-drums trio (no bass).
* Music/{{Sodom}} are probably the best known ThrashMetal rock trio.
* Soft Machine, from 1967 to 1969. Their debut was recorded with a trio lineup, and their second record, though featuring Brian Hopper on alto and tenor sax as a fourth player, still only lists the core three as full-time members. Amusingly, by the release of their third album a year later the group for a short while went from formally being a trio to having as much as ''seven'' members, adding four brass players to the lineup at once.
* Stoner metal trio Sleep, started out with four members but were most successful after the departure of one guitarist.
* Music/StrayCats. The minimalism extends to drummer Slim Jim Phantom, whose usual kit comprises a bass drum, snare drum, and one crash cymbal - which he plays standing up.
* Music/TheSupremes: A rare all-vocalist version, especially their music in TheSixties.
* Music/{{Switchfoot}} was this for their first three albums. Their fourth member joined just before they hit it big, and the fifth joined just after.
* Music/SunnyDayRealEstate were this on their album ''The Rising Tide''.
* Heavy metal band Tank started this way in a line-up similar to Venom and Motörhead (vocals/bass, guitar, drums). Just like them they later added a second guitarist, but while Venom and Motörhead returned to three members, Tank not only remained with two guitarists ever since, but they eventually expanded to five members as in 2008 they replaced founding bassist/vocalist Algy Ward by Chris Dale and Doogie White respectively (of course, unless you believe Algy, who claims [[IAmTheBand he is the only member who owns rights to use the name]]).
* Music/TheTeaParty, the recently reunited 90s Canadian alt-rock-with-ethnic-flavour trio.
* Music/ThinLizzy, during the Eric Bell-era.
* The German band [[ShapedLikeItself Trio]] actually is a mild subversion because they have no bassist.
* Triumph, aka "the other power trio from Canada".
* Music/UnlockingTheTruth is a metal band consisting of three teenagers.
* Music/{{V6}}, which did the theme songs for ''Anime/{{InuYasha}}'' and ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'', contains two with the band releasing albums and touring both independently and as a combined group. This is evident in ''Eyeshield 21'', where the ''Coming Century'' trio did the first intro song and the ''21st Century'' trio did the second. The two combined to do the ''[=InuYasha=]'' theme song.
* Supergroup U.K. became this for their second album when they decided not to replace their original guitarist after he was fired.
* Music/VanDerGraafGenerator, with their most recent works, ''Trisector'', ''A Grounding In Numbers'' and ''ALT''.
* Music/{{Venom}} NewWaveOfBritishHeavyMetal band and the progenitors of BlackMetal. They briefly performed as quartet between 1987 to 1992.
%%* Music/ViolentFemmes.
%%* Whiplash, except in the 90's.
* Music/{{Wolfmother}}'s original formation. When the band came back, it was now a four-piece.
* Music/WolvesInTheThroneRoom's original line-up was this, before they got a bassist in. They were also this at some other points of their history, but they're currently a duo consisting solely of the Weaver brothers.
%%* Wreck of the Hesperus
* Music/{{XTC}} became one after the band retreated to the studio and drummer Terry Chambers left. They used studio drummers for their albums from that point on until David Gregory finally left, leaving them a duo.
* Music/ZZTop, a.k.a. "those two bearded guys and the drummer (named Beard)".
* Radio Stars (a 1977-8 punk/new wave band) were an interesting case. Officially, the band was singer Andy Ellison, guitarist Ian Macleod, and bassist Martin Gordon, but during almost all live appearances drummer Steve Parry would be present.
* Music/SamanthaFish, although she often had guests on her albums, toured as a power trio with Fish on lead guitar and vocals from 2009 till 2017, when she added keys and a couple of horn players.

* The newly (as of August 2011) reconstituted Deathmøle (if they even choose to keep that name without Natasha around), in ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent'', fits the mold with Marten on guitar, Amir on bass and Hannelore on drums. In the short time since they got back together there's been no mention of adding a fourth member again; granted, so far it's just one semi-impromptu jam session, but clearly Marten has bigger plans this time around.
* ''Webcomic/MenageA3'' has Zii and the Troublemakers -- Zii on lead guitar, Sonya on bass, Yuki on drums, with the first two apparrently sharing the vocal duties.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Literature/{{Phaeton}}'' has the Auds, one with a multiform instrument, one with vocal powers and one who can only make noise by hitting one thing with another thing.
* In the [[WebAnimation/HomestarRunner Strong Bad email]], "concert," Strong Bad sees Strong Sad's favorite band, sloshy, prompting this exchange:
-->'''Strong Bad:''' Were they missing some members? Where was their lead guitarist?
-->'''Strong Sad:''' Uh, that was the whole band.
-->'''Strong Bad:''' What!? You're not allowed to have a band with only three people in it!

* ''Franchise/AlvinAndTheChipmunks'' are sometimes this, depending on the adaptation. When they do, it's Alvin on guitar, Simon on keyboard/piano and Theodore on drums. Canonically, all three are multi-talented with instruments and the most recent films have had Simon on bass, fulfilling the traditional definition.
* ''WesternAnimation/JosieAndThePussycats'' replaces the bass with a tambourine. As with ''Alvin'', the film swapped the tambourine with a bass guitar, or rather returned to original comics, where Valerie also played bass.
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooAndTheWitchsGhost'' gave us The Hex Girls, a goth rock trio led by [[Creator/JenniferHale Thorn]] (Lead vocals/Lead Guitar), with Dusk (Drums) and Luna (Bass/Keyboard) on backing vocals. The band has evidently proven popular enough to have been brought back in later iterations of the franchise.
* The Sonic triplets in ''WesternAnimation/SonicUnderground'', with the bass replaced by Sonia's keyboard.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' were one in "Mime for a Change", with Blossom on guitar, Buttercup on bass, and Bubbles on drums and lead vocals, with the other girls providing backing vocals.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheLifeAndTimesOfJuniperLee'', the title character forms one called Short Angry Freuds consisting of herself on guitar, her older brother Dennis on bass, and younger brother Ray Ray on drums.
* ''WesternAnimation/ChalkZone'': The main trio, as Rudy & The [=ChalkZone=] Band/Gang (the last part changed after Creator/HyndenWalch, Penny's speaking voice, took over singing duties for the character from Robbyn Kirmsse, due to the first nine ending songs being written out of Walch's vocal range for Penny) were one in the show's ending music video segments, with Snap on guitar, Rudy on keyboard (instead of bass), and Penny on drums.