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July 12, 2021 10:59 pm  #1


When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

If there's anything that drives me crazy it's when a group goes on tour featuring almost none of the original members, but still calls themselves by their famous name. I came across this otherwise forgettable story about a Colorado concert called Bobstock, that featured a performance by The Guess Who.

Except it wasn't really the group that had hits with These Eyes, Laughing, Albert Flasher, American Woman and so many more. According to the paper that published the article, neither lead singer Burton Cummings nor fellow star Randy Bachman were part of the reconstituted band. 

“What a great night to be in the great state of Colorado,” said founding member and original drummer/songwriter Garry Peterson. He was joined by lead vocalist/guitarist Derek Sharp, lead guitarist Will Evankovich, keyboard player/flutist Leonard Shaw and bass legend Rudy Sarzo."

Who? I mean, I couldn't Guess Who these guys are, other than gleaning there was only one original member in the group - the drummer - and he wasn't exactly a marquee name. I know we've all seen this before - an obscure member of a hit group gets the rights to use the name, then goes around touring and leaving people expecting some semblance of the original. 

I know it's not illegal and the audience in the small town seemed to enjoy it.  But this kind of deceptive stuff has been going on a very long time. (I once heard there were about five different bands touring at one time calling themselves The Drifters, each consisting of a single former member - none of them the vocalists you'd know.)

I think it's unethical to cash in on a famous name this way, even if a single person was tied to the original. The Guess Who is not the Guess Who without Cummings or Bachman. And there's just no real way around that fact. It's deceptive. And I wish they wouldn't allow it. 

The Fort Morgan Times: The Guess Who headlines night two of Bobstock music festival

Last edited by aflem (July 12, 2021 11:03 pm)

 

July 13, 2021 6:57 am  #2


Re: When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

There's a good explanation of what happened with the Guess Who at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guess_Who (although it needs a slight update given that this situation has now gone past the 2010s).
In November 1977, the CBC approached the band about a reunion. Burton Cummings was busy with his solo career,[52] and Randy Bachman had recently left the successful Bachman-Turner Overdrive with plans for a solo career of his own,[53] so neither was interested in reviving the Guess Who. Other former members including Jim Kale, Garry Peterson, Kurt Winter, and Donnie McDougall responded more positively and performed one reunion show,[citation needed] during which time Bachman and Cummings gave their permission to use the Guess Who name. Kale discovered the name had never been trademarked in Canada and acquired ownership, using it to tour extensively on the nostalgia circuit with many revolving lineups called "The Guess Who" until the 2010s, sometimes with Peterson.[54][55] Both Cummings and Bachman have been highly critical of the Kale and Peterson version of the band, calling it "the fake Guess Who."[56]
I recalled reading about them putting out a new album a few years ago, and I think I had posted about it but it was on the old board. I found the following review which does a good job of comparing what it sounds like compared to what they had sounded like in the past. I think that with a lot of the fake groups, they probably at least try to come closer to approximating the sound of the original groups, whereas in the case of the Guess Who they sound nothing like the real group ever did. 
https://tinnitist.com/2018/09/14/the-guess-who-the-future-is-what-it-used-to-be/


 

 

July 13, 2021 7:26 am  #3


Re: When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

Thanks for the explanation. What they're doing may be legal, but I don't think it's ethical. If I buy tickets to see The Guess Who, I expect to see the main members. Otherwise, it's just cheating the audience, who may or may not know it's not what they expect.

     Thread Starter
 

July 13, 2021 7:32 am  #4


Re: When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

I got curious about something -- whether the current Guess Who ever performs in Canada. Given their iconic status here, along with oldies and classic rock radio stations giving them a lot of extra radio airplay over the years due to our Canadian content regulations, I felt that this could be more problematic for them. So I went to their website and found a list of where they've performed going back to late 2017 at https://www.theguesswho.com/on-tour/, and the only Canadian shows listed were in Sarnia, Ontario and Medicine Hat, Alberta in July 2018. They sure do play a lot of shows, however, and while a lot of them are in smaller American cities there are some major ones on the list as well. So there's obviously enough of a market for what they're doing. But yes, I completely agree with you that it isn't ethical. 

