Saturday, August 17, 2013

False Advertising?

Doug:  I have a pretty short question for you today.  How do you feel about bands going on tour without the singer who made them famous?

Doug:  How many versions of the Beach Boys are on tours at summer festivals and state fairs each year?  At one point, Mike Love, Brian Wilson, and Al Jardine each had their own bands on the road under the "Beach Boys" name.  Chicago has gone on without Peter Cetera for years, and one of my faves (don't get Karen going...), Journey, has been without Steve Perry longer than they were with him.  I've seen Styx on Palladia without Dennis DeYoung (seriously?  Who's singing "Lady" or "Lorelei" or "Come Sail Away"?).  And have you heard Sammy Hagar sing a Van Halen song from during the David Lee Roth era?  Not pretty...

Doug:  So, do you go to these concerts, and if you do, how do you feel?  I know that the band, or its name, or its catalog, is sometimes owned cooperatively by its members and that certain members can be bought out (read: fired).  But in my mind, there's a difference when the guy who is asked to leave, or chooses to leave, is the lead singer.  Am I wrong on this?


36 comments:

Colin Jones said...

All they care about is making money. The Beatles split up and that was the end, period. Their integrity has been preserved exactly because they never reformed.

Colin Jones said...

They never re-formed with new members is what I meant to say. These ancient rock bands are rather undignified dragging on and on.

Ray Tomczak said...

Some bands have gone on to have their greatest success after their original lead singer has departed. Genesis, for example, is far more associated with Phil Collins than Peter Gabriel. Likewise Gabriel has had far greater success on his own than as a member of Genesis. Syd Barret, the original leader of Pink Floyd, was only with the band for one album. When people talk about the "original" Floyd, they usually mean the outfit fronted by Roger Waters.
As for Van Halen, that's an example of how the lead singer and the band truly needed each other. Neither has been as good without the other. To me, Van Halen ceased to exist after Dave walked.
The worst example of just caring about making money is, in my opinion, INXS. Do you remember "Rock Star: INXS", an "American Idol" style talent competition to replace the Australian bands lead singer Michael Hutchens, who'd hung himself several years earlier. The whole thing seemed to me to be in somewhat poor taste and kind of morbid.

david_b said...

Did anyone see the Who with Kenny Jones in the early '80s..? I read the band hated him on stage.

Glad Colin made the 2nd mention, I was going to list the Beatles Denmark and Australian tours in '64 with Jimmy Nichols. All the contracts were in place, but George had to be talked into it, out of intense loyalty to Ringo.

William said...

Yeah, I was never a big fan of "Van Hagar", but apparently David Lee Roth is impossible to get along with. He rejoined the band few years back, and it didn't take long before he was ousted again for being too much of an egomaniacal jerk. What's funny is that the video clip you attached as an example actually doesn't sound too bad.

However when it comes to Journey, I like Arnel Pineda as the lead singer. He sounds amazing, and the story of how he came to be in the band is the stuff of legend.

Matt Celis said...

Might as well see an inexpensive "tribute" band. I would extend this past just singers. Would you really want to see the Rolling Stones without Keith? Worse is when old
Motown vocal groups tour under the original group name but only have 1 or 2 of the original singers out of 4 or 5!

Lapis said...

At least nowadays you can do a quick search on youtube and see what the current incarnation is like - before you spring for tickets.

The English Beat (only original member currently is Dave Wakeling, afaik) recently did a free concert here. Great songs, great atmosphere with folks aged 2 to 72 dancing and singing along...however, musically the band was not particularly tight - I don't think I would have paid $20+ to see them in some club.

Seeing the reformed Pogues with Shane MacGowan (line up from the If I Should Fall From Grace with God album) was certainly better than the Shane-less Pogues, or Shane with the Popes...

On the other (third?) hand I wouldn't have gone to see 2/3 of the Jam (sans Weller) or 3/4 of the Dead Kennedys (w/out Biafra).

I probably had a point when I started...maybe just: depends on the situation...?

Fred W. Hill said...

