There's been a fair bit of hype in recent years over "super groups", although they're not a new phenomenon at all. A lot of the discussion is around what constitutes a super group and whether certain bands fall into the category or not - the Raconteurs state that they aren't a super group, despite having members from very successful bands; Them Crooked Vultures were definitely considered one.
I think it comes down to a number of factors, such as the intent of the group, whether it's a side project for the members, whether it's intended to be an ongoing regular thing, or just a one off.
It does lead to some interesting groupings of musicians though. Them Crooked Vultures managed to combine the best bits of Led Zeppelin, Queens of the Stone Age and the Foo Fighters. Velvet Revolver seemed to go the distance, but never achieved the success of the member's original bands. The latest incarnation of the super group, Super Heavy, featuring Mick Jagger and Damian Marley among others, may not work so well, given the diverse nature of the styles.
Whether or not you think super groups are a good idea, it can be an interesting experiment to create your own super group. Here's mine:
On drums, it'd have to be Tool's Danny Carey. Listen to any of the Tool albums, but particularly the later ones, and try to isolate the drum track. There's so much going on there that I'm always picking out new things I hadn't noticed before. He'd have to be one of the top drummers in the world, and one of the most popular among other drummers.
On bass, let's go with Les Claypool, if only because I don't know anyone else who can play the bass like he does. He really pushed the boundaries of what bass can do, and how it's used in rock music. If he wasn't available (although it's my super group, so we'll say his schedule's okay) I'd probably have to go with Metallica's first bassist Cliff Burton. Solid basslines, but infused with his love of classical music; and he was into Hendrix's trick of practicing until you could play your songs backwards, which is pretty out there.
Guitar gets a bit harder because of the number of choices, so we're going to say there's two guitarists in this band. First up, I'll take Mastodon's Brent Hinds. Sure he looks like a sea beast, but he manages to mix surf guitar with metal and pull it off. The second guitar is an even tougher choice but I'm going to go with Meshuggah's Fredrik Thordendal - he's a guitar magician and comes up with some crazy ideas and solos.
Lastly, on vocals, I've chosen Jeff Buckley. Sure he's dead, but I'm making the rules here (and I'd already picked Cliff Burton as second choice for bass, so what's the harm in another dead rockstar). He had an incredible voice, huge vocal range, and most importantly, he knew how and when to use it.
So that's my super group. Any suggestions on a name? And who would be in your fantasy super group, and what would they be called?