Last edited by Lorne (July 13, 2021 8:01 am)

 

July 13, 2021 8:16 am  #5


Re: When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

I think the dividing line centers entirely around the lead singer or singers. Would Herman's Hermits be the same without Peter Noone? I doubt it.

If The Raiders had Paul Revere but not Mark Lindsay, they could still call themselves Paul Revere and the Raiders but it wouldn't be the same.

I wouldn't go to see The Union Gap on tour if Gary Puckett wasn't involved.

Then there are the groups that contain half the originals. I suppose if Micky Dolenz went out as The Monkees, now that Davy and Peter are gone and Nesmith is no longer really interested, I could live with that, because he did the vocals on so many of their hits. 

In the end, to me, it doesn't matter if the third cousin of the original guitarist is there, as long as the original voice is on stage with him or her. You want it to sound like you remember or it's not the real thing. 

     Thread Starter
 

July 13, 2021 8:31 am  #6


Re: When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

Yes, I feel pretty much the same way. I'm also ok with Stu Cook and Doug Clifford of the original CCR touring as Creedence Clearwater Revisited, because that makes it clear that this is not the original group. In the case of the Guess Who, something along the lines of the New Guess Who featuring Garry Peterson would be a more honest approach -- and given that they seem to be a competent enough band, I think they might well still get as many bookings.

 

July 14, 2021 6:35 am  #7


Re: When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

aflem wrote:

If there's anything that drives me crazy it's when a group goes on tour featuring almost none of the original members, but still calls themselves by their famous name. I came across this otherwise forgettable story about a Colorado concert called Bobstock, that featured a performance by The Guess Who.

Except it wasn't really the group that had hits with These Eyes, Laughing, Albert Flasher, American Woman and so many more. According to the paper that published the article, neither lead singer Burton Cummings nor fellow star Randy Bachman were part of the reconstituted band. 

“What a great night to be in the great state of Colorado,” said founding member and original drummer/songwriter Garry Peterson. He was joined by lead vocalist/guitarist Derek Sharp, lead guitarist Will Evankovich, keyboard player/flutist Leonard Shaw and bass legend Rudy Sarzo."

Who? I mean, I couldn't Guess Who these guys are, other than gleaning there was only one original member in the group - the drummer - and he wasn't exactly a marquee name. I know we've all seen this before - an obscure member of a hit group gets the rights to use the name, then goes around touring and leaving people expecting some semblance of the original. 

I know it's not illegal and the audience in the small town seemed to enjoy it.  But this kind of deceptive stuff has been going on a very long time. (I once heard there were about five different bands touring at one time calling themselves The Drifters, each consisting of a single former member - none of them the vocalists you'd know.)

I think it's unethical to cash in on a famous name this way, even if a single person was tied to the original. The Guess Who is not the Guess Who without Cummings or Bachman. And there's just no real way around that fact. It's deceptive. And I wish they wouldn't allow it. 

The Fort Morgan Times: The Guess Who headlines night two of Bobstock music festival

sorry, man. apparently canadian law allows the owner of a band name, in this case kale last i checked, the right to hire whomever he or she sees fit to perform using it. apparently the name was sold or rented to peterson, who should indeed be ashamed of having appropriated it again, given his history with the band, and the use of its name. buyer beware, baby, sorry 'bout that.

however, those aware would not allow such business to interfere with their appreciation of the "runnin' back through canada tour,2000" tour by the orinal band, minus kale, which was brilliant.
 

Last edited by gopher (July 14, 2021 6:58 am)

 

July 14, 2021 9:24 am  #8


Re: When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

Funny or sad that somebody mentioned Herman's Hermits without Peter Noone. I went to an oldies concert with the Turtles, Grass Roots and others. Everybody had recognizable original lead singers.  I can tell you that I could have gotten up from the audience and easily sounded more like Noone than the replacement. In a different concert, I saw the Box Tops without Alex Chilton. Also horrible. I once saw the Angels in an oldies concert. They were not even born when the real Angels had hits. All this is total false advertising and should not be allowed.