With the Beatles, there was a big brouhaha among fans when Ringo took over from Pete Best in 1962! Of course, that was just before the Beatles were even a national phenomenon in the U.K., never mind such an international sensation that all four members became household names around the world.
Then there was Led Zeppelin which got its start when every other member of the Yardbirds quit about a year after Jimmy Page joined the band and he hired Plant, Bonham & Jones to fulfill the Yardbirds' contractual obligations before changing the name and going on to mega-success.
Anyhow, I think if you're a fan of a particular band -- especially a band that's been around for ages but hasn't had any hits for decades, it pays to do the research to find out what version of the band you're paying to see. You've just gotta be braindead to buy tickets to see the Who and then be shocked when you don't see Keith Moon & John Entwistle on stage and there are a couple of old guys singing and playing guitar. But if you're fine seeing Roger Daltrey & Pete Townshend and whoever accompanies them, and if you remember that they are both in their late 60s and are well past their prime, then you can still have a good time.
I've actually read a book called Pink Floyd and Philosophy which includes a chapter about the changing nature of the band and what is the "real" Pink Floyd. Roger Waters may have been at the helm during its classic period from 1973 to 1979 but that didn't give credence to his stance that once he quit the band no longer existed and that Gilmour was fronting a "fake" Pink Floyd from 1985 on. Ultimately, it's the fans who really make the call. An entity called the Rolling Stones might keep going even if Mick Jagger and/or Keith Richards fall out, but I seriously doubt fans are going to pay $100 or more per ticket to see them, with or without Ron Wood & Charlie Watts.
Also it's a matter of are you paying to see a particular act that purports to do the hits of a far different version of the act or to see the particular performers who may or may not live up to expectations and may even refuse to play their old hits or plays them in wildly different form.

Humanbelly said...

Am I remembering that Queen made a possibly-abortive attempt to tour w/ a replacement Freddy Mercury last summer? Something like that?
Sheesh-- apart from the astonishing voice, who's going to be able to re-create that fantastically unfettered stage persona. . . and not come across as forced, affected, or put-on??

But it really is a situational call, I think. So many of the Motown groups really had more of a "group" identity (even w/ the lead-singer/front man), and it becomes more a matter of replacing one very talented (but lost or retired) voice w/ another new, carefully-auditioned similar voice. Since tight, clean vocal quality was the hallmark of that genre', I don't have a problem w/ freshening the ranks.

I guess what's unfortunate is that retirement doesn't seem to be an option. The What's Barely Left of the Who's performance at the SuperBowl a couple of years ago was simply horrific. Those two front men aren't replacable. . . but neither are they doing their own group identity any service at all.

I mean, I get wanting to keep the musical dream alive. . . and the underlying maxim across the spectrum of the performing arts is that the Show Must Go On. I wouldn't assume that the revenue stream is the first consideration (at least) on the parts of the performers-- it's that there's a drive to soldier on & keep doing what they love. . . or perhaps try to recapture the happiness of earlier days.

That being said-- YES, it's false advertising. Paul McCartney doing Beatles songs still doesn't thrill me, even though he doesn't claim to be the Beatles. Those old Monkees tours that Mike Nesmith never deigned to attend. . . nope, his singular voice and style were at the heart of many of my favorite tunes of theirs. Not the Monkees, man.

HB

david_b said...

Depends on your measure of musical integrity here..

Selling out concert dates with replacement members or maintaining group dynamics. Ultimately its down to what fans will pay for.. It's hard to see Paul without Linda, or George-John-Ringo, or even the later tours with Hammish or Robbie, but he transends 'em all. Glad to see Wix is still his keyboardist on the current tour.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I would only hope that MORE people would be interested enough in MUSIC to realize if the line-up has DRASTICALLY changed, and they will be disappointed. But being that this is the America of "American Idol" fame.... probably not.

But being a Deadhead, who am I to talk, right? Well, at least Bobby and Phil put together some nice bands to continue the music and the vibe. The post-Jerry line-ups actually turned me on to a fantastic talent I would suggest ANY rock and roll fan to check out---Warren Haynes---this guy plays with the Allman Bros., the Dead, his own bands, truly the hardest working man in Rock. Check him out.


in a comic book related aside--is anyone else out there who reads current Marvle comics sick and tired of the FALSE ADVERTISING of Marvel covers??? I recently picked up tow Avengers-titles with covers featuring a battle between Namor and Black Panther, and Rogue and Scarler Witch, respectivley...only to get little more than heated verbal debates inside the story.

