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I thought we were Quiet Riot
August 14, 2006 9:57 PM   Subscribe

Redbone manager says Butte fair-goers saw ‘blatant’ imposters. Of course this sort of thing has been going for a long time (Imposter Zombies), but has gotten so bad that several states have passed laws requiring at least one original member to be present. "... a fan went to see The Drifters and realized none of the singers was authentic. Later, the fan went to another show and found the same charlatans on stage, this time posing as The Coasters..."
posted by 445supermag (28 comments total)

Ohh, yes, I'm the Great Pretender...
posted by eegphalanges at 10:06 PM on August 14, 2006

Oh, that was the Platters, not the Coasters, nor the Drifters...I can see how this would be easy to pull off, though.
posted by eegphalanges at 10:07 PM on August 14, 2006

Less drama than Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park.
posted by Tube at 10:26 PM on August 14, 2006

This has been happening in the Big Band scene for decades. Glenn Miller Orchestra anyone? Hell, I've even played in the Les Brown Band of Renown. Les Brown Jr, that is.

I remember once about fifteen ago as a teen I was playing in Fayetville and members of Starship showed up to watch my soundcheck. Who the hell is Starship?
posted by sourwookie at 10:42 PM on August 14, 2006

roffle butte fair...
posted by Dreamghost at 10:45 PM on August 14, 2006

At least one original member? That'd be a problem for Napalm Death, no original members since around '87.
posted by bobo123 at 10:57 PM on August 14, 2006

I saw a public access tv show recently featuring a group called Randy and the Rainbows. Now, given that "Randy and the Rainbows" had their big doo-wop hit "Denise" in like, 1963, I seriously doubted these guys on TV (two of whom didn't look much over 50), could be the real deal.

Turns out they are/aren't. One of them had always been in the group (though I don't think he was a major contributor), and was a bit older than I thought, but the other two had joined the group in the mid-sixties, slightly after the band had the hit song.

So, it's a wierd blurry area. Sure - they are *really* "Randy and the Rainbows," but none of the current members had too much to do with the song that "Randy and the Rainbows" is known for... and still touts as it's major hit. I guess the question is - is it more important to have been in the band for it's (possibly very brief) defining moments, or for a huge chunk of it's existance?
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 11:30 PM on August 14, 2006

So, it's a wierd blurry area. Sure - they are *really* "Randy and the Rainbows," but none of the current members had too much to do with the song that "Randy and the Rainbows" is known for...

I think the linked articles are talking about out-and-out imposters: mere copy bands claiming to be the real bands and getting paid as such. Quite a scam. If you have the real band and are trying to make money, you don't need someone pretending to be you, taking your potential bookings, diluting the market for your band, and possibly spoiling your reputation.

Maybe bands should be corporations with trademarks. Then you would go to see Kiss® (official representatives of the Kiss Corporation) performing Rock and Roll All Nite® and other registered products of the Kiss Corporation.
posted by pracowity at 1:18 AM on August 15, 2006

I think the linked articles are talking about out-and-out imposters: mere copy bands claiming to be the real bands and getting paid as such.

I was responding more to the "1 original member" clause - citing an example of a band that did have an original member, but as a group had little to do with the original.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 1:45 AM on August 15, 2006

The "one original member" clause makes me think of Yes.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:47 AM on August 15, 2006

Did Yes ever have an original member?
posted by pracowity at 5:06 AM on August 15, 2006

Does anybody really know what time it is?
posted by languagehat at 5:16 AM on August 15, 2006

Does anyone really care?

eustacescrubb -- exactly, I was thinking we could call it the Squire rule. (Pracowity -- the answer is, err, yes -- Chris Squire was there from first to last.)

It could be a continuum. Any band with all the members on The Yes Album is Yes. ABWH is, quite clearly, No. Thus, the group that did all those other records in between is clearly Maybe.

After Entwhistle died, when I heard about the tour, I just started calling them The What.

The real reason for the law. Before the law, an imposter group is purely a civil matter. After the law (at least, in Illinois,) if you fail three criteria....

1) No original members
2) Not clearly labled as a lame fake tribute.
3) Not having clear permission from the legal owners of the band

... then the State AG office can get a cease and desist order. Sounds fair to me.

There is the ownership issue, though -- in the above example, as long as Chris Squire asserts his rights to the band, nobody else, no matter how involved with Yes, can form a band called Yes. Should Yes officially end, then it could get ugly. There could be Yes all over the damn place.

Actually, that's a little harsh on many tribute bands. If you look at them as a theatrical production, not a musical group, many of them do put a great deal of effort into reproducing the sound of the original act, live. 90% of them are utter crap, but Ted Sturgeon told us that long ago.

