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The Guess Who (and other classic bands carrying the torch)


LC

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The age-old question: Can a "classic" band still tour under its original name if the only original member is the drummer? See this Guess Who new tour announcement:

https://www.pennlive.com/entertainment/2024/02/the-guess-who-2024-where-to-find-tickets-for-2-central-pa-concerts.html

ScreenShot2024-04-18at1_16_20AM.png.69c1df57b5ca6d842bf46972fdefe3b7.png

 

The advance notices explains that the lineup includes original drummer Garry Peterson. Period. Otherwise, it's a wholly different cast. So really, it's a Guess Who Tribute Band, featuring the co-founding drummer (at right in photo).

Maybe it's a great show — I haven't seen 'em so I can't pass judgment. But wouldn't this be like, you know, a Raspberries tour featuring only Jim Bonfanti from the original lineup? Jim just wouldn't do it....

While I'm not a huge Guess Who fan, I do like some of their '70s blasts of rock'n'roll, and I know there are some Guess Who/Burton Cummings fans here. So... a vintage classic:

 

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IMHO, even if they perform live better than the original guys, they are not the Guess Who, it´s phony what they are doing...likely for financial reasons...I don´t like it. Same happened with Foghat...when Lonesome Dave died and Rod Price soon thereafter, Foghat was done.  But for years a band called themselves Foghat, sometimes with the original drummer also...they toured, even put out some records.....and some of the players were stellar well known players...but it was phony because they were not Foghat.

I do think if a band gradually changes its line-up and after some years has evolved to be very different than the original line-up, ....for me it could still be legit. Example the Eagles of today. Only Henley exists from the original line-up but I´ll still see them as the Eagles, albeit not my favorite version of the Eagles.

REO Speedwagon has only its keyboard player from the original band, but also has  Kevin Cronin who joined in the mid 70s and has been its co-leader and then leader throughout the years, and their other players have gradually replaced the original members. REO is clearly legit....though I prefer the classic line-up(s) from the late 70s.

Good thread Señor LC.

 

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I saw the Eagles last September 16, 2023, at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ I will say first of all that they were fabulous. Every song was performed perfectly. And the surprise opening act was Donald Fagen of Steely Dan.....also fabulous. However, Don Henley addressed the subject of original members. To paraphrase, Don said the current members of the Eagles are the best f***ing Eagles tribute band ever! The place went wild laughing. Obviously this is a touchy subject. I feel the same way about Elvis impersonators. 

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The ELO reference is interesting. Don't forget that there was an "ELO II" band touring and releasing albums without Jeff Lynne in the 1990s/2000s.

Sorry, but that is not ELO — even though it had the original drummer (Bev Bevan) and keyboardist (Richard Tandy) along with a late-arrival-but-still-important voice, bassist Kelly Groucutt. And on tour, they played all the classic ELO songs and deep cuts. But... Jeff Lynne wrote pretty much all their songs and was almost always the lead singer. (Groucutt took lead vocals on a couple of songs). So without Lynne, it was a stretch.

We all remember a similar situation when Wally Bryson, Dave Smalley, and Scott McCarl released an album as Raspberries. It was really an interesting development — especially because Scott replaced Dave in the original Raspberries run. But without Eric, could it be the 'berries? 

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Badfinger is another example, although the fact that the remaining member is Joey Molland makes it at least a little more legit, because Pete Hamm and Tom Evans aren't around, and Molland had a big role in their original output.

But still... you'd never have seen Paul McCartney touring with his excellent band as The Beatles. 

 

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It´s really a function of integrity, imho. If Bev Bevan listened to his conscience, he´d not have toured ELO without Jeff Lynne. But he listened to something else not as deep, whored out a little, and thus worked to cheapen the ELO name.

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Right. That sort of situation is hard to defend as being something other than a money-making machine.

On the other hand, we're open-minded about cases where a lead singer and key instrumentalist are on board.

  • Mick Jagger and Keith Richard touring as the Rolling Stones? Fair enough, especially with Ron Wood (even though he wasn't an original) still in the band. 
  • Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey touring as The Who? Also fair enough — though I think they've finally called it quits (I see some Daltrey solo dates billed as "Roger Daltrey/The Voice of the The Who"). 
  • And, as James and Batman noted, Don Henley touring as the Eagles? I'm fine with that, too, considering that Henley was the co-voice of the group... and that the touring band includes Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt, who, though not originals, became key contributors... and that Glenn Frey's son Deacon took his dad's place... and that they drafted Vince Gill... and that they enlist guitar ace Steuart Smith (even if they don't give him the honor of being an "Eagle").

 

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  • 1 month later...

A very interesting development. I tend to agree with Cummings. Just because someone legally obtained the name, it doesn't make it legitimate as far as performing intellectual property. As a non-musical example, as a corporation, RCA ceased to exist after the 1986 takeover by General Electric. GE kept NBC and the government contract divisions, and sold off everything else. RCA today is a trademark that can be licensed for a fee. However, the company selling RCA televisions today is a Canadian corporation and the televisions are made in China. But their marketing extols the history of RCA going back to its inception in 1919 and wants people to think that it is the same company. Nothing about today's RCA has anything even remotely akin to the great electronics giant.

https://www.rca.com/us_en   Check out the current "RCA" site, go to "The Brand", and then "Our Legacy". Ignorant people will think this is still the original company, due to the current licencee's deliberately deceptive and misleading marketing.

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Agree with the author. And I´ll add: these guys - who had nothing to do with creating the band - but tour using the band´s name, are parasites mostly, imho. The word whore also comes to mind also as they sell their own integrity for money and some notoriety....at the expense of the real band´s legacy.

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We have to face the fact that our original band heroes are dying every day, so replacements are inevitable. There aren't many original lineup bands left no matter what the criteria. A good cover band is a great thing if they respect the original music. Just squint your eyes and listen. I'm sure you will find something good in any band that is worth anything. Live music is still the best music no matter who is doing the songs. 

If you're going to tour, just go under a different version of the original name. If you are any good people will show up.  A perfect example of that is this band. They sell out worldwide and have changed their lineup numerous times. Nobody cares because every version of them is good. I've seen them 3 times and have never been disappointed. I never got to see the REAL Pink Floyd, so this does the trick for me. 

 

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I saw Beatlemania and I saw RAIN. Both shows were great. I obviously knew I wasn't seeing The Beatles, but I didn't leave the show feeling cheated. I also saw Brit Floyd recently, and I left the show almost feeling like I saw the real thing. All I ask is...don't sell yourself as if you're the real product. There's nothing wrong with being a TRIBUTE Band, and if you're good enough, people will come.

I'm a big fan of Uriah Heep. The band members slowly changed over the years, and even when Mick Box, the only remaining original member is gone, I won't have a problem with them carrying on under the Uriah Heep name because they have established themselves as Uriah Heep. It was a slow process that morphed from the original.  It would be different if Mick had decided one day that he could get a completely new band and call themselves Uriah Heep, because that leaves the door open for every member of the band doing that. You can't have 4 or 5 versions of the same band.

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