Oh yeah, that's why you guys don't buy new comics, right?
Well, now that Levitz Legion is cancelled, I might be dropping all my Marvel abd Dcs on my pull-list.
Thankfully, there's still Back Issue to get me excited about my trip to the LCS. (Great article, btw, Karen.)

okay, I got that off my chest, thanks
starfoxxx

mr. oyola said...

Ha! Starfoxxx, I too thought this topic was going to be about comic covers, but I think it is unfair to say that it is only contemporary Marvel comics that have the false advertising covers. When I was a kid a common complaint about covers was "THAT DOESN'T REALLY HAPPEN!"

It was for that reason that sometimes covers had to convince the reader that "one of these people will REALLY die!" b/c the editors knew we didn't trust what the cover depicted.

As for bands, yeah - I am not interested in seeing bands w/o much of the original line up - shoot, sometimes I don't want to see the band WITH the original line-up (like the Police) after they are past their prime.

As Nietzsche wrote: And whoever wants fame must take leave of honour and practice the difficult art of- leaving at the right time.

One must stop being eaten when one tastes best: those who want to be long loved know this.

-------------------------
I did see the Who back in 2002 sans Entwhistle and Moon (of course) and the band still sounded great. I can't remember who played bass for them, but Ringo's kid was playing drums for them and he was fantastic.

Colin Jones said...

False advertising on comic covers is more understandable as it makes for a more exciting cover. It's not only comics that do it, the movie poster for the 1951 " The Day The Earth Stood Still " had the robot Gort grabbing a girl while firing lasers from his eyes, none of which happened in the movie - in fact he mostly stood around doing nothing ! There must be loads of other such examples of false advertising.

Steve Does Comics said...

I suppose it depends on the band. ELO tour without Jeff Lynne, which I wouldn't have a problem with, as - even though he originally wrote, sang and produced all the songs - I don't see him as a dominant persona when it comes to performing live.

On the other hand, Queen touring with ex-Free frontman Paul Rodgers in place of Freddie Mercury was plain madness.

On top of that, the Jam tour without Paul Weller, Supertramp tour without Roger Hodgson and, worst of all, Slade tour without Noddy Holder. All of this defies all sanity and reason.

Matt Celis said...

To be charitable, some of these guys aren't millionaires and need to earn a living. I'm sure many of them don't have a lot of viable alternatives. I don't begrudge them making a living via music performance as long as they're upfront about who is actually in the band.

david_b said...

Totally agreed, Matt. Excellent point. There's still good will in name recognition, even if its for the smattering of band members remaining..

Musicians are getting paid and appreciated, promoters are getting rich, fans are loving the memories..?

Who really loses..? Want the originals..? Go buy the albums.

Humanbelly said...

I think a nice example of Matt's point, there, is the periodic Ringo's All-Star Band tour (which, geeze, he's been puttin' together since the late 80's, I think!). You know from the outset that it's going to be a good-natured trip down memory lane with a group of oldsters who still have a decent handle on how to put out an entertaining bit of music in a concert venue--- and no one person has the pressure of carrying an entire show.

It IS the guys you expect for those songs. . . for better or worse.

Y'know, it was so far back that they themselves could almost generate a tribute band (plus two have long left this mortal coil), but The Traveling Wilburys were an uncanny counterpoint to this discussion, in that 5 (originally) artists past their glory years came together and created a perfect, unexpected gestalt for a couple of albums.

HB

Fred W. Hill said...

Exactly. The Doors did try to keep going without Jim Morrison. Kreiger, Manzarek and Densmore were already recording an album without him when he died. But Morrison's persona was the big draw of the band and the fan base dried up although it bloomed to such an extent decades later that a new version of the band became a concert draw with a new lead singer aping Jim Morrison, but they certainly weren't pretending the Lizard King had come back to life! In some bands all the members are relatively anonymous except to the most dedicated fans making it easier for new band members to be accepted. In others, however, it makes a huge difference if particular members quit or die. I think it's safe to predict the Jimi Hendrix Experience will never reunite with a new vocalist/guitarist!