There was one act I saw (I was working, not my choice) that was a Cream tribute. They really didn't care about the look. They looked like, well, southsiders from St. Louis. (Funny, that, given where they were from.)

They fucking sounded like Cream -- and they'd go from Studio Cream (which you would never hear on stage) to live Cream and back.

It was rather impressivem and, in tribute to Cream, quite FUCKING LOUD. They did cheat for Badge, and brought on a 2nd guitarist.

But mostly, they did it because they though Cream rocked, that playing Cream live (and quite FUCKING LOUD) was a great deal of fun, and if they spent a few hours working at it, they might get free beer doing so.

So, I say unto them, Rock!

(Yes, they got some free beer, but they never billed themselves as Cream -- or, thank ghod, Cremora.)
posted by eriko at 5:22 AM on August 15, 2006

*comes and gets his love from the witch queen of new orleans*
posted by jonmc at 5:34 AM on August 15, 2006

the answer is, err, yes -- Chris Squire was there from first to last.

Maybe, but of course that's not quite what I meant.
posted by pracowity at 5:39 AM on August 15, 2006

Connecticut now has a Truth in Music Advertising Act. $5000-15000 fine.
posted by smackfu at 6:36 AM on August 15, 2006

My personal favorite is the fake Frankie Goes to Hollywood knockoff that owns the rights to the name of the band in the state of Alabama. The band was founded in Britain by two openly gay men, but the lead singer of the fake group has a pronounced Southern drawl and is notorious for hitting on waitresses. There was a story in Spin magazine several years ago about them.
posted by jonp72 at 7:10 AM on August 15, 2006

I'm gonna start a band called the Ship of Theseus.
posted by kimota at 7:23 AM on August 15, 2006

Consider Foghat, spawn of Savoy Brown. They epitomize the revolving door of rock.
posted by Floydd at 8:51 AM on August 15, 2006

Maybe this should be an AskMe thread, but how are tribute bands even legal? Does copyright law not apply to live performances?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:58 AM on August 15, 2006

Uther Bentrazor writes "Does copyright law not apply to live performances?"

There are statutory performance rights in place, as long as the tribute band is paying the fees they are legal.
posted by Mitheral at 9:03 AM on August 15, 2006

My personal favorite is the fake Frankie Goes to Hollywood knockoff

I saw them play in portland in the late 90's. Something seemed awfully...amiss when the singer kept talking about all the pretty ladies in the audience....
posted by dersins at 9:14 AM on August 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

Seriously, how much of a demand is there for one-hit wondder bands from the 196s and 1960s? Are fans lining up at state fair box offices to buy tickets for Argent and Sniff 'N' The Tears performances?
posted by elmwood at 9:52 AM on August 15, 2006

I can't wait to catch Creedence Clearwater Re(visited)/vival. How important was John Fogerty?
posted by badger_flammable at 9:58 AM on August 15, 2006

Since we've segued pretty far into tribute-band territory, I guess this is okay.

I hate going to concerts, but I love The Doors, so I'm glad I let myself get talked into attending a The Back Doors gig. Some of the kids there were really into the whole spirit of the thing, clothes- and apparently drugs-wise....

I'll be on the lookout for a good ABBA tribute band coming around, too -- that could be good clean fun.
posted by pax digita at 10:18 AM on August 15, 2006

What really pissed me off was going to see Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe and finding it was really just Rabin, Moraz, White and Horn.

And at a state fair no less!
posted by soyjoy at 12:37 PM on August 15, 2006

While at a Kool and the Gang concert this summer, some of us were talking about how easy this would be to pull off, since most people at the show wouldn't know who the "real" members were anyway. (Sorta like how people can't name anybody in Coldplay except maybe the one who is with Gwyneth) Hell, many of 'em woulda been none the wiser if Kool would have said "And now, here's another one of our hits you might remember...'awww she's a BRICK...houuuuse...'"

It would be fun to put a band together to play slightly (but not overly) obscure one hit wonders at state fairs and the like, not saying who the original artists are at all, astounding much of the audience: "Oh wow, they're the ones who did that one? Cool...and hey, I remember this one too! These guys had a lot of hits!"
posted by First Post at 4:42 PM on August 15, 2006

Foghat indeed. I spent an amused evening a few years ago looking at (check out The Band) and looking at the various splits and reunions and different splinter projects. Holy "Rod Torfulson's Armada Featuring Herman Menderchuck"! Indeed, another Foghat member has died since I last looked at that website and to see the latest history you need to see an entirely new website.
posted by stevil at 5:53 PM on August 21, 2006

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