THE BRAND vs THE COVER BAND with THE RIGHTS

Recently I spotted an ad for tickets to see BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS featuring BO BICE(of AMERICAN IDOL fame) at a local venue and wondered…BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS? Where’s Al Kooper ? Where’s David Clayton Thomas? Not being historical naive of BS&T I knew what happened to Al, and the tenure(s) of DCT but WHO ARE THESE GUYS calling the band BS&T?

This tidbit is taken directly from the band’s website:

Will Blood, Sweat & Tears have any of the original members?

“Not a chance,” says Colomby, who last performed with BS&T in 1976. I think of this band like baseball’s Yankees. “When you’re at a Yankee game you’re not going to see Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle or Lou Gehrig. What you do come to expect is a team of top-notch players upholding a tradition of winning. That’s the Yankee legacy. It what people expect from BS&T as well… brilliant musicians, singers, songs and arrangements.

Yo Bobby,who are you talking to? Not me….I understand the makings of a baseball franchise with the aging of players,the changing rosters,the numerous trades, etc, but to think of music your way leaves me a bit confused. If I go see the Stones,The Zombies, or some other band from that era then I expect the performers on stage to be a true representation of that band. Yes, as you say, “the musicians, singers, songs and arrangements”. But at least give me a band with a few notable members, preferably the singer, maybe the premier guitarist, etc.

Tommy James and The Shondells, hell Tommy better be there and singing. Alice Cooper…Alice is up on the stage. But this “brand” shit has got me confused.An ad for TEN YEARS AFTER at BB KING’S in NYC showed a photo of the band which included CHICK CHURCHELL, RIC LEE and two non-descript gentleman posing for LEO LYONS and ALVIN LEE. Hey folks, ALVIN LEE is dead and LEO is retired so we are left with the drummer and keyboardist, both who do not sing. The show is listed as “TEN YEARS AFTER- The Name Remains The Same”. Needless to say I did not go.

I remember a few years back when Butch Trucks was steering the ship known as THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND, he stated that he could foresee a time when a group of musicians, none an original member/shareholder of the namesake, would hit the road as THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND and to paraphrase what Butch said “play like The DUKE ELLINGTON ORCHESTRA would without Duke, you know just the music of…” .

Maybe I’m mistaken but I wouldn’t pay a dime to see BS&T with Bo or the ALLMAN BROTHERS without GREGG or THE ZOMBIES with ROD ARGENT or COLIN BLUNSTONE.

Now in Australian another phenomena is occurring with a band known as THE LITTLE RIVER BAND. Currently on tour is a conglomerate of musicians calling themselves LRB, none an original member, while the originals are suing to get their name back and the originals are forbidden to tour as LRB because the manager “owns the brand”. WTF? Another one which gets my goat is Mike Love as THE BEACH BOYS. Okay, I’ll give you he was/is an original member and sang a few notable tunes.

So I offer the following musical band member ratio: You need a portion of the “notable sound” to represent the band. TYA without ALVIN LEE is not a true representation of the band… If you are self-titled, hence, CROSBY,STILLS,NASH and YOUNG, then you NEED them all.Imagine STEPHEN STILLS next tour billed as CROSBY STILLS and NASH with only STILLS up there, nah.Or JIM MESSINA touring as BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD.

BS&T had 8 original members for the first album. After a few left newer members joined in, totaling nine (9) for the second album which won the GRAMMY for “Album of the Year” over ABBEY ROAD. David Clayton Thomas was the new lead singer at that moment in time but was not the leader of the band as drummer BOBBY COLUMBY took over the reins. Bobby quit performing with the band in 1976 and is listed as “owner” of the band as it continues to tour world wide without a single original member being present. Sorta like BEATLEMANIA, a “true recreation of The Fab Four”. Geez.