Matt Celis said...

Funny thing...lately I've been playing concert albums: Wings Over Anerica, Frampton Comes Alive!, Cheap Trick at Budokan...they don't really do concerts like those anymore, back when you'd go to "the rock concert" and WHO was playing was sorta a secondary consideration!

Teresa said...

I've been a diehard Santana fan all my life. I blame it on my Mother. (-;
Santana's lineup has been fluid since the beginning. Their style has shifted too.
I think this tendency to be in a perpetual state of renewal is their strength.
I have been to 10(?) of their concerts. It is different every time. One of the more recent concerts, they had a Blues singer as their lead singer, and they followed his lead. It gave me goose bumps.

Tony said...

I was more of a "Van Hagar" fan than Van Halen, I feel they were more of a cohesive band than with DLR. DLR seemed more of a game show host to me. From what I understand Arnel has been doing an awesome job for Journey, although to me it's not the same. Gowan, who was a successful solo artist with many hits here in Canada, has been doing well for Styx, but same deal..not the same. What about AC/DC? Would you not see them because it's not Bon Scott singing? Can you say it's not AC/DC because of Brian Johnson. I'd definitely pay to go see AC/DC, Van Hagar, and if tix were free Journey. I've seen Arnel on youtube and I was impressed. Styx, I don't know...I like Gowan and Styx, but together? And good point about Genesis. Were they better without Peter Gabriel? What about one of the greatest singers ever, Paul Rodgers and Queen? The classic singer of Free, and Bad Company singing Queen songs? I guess it's up to your individual taste as a fan.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's sad but true, but in defense of these guys, they probably are broke and have bills to pay. As for Chicago, I liked the band's 70's stuff but I couldn't give a flyin' flip about Peter Cetera, one of the biggest D-bags on God's green earth. He's replacable. That 80's ballad stuff...yechh.

Fred W. Hill said...

What was weird about Paul Rodgers standing in for Freddy Mercury in Queen was that they had such different personas and Bad Company and Queen were poles apart stylistically. Despite being Brittish, Bad Company sounded like a southern rock band while Queen were a weird glam, operatic hard rock act that occasionally veered into rockabilly. No one could adequately replace Freddy Mercury. A couple of years ago I did see Paul Rodgers fronting Bad Company again and he actually sounded very good. Another aging rocker still in fine voice was John Fogerty who I saw in concert circa 2006. A shame he and the surviving members of CCR couldn't mend their differences, but Fogerty's another one of a kind. No one else could adequately front that band.

Anonymous said...

Chicago and Journey did quite well when Peter Cetera and Steve Perry left respectively, although I've always found it amusing that Arnel Pineda was chosen due to his youtube vids because he sounded just like Steve Perry! Hmm Styx is a tougher call - they don't sound the same without Dennis Deyoung. As for Queen without Freddie Mercury - fuhgeddaboutit! He was so unique and over the top that Queen was never the same when he passed.

This reminds me of the situation with the Bee Gees when Maurice Gibb died. Barry Gibb said that at that point the Bee Gees ceased to exist because it was all three of them together. If he and Robin performed together subsequently it would be billed as Robin and Barry Gibb, not the Bee Gees. Fans still thought of them as the Bee Gees which is why they the carried on using that name.


- Mike 'RIP Maurice & Robin' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Tony said...

The current Creedance Clearwater Revisted is a good case in point. To me, CCR is John Fogerty, not just the original guitarist and/or bass player etc. It just sounds lame and a money-making project. John Fogerty still sounds as good as he did in the late 60's, early 70's, and if anything he is better now than he ever was. Definitely worth seeing...the other's? Meh...not so much

Anonymous said...

Went to see Blue Oyster Cult a couple years ago here in Sioux Falls at the Rib Fest (They used to call it the Pork Fest but they were drawing the wrong kind of crowd).
There were two original members left out of five but they had Joe Satriani and they kicked it pretty hard.
Granted, it wasn't the heavy electric sonic evil H.P Lovecraft extra-dimensional assault we remember from the bad old days, but well worth the time. We knew what we were getting. And anyway, I'm too distinguished (fat and aging) to rock out much these days anyway. It was a good show. On a sadder note, R.I.P. Allen Lanier.