 

July 14, 2021 10:59 am  #9


Re: When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

On occasion, even without the original lead singer, it works.  Here are a couple of examples:

When Jay Black was forced to give up the name "Jay and the Americans" as a result of personal bankruptcy, three original members purchased the rights, went out and found a new lead singer (Jay Reincke) who sounded very much like Jay Black, and have been touring for the past 15 years.  Their show and sound are excellent. I last saw them in concert just before Covid hit.

In the early 80s, after a short reunion of original members, lead singer Dennis Tufano left and two remaining members, Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna, continued to tour, with Giammarese taking over lead vocals.  They continue to tour to this day, sounding very much like they did with original lead Tufano - Giammarese's voice is very similar.

Last edited by GrimsbyFan (July 14, 2021 11:18 am)

 

July 14, 2021 11:09 am  #10


Re: When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

Do you think the Stones would draw an audience if Mick Jagger weren't there? 

It always amazes me that some people who attend oldies shows don't care about the authenticity of who's performing.  It's just nostalgia for them. and the songs bring them back to a certain time in their lives, no matter who's singing/playing.

 

July 14, 2021 1:17 pm  #11


Re: When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

In a similar vein, have you ever bought one of those oldies compilation albums/CDs that contain all the original hits of a famous artist or group, only to find they're all remakes? That happens when they don't have the rights to the original masters, so they go into a studio and try to recreate the magic they made, sometimes decades ago. It never, ever works and the alternate versions never sound the same.

I didn't buy a lot of them, but I've only ever seen one that indicated they were remakes - and that was in very small print on the back cover. Needless to say, I didn't purchase that one. Another odious and deceptive practice that shouldn't be allowed. 

     Thread Starter
 

July 14, 2021 10:36 pm  #12


Re: When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

In the mid to late 70s after Peter Noone left to go solo, the remaining Hermits put out 3 45s as Herman's Hermits that were good but not great.

At least two acts on this year's Happy Together tour have zero original members and no real connection to the original group except to have once been a member of said groups with one original member.


Tom Diehl
 

July 15, 2021 12:41 am  #13


Re: When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

One of my favorite memories is back about 1987 when I was working a trade show at the MGM Grand in Reno.  I was there for 4 nights and every night all my group would  gather in the lounge to hear "The Diamonds" perform.  None of the originals was in the group but the music was good and the guys became friendly with us since we were there every night.  10 years later, they performed at a "senior expo" heree in Portland.  Three of the group were the same but they had a new bass singer.  The guys recognized me and were friendly.  Later I saw the bass guy walking around so I stopped to talk with him.  When I asked him were he had worked before this gig, he mentioned he'd been in the "Dapper Dans", a long time fixture at Disneyland.  I then asked him if he knew Roger Axworthy who was also one of the "Dans".  He told me they had been good buddies for several years.  Mr. Axworthy had been my choir director, driving instructor and journalism teacher my senior year at Torrance H.S. in 1959-60 so the bass singer and I were suddenly old friends. 

 

July 15, 2021 9:16 am  #14


Re: When Famous Groups Perform Without The Original Members

After many years of attending oldies concerts (right up until Covid), I would rank these acts the highest in terms of authenticity in their live performance.  All are still performing in 2021.

Kenny Vance and the Planotones
Kenny's performance is always successful in achieving his goal of "try to recapture the atmosphere that was on the original."
Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone
Peter still sounds great and he is as energetic as ever on stage.
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Dodging the issue of "Is he lip-synching?", Frankie and the group remain faithful to the Four Seasons sound.
The Chantels
With 3 originals and a replacement lead singer (Amy Ortiz) who sounds as good or better than Arlene Smith, these ladies always give an awesome performance.
The Cowsills
With the 3 members of the group all being originals, their harmonies are truly amazing.
Jay Siegel's Tokens
Jay continues to hit those high notes after all these years.
Jimmy Gallagher and the Passions
Jimmy and his back-up group remain proficient at putting forward the Doo Wop sound 
Tommy James and the Shondels
Tommy's voice has continued to be one of the best in rock and roll.
Gary Lewis and the Playboys
Gary's voice never was the greatest, but he does a good job of recreating his pop hits from the 60s.
 

 

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