Golden Oldies Try to Stop Touring Impostors
Mon, 27 Feb 2006 10:02:52
Imagine a Rolling Stones concert with no Mick, Keith, Ron or Charlie -- or a Green Day concert in 2030 with no Billie Joe, Mike or Tre. That’s the sort of odd experience that some fans are getting by attending shows by bands like The Platters, The Coasters and The Drifters. Sometimes after waiting decades to see their favorite band, fans realize -- or, worse, don’t realize -- that they’re being entertained by impostors.
These knockoff bands -- touring the country with no original members and booking gigs at a lower price than the real deal -- can be poison both to reputations and to checkbooks. Some impostor bands will even use the real band’s biographies and photographs in promotional materials. Mary Wilson, an original member of The Supremes, said that some classic acts were having difficulties getting bookings because of this “identity theft.”
According to the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, hundreds of these poseur-bands are roaming the country, and only a few states have laws in place to go after them. The Hall of Fame is now working with legislators and some of the original bands to pass “Truth in Music” laws that would seek to recoup losses from the guilty bands and their penny-pinching promoters, dictating that a band must have at least one member from the original lineup in order to profit from the name (but don’t worry, AC/DShe fans -- actual tribute bands would be exempt). Pennsylvania recently joined North Dakota and South Carolina in adding the law to the books, and several other states are considering doing the same. The Truth in Music coalition hopes that eventually the law will spread nationwide.
-- The ARTISTdirect Staff