Edo Bosnar said...

Like Teresa, I've been a diehard Santana fan since a very early age (I guess I can blame my older brother for that). I've been to about 7 concerts so far, and I can say that as long as Carlos is there, you're guaranteed a great show. So there's never any false advertising involved in that case.

Anonymous said...

A guy I work with saw the Queen show from the Paul Rodgers tour.

He said it was okay, Brian May was amazing, but Rodgers didn't sing Bohemian Rhapsody, instead they had video of Freddie up on the big-screen singing his part. Kinda weird, IMO.

Another guy I work with saw the Police at Bonnaroo a few years ago and said they were HORRIBLE.

The only REALLY horrible shows I've paid money for were a Giants Stadium Dead show @ 1994, and Bob Dylan (he sucked badly). Thank God it was a double-bill with Paul Simon (he was better than I thought he'd be, blew me away, actually). They say Dylan is hit-or-miss, he definitely missed that night.

And my parents saw the Beach Boys a few years ago, and said they sucked (well, I could have told them that).

I'm seeing Steely Dan next month, with high expectations!

starfoxxx

Humanbelly said...

SF, was that the Police w/out Sting, then? I can't even begin to imagine that working. I mean, I'm really not the biggest fan of his voice (I must confess), but it's so incredibly distinctive and really defines the band's hallmark sound. Geeze, plus he's 33% of the group all by himself!

Also, I'm afraid I don't get the current (or at least recent) reverance for Dylan's current output. The man's vocal instrument (never an adequate tool even in its prime-- but at least expressive and connected to his artistic soul) is a shattered, wretched wreck that can't convey anything. He released a horrific Christmas album a couple of seasons ago, and the critics FELL OVER THEMSELVES in praising its unparalleled awesomeness (fairly direct quote, there). I had to tell my wife specifically NOT to get it for me for my birthday. . .

HB

Matt Celis said...

The last 4 or 5 Dylan records were praised to the heavens...frankly I thought they were pretty awful, not just his shot voice but even just the music and lyrics, many of which were "borrowed," to put it nicely. I think his muse abandoned him decades ago but reviewers are giving him credit for prior efforts.

Pretty sure Starfox was referring to that Police reunion as I don't think the other 2 ever did anything without him and called it the Police.

Edo Bosnar said...

I saw Dylan with the Grateful Dead in Oakland, CA in 1987 (or maybe '88?) and it was actually a pretty good show. However, it was basically a typical 3 and half hour dead concert, with Dylan coming out to sing some of his standards for about the last 45 minutes. The highlight there, of course, was hearing the Dead doing killer renditions of Dylan songs - I recall "All Along the Watchtower" in particular was mind-blowingly awesome.

Otherwise, though, I agree with HB about Dylan's more recent output, and by recent, I mean about the last 2 decades at least.

Humanbelly said...

Well, that's sort of a relief at least, Matt-- although a shame that apparently the boys sucked. . .

Edo, this may show how creaky we're getting, but a Dead/Dylan concert in '87 or '88 would have been. . . oy. . . 25 years ago! The majority of the younger adults that work for me weren't even born at that point--! Whooo-- I, too, have a tendency to think of events from that time as being "contemporary". . .

(Now, where did I leave my walker. . . )

HB

Doug said...

I know exactly what you mean, HB. Over the summer I met with one of the new teachers we hired in my department, and in the course of the conversation he asked me how long I'd been teaching. I told him that 1989-90 was my first year. He got a wry smile on his face, and I asked him what year he was born -- 1988 was his reply. Yep, the same year I graduated from college and was married...

Oy, indeed.

Doug

Matt Celis said...

Reminds me of when I wore my Greatest American Hero symbol T-shirt to work and no one knew what it was even after I said "Greatest American Hero." Believe it not.

david_b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
david_b said...

That's nothing.. I talk to troops at my unit about being a part of the Fulda Gap protection with our artillery guns in Germany, all the Cold War stuff, and a couple of twenty-somethings have said, 'Yeah I read about that in the history books..'.

Ouch.

"..My six-pack of Geritol, please..?"

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